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!


39. Monica Rambeau

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.

(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.

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:

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.

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.)

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