Ms. Marvel Costume History
Carol Danvers first appeared in the 1968 issue of Marvel Super-Heroes #13. Originally, she was a Security Chief for the United States Air Force and had no superpowers. She was in an explosion involving a Psyche-Magnetron, which was Kree technology. Captain Marvel was able to save her life, but she came away with serious injuries. Carol returned in the 1977 issue of Ms. Marvel #1. She now possessed superpowers because the exploding device had fused her genetic structure with Captain Marvel’s. Ms. Marvel would make guest appearances in many comic titles and become a member of the Avengers.
Ms. Marvel had the standard hero powers of super-strength, endurance, durability and flight. She also possessed limited precognition as well as a high tolerance to toxins and poisons. With all these superpowers, Ms. Marvel is a formidable superhero.
It was after the controversial 1980 issue of Avengers #200 that things get complicated with Ms. Marvel’s storyline. Although it was not blatantly stated, Ms. Marvel gave birth to a child after she was raped by Marcus. Chris Claremont, writer for Ms. Marvel #3-23, agreed with many others that this storyline was inappropriate and erased it in Avengers Annual #10. With Rogue permanently absorbing Ms. Marvel’s powers and psyche, Carol’s character would go through many evolutions in her personality, powers, timelines, and realities.
As is the case with most female incarnations of male superheroes, when Carol Danvers first appeared as Ms. Marvel, she was wearing a modified version of Captain Marvel’s costume. The eight-point yellow star was centered on the chest and she wore a red and blue bodysuit. However, her bodysuit did not cover as much of her body as Mar-Vell’s costume.
There were no legs on the bottom, and the top had diamonds cut out of the front and back. This left her legs, lower back, and midriff exposed. Her blue boots with red stripes at the top matched her costume, and she also wore a blue mask to hide her identity. Rather than a cape, Ms. Marvel wore a long red scarf that created the same flowing effect.
This costume was not merely a bunch of fabric sewn together but had electronics built in to help augment her powers. It increased her strength, durability, and ability to fly.
Ms. Marvel’s second costume was very similar to her first in appearance. However, it was much more conservative. There were still no leggings, but the diamonds cut out of the front and back were gone. Carol had a solid top covering her entire upper half. Ms. Marvel now possessed the powers her original costume had provided, and the electronic circuitry was no longer needed.
Carol’s next costume would become her most famous look. It helped establish her Ms. Marvel identity as a unique character and not just a simple spin-off of the original Captain Marvel. To design her new costume, Carol went to her good friend Janet Van Dyne or, as she is better known, Wasp. This black one-piece bathing suit had a yellow lightning bolt running down the front. The lightning bolt started at the neck and would run all the way down. She would also wear black thigh-high boots and opera length gloves. Carol kept the long red scarf as a reminder of her origins but instead wore it around her waist as a sash. She also kept the mask and still wore it on her face.
Although Carol would switch to different costumes over the years, she would constantly return to this basic design. There might be slight changes to the color or the back would be opened up, but for the most part, it would be left alone.
After Rogue had absorbed Ms. Marvel’s powers and psyche permanently, Carol was left powerless. Feeling betrayed by the Avengers she started working with the X-men. While in space with her new team Carol was given god-like powers when the Brood brutally experimented on her. Carol could now draw upon the power of white holes and then generate the power of a star. Her physical strength far surpassed her Ms. Marvel powers, and she could survive the vacuum of space. While infused with these cosmic powers, Carol went by the name Binary.
Feeling betrayed once again—this time by the X-Men, who had let Rogue join their team—she left earth. Binary joined forces with a group of space pirates who went by the name Starjammers. She eventually returned to earth to help save it from a rapidly growing sun. Successful in her mission but severely injured, she lost her new powers and returned to the Avengers.
When Carol was transformed into Binary, her skin turned a fiery red. With new powers and skin color, it was time to change her costume. Depending on the artist, sometimes it looked as if Binary had a skin-tight dark red bodysuit on and others it might have been her actual skin being exposed. She always had on a white top that started at her neck, curved out at the chest, and then came down at a point to her matching bikini bottoms. The top had a pair of red stars over the left side of her chest.
The white holes that give her the power of stars appear to be a major inspiration for this costume. You would not want to confuse readers. Her thigh-high boots and opera length gloves were cut at the end into flame-like shapes. When Binary was at full power, actual flames would burst from her body. This would be highlighted by her gloves, boots, and head.
After her Binary powers were lost, she regained her old Ms. Marvel powers, along with the ability to manipulate and project energy. Rather than go back to her old identity of Ms. Marvel, she went by the name Warbird. Apparently a new name was all the change she needed, because she kept her old Ms. Marvel costume. She may also have held onto it because of her depression and not having the desire to put in the effort of coming up with a new look.
With all the horrors of her life catching up with her, Carol turned to alcohol. She was kicked out of the avengers when her addiction was putting the other team members in danger. With the help of Tony Stark, she was able to gain control of her alcoholism and powers. She once again joined the avengers.
Carol graduated from being Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel and switched her costume to show her new position. The new costume was influenced by the past Captain Marvel uniforms but had its own unique look. Once again donning a tight dark blue spandex suit, this time it covers her entire body, like her male predecessor. The eight-point star is back front and center on her chest. The upper portion covering her shoulders, neck and upper chest was red with a gold outline. She also had on a pair of red gloves. Rather than the long piece of red fabric being used as a scarf/sash a wider sash draped around her waist and covered one hip.
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Carol left the Avengers for a short period of time and joined the government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. While working for the government Carol switched from her superhero style costume to something more militaristic. She had a short sleeve, tight, black bodysuit with white stripes down the legs. She also had a white armored vest with matching knee, elbow and shoulder pads. This outfit had a utility belt and straps to attach various gadgets and weaponry. After her short stint wearing this costume, she went back to her signature look.
Fans of Ms. Marvel can’t rely on the average costume shop to find her wardrobe. That does not stop people from dressing up as this female heroine.