Ms. Marvel Epic Collection: This Woman, This Warrior is out this week, chronicling Carol Danvers’ earliest adventures, from before she became Captain Marvel.
The paperback features Danvers’ debut as superhero Ms. Marvel, following her appearances as a civilian in the original Captain Marvel series. A human endowed with Kree powers, Danvers is considered one of Marvel Comics’ most powerful characters.
This Woman, This Warrior collects issues #1-14 of Ms. Marvel, as well as Marvel Team-Up #61-62 and Defenders #57, and features a Murderers’ Row of talent. It’s written by Chris Claremont and Gerry Conway, with pencils mostly by Jim Mooney, John Buscema, and Sal Buscema (along with others, such as John Byrne and Carmine Infantino).
This Epic Collection is full of some of the best superhero storytelling the 1970s had to offer. It has big, explosive action with bright, vibrant colors. It also has some mystery and intrigue to keep you engaged, and great character development. Claremont and Conway are two of Marvel’s best writers ever – they literally helped build the company. Add the infamous art styles of Mooney and the Buscemas, and you a have a comics cocktail of greatness.
The cover of Ms. Marvel #1 states “a bold new super-heroine in the senses-stunning tradition of Spider-Man!” and the series follows through on that promise. Conway was Stan Lee’s successor on Amazing Spider-Man, so it fits that he would bring some of that world into Carol Danvers’. Right away in issue one, the writer slips in a Peter Parker cameo. Mary Jane Watson also becomes a supporting character, and Carol begins the series accepting an editor job at the Daily Bugle, where she frequently bumps heads with J. Jonah Jameson. A lot of the personal elements that made Spider-Man so popular are carried over into the world of Ms. Marvel, and it helps the reader build an emotional connection to this new corner of the Marvel Universe.
That being said, the series has a fresh voice of its own and doesn’t just feel derivative of Spider-Man.
Part of what makes Ms. Marvel feel unique is the theme of female empowerment that flows through it. There are a number of characters who scoff at the idea of a woman playing in the same room as the men, both as a superhero and a civilian. Jonah Jameson makes Carol the editor of a new women’s magazine and expects her to fill the publication with articles about diets, fashion, and recipes. He scoffs at the idea of lady astronauts, and literally says the words, “Women! Where’d they ever get the idea they were any good outside a kitchen, anyway?!” The comic was written in the 70s, but it’s scary how relevant it still feels today. Jonah, and other like-minded men, are played as the buffoons they are, and Carol shows them up time and time again, both as herself and as Ms. Marvel.
Ms. Marvel: This Woman, This Warrior is an action-packed, empowering collection that offers fun like only classic Marvel comics can. Older comics can be a bit daunting or inaccessible to modern readers, but rest assured, this Epic Collection is a good time for all. And it’s a great primer for new fans before Captain Marvel hits theaters this year.