Captain Marvel, no wait, Photon, no wait, Pulsar, no now it's Spectrum

Okay, so the subject was a bit light hearted but seriously, Monica Rambeau (Who I will always think of as Captain Marvel) should be one of the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe but ever since Roger Stern left The Avengers, in my mind, no one really knows what to do with her.

This is a character who, beyond just being a member, was a long term leader of The Avengers and went toe to toe with Zeus which is no small feat and would have lasted even longer as leader if TPTB hadn't decided that Captain America had to come back as leader of the Avengers for the anniversary. As Stern portrayed her, she was a strong woman with abilities that made her comparable to Thor in combat. She had a strong background stemming in part from her police training. She had a family life and a story outside of the team and now she is more or less just another face in the Avengers line up. Part of a team which is now second fiddle to the new Captain Falcon.

I really feel that someone should sit down with Stern. He is still in fine form and still has a love for the character. I think Marvel should consider giving Monica at the very least a mini-series written by someone who knows the character deeply and can give her stories and opponents worthy of her. Any thoughts?

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Mighty Avengers is one of my favorite Marvel books out now. I'm glad that they're treating Monica with some respect. She was a major part of one of my favorite Avengers run but after #300 she was always passed over for the more "established" heroines like the Wasp, Scarlet Witch and Carol Danvers (who also has FOUR identities).

I thought she was a better developed character than most. I was a bit surprised to see her lead the Avengers so quickly, jumping ahead of longer-serving members, but wasn't disturbed by it. And her appearances since have been flailing, what with all the name changes and all, which reinforces your point that nobody knows what to do with her.

She was a major part of that Warren Ellis team book with X-51 and other cast-offs, if you read that. I mildly enjoyed it, and several of the new characterizations from that series, like X-51's new sarcastic/cynical side, have stuck.

At this point, I'd be happy to see her have two consecutive appearances with the same code name!

I believe that was Nextwave, and it was a complete hoot. Definitely worth a read.

Captain Comics said:

She was a major part of that Warren Ellis team book with X-51 and other cast-offs, if you read that. I mildly enjoyed it, and several of the new characterizations from that series, like X-51's new sarcastic/cynical side, have stuck.

I just got the complete collected run out of the library this week.  Looking forward to reading it.

Another thing worth mentioning is that she kept getting her codenames co-opted by GENIS-VELL, the son of Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) who was originally known as LEGACY but then became Captain Marvel III by Marvel's reckoning. After she was renamed Photon, he decided to rechristen himself "Photon" in Thunderbolts #90 which led to Monica becoming Pulsar.

Also she had her powers drained and became so physically emaciated after Stern left the book that I thought they were just dropping her completely. Later she returned but with new powers of super-strength and super-speed.

She might have been the breakout female star Marvel was lacking for the longest time. Such potential wasted over office politics. What a pity.

This is a character I've always adored. The only issue I had with her original incarnation is that she was just TOO powerful, though I do recall them trying to ramp that down a bit. Legend has it that editorial fiat led to the way her character was mishandled after her Avengers leadership stint (which I loved), and I have not really read the character much since that time. I do get frustrated that she has to change her codename so often, too! Every time I hear someone suggest adding Captain Marvel to the cinematic Avengers, this is who I think of. To me, Carol Danvers is either Binary or Warbird. I find both incarnations of her fascinating.

Well, what I have read from Stern is that Marvel (the company) wanted Marvel (the character) to make a mistake and she starts doubting herself and she would step down and Cap would take over with issue 300 almost around the corner. Stern had put the time and the work in to developing the character and told them he wouldn't do it. On the topic of the character being too powerful, there can be a case made for that but honestly how often (with the exception of Superman back in the day) do you hear that about one of the big names? Have the big two depowered Thor or The Hulk because they were too powerful or the Silver Surfer? DC temporarily downgraded Hal Jordan's ability as a GL during the O'Neil Adams run but that was less than a year. A good writer can work with a character and make a great story. Personally, I would love to see Monica in an Avengers movie and I think it would work quite well because her powers tend to be very visual. You can even have a bit of fun with her changing to hologram form when someone attacks and it goes right through her.

As far as her being promoted to leader rather quickly, well Stern was writing The Avengers at the time and the character was his baby and quite honestly at the time (and they even addressed it at the time) there wasn't a lot of choices. Wasp had just left. Cap and Thor had their own titles which wouldn't leave a lot of time for leadership paperwork. She-Hulk is not really the leader type, Doctor Druid had only joined the team the issue prior and Black Knight, well maybe but I think I would have had an even tougher time accepting him as leader of the Avengers.

A final thought for the moment. As much as I enjoy Monica as a character and want more page time for her, I pray there is no Marvel Divas TWO in her future. LOL!

A second final thought. Going back to the section about the company wanting Monica to make a mistake and doubting herself until she steps down. Does anyone think they would have asked the same if it had been Thor or Iron Man leading the team and they wanted Cap back as leader? Personally, I doubt it.

YES! This is absolutely one of the best series written right now. The art is awesome as well. Yes, most of it is by Greg Land, but it's good Greg Land. The writing by Al Ewing is incredible. Loving Monica Rambeau as a close second to Blue Marvel, who is my absolute favorite character.

Seriously, READ THIS. You WILL NOT REGRET IT!

Philip Portelli said:

Mighty Avengers is one of my favorite Marvel books out now. I'm glad that they're treating Monica with some respect. She was a major part of one of my favorite Avengers run but after #300 she was always passed over for the more "established" heroines like the Wasp, Scarlet Witch and Carol Danvers (who also has FOUR identities).

John Moret said:

Well, what I have read from Stern is that Marvel (the company) wanted Marvel (the character) to make a mistake and she starts doubting herself and she would step down and Cap would take over with issue 300 almost around the corner. Stern had put the time and the work in to developing the character and told them he wouldn't do it.

We cover that ground over here, in the thread "Did The Avengers v1 Really End with Issue 202?".

John Moret said:

On the topic of the character being too powerful, there can be a case made for that but honestly how often (with the exception of Superman back in the day) do you hear that about one of the big names? Have the big two depowered Thor or The Hulk because they were too powerful or the Silver Surfer? DC temporarily downgraded Hal Jordan's ability as a GL during the O'Neil Adams run but that was less than a year. A good writer can work with a character and make a great story. Personally, I would love to see Monica in an Avengers movie and I think it would work quite well because her powers tend to be very visual. You can even have a bit of fun with her changing to hologram form when someone attacks and it goes right through her.

As far as her being promoted to leader rather quickly, well Stern was writing The Avengers at the time and the character was his baby and quite honestly at the time (and they even addressed it at the time) there wasn't a lot of choices. Wasp had just left. Cap and Thor had their own titles which wouldn't leave a lot of time for leadership paperwork. She-Hulk is not really the leader type, Doctor Druid had only joined the team the issue prior and Black Knight, well maybe but I think I would have had an even tougher time accepting him as leader of the Avengers.

A final thought for the moment. As much as I enjoy Monica as a character and want more page time for her, I pray there is no Marvel Divas TWO in her future. LOL!

A second final thought. Going back to the section about the company wanting Monica to make a mistake and doubting herself until she steps down. Does anyone think they would have asked the same if it had been Thor or Iron Man leading the team and they wanted Cap back as leader? Personally, I doubt it.

I agree. It's one thing to decide it would be cool if Captain America was the leader again by the time the anniversary issue rolled around. It's another thing to insist it HAD to happen by making the current leader, Captain Marvel, both incompetent and doubtful of her abilities. I gather that Roger Stern wouldn't have liked removing Captain Marvel as the leader, but he would have done it absent the tandem instruction to sabotage the integrity of the character at the same time.

Monica Rambeau was always my favorite Captain Marvel. I read the one-shot in which they changed her powers (which I review here). They took an interesting character with interesting powers and made her generic strong-tough-flying guy/gal #238 in the Marvel universe.

Last time I really read anything with Monica was back in Thunderbolts, that Philip mentioned. It was funny seeing her confront Genis-Vell about him stealing her name again.

Thor couldn't fight Zeus so if Monica could then she was definitely overpowered. Besides the fact that they can't make up their minds about her name, they keep giving her ugly costumes.

So what is Dr. Spectrum calling himself now?

Unlike Thor, Monica's powers came with pretty specific limitations--for example, while she could fly at light-speed (but only with great effort could she travel slower than that), she couldn't carry or catch anyone or anything while doing so--if she'd had to fly into Galactus' ship for the Ultimate Nullifier, once she found it, she'd have to spend days walking back with it. 

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