Several different characters throughout Marvel’s long and colorful history have used the name Captain Marvel. It has come to represent warriors of the highest order, those defending not only the Earth but all the cosmos, as well. The very first Captain Marvel was a transplanted alien warrior by the name of Mar-Vell. A play on his name granted him the alias of a fighter for peace across the stars. The woman that followed him, Carol Danvers, became imbued with Mar-Vell’s wondrous powers. Over the years, the title of Captain Marvel has been passed down by several more people, some of whom were Mar-Vell’s own children. But it was the third person to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel, who is perhaps the most powerful of them all, a woman who has not only proven herself to be worthy of the name Captain Marvel, but also as an exemplary leader, friend, and defender, as well. Monica Rambeau has used many names throughout her career as a superhero, but the name of Captain Marvel is the one that suits her the best and is the most representative of her marvelous feats and powers.

Monica Rambeau debuted in 1982’s Spider-Man Annual #16 (by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.) A former member of the New Orleans Harbor Patrol, Monica Rambeau found herself embroiled in an incredibly dangerous situation when a mysterious and suspicious ship came into port. Knowing that something foul was afoot, Monica decided to investigate the vessel. Uncovering a dangerous machine capable of drawing and storing vast amounts of extra-dimensional energy, Monica’s attempts at apprehending the criminals responsible turned sideways. The machine became damaged and detonated, dousing Monica in the stored energy. This accident changed Monica on an atomic level, altering her very being into pure energy. When the ordeal finally came to an end, a security guard saw Monica and called her “Captain Marvel,” unknowingly granting her the title of the classic cosmic hero.

Monica Rambeau Was One of the Most Powerful Iterations of Captain Marvel


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Unlike the original Captain Marvel, Monica’s powers were not cosmic. Monica also did not have to wear the powerful Nega-Bands that Marv-Vell wore that acted as conduits for his power. The extra-dimensional energy that poured into Monica granted her powers beyond compare. Composed entirely of energy, Monica has mastery over every type of energy present within the electromagnetic spectrum including x-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet radiation, electricity, infrared radiation, visible light, microwaves, neutrinos, cosmic rays, and radio waves. Monica can change the composition of her body to any form of energy she encounters, thus gaining mastery over that, as well. As a being of pure energy, Monica is immortal and does not age. She can create holographic images of herself and even create miniature energy clones of herself. Monica can emit energy from her hands equal to several hundred tons of exploding TNT. She can instantly transmit herself across links and emissions of energy and can travel at lightspeed. The full extent of Monica’s powers is unknown, but she has been able to deal blows powerful enough to hurt even Zeus, the Greek god of Thunder and Lightning himself.

Pound for pound, Monica Rambeau stands alongside the likes of Thor, Quasar, and the Silver Surfer in terms of strength. While her strength is not physical like the Hulks or Gladiators, Monica’s power set and mastery of raw energy are virtually godlike. In 1987’s Avengers Vs. The X-Men (by Roger Stern and Marc Silvestri) Rogue, by then possessing the powers of the former Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, paled when Monica appeared before her mid-flight and turned 180 degrees without slowing down. Monica’s powers are so great that she can easily be classified as an Alpha-level threat, a ranking that puts her alongside the likes of Blue Marvel and possibly above the Hulk, Phoenix, and even Sentry. Granted, she is a hero and would never use her powers for evil, but the reality remains that Monica possesses powers that could prove catastrophic to the entire universe should she ever have a change of heart.

Monica Rambeau Has Proven Herself As A Leader of the Avengers


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Monica’s induction into the role of Captain Marvel wasn’t without its fair share of danger and confusion. The full extent and very nature of her powers being a complete mystery to her, Monica’s first order of business was traveling to Avenger’s Mansion in New York City to seek the aid of more experienced superheroes. Monica joined the Avengers shortly after and was immediately put to the test. Not only did Monica make nemesis out of villains such as Blackout and Moonstone, but The Beyonder’s summons during the Secret Wars event pushed Monica beyond any limits she may have believed she had. It wasn’t long until Monica became the leader of the Avengers, no small feat considering how new she was to the team. Battles against the X-Men, the Greek gods, and more proved Monica was not only capable of bearing the title of Captain Marvel well but that she was also capable enough to lead the world’s foremost superhero team.

The name of Captain Marvel fit Monica well, but it was a title that wouldn’t last for long. As Monica learned of the original Captain Marvel and his legacy, she came face to face with his son, Genis-Vell. Genis had adopted the title of Captain Marvel himself, just like his father before him, and even when he attempted to let Monica retain the title for herself, she refused. It was during this part of Monica’s career as a superhero that she would undergo her first of many name changes. Monica hasn’t taken the title of Captain Marvel since her early days, a decision that has granted her a larger sense of freedom in expressing and defining herself as a superhero. No longer beholden to the title of other individuals or the expectations that coincide with them, Monica instead has been able to better create her own name.

Monica Rambeau Has Gone Through Several Name Changes


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Monica’s first name after she relinquished the title of Captain Marvel was Photon. The name of Photon fits Monica perfectly; scientifically speaking, a photon is the smallest possible packet of electromagnetic energy. Being as Monica herself was composed of energy, the name made total sense. Her adventures under the name of Photon were no less exciting and dangerous than when she operated as Captain Marvel. Monica found herself traveling across the universe and battling against beings intent on rearranging entire galaxies, even coming face to face with the celestial abstract Eternity itself. Suffice it to say, Monica’s incredible powers put her in the vanguard for battles that most of Earth’s heroes could never hope to face down.

As if one dispute over a superhero name wasn’t enough, Genis-Vell, no longer content with bearing the name of Captain Marvel, decided that he, too, liked the name of Photon. Monica was furious with him for hijacking her name twice but decided to allow Genis-Vell to keep it. Moving forward, Monica took the name of Pulsar. Fitting the nature of her powers, the name of Pulsar comes from the celestial object which is a rotating neutron star that emits electromagnetic beams of radiation from its magnetic poles. Monica then joined H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort) and led the team known as Nextwave. Far less dramatic, but no less important, Monica found herself helping the likes of Brother Voodoo, Firestar, Captain America, and even Emma Frost. Monica underwent yet another name change after this and went by Spectrum for a time before adopting Photon once again.

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Is Monica Rambeau More Powerful Than Captain Marvel?

It is very possible that the former Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, may be even more powerful than the current wearer of the mantle, Carol Danvers.

Monica Rambeau’s legacy lies not in the sheer amount of power that she wields or the numerous titles that she’s used over the years. Her legacy doesn’t even lie in the fact that she began her career as Captain Marvel; rather, it’s the tremendous amount of positivity, will, and drive that she’s upheld over the years that best defines her. For all of her godlike powers, Monica has suffered her fair share of devastating setbacks and defeats. She once dispersed her atoms across the entire surface of Earth’s ocean, an event that left her physical form withered and weakened for a time. A battle with the being Nyx sapped her of her powers and rendered her human once more. Monica is a heavy-hitter in the pantheon of superheroes, but she’s never let her strengths or weaknesses detract from her drive to consistently give life her all.

To view Monica as simply another Captain Marvel is unfair to her. It’s even more unfair to compare her to Mar-Vell, Carol Danvers, and Phyla-Vell. Each of the other individuals that have carried the Captain Marvel title has brought their unique strengths and perks to the name with none being inherently better or worse than the other. Being Captain Marvel isn’t a contest and not a single person who has been Captain Marvel would ever appreciate hearing people treat it as such. Monica Rambeau was given the title by accident and has since then not only proven herself more than fitting to use it but also that she is deserving of her own title, as well.

The Marvels
7 / 10

Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.

 Monica Rambeau has operated as a superhero under many different names, including Captain Marvel, since her debut in the Marvel Universe.  Read More