Review: Ms. Marvel #1

Ms. Marvel #1 cover
Cover by John Romita and Dick Giordano

Ms. Marvel #1
Published and © by Marvel, January 1977

Title: “This Woman, This Warrior!”
Synopsis: Who is Ms. Marvel? Not even she knows – but that doesn’t stop her from battling the Scorpion!

Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Joe Sinnott

Review: Of all the derivative superheroines Marvel launched during the Bronze Age, Ms. Marvel is perhaps the most derivative. That said, writer Gerry Conway gives the character a fighting chance. The fact that Carol Danvers – Ms. Marvel’s alter ego – was an already-established character is helpful, as is the fact that she’s relocated to the already richly developed ecosystem of the Daily Bugle. All this ready-made back story gives this character debut a substantial feel. John Buscema turns in a nice art job here, aided mightily by Joe Sinnott; the veteran inker adds both polish and power to Buscema’s strong rendering work.

Grade: B

Second opinion: “Gerry Conway doomed this strip with the first two issues.” – Steve Whitaker, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “Scripter Gerry Conway should take most of the blame for the utterly unreadable early issues.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Love that sexy ’70s costume (even if it makes no sense!)
Not-so-cool factor: The amount of dialogue during the climactic fight scene is ridiculous. Shut up, already!

Notable: First appearance of Ms. Marvel.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 10p British variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “My powers come from the alien Kree race – the powers of a WARRIOR born!” – Ms. Marvel, the female who fights back!

A word from the writer: “It’s my contention that a man, properly motivated and aware of the pitfalls, can write a woman character as well as a woman.” – Gerry Conway, from an introduction on this issue’s “Ms. Prints” letters page

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on March 25, 2010.

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