Monica Rambeau

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Monica Rambeau
Monica Rambeu Captain Marvel.png
Monica as seen in Captain Marvel # 8 (2012)
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance As Captain Marvel:
The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (1982)
As Photon:
Avengers: Unplugged #5 (June 1996)
As Pulsar:
New Thunderbolts #9 (August 2005)
As Spectrum:
Mighty Avengers Vol.2 #1 (November 2013)
Created by Roger Stern (writer)
John Romita, Jr. (artist)
In-story information
Full name Monica Rambeau
Team affiliations Nextwave
New Orleans Harbor Patrol
Mighty Avengers
Notable aliases Captain Marvel, Photon, Pulsar, Daystar, Sceptre, Lady of Light, Monica Marvel, Sun Goddess, Spectrum
Abilities Energy absorption, generation and manipulation
Ability to travel at speeds up to the speed of light while in her energy form, convert her body into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum and travel in energy form through the vacuum of space

Monica Rambeau is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Initially known as Captain Marvel, the character became a leader of the Avengers. She later used the codenames Photon, Pulsar, and, beginning in 2013, Spectrum.

Publication history[edit]

The character was created by writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita, Jr.. She first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (1982).

Talking about the visual features of the character, Romita noted that originally the character was intended to look like Pam Grier but

...I just took some reference on Pam Grier, because I always loved her, and at the last moment somebody said that, "Well, we need to use this woman, here," because they thought maybe Pam Grier wasn't as good-looking as the model they found. It was fine, because by the time she got done by other artists, it ended up looking like the generic black character, anyway.[1]

After her debut, the character appeared throughout the entirety of Stern's five year run on The Avengers, ultimately becoming the team's chairwoman, and later made numerous appearances as a reserve member after her departure from active duty. Still later, she received two one-shot titles, both written by Dwayne McDuffie and illustrated by Mark D. Bright. She also starred in Avengers: Unplugged #5. She returned in The Avengers vol. 3 with sporadic appearances between issues #1-59. During this run, she also appeared in Avengers: Infinity #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2000), Maximum Security #2-3 (both Jan. 2001), Thor vol. 2 #30 (Jan. 2001) and the Avengers Annual in 2001.

In 2009, Rambeau appeared in the limited series, Marvel Divas (partly inspired by Sex and the City).[2] She was one of the main characters, alongside Black Cat, Hellcat, and Firestar.

After a cameo in Great Lakes Avengers #1 and New Thunderbolts #8-9, she appeared in Order #5-6. She starred in Nextwave #1-12. Following the cancellation of that series, Rambeau was seen briefly in Civil War, She-Hulk,[3] and as a main character in Marvel Divas #1-4 and Heralds #1-5.[4] She appears Iron Age #1 (2011),[5] Captain Marvel #7-8,[6] Journey into Mystery #649,[7] and Age of Ultron.[8]

Starting in September 2013, she began appearing as one of the lead characters in the Marvel NOW! relaunch of Mighty Avengers, acting as the team's field leader under the new codename Spectrum.[9][10][11][12]

Fictional character biography[edit]


Monica Rambeau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to Frank and Maria Rambeau. She was a lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol, and operated as a cargo ship captain. Trying to prevent the creation of a dangerous weapon, Rambeau is exposed to extra-dimensional energy. As a result, she is able to convert her body to energy. She decides to use her powers to fight crime and named herself as Captain Marvel.[13]

Joining the Avengers[edit]

Rambeau sought out the Avengers for help in mastering her new powers and became a member-in-training of their group,[14] soon aiding them against Egghead.[15] Befriended and mentored by Avengers veterans Captain America and the Wasp, Captain Marvel soon graduated to full membership after the battle against Plantman.[16] She was the first African-American heroine of the team.

She assisted Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch in battling Dracula.[17]

Two of Rambeau's enemies were super-powered psychiatrist Moonstone (Karla Sofen), and Moonstone's powerful pawn Blackout (Marcus Daniels), who wielded the Darkforce. Captain Marvel first encounters them when the Avengers oppose the duo's escape from incarceration in Project: PEGASUS. After that, Rambeau temporarily loses her ability to transform back to human form during a battle against Dr. Eric Paulson, in which she fights alongside Spider-Man and Starfox.[18]

Moonstone and Blackout return as members of Baron (Helmut) Zemo's Masters of Evil, participating in an occupation of Avengers Mansion and trapping Rambeau in the Darkforce dimension. Rambeau was able to escape in time to help retake the Mansion. During the battle, Moonstone is crippled and Blackout dies.[19] Another of Rambeau's major early foes was the murderous interstellar pirate Nebula, who shanghaied Rambeau into space for an extended period before she reunites with the Avengers.[20]

Captain Marvel also took part in battles against the Beyonder,[21] a confused Jean Grey,[22] Kang the Conqueror,[23] Attuma,[24] and Grandmaster.[25]

Leader of the Avengers[edit]

Rambeau later replaces the Wasp as leader of the Avengers,[26] commanding the attacks against the X-Men,[27] the Olympian Gods,[28] and the Super-Adaptoid.[29]

When honorary Avengers member Marrina transforms into the gigantic sea monster Leviathan, Captain Marvel leads the hunt for the creature. During the battle that followed, Rambeau makes contact with sea water while in her electrical form and accidentally conducts herself across the surface of the ocean, depleting her energies so gravely and dispersing her atoms so widely that she barely regains physical form. She emerges as a frail, withered husk of a woman devoid of super-powers.[30]

Regaining her powers[edit]

After retiring from the team,[31] Rambeau regains first her physical health, and eventually her powers, initially developing the ability to manipulate mechanical energy for various effects.[32] She resumes crimefighting, facing foes such as Brazilian crime lord Kristina Ramos, Moonstone, and Powderkeg.[32] At the same time, she serves as a cargo ship captain in her friend Ron Morgan's shipping company before starting her own charter business.[32]

Rambeau stays connected with the Avengers and serves as a reservist, sometimes assuming leadership duties in the absence of the current chair. She helps repel an Atlantean invasion of the surface world[33] and assists in the Acts of Vengeance, which involved a concentrated, multi-villain attack on Earth's superheroes,[34] or in the Terminus Factor.[35] Rambeau leads a reserve substitute roster during the team's first United Nations-backed reorganization.[36] She takes on another leadership role during the Kree-Shi'ar war and leads an Avengers delegation.[volume & issue needed]

When a group of aliens calling themselves Starblasters try to push the moon away from Earth, Quasar assembles a team with some of the most powerful heroes of the world, recruiting Rambeau, Carol Danvers, Black Bolt, Hyperion, Ikaris, Darkstar, Vanguard and Perun. During this adventure, her original powers gradually regenerated, fully returning when the alien Stranger accelerates the process.[37]

When Genis becomes an adventurer, he is known as Captain Marvel like his father before him—which Rambeau resents. After she, Starfox and Genis team up to defeat the Controller, Genis tries to concede the Captain Marvel title to Rambeau since he felt she was more worthy of it. Rambeau declines out of respect for the Mar-Vell legacy and adopts a new alias as Photon.[38]

Avengers Return[edit]

After the return of the main avengers from the pocket universe created by Franklin Richards almost all the current and former Avengers members were trapped in a curse created by Morgan Le Fay where they served her as soldiers in a guard called Queen's Vengeance.[39] Due to her strong loyalty to the group Rambeau, under the name Daystar, was one of the first avengers to recover their will and rebel against the sorceress.[40]

Later when Photon was attacked by the Wrecking Crew in the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, she asked the Avengers for help being involved in an adventure in Arkon's world with the group and her old fellow, Black Knight.[41]

For a time, Rambeau's mother intercepts her Avengers calls out of fear for her daughter's safety. After discovering this deception, Rambeau leads an unofficial force of Avengers against the 'Infinites', who plan on relocating the galaxy.[42] Next Photon was involved in the events of Maximum Security,[43] and fights with her former teammates against Bloodwraith, and Lord Templar and Pagan.[44]

After that, Rambeau was helping the team in the deep-space monitoring station with Quasar and Living Lightning,[45] called into action in Kang's War,[46] (supporting also her friend Janet Van Dyne and advising the new recruit Triathlon on his current issues as the newest member of the team),[47] in the world crisis caused by Zodiac,[48] and when the Scarlet Witch suffers a nervous breakdown and attacks the Avengers.[49]

From Pulsar to Nextwave[edit]

When Genis-Vell wants to establish a new identity for himself, he begins calling himself Photon. Rambeau confronts him, but she decides to let Genis keep the Photon alias after she came up with a name she liked better: Pulsar.[50]

Rambeau later leads the Nextwave team, part of the Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort (H.A.T.E.), against Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction created by the Beyond Corporation©[51] where she avoided using a code name and wore a new uniform.

During the Superhero Civil War, Rambeau is a member of Captain America's Secret Avengers and registers as a member of the Initiative.[52][53]

When Brother Voodoo asks for Rambeau's help in tracking down some evil sorcerers, she reveals a former relationship with Brother Voodoo to Black Cat, Hellcat, and Firestar. Despite her breaking it off, Voodoo still has feelings for Rambeau. She agrees to aid him, rekindling their relationship in the process.[54]

She later attends Emma Frost's birthday party in Las Vegas where she helps solve a cosmic crisis involving Frankie Raye.[55]

The group continues to meet partly over their support of Firestar, who had battled and defeated breast cancer.[56] She assists Carol Danvers, in an investigation in the Gulf of Mexico, where Rambeau indicates that she is still fearful of using her powers under the water since her traumatic experience in battle against Marrina Smallwood,[6] and aids Iron Man in the Avengers' deep-space monitoring station against ancient Viking monsters who claimed to be the Emperor of Mars.[57]

Marvel Now![edit]

During the Infinity storyline, Monica Rambeau took the name of Spectrum as she chases after the criminal Blue Streak. Even the police officers that arrested him are impressed by her latest alias as well as her new costume. Spectrum returns to a specialist shop in New York where a man named Luc sells designer superhero costumes. He mentions that someone is waiting for her in the next room. Monica recognizes the man, though apparently all he wants to do is talk and ask for help. Spectrum hears the explosions when Proxima Midnight begins her attack on the city. Her mysterious guest says he cannot be seen in America, and needs her help for a mysterious mission, but she is adamant...he is in a costume shop, and if he wants her help, he'll put on a costume and come help her.[58]

Monica became field leader of Luke Cage's new Mighty Avengers team in the wake of the event.[59]

During the "Last Days" part of the Secret Wars storyline, Spectrum devises a plan to destroy Earth-1610 to keep it from colliding with Earth-616. In desperation during the two weeks before the end of the world, Spectrum channels her full power and goes to destroy Earth-1610.[60] However, right before she successfully destroys the other Earth, she spots a group of children who live there, causing her to hesitate for only a moment, long enough for Ultimate Reed Richards to capture her.[61]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Due to bombardment by extra-dimensional energies, Rambeau can transform herself into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum. Among the many energy forms she has assumed and is able to control are cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, electricity, infrared radiation, microwaves, radio waves, and neutrinos. By assuming an energy-form, she gains all of that energy's properties.

She is invisible and intangible in many of her energy forms (the most frequent exception being visible light), and is capable of flight in all her energy forms (reaching velocities up to and including light speed). She also has the ability to project these energies from her body while she is in human form (only one wavelength of energy at a time), usually in the form of energy blasts from her hands. She mentally controls both the type and quantity of energy she wishes to transmit. The maximum amount of energy she can transmit at a given time is unknown. Rambeau can also divert small amounts of various energies for employment as force beams, which have the equivalent to 300 tons of TNT of explosive force. A variation of this ability enables her to project light-based holographic illusions of herself. Rambeau has also shown the ability to split her energy form into several miniature energy forms that are under her mental command, each miniature Rambeau is able to react and fly at light-speed.

When she encounters a new or unfamiliar energy, Rambeau can often duplicate it given enough time for analysis.[62] Rambeau tends to be physically insubstantial in her energy forms, though with concentration and effort she can sometimes perform tasks such as briefly grasping an object, either by partially solidifying or by applying some sort of force to the object in question.

When Rambeau temporarily lost her original powers after a massive energy expenditure,[30] she developed the ability to shunt any mechanical energy directed towards her through a dimensional interface surrounding her body, granting her increased strength, resistance to impact, and the ability to fly. After Rambeau asked Reed Richards to examine these new abilities, he theorized that she accessed the same dimension from which she derived her energy powers to create the interface.[32]

Rambeau has strong leadership skills and law enforcement experience due to both of her time as a police officer and former leader of the Avengers. She is an excellent markswoman, unarmed combatant, detective, and swimmer with extensive nautical expertise. She has received Harbor Patrol training, and Avengers training in unarmed combat by Captain America.


Rambeau is able to retain her energy form for several hours with no ill effects.[63] She can only transform herself into one wavelength of energy at a time, but she can transform between one energy-state and another in a fraction of a second. Extensive energy transformation and manipulation can be physically taxing once she re-assumes her physical form. Rambeau can also be forcibly reverted to her original form by other forces.[64]

Other versions[edit]

Age of Ultron[edit]

During the Age of Ultron storyline, Rambeau appears amongst the superhero resistance against Ultron.[65]


Like other inhabitants of this reality, Monica Rambeau would periodically visit Earth-616 for vacations. Due to the nature of the interdimensional travel, she received duplicate powers to her counterpart and would masquerade as her. It is implied that the inexperienced Rambeau appearing around that time in Black Panther was, in fact, this alternate. Rambeau claimed that the main reason she visited Earth-616 was not because she would gain superpowers but because her parents were still alive in that reality.[66]

Forever Yesterday[edit]

Monica Rambeau is featured in New Warriors #11–13, in an alternate reality that is listed as Earth 9105, where she goes under the code-name of Sceptre. She is part of a murderous version of the Avengers, who enforce the will of the tyrannical female Sphinx.[volume & issue needed] She briefly makes an appearance in Avengers Forever #11–12 when she and several other alternate, evil Avengers are brought forth in order to battle the main protagonists.


Photon is shown as a reservist member of the Avengers and aids them during the searching of the twelve items of power, fighting against the Green Lantern.[67] After the battle for the last item in the Savage Land, Monica takes part in one annual JLA-Avengers meeting at the Justice League Satellite in the new merged world that the villain Krona created, being unaware of the changes.[68] After that she appeared fighting along with other Captain Marvels of both universes (Mar-Vell, Shazam!) in the final battle.[69]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Monica Rambeau appears in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness issue #3 in her Nextwave uniform, fighting alongside the rest of the team against a zombified Power Pack.[70]


Although Monica Rambeau has never appeared in Marvel Comics' future-era MC2 line, the comics feature her daughter by Derek Freeman, Blacklight, who first appears in A-Next #9.[71]

What If?[edit]

Monica Rambeau has a brief appearance in "What if the Scarlet Witch Hadn't Acted Alone?", What If? Avengers Disassembled (2006).


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  46. ^ Avengers vol. 3 #46-55
  47. ^ Avengers Annual 2001
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  49. ^ Avengers #501-503 (October–December 2004)
  50. ^ New Thunderbolts #9 (August 2005)
  51. ^ Nextwave #1 (March 2006)
  52. ^ Avengers: The Initiative
  53. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
  54. ^ Marvel Divas #1-4
  55. ^ Heralds #1-5
  56. ^ Young Allies #1-6 (2010)
  57. ^ Journey Into Mystery #649 (April 2013)
  58. ^ Mighty Avengers Vol. 2 #1
  59. ^ Mighty Avengers Vol. 2 #4
  60. ^ Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #8
  61. ^ Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9
  62. ^ Avengers/JLA #2
  63. ^ The Avengers #253
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  65. ^ Age of Ultron #2-5
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External links[edit]