Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Discuss: Captain Marvel/Photon/Monica Rambeau

Karen: This character was briefly discussed in yesterday's post. Share your thoughts on this character, good, bad, or indifferent.


Rip Jagger said...

I'm a fan of the vintage Kree Mar-Vell/Walt Lawson rendition of the character, so everyone who has followed (even subsequent versions of Mar-Vell himself) have been lesser in my eyes.

There has been an absolute gaggle of Captain Marvels by now, but I have to say that Monica Rambeau was a neat variation. She looked different and had a refreshing non-cosmic origin.

Her stint in the Avengers was pretty impressive, as she was to my mind one of the best female leaders they've had, and the only really credible one other than the Black Widow.

I also liked that she was a black woman with a name that drew no attention at all to either of those conditions. No "Miss Marvel", no "Black Marvel", no "Midnight Marvelina". (Hear me talking Carol Danvers and Bill Foster?)

She was a crackerjack superhero, who unfortunately never caught on. But there have been a gaggle of those too.

Rip Off

david_b said...

In reading the Mar-Vell Masterworks Vol.1, it's been GREAT to finally read the original Mar-Vell stories all in one sitting.

The only other Mar-Vell highlight was Starlin's peak, from ish 27-32. Once I saw Cap and the other Avengers on ish 28, *poof* I was a goner.

I liked Monica during the Stern/Buscema tenure alright. When I first restarted my Avengers collecting, she struck me simply as 'oh, a new character', and it didn't seem to me she did much identity outside the pages of the Avengers (another Vision-like team member..?) which is alright for keeping the team interesting, but somehow never reaching whatever potential she had. She had some bright moments, no question on that, but she never 'the moment' where she truely registered as a stand-alone hero.

I obviously get the 'Marvel copyright' idea, and like that her costume was sufficiently different enough than her predecessors, but without the Kree association, the CM moniker just didn't fit. Starlin's 'Death of a Hero' was too fresh in my mind.

dbutler16 said...

Most of my experience with Ms. Rambeau comes from Roger Stern's Avengers run, and I really grew to like her there. She became a strong and self reliant character, but still had great respect for the elder statesmen such as Captain America. My main complaint was that she was too powerful. They really had to work to keep her out of the action, such as during the classic "Avengers Under Siege" storyline. My favorite storyline with he was probably the one where she got transported to another galaxy, millions of light years away from earth, and has to battle Nebula, et. al. all by her lonesome (somewhere around Avengers #255-260). She really had to use her wits and her courage to survive, especially since she was without her powers for a short while. The only drawback to this story was the terribly way it ended, with the Beyonder showing up and using his dues ex machina powers to show up from out of nowhere and "fixes" everything. I can only assume this was an editorial edict jammed down Stern's throat in order to publicize the disaster known as Secret Wars II. Argh!!!

No doubt, Stern pumped her up during his time writing her, since he did create her, but in re-reading my old Avengers a couple of years ago, I was surprised to find that I liked her (not that she makes my top 10) as I had expected to find her boring. Not so.

humanbelly said...

Always liked her-- she was a complete breath of fresh air in the Marvel Universe: an extremely powerful super-hero who wasn't hamstrung (hamstringed?) by deep personal problems, physical disabilities, or unresolvable character/personality flaws. Her time in the Avengers was a neat exploration of how a person could build self-confidence, be extraordinarily competent, and yet not succumb to the easy trap of ego inflation. The problem for any writer, of course, is that she falls into the "Superman Trap" of being tough to write for, dramatically. Inner conflict is what usually drives our interest in most characters. . . and she really didn't have much going on there. VERY happy for her-- but I can see how that would make her less-than-compelling in the long-haul.

Like the fact that she started as a Harbor Patrol lieutenant-- which automatically makes her a more qualified super-hero than about 95% of the other folks out there (including the vast majority of her fellow Avengers-- at least when they were rookies).

I keep seeing references to a romance w/ Brother Voodoo-- which simply makes my head spin around. Really? Could there be a more forced pairing? Is there any commonality there at all, besides a shared race?? Please. Nicest-Girl-Hero in the MU, please allow me to introduce you to the Nicest-Boy-Hero in the MU: Wendell Vaughn. I've pushed for a Quasar/Photon romance many times-- maybe someday it'll come to pass. Although it may run the risk of being almost Father Knows Best-ish in its potential level of square-ness. . . (and, y'know, it wouldn't even be taken seriously by anyone in Marvel's writing/editing stables at this point-- so I suppose I shouldn't wish for something that would almost certainly be ruined upon first touch. . . )


Anonymous said...

I liked her, I liked her relationship with her parents, which is a very under-used area of characterisation with Marvel heroes (given that most heroes are in their 20’s or 30’s and certainly have living parents).

I liked that she was a copper. Again, super heroes are actually kind of policemen/women aren’t they? So logically, why aren’t more super heroes cops?

They certainly did give themselves the Superman problem – she was so powerful that they had to constantly find ways to keep her out of the action. Didn’t the Vision have to send her to the other side of the universe just to keep her busy?

I also liked that fact that although she was stupidly powerful, she was also nervous and unsure of her position or abilities and looked up to Cap. Again, a device underused since Wonder Man got Fed Ex’d back to the mansion.

I liked the way Stern took her out, basically decorporealising her (yup, probably just made that word up) into pure energy when she nearly toasted the Atlantic Ocean trying to get Marina back in her box.

Definitely agree with Rip that although she had a rather overstated black profile (like, she just had to come from New Orleans, right?) it was a relief that she wasn’t Black Marvel Girl. Considering that JR JR originally wanted to base her on Pam Grier, she definitely did well to dodge the blaxploitation bullet.


Edo Bosnar said...

Always liked the character, but just did not like the (original) name. Like I said in a previous comment, Carol Danvers should have assumed the CM monicker when Mar-Vell died, although that was all fouled up by the horrible things done to Carol at around the same time.
Anyway, Monica Rambeau is simply an awesome character with a really cool set of powers. I really liked the way she was written in NextWave (one of the rare 'modern' super-hero stories I have in my current collection). And HB, interesting idea about a romance with Quasar. Heck, doesn't have to even be a romance; they could just become a space-faring dynamic duo - in which case she could change her name to Pulsar. That would be way cool.

William said...

I liked Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) since her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16. As I recall, I really enjoyed that particular book quite a bit at the time it came out. I thought she had a cool origin and a cool look. I also liked her powers. But as others have stated, she became a little too all-powerful to write interesting stories for. (They should have just de-powered her a little).

As far as them calling her "Captain Marvel", at the time I thought it was a bit forced and a tad disrespectful to the recently deceased Mar-Vell. Captain Marvel (the male Kree version) was a personal favorite character of mine, and (as I stated in another topic post) I was none too happy they killed him off. That being said, I had no real problem with Monica using the name. I really liked her as a character and I enjoyed her stint in the Avengers as well.

BTW, what the heck ever happened to her? Does anyone on here know?

Dougie said...

Well, as you know already, I am a big fan of Monica. I was planning to blog about her first appearance: "Who's That Lady?" just oozes the classy summer vibe of the Isley Brothers.

I like her successful professional past; I like the fact that she's not a hero's sidekick or a female counterpart; I like her power-set.

I don't like the fact she's been out of action for the last couple of decades. Since her title has been claimed by Carol, I could tolerate it if Monica went by the sobriquet "Photon" again in the Avengers(now that terribly Nineties character Legacy seems long-gone).

I hope some day Marvel will revive Quasar also, instead of going to that "Nova well" yet again. To my mind, Nova and Ms.Marvel have proven they can't support a regular title, yet they are relaunched every few years. DC has a similar situation with Blue Beetle, Firestorm and Captain Atom.

dbutler16 said...

Richard, yes, the Vision did send Monica pretty far away, when he went bonkers and tried to take over the world's computers. In fact, that is exactly what led to the Captain Marvel story I said I loved, where she winds up by herself in a distant galaxy.

Also, Humanbelly, Richard, and others bring up some other reasons I liked her (and had partially forgotten) with not having the usual Marvel superhero hang-ups, her relationship with her parents, and her job, which all made her seem more real and likeable to me.

MattComix said...

Neat costume design and so was Mar-Vel but for me the name Captain Marvel belongs to a little boy who says a magic word.

Chuck Wells said...

As good and entertaining as his send-off was in "The Death of Captain Marvel" graphic novel, I still regret the original decision to write out Mar-Vell of the Kree. He was a bronze age favorite of mine. I didn't mind Monica Rambeau as a character at all, in fact I rather liked her (even with the odd costume wings), but hated that they called her "Captain Marvel".

It certainly has taken the House of Ideas long enough to finally get around to giving the best choice to continue the legacy name in the form of Carol Danvers (although I would have preferred Mar-Vell get a permanent reprieve).

Monica has been called both Photon and Pulsar, both of which suited her powers better, so I guess I've been proven right in the long run. She is welcome back in the fold any time, no matter what they call her.

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