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365 Reasons to Love Comics #39

Our star today is the greatest black superheroine ever. And no, it’s not Storm. So who’s got the spotlight? Inquire within, dear reader!

2/8/07

39. Monica Rambeau

Rambeau 1.jpg

I always dug the character of Monica Rambeau, who has gone by both Captain Marvel and Photon over the course of her career. It was kinda innovative for Marvel to pass on the title of Captain Marvel to a black woman, and kinda silly to take it away from her in the 90′s. Then the successor to the Captain Marvel name stole her Photon name, too. I guess that’s kinda funny. Since, she’s thought about naming herself Pulsar, but I think she’s pulled a Jean Grey and is simply using her given name.

Monica has some really cool energy powers which involve being able to turn into anything in the electromagnetic spectrum. There was a period there where she had a different variant on this power and relied mostly on force-fields and stuff, but the original power is better, and makes her one of the most powerful superheroes around, I’d say.

Rambeau 3.jpg

(All in color for six dimes? Those were the days. Imagine a cover like this now: “All in color… for thirty dimes!”)

Roger Stern and John Romita Jr introduced her in a Spider-Man annual in the 80′s (from harbor patrol to super patrol!), but it’s in the Avengers where she had most of her appearances. At one point, she was even leading the team! Then, of course, she dropped off the face of comics for a while, popping up here and there in a guest-star role or something.

Rambeau 2.jpg

The two one-shot specials she was given were five years apart, but both of them were by Dwayne McDuffie and M.D. Bright. Neat.

Then there’s the hair. These pictures only give you a taste of the hair. Monica’s undergone a ridiculous amount of hairstyles, probably more than any other superhero. I guess it’s the writers/artists/editors trying to stay hip with the times and update her with the latest fashions.

Click to gigantify:

Nextwave 8.jpg

Then came Nextwave, where Monica has undergone the Ellis love. And yes, it’s love. Several fans complained that the characters in Nextwave weren’t being taken seriously, but when was the last time we saw these B- and C-List characters go on such cool adventures or be portrayed as this strong and badass? Never. Those Monica fans out there who disliked her in Nextwave are going to get their wish after #12 comes out next week: she’s going to disappear back into limbo. Well, unless those follow-up mini’s come out. And I hope they do.

In Nextwave, we have Monica leading the team and kicking butt. It is/was Marvel’s best title of the past year or two. I think it was a suitable place for the company’s best African-American heroine.

Nextwave pose.jpg

So where will Monica go in the future? Well, I could think of some neat places. I’d have her date Captain America or someone of that stature, if I could. It’d make for a neat story. Then again, she’s from New Orleans… maybe she could be a recurring character in my Brother Voodoo series. Hell yeah! *And* Giant Zombie Black Goliath! It’d be the best comic ever.

Look for it October two thousand and never. Unless Joey the Q is reading this. (Have your people call my people, Joe. We’ll hammer something out. I’ll write Marvel Apes for you too, if you’d like. And Devil Dinosaur: Agent of SHIELD. No foolin’, I swear.)

26 Comments

Hmmm, OK she’s cool, and Nextwave is definitely cool- but she ain’t no Storm. Storm rocks.

Monica! Is going to microwave your ****!

You know, the Wasp taking a lunch is probably the greatest story Marvel ever came up with. Will she have … the ranch dressing? A cocktail? The Reuben or the club sandwich? WHICH WILL SHE CHOOSE?!?!?!?!?

Brought to you the mighty Marvel manner, of course.

Look closer at that third-last cover. Even back in the 90s, she was fighting HATE.

“Those Monica fans out there who disliked her in Nextwave are going to get their wish after #12 comes out next week: she’s going to disappear back into limbo.”

I wouldn’t be so sure. Knowing Marvel they might stick her on one of the new Avengers titles and completely kill off her Nextwave coolness. Remember when they put Washout from X-Force in Weapon-X? Man that was all kinds of lame.

There are several Marvel women who have forsaken code-names. Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde, and Emma Frost come to mind. If Monica did it that would really be no big surprise.

I’m surprised you didn’t go into how the writer of Avengers at one time didn’t just remove Monica from Avengers leadership, but instead made her a failure and then wrote her out of the book.

Monica has also showed up in Civil War in her Nextwave duds, so I’m holding out hope that the extra exposure in such a cool book is going to help her reputation in the future. She’s a neat character.

It’s a matter of time before Marvel has her retcon fuck Black Panther and have triplets. Make mine Marvel.

Yeah, didn’t the same guy steal both of her codenames? What’s up with that, anyway? Why didn’t she just take “Captain Marvel” back after he decided he wanted “Photon”?

Monica also showed up during Hudlin’s Panther run with Blade and Brother Voodoo, where she was actually treated like the powerhouse she is.

Yeah, didn’t the same guy steal both of her codenames? What’s up with that, anyway? Why didn’t she just take “Captain Marvel” back after he decided he wanted “Photon”?

Yeah, that was the joke. She was that Genis was calling himself “Photon” when he joined the New T-bolts. She flips out, rushes to NYC, and confronts him. Their exchange went something like:

“First you steal Captain Marvel from me, and then you take Photon?!”
“I didn’t know you had it!”
You were there when I picked it!
“…oh.”

It’s times like these when I especially recall why I asked Bill Reed to contribute.

Our tastes are pretty eerily attuned.

I really don’t think enough attention is being paid to the Wasp’s lunch. Judging by the Richards’ faces, it’s pretty intense.

**SUPER IMPORTANT LUNCH UPDATE**

Upon further review, the lunch was actually a brunch. She ordered the salad and quiche. Talk about plot twists. More details as they become available.

Oh, nobody cares what she ordered. Who was she wearing?

Your homage to black heroes the last while, and your comment on Monica’s hair, brings an odd thing into the spotlight.

Why are black heroes so lockstepped with fashion? Other heroes come and go with the same haircut they’ve had since their origin. Sure, they change clothes, but that’s about it. Black heroes go day by day with afros, then dreads, then bald, then funky beards…

Odd.

SanctumSanctorumComix

February 9, 2007 at 8:45 am

At the same time Nextwave was crankin’ it hardcore, Monica appeared in Black Panther # 13 (during the black-heroes team-up world tour story-arc #’s 9-13) and destroyed all the vampires that were giving T’Challa, Cage, Blade & Brother Voodoo trouble in New Orleans.

It wasn’t much of an “deep” appearance, but she was the “end bringer” for the whole lot of vamps.

~P~
P-TOR

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 9, 2007 at 7:40 pm

“Why are black heroes so lockstepped with fashion? Other heroes come and go with the same haircut they’ve had since their origin. Sure, they change clothes, but that’s about it. Black heroes go day by day with afros, then dreads, then bald, then funky beards…

Odd.”

Because they are written and drawn by white men desperatly trying to show that they are cool with black people.

So, it’s like the sequential art equivalent of Black People Love Us?:

http://blackpeopleloveus.com/

Well let’s all be honest, comics are horrible when it comes to fashion in general

“Hmmm, OK she’s cool, and Nextwave is definitely cool- but she ain’t no Storm. Storm rocks.”

Storm is boring. Boring and BORING.

Interesting fact for the day: see that AVENGERS #227 cover? Reed and Sue’s costumes look funny, don’t they? That’s because they’re their jogging costumes. No joke.

- Z

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Man are you out of your mind!

Yes, she might have been created by one of the most underrated writer in the business (Roger Stern) and one of the best artist of the Marvel modern age (John Romita Jr.)…

Yes, she was beautifully drawn by John Buscema in his AVENGERS run of the 80′s…

Yes, she was in the funny and weird NEXTWAVE series…

BUT, how can you say that she is the greatest black superheroine, better than Storm?

You are nuts! Monica Rambeau/Captain Marvel, like Black Goliath, was just a already existing super-hero identity handed down to a black person.

Now Storm was her own from the start.
She has always been one of the most noble of the Marvel characters since she was created. She was one of the original New X-Men! She was her own. There were no white Storm character that lend her her identity. She was a goddess, a thief, a mentor (to the young Kitty Pride), she was a free-spirit, one of the top mutants right up there with Wolverine. She is now a Queen, the mate of another great noble character, Black Panther.

Be serious once in a while. Please.

I am serious. Storm is lame.

I agree… storm is lame…. well not lame
I just never liked the idea of the whole weather spectrum reacting so fast as to make her as effective as she is

Ororo and Monica have some similarities and many differences. You can’t compare the two except for the fact that their both goddesses. One can control the elements and another controls energy within the electromagnetic spectrum. I always loved Monica, she is one of the few heroes that can travel at the speed of light and able to travel through the vacuum of space. How many heroes can soar to the very surface of the sun and glow in sheer delight? A handful! But because of the way she has handled by Marvel and some writers of Marvel, she has meet very little to no exposer. I wonder why this is? She’s powerful, beautiful, smart, and a natural leader, just like Ororo. Monica is a character with so much potential, but why can’t Marvel see this? She could be in outerspace right now with the Silver Surfer or some other Cosmic Wanderer.

Storm is not lame. Nor is Pulsar. Wanna know who’s lame, DC comics is lame…lol

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