Happy Black History Month my fellow bookworms! To say the least this is a month for not only reflecting upon our real life heroes who fought selflessly for justice, but to cherish our heroes on our screens and pages that made us feel seen. That being said, I’m ecstatic to finally shine a light on one of the MCU’s finest: Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Captain Marvel! If you’ve been keeping up with WandaVision (which you totally should) Monica has completely pulled back the curtain on Wanda’s zany show. So it’s time we’re properly introduced to this hero, her backstory and ultimately Monica’s herstory. And frankly what she means to boys and girls of all walks of life. This article contains WandaVision spoilers!
The MCU’s version of Monica was first introduced to fans in the 1990-set film Captain Marvel, which premiered in 2019. Only then she was an adorable little girl, daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend and founder of S.W.O.R.D.(Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division), Maria Rambeau. Say that ten times fast. In the comics, S.W.O.R.D. is a space-based organization that keeps an eye out for threats from outside of Earth and it appears the MCU’s version has a similar mission. In the opening moments of the fourth episode of WandaVision, it’s revealed that Monica was among the population who disappeared with Thanos’ “snap” in Avengers: Infinity War. Unfortunately, Monica learns that while she was snapped out of existence, her mother lost her battle to cancer. We see that Monica followed in her mother’s and aunt Carol’s footsteps; by protecting the Earth of course!
Monica Rambeau has a pretty extensive comic book history. First introduced in Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.’s The Amazing Spider-Man No.16 in 1982 as a lieutenant in the New Orleans Harbor Patrol who gained superpowers after being struck with a blast of extradimensional energy. These powers range from moving through solid objects, flying at the speed of light, altering her physical appearance, immortality and absorbing various forms of energy. She was donned the title ‘Captain Marvel’, which made her Captain Marvel before Carol Danvers. So even though Brie Larson’s adaptation of Captain Marvel felt long overdue and the scene of eleven year old Monica changing Carol’s suit was quite cute; it’s a huge deviation from the comics. After befriending Spider-Man she accepted his invitation to join the Avengers, becoming the first black female Avenger (snaps and claps people!) and even leading them on numerous occasion. She’s gone by multiple superhero aliases over the years, including Photon, Pulsar and most recently Spectrum; mainly because people kept using the name she was already using. Can you say trendsetter?
It’s truly disheartening when you realize aside from 2021’s WandaVision, little Monica Rambeau brief cameo in Captain Marvel was all the exposure MCU fans had of this iconic, powerful and long-lasting hero. This hurts even more considering how impactful her legacy is for Marvel comics. Frankly, until WandaVision I didn’t even know she existed which is heartbreaking. It wasn’t until 2018’s revolutionary Black Panther with it’s abundance of strong black female heroes that I felt seen, but Monica was right under our noses. With her melanated skin and natural tresses, she’s a hero I would’ve loved to see growing up. Marvel’s decision to go with Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel and not rightfully giving the spotlight her predecessor painfully reminds us the various obstacles black women encounter; especially when trying to tell our stories. One can only hope that in the sequel, Monica is properly debuted. So this Black History Month, I want to rightfully give Monica Rambeau all her deserved flowers. What’s your favorite Captain Marvel comic?