#32

Pads, Paws & Claws!
Part One: Just a Little T & A

introducing new writer Mark Bousquet

THE MS. MARVEL GATEFOLD
Previously ...Hey, this is a jumping on issue, don't worry about it! All you need to know is that Ms. Marvel is back with the Ms. M powers and Carol and Captain America have recently begun a relationship. That's it!
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MS. MARVEL - CAROL DANVERS was accidentally irradiated by the Kree built Psyche-Magnitron, giving her powers and turning her into the heroine, MS. MARVEL! Now, after a lifetime that has seen her as a NASA security chief, writer, magazine editor, intelligence operative, Avenger and transformed into the cosmically powered heroine BINARY, Carol has regained her Ms. Marvel identity and is the living embodiment of merged Kree/Human genetic potential.
NORTHERN BEAR PRODUCTIONS

 

MONDAY

"Damn, I look GOOD!"

Carol Danvers looked at herself in the mirror of an upscale clothing store, her grin from ear to ear. Dressed in an evening dress (with her mask still on) that she knew she couldn't afford, she felt more alive than she had in years. Things were happening fast, but in a good way, she thought.

Cap- Steve, that is - wouldn't know what hit him when he saw this dress. Having surprised herself by recently entering into a … relationship with her Avengers teammate Captain America,* Carol had recently been approached by ex-boyfriend and SHIELD agent Michael Rossi** who clearly had romantic intentions on the mind.

* In MS. MARVEL 28 - Turn out the lights Biscuit
** MS. MARVEL 29 - Never Say Goodbye Biscuit

'Who would've ever thought Joseph and Marie Danvers' little girl would grow up to have a tryst with Captain America?' The sheer shock-value of it was enough to have Carol floating. How could she not give dating Steve a try? Back before she had her falling out with the Avengers,* her and Steve had been growing closer. "But do I even want a relationship?"

* In the dreadful AVENGERS 200, the worst moment in the history of the team - Opinionated Biscuit

"Girl, as my mom used to say, in that dress, you could snag yourself Captain America!" Carol turned to see the young, twenty-something sales girl beaming at her. "Though, to be honest, I've always had a thing for the Beast. Must be that fur! Do you know if he's seeing anyone?"

Carol laughed. "No idea. Beast, like most scientists, has eyes mostly for his lab equipment these days."

"Damn."

"But, hey, I know where to send him next time I hear him complaining about not having anything to do Friday night."

"Excellent!" the salesgirl grinned. "The way you keep looking at yourself in that mirror display I'm guessing you'll be taking the gown?"

Carol ran her hands over the length of the sheer black, form fitting material, "Oh yes. Definitely."


TUESDAY

"Hey," Carol breathed as she entered the monitor room at Avengers Mansion, pleased to see Steve all by his lonesome.

"Hu- oh, hello, Carol," he answered, somewhat awkwardly. This was new to Steve and, he knew no matter how old the joke was, it was certainly true - he was an old fashioned guy. Certainly not given to becoming involved with his teammates and certainly not to a woman as forward as Carol.

"We've got the Mansion all to ourselves," she smiled, thinking about the evening gown she has sitting in her closet.

"I know," Cap answered, turning back to the monitors. "That's why I'm on monitor duty. It's supposed to be Tony's turn, but well … I don't mind. It gives me a chance to go over Pym and McCoy's notes on Wonder Man's return."*

* See Year One of AVENGERS for the full story - Wonder Biscuit

"Hmmm," Carol grinned, wrapping her arms around Steve's costumed chest. She leaned in close to whisper in his ear, "Well, if you can't leave the monitor room and we've got the Mansion all to ourselves … I guess right here is as good a place as-"

"Carol!" Steve snapped, harsher louder than he had intended. He turned around quickly to see the shocked look on Carol's face. "I'm sorry, Carol," he said quickly and politely. "It's just that there's so much to do and-"

"S'okay, Steve," Carol said, turning her back to him. "Duty comes first. Every Avenger knows that."


WEDNESDAY

"Steve, I was wondering if you wanted to grab a bit to eat down-? Oh, you're eating already?"

Steve looked up from his plate of steak and potatoes and said sheepishly, "Oh, sorry, Carol, you weren't in and I've got some checking out of a warehouse to do tonight and-"

"Hey, that's okay. My loss, right?" she smiled. "Mind if I join you?"

"Certainly," Steve spoke. "Have a se- BEEP BEEP!" Steve looked down to check his pager. Carol knew just by the way he dropped his eyes that he was on his way out to go be the perfect hero.


THURSDAY

After spending a day lounging around the Mansion, split up by an afternoon fly around the city, Carol spent the night waiting, alone, for Steve to come back to the Mansion for hours. He never showed.


FRIDAY

Carol stood looking at her evening gown, trying to decide if she should return it. At the rate they were going, Steve was never going to see her in it - let alone out of it. She seethed inside. If Steve was any other guy, she'd have ripped his head off by now. It felt like she was getting the brush off, but damnit, Steve wasn't just brushing her off. In his mind, all that duty stuff came before anything personal.

Gah.


SATURDAY

'My Saturday night is reduced to watching old black-and-white movies,' Carol groused to herself as she sat in the Avengers living room. 'Not even good black-and-white movies, either. Five hundred channels on this blamed entertainment system and not a decent Humphrey Bogart pic to be found. Sheesh. At this rate, I'd take on of Simon's movies.* And how come there's no Godzilla Channel, yet? Sheesh. Oh how I hate Don Knotts …'

* That'd be a reference Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man's ill-fated movie career - Ionic Eyed Biscuit

As Carol sat on the couch she came to the realization that she didn't like this person she had become - some kind of military wife, sitting at alone waiting for her man to come home. She'd seen enough of these women during her time at NASA to kick herself for even temporarily even turning into one.

"To hell with this," she spoke aloud, though there was no one around to hear her. She'd recently rid herself of her Binary powers* but instead of seeking her own way she'd allowed herself to fall back on the comfort of Avengers Mansion and the kind, considerate arms of Captain America. She was having adventures, but she wasn't doing anything. Here she was, back on Earth to stay for the first time in a good long while and she was sitting in a room watching television. It was time to start making her own way in the world again, and if Steve didn't want - or didn’t have the time - to be a part of it, well …

* In the classic MS. MARVEL: THE RETURN by Van Plexico!

Well, then, it would be a shame - for the second time - for them to not explore where this relationship could go.

DING-DONG!

Carol went to the door, hoping that this would be something, anything to get her out of the Mansion. "Maybe it'll be Kang on the other side. Nah, never happen."*

* Wanna bet? Check out AVENGERS 414! On sale next virtual month! -- Biscuit the Conqueror

Carol opened the door to reveal …"Tigra and Aurora?* What on Earth are you two doing here? Together?" But in the back of her mind, Carol already knew what they were doing here - they were going to get her in a whole lot of trouble.

She smiled. 'Bout time.

* Hey, what did ya think the T & A in the issue title meant? Mind in the Gutter Biscuit


LATER … at DAZZLERS

Carol, Aurora and Tigra sat at a private booth in DAZZLERS, one of New York's newest and trendiest clubs. The throbbing music pumped loudly and they had to alternate shouting and leaning in close to talk. Drinks and conversations flowed freely as the three heroines spent an evening of entertainment together.

'Not that that's anything new to these two,' Carol grinned to herself.

"So, how did you two every get together, anyway?" Carol finally asked. "Not that I'm not glad, but well, it's not the team-up I'd expect."

"Long story," Tigra grinned, her smooth fur reflecting the club's intense light show. "But not one that Havok is likely to forget, eh Aurora?" Tigra's eyes sparkled.

"I should hope not!" Aurora beamed back, her accent laced with French, as she threw back a shot of whiskey. "Jeanne-Marie was very upset with me, I am told."

Carol looked at the two in shock. "You didn't- no, I don't want to know."

"I think you do," Tigra laughed. "But if you're not going to ask, well, we're not going to tell!"

Their private waiter brought them another round of drinks, his eyes darting constantly to Tigra's fur. "Anything else, ladies?"

"Nothing right now, thanks," Carol smiled. He left reluctantly.

"So, Carol," Aurora grinned, "we've got to know …"

"Oh, yes," Tigra smirked, "about you and Wolverine? Can you confirm or deny those rumours?"

Carol looked at them a little shocked, "Me and Logan? Not a chance. Strictly professional up and down the line. I mean, I know I can count on the guy, but there's nothing there more than friendship. Honest."

"Boring!" Aurora yelled.

"So what about now, Carol?" Tigra asked, desperate to get some information out of Carol. "Seeing anyone these days?"

The question hit Carol hard. "Oh, who knows?" she forced a smile. "Maybe we're dating, maybe we're not."

"Who's talking about dating?" Aurora asked, sending them all into another fit of laughter.


HOUSTON, TEXAS

Frank Gianelli had led a good life, having, he figured, more adventures in his forty years than most people had in a lifetime. He was an investigative reporter - a job that had led by to all parts of the world.

Recently, it had led him to Texas. He loved his job. He loved digging for information and he loved the game of acquiring that information. He had lost track of how many overweight and unattractive women he'd charmed over the years. More than his share, that was for sure.

But now … now he worried that it was all coming to an end. In the dead of night in the worst part of the city of Houston, Frank held a small package in his arms, wrapped in brown paper. There was no return address.

There was only a delivery address, one that Frank knew was no longer accurate. But it was the only chance he felt he had:

CAROL DANVERS
c/o WOMAN MAGAZINE
NEW YORK CITY

Checking over his shoulder with every step, Frank jammed it into a mailbox quickly and walked on, waiting for the bullet to come.


AVENGERS MANSION

Steve Rogers walked through the halls of Avengers Mansion, looking for a certain blonde heroine.

She wasn't to be found. He started to look for Jarvis, then remembered it was Saturday and Jarvis was most likely to be at his own apartment that he kept in the city.

Steve shook his head. It was becoming apparent that while he and Carol, in a perfect world, could make a relationship work, in this one they were going to have a very hard time.


DAZZLERS

The trio of heroines danced their way through and across the dance floor. Carol found she didn't enjoy dancing as much as she once did, but she was riding the wave wherever it took her tonight. It felt good to just be free.

The lights were flashing faster and faster now as the intensity of the music pumped louder and louder. They were hypnotic, in a way, Carol thought, if not in regards to mind control as much as in regards to body control. The music and the lights made the crowd move and flow wherever it willed it to.

Aurora was amazing, Carol thought, as the French-Canadian beauty let the music take her, first through the crowd and then above it. She ascended, letting her light powers flow about her, adding to the already blinding display. It was awe-inspiring, and Carol saw that the crowd - especially those on the edges not intimately involved in the dancing - were becoming captivated as well.

Mutant power and electronic artistry combined in a dazzling display of light and sound.

For a few moments in the lives of a few hundred people, they saw how beautiful super powers can be when there was no super villain in sight.


LATER … OUTSIDE

The trio of heroines left Dazzlers with the exiting crowd feeling alive, but tired. The effects of the alcohol they had consumed had all but left them for the most part and while they all felt a bit sluggish, they attributed it more to with their bodies naturally winding down than any buzz running through them.

"What a night," Carol smiled as she stretched her tired limbs. "Where are you guys staying?"

"We hadn't really decided yet," Aurora answered, feeling exhausted. "I'm zo tired that anyplace will- aiiiieeeeeee!!!!!"

Tigra and Carol turned quickly to see that Aurora's face had been enveloped in a cloud of absolute darkness.

"What theeeee ………?" Tigra's hand snapped to her neck and she quickly slumped to the ground.

Carol knew they were in trouble, this was a professional attack all the way. The dark cloud was obviously designed for Aurora and Carol wouldn't doubt that the dart was designed for Tigra. Heck, she figured quickly, it wouldn't be surprising that these two had drawn attention to themselves.

Carol spun quickly, looking for the source of the attack. She heard the voice before she saw the man speaking the words. "Don't know who you are, sexy, but you're hanging with some exclusive company that I've been paid to bring in. Hope you can handle this!"

RRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPPPP!

Carol looked down to see that he shirt had been ripped open, revealing her Ms. Marvel costume that she subconsciously triggered. She looked up into the eyes of a stone cold psychopathic killer.

"Well now, ain't that a surprise. Tough meat. Hope you're ready, pretty lady, cause SABRETOOTH PLAYS FOR KEEPS!"

to be continued …


MS. PRINTS
comments to mariner2@tiac.net

Welcome to my first issue of Ms. Marvel. Since Van and Barry started this title with "that 70's feel" I figure I'd try my hand with that style and just let it all fly. This title should be a lot less grandiose than the other books I'm currently writing - WEST COAST AVENGERS and ALPHA FLIGHT - and much more free flowing and fun.

There will be lots of guest stars, lots of crazy team-ups like Tigra and Aurora and lots of villains - some, like Sabretooth, who are pretty serious and some, like the majority of the MS. MARVEL villains from her Marvel series (Steeplejack, anyone?) who will be a bit more obscure. If you've got any requests for team-ups and what-not, let me hear 'em because in MS. MARVEL, anything goes.

I've always liked Carol as a character and hope to do her justice.

I hope you enjoy what's coming. Let me know how you think I'm doing.

-- Mark …

9.June.1999


NEXT ISSUE: PADS, PAWS and CLAWS! Ms. Marvel vs. Sabretooth! Aurora and Tigra in peril, but which one was the real target of this attack? Plus, two NEW characters are introduced that will have far reaching effects on the life of Carol Danvers!


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