By Eric Drumm
Carol Danvers has been overexerting herself lately. Not only is she leading the Mighty Avengers, but she's pulling double duty as the leader of her very own S.H.I.E.L.D strike force, Operation: Lightning Storm. Charged with going after the worst of the world's supervillains before they become Avengers-level threats, Lightning Storm was commissioned by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Tony Stark after Ms. Marvel agreed to join his Mighty Avengers team. Fighting the good fight, they've stepped on some very dangerous toes lately, namely the international terrorist organization A.I.M.
The big brains of Advanced Idea Mechanics aren't a simple, faceless and evil terrorist group. While they kill at will, they feel that science and intelligence should lead the world, not religion and politics. So, while they're dubbed evil by the world at large, they're actually fighting for what they truly believe is a good thing. For better or worse, they're now crossing paths with Ms. Marvel.
And this battle with the deadly scientists at Advanced Idea Mechanics comes at a pivotal point in her life. In the past as Ms. Marvel, the cosmic Binary or the heroic Warbird, she always thought of herself as a second stringer--a U.S. Air Force pilot who in a fluke was transformed by Kree DNA-altering technology into the super-strong, fast, tough Ms. Marvel. Now with two teams of very own, she may be starting to convince herself that she is major league material. Coming out on top here could be a major boost--or a major bust.
In a brilliant flash of light, former U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers was transformed by the alien Kree DNA-altering technology, becoming the high-flying, hard-hitting Ms. Marvel!
Writer Brian Reed gives us peek into Carol's head. "Right this second, Carol's doing okay," he says. "And I think SHE thinks she's doing okay. But I can see a time in the near future where leading two teams and trying to be in too many places at once all starts to be too much. I suspect the next year will see things get pretty rough on Carol Danvers." In the superhero business, stretching too thin can be deadly.
With Lightning Storm, Carol is catapulting herself from so-so hero to cold-blooded villain hunter. If successful, this drastic undertaking could put her permanently on the Avengers map. "It certainly seems to be working for her at the moment. But will it work in the long term?" asks Reed. "Will she become her own woman, or will she realize that once again she's surrounded herself with people that she can lean on in times of crisis? Carol's interesting that way. She always stands up and says 'I'm going to do this. I'm going to save the day.' But she repeatedly gets someone else [to] help her out in the end. I think it's interesting that even though she does this time and time again, she never seems to notice she's doing it." With A.I.M raising all kinds of holy hell, now's her chance to save the day. Unfortunately for Ms. Marvel, where there's A.I.M, there must be M.O.D.O.K., their brilliant and terrifyingly monstrous leader!
Alas, there's trouble in paradise for the terrorists in beekeeper outfits. Splintering into several factions, there are those who are loyal to M.O.D.O.K.--who's dealing with his own problems as his DNA deteriorates, those who are A.I.M. traditionalists and a third faction whose motives are still unclear. With a new bomb that can rewrite the DNA of those caught in its blast up for grabs, Ms. Marvel and her squad have their hands full.
Reed let us know just how high the stakes really are. "A.I.M. has developed a pretty nasty bit of technology they call the G-TAC Scrambler. It's designed to kill lots of people and cause no property damage. When the bomb goes off, it sends out a wave of energy that randomly scrambles the DNA of any living thing it comes in contact with. The result is a very painful death as your body twists and mutates in wild and scary ways." Reed goes on to say that all this chaos may result in someone taking one for the team--permanently. "Let's just say that not everybody on Ms. Marvel's team gets out of this story alive and leave it at that."
With A.I.M, DNA bombs and a very frazzled M.O.D.O.K. to worry about, Ms. Marvel has her work cut out for her, and it may be more than she can handle. Although she has S.H.I.E.L.D. and super-crush Wonder Man on her side, she is still the one leading the team. She is calling the shots, and one miss could mean a whole mess of dead bodies. Let's hope Carol is up to the task.
So what's next for the high-flying lady in charge? "You know what's next? Puppet Master!" squeals Reed with delight. "He's one of my favorite Marvel villains, and he's got a seriously creepy and nasty plan in action. When Carol finds out what he's up to...well, it's going to be very, very messy for everyone involved. Also, we've got a couple new folks joining her team in the Puppet Master arc. I'll give hints now: One is a machine, man. The other one isn't a superhero until he goes to sleep!"
See if Ms. Marvel bites off more than she can chew in MS. MARVEL #16 by Brian Reed and Aaron Lopresti, on sale June 6.