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Off My Mind: What's the Deal with Ms. Marvel's Mysterious Pregnancy?

A breakdown of one of the weirdest stories in Avengers history. You won't believe what happened.

Every now and then comics take an absurd turn in storytelling. In 1980s The Avengers #200, we saw something that doesn't happen often, a character got pregnant and gave birth. There have been births in comics but this one was different and disturbing on many levels. With time crawling at a different pace, one would think that it would take years for a character to actually come to full term in comics. That wasn't the case for Ms. Marvel and her mysterious pregnancy.

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It actually began in the final pages of The Avengers #199. Ms. Marvel, as Carol Danvers, went to the Avengers Mansion with a dilemma. Carol was pregnant but had no idea who the father was or how she even got pregnant in the first place. Despite all this, other team members like Wasp, Scarlet Witch and even Beast couldn't help but be overjoyed. No one questioned the possibility that Carol might've been attacked. They simply saw the joy in the upcoming birth of a baby.

A healthy baby boy was born with the help of Thor's alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake and Jocasta. Moments after the child was delivered, Wasp tried congratulating Carol, again not questioning how the nature of her pregnancy. Carol's response was she was used and wanted to be left alone. The Avengers still refused to question how she got pregnant but this wasn't the end to the strangeness that would occur.

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To everyone's surprise, the baby started growing at an alarming rate. Soon he could talk and told the Avengers that his name was actually Marcus. Finally Captain America asked Marcus where he came from and Marcus told him from his mother. When Cap asked him who his father was, Marcus told him he was. Rather than push the child who now had grown to the physical form of a five-year-old, Iron Man told Cap that the child simply wasn't going to tell them any more.

As Marcus continued to grow, he requested tools to start building a device and the Avengers allowed this with no question. When Wasp finally convinced Carol, who amazingly lost all her pregnancy weight, Marcus had grown to an adult.

This is where it gets weird.

Carol recognizes Marcus. She's confused and doesn't even know how she feels about him. The mansion is attacked while Marcus insists on completing a device he started creating. When things look bleak, Marcus tells his tale, including that of his father, even though he was his own father in order for Carol to give birth to him (trust me, you're better off reading the issue for the full story).

Because Marcus originally was born in limbo, he needed a strong woman to be his vessel. He plucked Carol from the timestream and set out to "win" her over.

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"With a subtle became mine." Seriously?

Marcus tells Carol and the other Avengers the rest of his sob story and they feel sorry for him. Marcus has to go back to limbo and Carol surprises everyone by saying she'll go with. Slightly startled, the Avengers just allow her to go and wish her luck. They allowed her to go off with some guy that persuaded her to become his...vessel despite the fact that she was used and didn't have full memory of what happened. This is all messed up.

Because of who Marcus' father was, the question still remains whether or not Carol was actually pregnant. Even though it was a rapid pregnancy, she still went through the entire process. What's more important is was she actually used? Marcus may not have actually physically attacked her to get his way but he did take her out of time without her permission (in other words, kidnapped her) and set about to win her over and even admitted to there being a 'subtle boost from Immortus' machines."

No one had a problem with all of this. They just let Carol go off with the man that used her because she was confused over what feelings she might have had as his lover in limbo and the fact that he sort of was her child as well. They hoped she'd live happily ever after but that wasn't the case.

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Luckily her departure wasn't the last we'd hear about this. In Avengers Annual #10, Carol was saved by Spider-Woman after being attacked by Rogue. After Professor X helped Carol sort through her memories, she explained what happened and how come she had been back for three months without contacting any of the Avengers.

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She never wanted to see them again. She felt betrayed when she needed them most.

What we need to keep in mind is these two issues were written by two different writers. Even before reading how Chris Claremont described it in the Annual, it's hard not to see all this as Carol being attacked and the Avengers just sitting by without any concern. Carol might not have been pregnant in the traditional sense but she still went through the process. This isn't something that has really been mentioned since and that's probably how the Avengers would like to keep it. They may be Earth's Mightiest Heroes but they have a pretty crummy way of treating team members when they're in need. Carol was abused and no one stood up for her. This truly was a dark time in the Avengers' history. Shame on them. Luckily Carol has risen above this and remains a strong character.