First Appearances: Nebula
Witness Nebula's early days as the leader of an army of space mercenaries!
Every week, we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to celebrate a major character's first appearance in the mighty Marvel Universe.
Tomorrow, you can see Nebula's continued mission to take over the galaxy in the pages of ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3! But all that serious space action leaves us wondering...where did this consistently complex character get her start?
Well, she debuted in 1985 thanks to the AVENGERS creative team of Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer in issues #256-#260. While the rest of Earth's Mightiest Heroes battled Terminus in the Savage Land, Monica Rambeau—then going by Captain Marvel—found herself imprisoned aboard the Sanctuary II ship. Instead of locking her up indefinitely, the ship's leader, Nebula, gave her an offer to help them take control of the remaining pieces of the Skrull Empire!
Noting the lack of options, and considering her place in space without an idea on how to get home, Captain Marvel agreed to help out, but secretly looked for ways to undermine the deal. Nebula then ordered Monica to investigate a Skrull base in order to prove her allegiance. When the hero left, Nebula revealed to her underlings that she already knew all about the base, but really wanted to see if the new recruit proved tough enough to survive an armada gathered there.
After Monica knocked a hole through the Skrull defense web, Nebula commanded her crew to send in an anti-matter torpedo to press their advantage. Captain Marvel managed to convince the Skrulls to let her send a distress message back to Earth...but Nebula overheard the whole thing. She remained calm, though, because her torpedo soon seemingly destroyed the fleet around the small planet.
After revealing that she'd commandeered Sanctuary II from Thanos, Nebula sent down another bomb, this one destroying the entire planet before taking off to remind the puppet Skrull Emperor, Gorth, that he belonged firmly under her boot.
Back on Earth, the Avengers finally received their teammate's distress signal and took to space to check on her. Upon seeing the obliterated planet and the gathered Skrull fleet, the team surrendered before finding Captain Marvel and getting the skinny on Nebula. According to their new Skrull ally, General Zedrao, Nebula became the leader of a huge mercenary army after the Skrull Empire fell into dismay in the wake of Galactus' destruction of their home world.
Once organized, Nebula's growing army traveled from planet to planet, conquering everything and everyone, but she finally hit a road block when she tried overtaking General Zedrao's base and failed. Nebula then used Captain Marvel to try and take the base out, but she figured out a way to get the fleet away before they were destroyed.
Upon hearing of Nebula's never-ending thirst for domination and the destructive capabilities of Sanctuary II, the Avengers agreed to stand against the pirate queen. The fleet then flew to confront her on Gorth's world, but she'd already amassed an army of 10,000 trained warriors!
When he presumed too much, Nebula killed Gorth, told her people the enemy committed the regicide and then demanded they take no prisoners in the upcoming battle.
Thanks to Captain Marvel's valiant efforts, the heroes overwhelmed Nebula's force fields and finally infiltrated Sanctuary II. When finally confronted by Starfox, Nebula claimed Thanos as her grandfather, which threw Starfox for a loop (given that Thanos was his brother). The battle came to an abrupt end when the being eventually identified as the Beyonder appeared, and zapped Nebula and her people away to an unknown locale.
That was it for the space mercenary for a while, even though the team attempted to find her in AVENGERS ANNUAL #14, but wound up engaged in a far different adventure. Eventually, though, Nebula did return and continued proving herself as one of the most dangerous people in the galaxy.
Do you remember the time Nebula became the most powerful person in the cosmos?
Well, it happened in INFINITY GAUNTLET by Jim Starlin, George Perez, and Ron Lim. When Thanos came back to life, he exacted revenge on Nebula for claiming kinship, by retaking the ship from her and turning her into a hideous undead monster. However, after wielding the Infinity Gauntlet and taking over for Eternity, the Mad Titan's body remained inert, allowing Nebula to shamble over and take the Gauntlet for herself. Realizing how unstable Nebula had become, Thanos then worked with the heroes to remove her from power.
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