CAPTAIN AMERICA (Steve Rogers):
The living legend of World War II! Treated with the "Super Soldier Serum," Steve Rogers became a human fighting machine. Cast into the icy waters of Newfoundland at the War's end, Cap fell into suspended animation, only to be revived by the AVENGERS. In the years since, he has become their leader, and an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere!
MOONSTONE (Dr. Karla Sofen):
Brilliant psychiatrist Karla Sofen gained super-powers through contact with a mysterious "moonstone". Since then, she has used her superhuman abilities and keen insight into the human psyche as a super-villain. In the past, she has been one of the Avengers' most notorious enemies as one of the Masters of Evil. Recently, a handful of the Masters attempted to dupe the world into believing they were a new team of heroes, the Thunderbolts! When their plot to dominate the world was revealed, the Thunderbolts opposed their leader, Baron Zemo and decided to truly become heroes. Moonstone has joined them and is currently plotting her next move!
PREVIOUSLY IN MS. MARVEL:
Carol finally asked Captain America out on a date, but their romantic dinner didn't last long-- they were attacked by the staff and guests of the restaurant! They fled, only to be gassed into unconsciousness, and Ms. Marvel awoke to find herself confronted by a murderous Moonstone, even as Cap battled a horde of mind-controlled assailants. And to top it all off, the seemingly "true" villain revealed himself to be none other than-- Adolph Hitler?! Well, let's just get you back into the action:
Captain America managed to free himself from his attackers again, momentarily, only to see Ms. Marvel, across the room, confronted by a man with the face of Adolph Hitler! Worse-- Carol was freezing up, caught totally unprepared. Cap had to do something. "NO!" he shouted to her, "It's not him-- it's a fake!"
The man with Hitler's face, the man who called himself Xenocide, whirled, about to bark a reply at Cap. At that moment, three gunshots sounded from the shadows.
Ms. Marvel looked on in disbelief.
Xenocide's eyes widened, and he collapsed in a heap on the floor, punctured by three bullet holes.
From out of those same shadows strode another figure, this one's face uncovered. He was a tall, attractive man, with wavy blond hair, and wearing a dark, well-cut Armani suit. In his hand he carried a smoking pistol. He gazed down at Hitler/Xenocide momentarily, his face twisting with contempt, and then he stepped over the corpse to peer at Ms. Marvel and Moonstone.
"This-- you--" Ms. Marvel fought for words. She was suddenly extremely conscious of the fact that most of her costume had been torn away in the earlier fighting, leaving her in little more than her undergarments. Recovering her thoughts, she gestured at the man on the floor. "That wasn't Hitler, was it? It's been you-- you all along!"
"Indeed. How perceptive, Ms. Marvel." The big man smiled warmly at her, but his handsome features were tinged all about with the taint of evil-- pure evil. It struck Carol then that this was the living embodiment of Hitler's Germanic "master race" ideal.
"I know you," came a voice from across the room. "I know who you are."
The big man turned, his eyes narrowing. "Ah, yes, the good Captain. You know me, you say?"
Cap had wedged himself into a corner, besieged by the horde of murderous mind-controlled attackers. As he fended them off, he replied, "You're Heydrich. Or his clone."
"Most perceptive indeed, Captain." The big man smiled coldly, appearing like nothing so much as the angel of death itself. "I am the living clone of SS master Reinhard Heydrich." He gazed down at the man he'd just shot, prodding the body with his boot. "Unswervingly loyal lieutenant to Adolph Hitler--" and he smiled at Ms. Marvel again, "--and, should anything… unfortunate… befall the beloved Fuhrer, or his clone…" and his smile broadened, "-- designated heir to the mastery of the Third Reich!"
"And somehow, you've gained the powers of the Hate Monger," Ms. Marvel stated.
"Indeed. Right again, Ms. Marvel." He shrugged. "You were expecting perhaps Killgrave? Sorry-- I've never looked my best in purple."
"But-- but why all this? What does Moonstone have to do with--?"
Heydrich grinned. " I've narrowed my search for the perfect Aryan superwoman down to you and the lovely Moonstone. One of you will sit at my side as the Third Reich rises again!"
Ms. Marvel's eyes could have melted steel. "Are you kidding me?" She glanced at Karla. "You probably could have just asked her, and she'd have done it willingly."
Heydrich shrugged. "I want the best. Only one of you will survive, and that one will be mine!" He nodded to himself, satisfied. "So now you know." He gestured at Moonstone. "Too bad it will avail you so little. Moonstone-- KILL!"
Moonstone clutched her head, her thick hair flying about madly. She cried out in anger and rage. And then, she lunged at Ms. Marvel.
The sense of anger, of rage, of hatred washed over Carol again, as well. She grasped Karla by the throat, and matched the villainess's cry: "KILLLLL!!!"
Captain America at last managed to free himself from the horde of murderous attackers, though his shield remained lost within the mass of humanity in the other room. He squared off, repelling individual assailants as best he could, while doing as little permanent damage as possible, all the while casting glances over his shoulder. He could see that Ms. Marvel and Moonstone were now battling once again, even as Heydrich looked on, leering at the two lithe blondes as they grappled before him.
Across the room, Ms. Marvel continued to struggle with Moonstone, and Carol's own head had cleared a bit, though apparently Karla was having less luck escaping the mind control. Mainly, Carol could not figure out how the villainess could find the energy to go on. Karla was by now down to her peach-colored bra and bikini panties, and both of those were in immediate danger of becoming casualties of the clash, as well. Carol wasn't faring much better, either in terms of wardrobe or battle. She had been reduced to jet-black thong panties, and half of her own bra had been ripped to the point that it did very little good to even have it on. I'm glad the media isn't here to cover this, she thought to herself, then immediately realized that much more serious stakes were on the line here.
At that moment, Captain America sprung from where he'd been fighting, over Carol's head, to land beside Heydrich. The Nazi recoiled in surprise, but seemed to recover quickly, and gestured at Cap.
"Ms. Marvel is your true enemy, Captain! Help Moonstone to finish her off!"
Cap blinked, hesitated, then whirled and stalked savagely towards Carol.
Carol swallowed hard. She was having a hard enough time with Moonstone alone-- and after the pounding she'd taken, she wasn't exactly in the best of shape any longer. If Cap were to join in--!
But Cap walked right past her. "Need… shield…" he muttered.
"Very good," Heydrich replied. "Whatever it takes to get the job done."
Through the horde of now-dormant civilians he walked, stiffly. Reaching down, he retrieved his shield, and in one smooth motion, straightened and hurled it --straight at Carol!
"NO!" Ms. Marvel ducked. The shield sailed an inch above her head--
--and smashed into Heydrich! The Nazi clone cried out and staggered back, his concentration broken.
Things moved very quickly then:
Ms. Marvel shoved past Moonstone and lashed out, her fist smashing into Heydrich's chin.
As he dropped to the floor, the dark-clad villain managed to gesture.
At that moment, Ms. Marvel realized that Cap had raced up behind her.
She whirled, just as Heydrich once again seized control of Cap.
Cap's fist swung out, just missing her, and she responded by launching herself into the air, over Heydrich's
head, to land behind him.
Cap swung his fist out at her again, but this time, Heydrich's face intervened, and the villain collapsed as the red-gloved fist smacked him in the nose.
Cap lashed out with his shield at Carol, and again Heydrich's body intervened. This blow broke the villain's concentration, and he relinquished control of Cap.
It all took mere seconds.
"Amazing!" Ms. Marvel shouted to Cap as she launched into the attack herself. "You did exactly as he commanded-- attack me-- yet managed to hit him every time!"
Heydrich fell back as the two assaulted him from different directions. Now fully aware of his powers, and actively resisting, neither Cap nor Ms. Marvel could be fully controlled, certainly not both at the same time, even as both were attacking him and disrupting his concentration. With a final shout of anger, Heydrich whirled and dashed for the exit.
"A true Nazi to the core," Cap observed as he raced after the villain. "Fleeing like a rat once he knows his ship is sinking."
Before Cap could catch him, however, Ms. Marvel used her flight powers to reach Heydrich first. She landed between him and the door, and greeted his startled expression with a towering punch that nearly ripped his head off.
Cap caught him by the collar before he hit the ground, and held him aloft, glaring at him, daring him. "Let's have some more of your hate, Heydrich! Give me the incentive to beat you beyond what I'd normally do!"
Heydrich, eyes wide, shook his head. "No-- NO! I-- I will surrender!"
Ms. Marvel sighed. It was over. It-- wait! She glanced back, looking for Moonstone.
Karla sat on the floor, hugging herself. One bra strap hung limply to the side; her panties seemed to have vanished entirely. As she came to her senses, she glared at Ms. Marvel.
"You'd better enjoy this moment, Avenger," Karla growled, "because it's the last time you'll EVER see Moonstone humbled and humiliated!" And with that, Moonstone phased through the floor, and vanished.
Carol sighed. She turned to Cap. "Ahh, let her go. She was just a pawn in this, anyway--and she knows it. And I think that knowledge is at least as much a punishment for her as anything we could do to her now."
Cap nodded. "And to think," he replied dryly, "I always figured she'd make a good lingerie model…"
Carol socked him in the ribs.
It was over.
Carol was back in her own bed in Avengers Mansion, safe and sound, not too much the worse for wear. Some bruises still throbbed along her hips and upper arms, and her nose hurt a little, but her lip had already healed, and she felt much, much better than she had mere hours earlier.
She thought back to the end of the battle with Heydrich, and remembered Moonstone's escape. "That woman was in worse shape even than me," she muttered to herself. "I hope she wasn't hurt too badly. I would just hate that," Carol sighed. And then, "Oops-- poor choice of words there. I'd very much dislike that. I don't want to think about 'hate' again for a while."
And with that, she reached up, pulled the cord, and switched out the lights.
"Me either," Cap sighed, just before Carol's lips pressed into his own.
That's it for me on Ms. Marvel, folks-- and after THAT story, I think it would be over for me, one way or the other! (Nazis; naked blondes wrestling; Cap actually getting some action-- I think I pretty much covered all the bases with that one!) I now leave it to Scott Harris and the other fine folks over at AVENGERS and CAPTAIN AMERICA to sort out the details, should they wish at some point to share with us exactly what became of the Carol-Cap romance. As we know, from reading (chronologically) later issues of AVENGERS, Carol's romance with Cap ends, and she later becomes romantically linked with Namor -- the "prince" over the "soldier," if you'll recall last issue's prophesy from (the mysteriously alive) Destiny.
That's enough playing "in continuity" for me, dear readers. I'm off to the "UNTOLD TALES OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE," where, each month, I peel away the layers of time to explore previously unknown events from before the dawn of the MV1. I hope you'll join me there; you'll find lots of gods and super heroes and cosmic beings-- but no half-naked blondes. Whether that's for good or ill, I leave for you, gentle reader, to decide…
December 23, 1998