Wardrobe Dysfunction: Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel by Jamie Fay and Danielle Alexis St. Pierre

This week we look at a character that I’ve grown quite fond of in recent years, Ms. Marvel. Carol Danvers is just such a great, complex character that is finally getting her due. She’s had a bunch of costumes over the years, so let’s examine what’s in her closet.

Carol Danvers wound up getting her super powers from Captain Marvel; an explosion wound up getting them from him, making her a Kree/Human hybrid of sorts. It’s only fitting that she would wind up taking a variation of his name for her codename as well as adopting a similar costume and color scheme.

What I find really interesting about this costume is that it has a built-in scarf instead of a cape. This is pretty much the only time I recall a scarf being incorporated into a super hero’s costume. Also notice the Farrah Fawcett like hairstyle. It was the late 1970s, after all.


Eventually, the costume gets tweaked slightly. Ms. Marvel loses the bare midriff and her belly button is covered up. It’s a bit more flattering of a look.

One of the things that I’ve really liked about  Ms. Marvel is that she is a strong female character. Her first ongoing series was an attempt to attract more female readers. Carol was a strong feminist character for the time, having been a high-ranked member of the US Air Force during her introduction. During this series, her career shifted to the editor of a woman’s magazine, conveniently owned by the Daily Bugle’s parent company. This allowed frequent cameos by J. Jonah Jameson and Peter Parker to drop by.


Ms. Marvel’s black outfit is her most iconic look. It also helps distinguish herself from Captain Marvel; she abandon’s his star insignia for a lightning bolt. Her red scarf is also switched out with a red sash belt. It’s a slight accent that adds a contrasting color to her outfit. In case you are wondering, she did keep the mask.

The black outfit became skimpier or more modest depending on who was drawing Ms. Marvel or whatever the trend at the time was. So you can pretty much imagine how it looked during the nineties during the whole bad girl phase.


Carol spent a lot of the 1980s hanging out with the X-Men (Chris Claremont was writing both her series and Uncanny X-Men, so he brought her into their book after her title finished). During this time, she was experimented on by the Brood and wound up being able to draw cosmic energy from white holes.

Carol assumed the new codename Binary during this phase. She was usually drawn with various flames and energy radiating off of her, because she was cosmic powered and all.



The next few years were a little rough for Ms. Marvel. She eventually lost her Binary powers, wound up becoming an alcoholic, and pretty much embarrassing herself in front of the rest of the Avengers.

Once she gets back on her feet, Carol winds up changing her name yet again to Warbird and gets a new costume to boot. It looks pretty bad-ass, fitting for a black ops type. She keeps the mask, which is pretty cool. But what were they thinking with those elbow pads?

Eventually she goes back to the black costume, which she wears for most of the 2000s through the New Avengers era.


This brings us to her newest look. Carol winds up taking the mantle of Captain Marvel in a new upcoming series. The costume is based on the original Captain Marvel, pretty much inverting the red and blue sections. She’s ditched the lightning bolt, taking up his star burst icon.

Carol does keep some of her own style and fashion sense, as she’s keeping her signature red sash belt. With the new look, she gets a shorter haircut.

The costume also has a neat feature; it generates a retractable helmet. I imagine it makes her look something like Mandora from the Thundercats cartoons.



But wait! That’s not all of the Ms. Marvel costumes! Here are three other’s have donned while they have assumed the codename.

Sharon Ventura (more commonly known as She-Thing) assumed the identity of Ms. Marvel for a while. Sharon uses a red yellow and blue color scheme that combines elements of Carol’s costumes. Sharon even keeps the sash belt, except her’s is blue.

This version of Ms. Marvel was immortalized in an action figure by Toy Biz in the late 1990s, during that phase where they were making all of the more obscure characters. The figure was a repainted Jean Grey/Phoenix, and for some reason came with a huge machine gun.


In recent times, there were even two evil Ms. Marvels that were members of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers teams.

On the left we have Moonstone, who took the classic 1980s, covered belly button look. It’s kind of hard to tell, but she kept up the scarf. Next to her, we have Superia, who seems to have mashed up the first Ms. Marvel costume with Sharon’s.

That covers the history of Ms. Marvel’s fashion choices. So which look was your favorite?

Ms. Marvel #9

Let’s look at an old issue of Ms. Marvel today! The ninth issue of Carol Danvers’ series introduces us to Deathbird, who plays a bigger role in the Shi’ar royal family. But lets look at her debut.

Poor Carol just has an awful time in this issue. She bails out of a date after finding out that there was an explosion and fire at her apartment. Unfortunately for her, Deathbird has been sent out by MODOK to take her out. Obviously, Ms. Marvel survives because she is awesome.

Carol finds out that someone had ransacked her apartment in order to find some top-secret documents she had. And who wouldn’t want those?

There’s something she’s forgetting about…oh that’s right, she has a day job as editor of Woman magazine, the Marvel Universe’s leading pro-woman publication. We get introduced to her version of Mad Men’s Miss Blankenship–an associate editor–who winds up dealing with some yuppie girl who J. Jonah Jameson promised a job at Woman. Wow, he’s kind of an ass to everyone.

The issue ends with Carol being caught in the crossfires of an AIM civil war, with one side being led by MODOK and Deathbird. What’s interesting about this issue is that writer Chris Claremont introduces us to Deathbird, who plays a significant role in his extended run on Uncanny X-Men. You also get a really cool cover by Dave Cockrum too.