In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!
If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!
For the latest fight, we take a look at Iron Man’s battle against Monica Rambeau back when she was Captain Marvel.
I recently wrote about West Coast Avengers Annual #2 and its amusing plot point about how the East Coast Avengers are killed and the West Coast Avengers go to rescue them by killing themselves. Once there, they find that they are forced to fight the East Coast Avengers.
Writer Steve Englehart wrote seven different fights in the issue, and I think I’m honestly going to end up featuring FOUR of them in this column. So hold off on the commentary for the other fights, as they’ll likely show up here in the future! The one I’m focusing on today is Iron Man (Tony Stark) vs. Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau).
As always, the first page spotlights their power levels and the second page examines the fight itself.
Iron Man, as you all well know, is a very accomplished superhero. This is how powerful he is, in Iron Man (Vol.4) #14 (by Daniel and Charles Knauf, Patrick Zircher and Scott Hanna), during Civil War, he even DEFEATED SPIDER-MAN!
Please, do not freak out. This is only a drill. Do not worry. A couple of months later, in Amazing Spider-Man #544 (by J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Quesada and Danny Miki), order is restored in the universe, as Spidey takes out Iron Man…
But still, I think that shows Iron Man is certainly no slouch in the powers department.
Monica Rambeau, however, was on a whole other powers spectrum back in the day.
Even now, as her powers have lessened a bit, she is still considered “alpha” level, powers-wise (as shown in Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 by Al Ewing and Luke Ross)…
Her ability is to turn herself into pretty much any type of energy that there is.
But in her early days, when she was going by the name Captain Marvel, she was even MORE powerful. In her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (by Roger Stern and Johns Romita), she even temporarily takes out SPIDER-MAN!!
And later, she fries Iron Man’s armor…
Luckily, Spider-Man knocks her out later in the issue, just to avoid the world from spinning off of its axis…
Once she joins the Avengers, Captain Marvel basically became the Superman of the team, in the sense that just like old school Justice League of America stories would always have to concoct a way to keep Superman from just solving the mission by himself, so, too, did Roger Stern have to come up with ways to keep Captain Marvel from solving all of the Avengers’ fights by herself.
Four major ways were used to get her out of the way…
1. She returns to her solid form for some reason, just in time for someone to knock her out (like the Spider-Man bit above)
2. She is fully vulnerable to mental attacks
3. The dark force dimension can roughly cancel out her powers
4. Just send her off on a wild goose chase into outer space, like what Vision did to her in Avengers #252 when he tries to take over the world…
Otherwise, her only limit was that if she expended too much energy, she could end up using up her own mass to get the job down, which would screw her over. Similarly, she couldn’t remain in energy form for, like, days.
She destroyed the shields of a massively powerful spacecraft in Avengers #260…
and even gave the god Zeus some trouble in Avengers #284…
So let’s see how Iron Man fared against Captain Marvel…
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