Publisher: Marvel Comics
Created by: Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr.
1st appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, (1982)
Alias: Captain Marvel, Photon, Pulsar, Daystar, Sceptre, Lady of Light, Monica Marvel, Sun Goddess, Spectrum
Team Affiliations: Nextwave, Avengers, New Orleans Harbor Patrol
Legal Status: U.S citizen with no criminal record
Weight: 130 lbs Height: 5’10
Eyes: Brown Hair: Black
Relatives: Frank Rambeau (Father), Maria Rambeau (Mother), Black Light/Kendra Freeman (Daughter)
Skills and abilities: She is an excellent unarmed combatant and acrobat trained by Captain America. Monica is an expert swimmer with extensive nautical expertise thanks to college training and life as a cargo ship captain. As a police academy graduate she is also an excellent marksman. As a captain and as leader of the Avengers she gained strong leadership skills honed under the watchful eye of Captain America and The Wasp.
Powers: Monica has the ability to can convert her body into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum. She has displayed the ability to become cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet light, ultraviolet radiation, sun light, electricity, infrared radiation, microwaves, radio waves and neutrons.
While in her energy form she becomes intangible allowing most attacks to pass through her. Her energy form also allows her to fly and exist in the vacuum of space without the need to breathe or eat. Since she can become light she can move at the speed of light granting her superhuman speed. Monica can also duplicate the wavelength of new energy she encounters given enough time. She can also absorb many forms of energy once she can match its wavelength. Monica can also create light based holograms.
Monica was born to Frank and Maria Rambeau in New Orleans, Louisiana. A level-headed and confident woman she joined the New Orleans Harbor Patrol after leaving college. Here she was a cargo ship captain. Stumbling onto the creation of dangerous otherworldly weapons she was bombarded by extra dimensional energy when she tried to destroy said weapon to save innocent lives. In the ensuing explosion she was granted superhuman powers. Honor bound and realizing she could use her powers to aid others she decided to use her powers and fight crime. The media branded her the ‘new Captain Marvel’ (The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, 1982).
The Origin of Monica Rambeau from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, 1982 art by John Romita
Life as an Avenger
She met Spider-man and later joined the Avengers and received additional training to master her powers. She was first admitted as a training member (Avengers v1. #227). After aiding the team against Egghead and Plantman and training under Captain America and The Wasp she granted full Avengers members (Avengers v1, 229-231, 1983)while an Avenger she was abducted by Nebula and taken into space (Avengers v1. 257-260, 1985). Upon escaping and making her way back to Earth she helped the team battle the Beyonder (Avengers v1. 265-266), Kang the Conqueror (Avengers v1. 267-269), Attuma (Avengers v1. 272) the Grandmaster (Avengers West Coast #2 and Avengers Annual #16) and helped them retake the mansion when it was occupied by the Masters or Evil (Avengers v1. 273-277, 1985).
Leading the Avengers
When the Wasp steps down as the leader of the Avengers Monica is nominated. At first she is unsure she was the right choice but was honored to be chosen and thus accepted (Avengers v1. #279, 1987). As leader of the worlds premier superhero team she lead them against the X-men during the first Avengers Vs X-men (Avengers Vs X-men #1-4, ) and later the Olympian gods (Avengers 281-285). Despite her outstanding tenure as leader of the team however, when Marrina is transformed into a sea monster she leads the charge in hunting her down. During the battle she accidentally makes contact with the ocean in her electrical form. This caused her atoms and energy to be dispersed so widely that she was barley able to regain a physical form. When she did regain her form however she was a withered de-powered husk (Avengers v1. 291-293). In that state she was forced to retire from the life of a superhero and step down as leader of the team (Avengers v1. 294).
Recovery and Life as Photon
While recovering her physical heath in New Orleans with her parents she had frequent nightmares which concerned her parents before she regained a semblance of her powers (Captain Marvel v3. #1 1989) and continued fighting crime as a solo superhero. She also returns to her job as a cargo ship captain. Now a reserve Avengers member she helped the team during the ‘Acts of Vengeance (Avengers Spotlight #27 and Avengers annual #90) and the ‘Terminus factor’ (Avengers Annual vol.1 #19). During the Kree Shiar war of ‘Operation Galactic Storm’ she lead the Shiar team consisting of Living lightning, Scarlet Witch, Starfox, Thor, Vision and Wonder Man. After this she assembled a team to battle the Starblasters alongside Quasar, Mz. Marvel, Black Bolt, Hyperion, Ikaris, Darkstar, Vanguard and Perun. Over the course of these adventures her powers fully returned (Quasar #55-58). After this the original Captain Marvel’s son took on the mantle and after they adventured together he tried to let her claim the mantle because he thought she was more worthy. Monica realizing it meant allot to him and lets him have the title Captain Marvel to continue his father’s legacy and adopts the name, Photon (Avengers Unplugged #5, 1996).
During the ‘Heroes Return’ she joined an expanded Avengers squad to battle Morgan Le Fay. When the sorceress altered the time line she became one of her soldiers ‘Daystar’. The spell was not perfect however and those members with he strongest loyalty and patriotism to the Avengers were able to regain their senses. Alongside Captain America Monica was one of the first to break the spell (Avengers v3. 1-3 1997). Later she is attacked and abducted by the wrecking crew, including Thunderball. The villains siphoned off her powers and used them to conquer Arkon’s world and even defeat Thor. They were only defeated when their connection to Monica was severed (Avengers v3. 16-18). Her mother fearing for her life started intercepting her Avengers calls. When Monica found out she lead a team of Avengers to defeat ‘The Infinities’ (Avengers Infinity #1-4 2000). During ‘Maximum Security she battled the Bloodwraith alongside the Avengers (Avengers v3. 36-37). During the ‘Kang War’ she advised Triathlon and battled Kang’s forces alongside friend Janet Van Dyne/The Wasp (Avengers Annual 2001). When the Scarlet Witch attacked the Avengers she was also present (Avengers v.1 501-503).
Life as Pulsar
When Genis -Vell who had earlier taken the Captain Marvel mantle from her shows up as Photon she simply finds a new name she prefers, she is re-branded Pulsar [New Thunderbolts #9, 2005]. Monica was also part of a rag-tag Black Superhero team assembled by the Black Panther to battle vampires in New Orleans her home town after hurricane Katrina. The team consisted of Black Panther/T’challa, Luke Cage, Dr. Voodoo and Blade [Black Panther v3. #12-13]. This was also where she met Jericho Drum for the first time. Some time later the two shared a date and a one night stand. During this meeting Black Panther called her a ‘sun goddess’ who had not fully utilized her powers all these years, he also proposed that he could teach her how to properly use her powers [Black Panther v3. #13]. Monica also realized how attracted she was to T’challa [Black Panther v3. #13].
While still being courted by Jericho Drum she started leading the next wave team, which consisted of Dirk Anger, Elsa Bloodstone, The Captain, Tabitha Smith, and Aaron Stack [Next Wave #1-12]. She also attends the wedding of Black Panther and Storm [Black Panther v3.#18].
During Civil war she opposes registration [Civil War #1-7], Black Panther meanwhile plans to use her as a secret weapon. She is also shown attracted to Black Panther and found watching him get married to Storm ‘hard’ [Black Panther v3. #22-24]. When Captain America is defeated she becomes a registered member of the Avengers Initiative [Avengers the Initiative #1]. Monica next appear in Marvel Divas alongside Hellcat, Blackcat and Firestar. Over the course of these adventures she and Jericho rekindle their relationship and become a couple [Marvel Divas 1-4]. She gets caught up in cosmic adventures while attending Emma Frost’s birthday party [Heralds 1-5]. Monica shows support for her friend Firestar after she overcomes cancer [Young Allies 1-6]. While assisting Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Mexico she reveals that she is still fearful of using her powers close to/under or in water because of what happened to her while she lead the Avengers battling Marina [Captain Marvel v6. #7-8 2012]. It’s unknown how the death of Jericho Drum affected her.
During the events of INFINITY Monica, now going by Spectrum joins Blue Marvel, Luke Cage, Power Man, and White Tiger in defending New York from Thano’s general Proxima Midnight. She is briefly injured by Proxima but cured by Blue Marvel and claims she feels more powerful than ever before [Mighty Avengers #1, 2013]. The team then battles the manifestation of Shuma Gorath and save the city, they are dubbed ‘The Mighty Avengers’ [Mighty Avengers #2 and Mighty Avengers #3]. After the fall of Attilan, alongside Blade, Power Man and Ava Ayala they battled Barbara McDevitt aka Quickfire who was working for Jason Quantrell [Mighty Avengers #5]. After this she trained Power Man alongside She Hulk [Mighty Avengers #6]. When Ava Ayala gave herself to the Tiger God in the hope of killing Gideon Mace, the man who killed her family Monica was the one to take her down after Ava had defeated Power Man, Luke Cage, Falcon and others [Mighty Avengers #7].
Alongside Blue Marvel and She Hulk she faced Dr. Positron and W.E.S.P [Mighty Avengers #8]. When Dr. Positron brought Kevin Brashear forcefully into the 616 Earth dimension thus endangering the planet Monica was one of the heroes tasked with containing the threat. During this conflict she converted herself to Gamma rays thus supercharging she hulk and together they ended the threat [Mighty Avengers #9].
When the Deathwalkers captured Blade and made their bid for control of the world she was present though she fell under their thrall before being rescued by Luke Cage [Mighty Avengers #13-14]. Alongside Blue Marvel and She Hulk they battled the Fast Five during AXIS [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #2]. When the inverted Avengers attacked her team manged to hold them off [Captain America and the Avengers #3]. She was also instrumental in having Samuel Wilson accept his role as Captain America, the public face of the team after AXIS ended [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #4]. While working with Blue Marvel and Spider-man and training with her upgraded powers she started to display her attraction to Blue Marvel. When Positron showed up and a battled erupted between him and Spider-man she put an end to it quickly [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #5].
Cortex eventually reveals that he is a vessel for the Beyond Corporation which Monica, while in Nextwave had been told never really existed and changed her appearance back to her dread locked form and realizing a conspiracy was afoot [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #6]. Their plan was to use Cortex’s plans to take over the world using products and brands which infected the public consciousness in order to slowly control society. She confronted them and managed to hold her own while Spider-man and Blue Marvel tried to reprogram their portal to send him back to the Beyond Corporation Dimension. They were able to reprogram it and open a portal to the Neutral Zone, where Blue Marvel’s son Kevin Brashear had been left stranded. With the powers from his stay in said dimension, Kevin was able to return “Jason” back to Beyond Corporation’s dimension [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #7].
Before Secret Wars her team was approached by Steve Rogers who informed them of the end of the world and the corrupt plans of the Illuminati lead by her longtime ally the Black Panther. Most of them sided with Steve Rogers in his conflict with the Illuminati [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #8]. When the world was finally ending Monica was faced with the choice of destroying another planet to save her own. She almost did it but stopped at the last minute refusing to lose her soul and kill millions of innocents. She was one of the first threats neutralized by Reed Richards of Earth-1610 [Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9].