Synopsis: Ms. Marvel and Iron Man examine the office of Dr. Michael Barnett, looking for clues that might explain why he was killed. Using a Reed Richards-invented heat image tracer that projects holographic images of all the people who have been in the office recently, they watch as Dr. Barnett greets a blonde woman who enters his office, embraces him, beats him to death with her bare hands and then shape-changes into a different woman who rifles through his patient files until she finds the file on Carol Danvers. The woman reads the file, makes a phone call, shifts back into her previous form and leaves.
Carol sets about investigating Barnett’s murder by tracing the call his killer made to a cargo hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport. She infiltrates the hangar at night as Ms. Marvel and finds a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong for an arms smuggler named Peter Coelho in the hangar’s office and crates full of state of the art weapons. Hiding when she hears voices approaching, she observes Coelho accompanied by Donald Pierce, Harry Leland and Tessa of the Hellfire Club, assuring them that their weapons will reach their destination safely. But Pierce and Leland attack her when she accidentally makes a noise. Leland increases her mass, causing her to fall through the floor into a sewer drain where the men assume she drowns.
The next day, Carol Danvers buys a ticket next to Peter Coelho. As they approach Hong Kong, Carol has a vision of herself wearing the garb of the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen, dancing with an unknown man who tells her she must kill a young woman named Rogue in the room with them to prevent Rogue from stripping away from Carol everything she is.
Unknown to Carol, a blind mutant precognitive called Destiny owns a villa in Hong Kong where the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is staying. Their leader Mystique sends her minions, Pyro and Avalanche, to Carol’s hotel room to kill her, fearing Destiny’s prediction that Carol will somehow cost Rogue her soul and possibly her life.
Carol defeats Pyro and Avalanche, her seventh sense revealing to her that their boss is Barnett’s killer. Unable to get more information out of them, Carol tracks down Peter Coelho’s Hong Kong office to find him murdered inside. Coelho had actually been planning to sell the Hellfire Club’s weapons to the Brotherhood, but Hellfire Club leader Sebastian Shaw made sure that did not happen. And with Coelho’s death, Carol has no link to Mystique.
Notes: This story was intended to be published as Ms. Marvel (1976) #25, but the series was canceled after issue #23.
It may be interesting to note that, had this story been published on schedule in 1979, it would have marked the first appearances of Destiny, Rogue, Pyro, Avalanche, Harry Leland, Donald Pierce, Tessa (though she is not called by name), and the Hellfire Club itself, and established that Carol Danvers was once friends with Wolverine (she quotes Logan’s “I’m the best there is at what I do…” motto to Iron Man in this issue, attributing it to an old friend of hers).
Though the facts are indeterminate, it appears that Chris Claremont and Mike Vosburg completed a full issue’s worth of pages, ending at the point where Pyro attacks Ms. Marvel at the hotel. When the decision was made to publish this issue in Marvel Super-Heroes, Simon Furman and Mike Gustovich were hired to produce a ten-page conclusion to the story that not only wrapped up the series but hinted at Carol’s future, specifically losing her powers and memories to Rogue and later becoming Binary.