Marvel fans are gearing up for Captain Marvel, which premieres in theaters on March 8 and stars Brie Larson as the title character. The movie will also introduce viewers to new characters including Maria Rambeau (played by Lashana Lynch), who is Monica Rambeau’s mother, as well as the child version of Monica Rambeau (played by Akira Akbar).
This is where things get convoluted. Maria Rambeau was created for the film, but in terms of Marvel’s comic books, Monica Rambeau is actually the second Captain Marvel, but first female version of the character, as well as one of the most powerful and unsung heroes in the MCU. Here’s a breakdown of her history.
Monica Rambeau made her debut in in a 1982 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16. She was initially a lieutenant of the New Orleans Harbor Patrol and got caught in the middle of a fight between a scientist and a South American dictator over an experimental weapon. You know where this is going, right? Rambeau was hit by the weapon’s energy, which gave her several powers including, the ability to convert her body into any form of energy along the electromagnetic spectrum, flight, energy blasts, speed and more. Eventually she met Spidey, who encouraged her to join the Avengers and the press (inside the MCU) began referring to her as “Captain Marvel.”
She regularly appeared in Avengers comics throughout the 80s and even became the first African American female leader of the team after the Wasp stepped down. Rambeau was created in the vein of the bold characters portrayed on screen by Pam Grier during the 70s, and was known for her no-nonsense attitude, wit, and had a deep bond with her fellow Avengers.
Her first headlining comic came in 1989, but her position as lead was cut short after a battle with Leviathan that left her severely injured and without power. She recovered but retired from the Avengers and only made guest appearances here and there. Marvel Comics rebooted Captain Marvel in the 90s and moved on with a different character, Carol Danvers, adopting the moniker, which caused Rambeau to fall under the radar as a character.
By 2013, Monica was known as “Spectrum” and became field leader of the Mighty Avengers, along with Luke Cage, Power Man, She-Hulk, and Falcon among others. This appearance was in Mighty Avengers Vol 2 #1, released in Fall ‘13, and that’s where we’ve been left off.
Seeing Maria Rambeau and the child version of Monica Rambeau is a sign that perhaps the MCU will give the character new life on screen and in the comics, but how would you like this unsung hero in the MCU’s story to unfold?