Flying Aces

Nicknamed “Photon,” and boasting the catchphrase “Higher, Further, Faster,” confident Air Force test pilot Maria Rambeau worked for Dr. Wendy Lawson—who was secretly a Kree scientist named Mar-Vell—on Project Pegasus alongside best friend Carol Danvers.

Carol considered Maria, and Maria’s daughter Monica, to be not just friends, but family. After one fateful test flight, in which Carol was flying Lawson up into space to test out a light speed engine, the plane was shot down the duo were never seen again—presumed to have died in a powerful explosion.


Taking to the Skies

Maria and Carol were expert fighter jet pilots for the U.S. Air Force, but due to the restrictions about women flying in the late 1980s, she and Carol only ran test flights for Dr. Lawson, as it was the only way they could get in air time. Still, Maria was a sharp enough pilot, and eventually out-maneuver Kree warrior Minn-Erva, who was in a high-powered spacecraft, blowing her out of the sky.


Blast from the Past

Six years later, Carol returned to Earth, having been transformed into a super-powered human/Kree warrior, and arrived at Maria’s home. Maria helped Carol, who now called herself Vers, remember key elements from her past while Monica, now much older, was overjoyed to see her “Auntie Carol” alive again. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury was with Carol when she arrived and helped Maria absorb a ton of new shocking information about the alien war Carol was now a part of.

Talos, leader of the Skrulls, soon arrived, in his true alien form, and told Carol, Fury, and Maria that his race weren’t the aggressors in the war, merely refugees trying to avoid execution at the hands of the Kree. He also helped Carol remember the day she almost died, and that Lawson had been killed by her Kree commander Yon-Rogg. Carol sacrificed herself to destroy the plane’s engine and in doing so she absorbed a wave of mystery energy.

Maria was hesitant to get involved at first, but was then talked into helping Talos find Lawson’s old lab by Monica. Maria flew Carol, Fury, and Talos up to space, discovering the cloaked lab. Inside, Talos found his family and several Skrull refugees. When Yon-rogg and his Starforce team arrived to steal Lawson’s secret energy source, the Tesseract, Maria, Fury, and Lawson’s old cat-resembling alien pet, Goose, escaped—with the Tesseract in Goose’s stomach.

Flying everyone back down to Earth, Maria was pursued by Starforce’s Minn-Erva, who Maria shot down and was killed in a dogfight. Once the Kree were defeated, Carol promised Talos she’d help the Skrulls evade the Kree and find a new home while Fury asked Maria if she’d consider being a pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D.


Director of S.W.O.R.D.

Sometime after these events, Maria founded a U.S. government-supported agency, one that focused on manned missions to outer space and creation of new technologies. She became the Director of the agency, which would later become known as the Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division (S.W.O.R.D.). Maria brought Monica to work with her where she grew up to become a respected agent working under her mother.

After Maria was diagnosed with cancer she underwent a procedure at Parkside Hospital and received a clean bill of health. Before she was discharged, Thanos and his followers had arrived on Earth to obtain the remaining Infinity Stones that they furiously sought. With the final stones in hand, Thanos eliminated half of all life in the Universe with the snap of his fingers, including Maria’s daughter Monica.

In the aftermath of the Snap, Maria returned to S.W.O.R.D. and developed protocol in the event that vanished personnel returned. She believed her daughter would come back.

Two years later, the cancer came back and took Maria’s life. At S.W.O.R.D. Headquarters, a plaque honored Maria’s role as its director and included her Air Force call sign “Photon” in memoriam.