Published February 28, 2020

Monica Rambeau’s History in 12 Comics

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Monica Rambeau? Captain Marvel? Photon? Pulsar? Spectrum? Long story short, the supersonic Super Hero has undergone many name changes since her first appearance in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (1964) #16. One thing that has remained consistent? Her knack for leadership. Selfless, reliable, and fearless, the electrifying Rambeau was a longstanding member of the Avengers, and has even led their ranks.

Read up on the FIRST female Captain Marvel with a handful of her pivotal issues and storylines, all in digital comics mega-library Marvel Unlimited.

BLACK PANTHER (2005) #13
Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #16

Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #16

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Monica made her dynamic debut here, where she was first bombarded with the alien energy that granted her remarkable powers. After some thieves tried to steal her purse, Monica sprang into action and transformed into Captain Marvel for the first time on panel. While in pursuit of the thieves, she also ran into unexpected help from everyone’s favorite Friendly Neighborhood Wall-Crawler.

Captain Marvel

Before she became Captain Marvel, Monica was known as Lt. Rambeau of the New Orleans Harbor Patrol. She was a loyal member of the force and fought to work her way up in the ranks despite continual pushback and discouragement.


Monica first got her powers after being exposed to an energy disruptor weapon while on a mission. Her powers let her transform into any form of electromagnetic energy. She can also fly and travel at the speed of light.


AVENGERS (1963) #227

Monica has been a valuable member on many Super Hero teams, but her first stint was with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! In this issue, she showed off her powers in a series of tests, quickly impressing every Avenger in the room. At the end of it all, the team offered Monica a new full-time job. She quickly became a valuable teammate and was consistently shown throughout writer Roger Stern’s run.


In this special team-up issue, Spider-Man encountered a bunch of armed goons trying to steal Technafoil from a science exhibition in Long Island. Meanwhile, in lower Manhattan, Monica spent a rare day off at the Maritime Museum. She was looking at the pieces on display until the same thieves from Spider-Man’s encounter rudely interrupted. Spider-Man joined in on the action and helped Monica to take down the villains. A hero’s job is never done! 

AVENGERS (1963) #279

Capn Cap

Monica spent a great deal of time as a loyal member to the Avengers. After Wasp resigned from the team as the Avengers’ chairwoman though, the team needed a new leader. Monica believed that Captain America should be the next one to lead. However, Cap declined and instead nominated Monica for the role. After much deliberation, she took the helm as one of the most powered members of the team.


Solo Issue

Monica’s first solo issue. Taking place after the depowering events in AVENGERS (1963) #293, this issue showed Monica’s readjustment to civilian life. During this period, she worked at the port of New Orleans as Captain Monica Rambeau. While at work, trouble struck, and she was forced to defeat the bad guys without her powers—at least for part of the battle.


Monica returned for another solo adventure, here with the full spectrum of her powers.

Monica was on a peaceful flight overlooking New York when she heard trouble brewing over at Empire State University. Turns out, the Sons of the Serpent were raging a racist attack on a group of students. Monica may have defeated the Sons of the Serpent, but she realized that they aren’t the only ones spreading hate. In the words of Monica, “we’ve all got work to do.”



Monica went through many different alias changes throughout the course of her career. Her first came in this issue.

The Controller implanted a control disc into her brain stem, forcing her to engage in battle with Genis-Vell, also known as Captain Marvel. Vision later swept in and removed the disc from Monica’s skull, releasing her from the Controller’s grasp. After the battle, Monica changed her alias to Photon to better match her abilities.


However, Photon wouldn’t stick for too long. Sometime later, she helped Genis-Vell brainstorm new Super Hero names and came up with the alias of Pulsar. Genis-Vell then decided to change his name to Photon, which is… Monica’s old alias. How original.



Monica’s next job was as the leader of the Nextwave team, combating Bizarre Weapons of Mass Destruction. She worked alongside Machine Man, Elsa Bloodstone, Tabitha Smith (AKA Boom Boom), and the Captain. Oh, and did she mention she was once an Avengers leader too?


BLACK PANTHER (2005) #13

Monica’s influence is known far and wide—even the people of Wakanda know her power! When the Black Panther was dealing with a vampire outbreak, he called in Monica’s help. She joined the team along with Luke Cage, Blade, and Doctor Voodoo for an action-packed issue!

Black Panther (2005) #13

Black Panther (2005) #13

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Mighty Avengers

After going solo for a while, she made her return to a team settling under the alias of Spectrum. Monica joined the Mighty Avengers just in time to fight Thanos. And her cosmic return was paired with an all-new look! 

ULTIMATES 2 (2016) #1

Here, Monica teamed with the protectors of the Omniverse for a second time! Alongside Blue Marvel, Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers, Black Panther, and Miss. America, the Ultimates went on call for Galactus after helping cure his insatiable hunger (see: 2015’s Ultimates).

Ultimates 2 (2016) #1

Ultimates 2 (2016) #1

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There you have it! Read these character-defining moments in Marvel Unlimited, along with thousands of other comics starring your favorite Avengers. Tell us which of these comics you’ll be reading @MarvelUnlimited. And remember to stay posted to our Twitter and Facebook for more weekly announcements and updates!


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