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Welcome to the Monica Rambeau comics reading guide, the ultimate resource for Marvel’s ultimate light-based superhero!

After her live action debut by Teyonah Parris in WandaVision, Monica Rambeau is about to become a movie star in The Marvels! Monica is also one of the coolest characters at the center of Marvel’s comics universe, so let’s dive into her history to see what she’s all about!

Monica Rambeau Comics Recommendations:

  • Captain Marvel: Monica Rambeau (2019)
  • Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. (2006)
  • The Mighty Avengers (2013), Captain America & The Mighty Avengers (2014)
  • Ultimates (2015), Ultimates 2 (2016)
  • Strikeforce (2019)
  • Monica Rambeau: Photon (2022)

Monica Rambeau was the first woman Captain Marvel (30 years before Carol Danvers!). She got her powers from an accident with extradimensional energy in 1982’s Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16. Since then, Monica has become one of the most distinguished leaders in Marvel Comics, with major roles on the Avengers, the Mighty Avengers, the Secret Avengers, the Thunderbolts, the Ultimates, Strikeforce, and Nextwave.

In addition to standard abilities like flight and super speed, Monica specializes in all powers related to the electromagnetic spectrum, including invisibility and energy manipulation. Most importantly, she can convert her body into any type of light imaginable. In fact, Monica Rambeau once took down an army of vampires just by turning herself into pure sunlight!

For more related to Monica Rambeau comics, The Marvels, or WandaVision, check out our other reading guides, including Ms. Marvel and the Scarlet Witch!

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Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel (1980s)

After the death of Mar-Vell in 1982, Roger Stern introduced Monica Rambeau in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 as the new Captain Marvel. Stern carried her into his Avengers team in Avengers #227, where she became team leader in #279 (the first Black woman to lead the Avengers). One of the strongest Monica Rambeau comics storylines was Avengers: The Legacy of Thanos (#255-261). Not only is this a great arc, but it also features Monica taking on the Skrulls!

If you like big books, you can look for the 2019 collection Captain Marvel: Monica Rambeau, which collects the first nine years of Monica’s major comic appearances.

  • Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel:
    • Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #16
    • Avengers (1963) #227-294, 305, 329-333, 345; Annual #12-16, 18-19
      • After #234: Annual #12
      • After #241: Secret Wars (1984)
      • After #248: Annual #13
      • After #260: Annual #14
      • With #259-266: Secret Wars II (1985)
      • After #272: Annual #15, West Coast Avengers Annual (1986) #1
      • After #285: X-Men vs The Avengers (1987) #1-4, West Coast Avengers Annual #2, Avengers Annual #16
      • After #290: West Coast Avengers #31
    • Secret Wars (1984) #1-12
      • Secret Wars II (1985) #3-9
    • Marvel Team-Up (1972) #142-143
    • Marvel Fanfare (1982) #24, 42, 57 [B Stories]
      • #24 showcases the history of the Captain Marvel name. Features Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers!
      • #42 features Monica Rambeau vs. Dracula!
    • Captain Marvel (1989) #1
    • Captain Marvel (1994) #1
      • Also known as Captain Marvel (1989) #2

 

Extra reading:

  • Incredible Hulk (1962) #281-284, 300, 320-323
  • Fantastic Four (1961) #256; Annual #19, 22
  • Thor (1966) #332-334, 350-353, 381, 390, 445-446
  • Doctor Strange (1974) #60
  • Captain America (1968) #292, 301, 314, 329, 332, 401, 408
  • Iron Man (1968) #182
  • Rom (1979) #65-66
  • Marvel Age Annual (1985) #1-2
  • Solo Avengers (1987) #2 [B Story]
  • New Mutants (1983) #40
  • Power Man and Iron Fist (1980) #125
  • Alpha Flight (1983) #39, 61
  • Mephisto VS (1987) #4
  • Saga of the Sub-Mariner (1988) #12
  • She-Hulk Ceremony (1989) #1
  • Avengers Spotlight (1989) #27 [B Story]
  • Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988) #9-10
  • Marvel Graphic Novel (1981) #58
  • Quasar (1989) #17, 33, 41-42, 54-57; Starblast (1994) #1-4
  • Operation: Galactic Storm (1992)
    • Wonder Man (1991) #8-9
    • Avengers (1963) #345-347
    • Thor (1966) #445-446
    • Quasar (1989) #33
    • Wonder Man (1991) #8-9
    • Avengers West Coast (1989) #82
    • Captain America (1968) #401
  • Captain Marvel (1995) #2

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Monica Rambeau as Photon and Pulsar (1990s-2000s)

After Roger Stern was taken off Avengers, Monica had a shaky time maintaining a foothold in Marvel comics. In Avengers Unplugged #5, Genis-Vell took the mantle of Captain Marvel, so Monica renamed herself Photon. Then in New Thunderbolts, Genis-Vell took the mantle of Photon, so Monica had to rename herself again, this time as Pulsar.

But after Monica’s moniker mayhem, the 2000s saw a mini-revival for the character. She had a major role in Warren Ellis’ hugely popular Nextwave series and became a great recurring guest in Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther!

  • Monica Rambeau as Photon:
    • Avengers Unplugged (1995) #5
      • Monica changes her name to Photon
    • Avengers (1998) #1-3, 16-18, 35-38, 46-55, 58-59; 501-503; Annual #2001
  • Nextwave (2006) #1-12
  • Monica Rambeau as Pulsar:
    • New Thunderbolts (2005) #8-9
    • Black Panther (2005) #12-13, 18, 24-25, 35-38
      • After #18: Civil War (2006)
    • Marvel Divas (2009) #1-4
    • Incredible Hulk (1962) #607-608, 611
    • Heralds (2010) #1-5
    • Captain Marvel (2012) #7-8

 

Extra reading (Photon):

  • Code of Honor (1997) #3
  • Thor (1998) #30
  • Avengers Infinity (2000) #1-4
  • Maximum Security (2000) #2-3
  • Avengers/JLA (2003) #1-4
  • The Order (2002) #5-6
  • Marvel Universe: The End (2003) #1, 5
  • G.L.A. (2005) #2

Extra reading (Pulsar):

  • Beyond! (2006) #3
  • She-Hulk (2005) #7, 21
  • Civil War (2006) #4-6
    • Punisher War Journal (2006) #2-3
  • Secret Invasion: Home Invasion (2008) #4, 7-8
  • Marvel 1985 (2008) #6
  • Marvels: Eye of the Camera (2009) #4-5
  • Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008) #2 [C Story]
  • World War Hulks: Captain America vs Wolverine (2010) #1 [B Story]
  • Firestar (2010) #1
  • I Am an Avenger (2010) #2 [B Story]
  • Young Allies (2010) #6
  • Avengers (2010) #18
  • Iron Age (2011) #1
  • Hulk Smash Avengers (2012) #3
    • Features flashbacks to Monica’s early years!
  • Journey into Mystery (2011) #649

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Monica Rambeau as Spectrum (2010s)

In the 2010s, Monica rebranded herself yet again as “Spectrum.” Al Ewing was the lead architect of Monica Rambeau comics during this time, writing her in a number of highly acclaimed series including Mighty Avengers, Ultimates, and Ultimates 2. After Civil War II, Spectrum even teamed up with Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy!

One of my personal favorite series from this era is Strikeforce, an offbeat team that included Monica, Blade, Bucky, Spider-Woman, and Wiccan!

This era is a fantastic starting point for new readers.

  • Mighty Avengers (2013) #1-14
  • Captain America & The Mighty Avengers (2014) #1-9
  • Ultimates (2016) #1-12
    • After #7: Civil War II (2016)
  • Ultimates 2 (2016) #1-9, 100
    • After #6: Secret Empire (2017), The Mighty Captain Marvel (2016) #5-9
  • Avengers: No Road Home (2019) #1-10
  • Captain Marvel (2019) #8, 16-17, 27, 33-37, 50

    • #37 is a major Monica issue!
  • Strikeforce (2019) #1-9

 

Extra reading:

  • Infinity (2013) #3
  • Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (2013) #3
  • Fantastic Four (2014) #2
  • Captain America (2013) #25
  • She-Hulk (2014) #12
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. (2015) #6
  • Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars (2015) #1-4
  • Howard the Duck (2015) #5
  • New Avengers (2013) #28
  • Free Comic Book Day 2015 (Secret Wars) #1
  • Avengers (2015) #0
  • A-Force (2015) #1-5 (Multiversal variant)
  • Spider-Woman (2016) #1, 5
  • Contest of Champions (2015) #6-8
  • Vision (2016) #6, 11
  • Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat (2016) #2
  • Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #12

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  • Civil War II (2016) #1-8
    • Free Comic Book Day: Civil War II (2016) #1
    • Uncanny Inhumans (2015) #11-13
    • Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015) #10
    • Civil War II: Choosing Sides (2016) #2
    • Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #4
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2016) #8
    • Captain Marvel (2016) #7-8
    • Spider-Man (2016) #8
    • Civil War II: Kingpin (2016) #1
    • Power Man and Iron Fist (2016) #7-9
    • Rocket Raccoon and Groot (2016) #8
    • Totally Awesome Hulk (2016) #9
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2015) #12
    • Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #5-6
    • Civil War II: The Oath (2017) #1
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2015) #12, 16-19
  • Avengers (2017) #4-6
  • Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up (2016) #1 [C Story]
  • America (2017) #1
  • Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #14
  • Secret Empire (2017) #0, 3, 7-9
    • After #0: The Mighty Captain Marvel (2016) #5-6, Ultimates 2 (2016) #7
    • After #7: Secret Empire: Brave New World (2017) #3 [B Story]
    • After #8: The Mighty Captain Marvel (2016) #8
  • Invincible Iron Man (2017) #593
  • Avengers: Loki Unleashed! (2019) #1
  • Gwenpool Strikes Back (2019) #3
  • Spider-Woman (2020) #1 [B Story]
  • Black Panther (2018) #20, 23-25
  • Empyre (2020) #6
  • Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black (2020) #3-5
    • King In Black (2020) #1
  • Marvel’s Voices: Legacy (2021) #1 [C Story]
  • Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #78
  • Marvel’s Voices: Legacy (2022) #1 [E Story]
  • Devil’s Reign: Omega (2022) #1 [B Story]
  • Thunderbolts (2022) #1-5
  • Defenders: Beyond #4
  • Wakanda (2022) #2

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Monica Rambeau as Photon (2020s)

With Teyonah Parris’ live-action portrayal in WandaVision and the upcoming movie The Marvels, Monica Rambeau is now fully in the spotlight, and brighter than ever before. Marvel Comics has been quick to respond and in 2022, Monica finally got her first-ever solo series, penned by Eve Ewing from the fantastic Ironheart (2018) series. Synergizing with the upcoming movie, Monica has also returned to her first unique name: Photon.

  • Monica Rambeau: Photon (2022) #1-5
  • Captain Marvel: Assault on Eden (2023) #1

 

Extra reading:

  • X-Men Annual (2022) #1
  • Spider-Man (2022) #5 [B Story]
  • Women of Marvel (2023) #1
  • Avengers: War Across Time (2023) #5
  • Cosmo The Spacedog Infinity Comic (2023) #6
  • Free Comic Book Day 2023: Marvel’s Voices (2023) #1
  • Captain America (2023) #750
  • The Invincible Iron Man (2022) #10
  • Marvel’s Voices: Avengers (2023) #1

monica-rambeau-comics-covers-2020s-photon-eve-ewing-lucas-wernick


 

Monica Rambeau in Multimedia and the Multiverse

Monica is just beginning to enter the world of TV/movies/games, and most Monica Rambeau comics variants make only minor appearances. But if you’re excited to see her get weird and wacky outside the usual comics universe, here you go!

Monica Rambeau in Movies and TV Shows:

  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • WandaVision (2021) S1 E1-9
  • The Marvels (2023)

Monica Rambeau in Video Games:

  • Marvel Puzzle Quest (2013)
  • Marvel Future Fight (2015)
  • Marvel Duel (2020)

Captain-Marvel-Ms-Marvel-Monica-Rambeau-The-Marvels-poster

Monica Rambeau Comics Variants:

  • What The–?! (1988) #1, 9 (Captain Marble)
  • What If…? (1989) #1, 4, 19, 24-25, 34, 55-56
  • Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe (1989) #1
  • Marvel Age (1983) #93, Annual #3
  • Forever Yesterday (Sceptre)
    • New Warriors (1990) #11-13
    • Avengers: Forever (1998) #11-12
  • Galactic Guardians (1994) #1
  • Avengers (1998) #2 (Daystar)
  • Giant Size Mini-Marvels: Starring Spidey (2001) #1
  • Marvel Zombies
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four (2004) #23
    • Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness (2007) #3
    • Marvel Zombies: Evil Evolution (2009) #1
  • What If? Avengers Disassembled (2006) #1
  • Bullet Points (2006) #5
  • Spectacular Spider-Man (UK) (1995) #154
  • Spider-Man & the Secret Wars (2010) #1, 3
  • Atlas (2010) #4
  • Avengers (2010) #4, 6
  • Age of Ultron (2013) #1-5
    • Superior Spider-Man (2013) #6AU
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard (2014) #12
  • A-Force (2015) #1-5
  • Ultimate End (2015) #1, 4-5
  • U.S.Avengers (2017) #2
  • Not Brand Echh (1967) #14
  • Infinity Countdown: Captain Marvel (2018) #1
  • Spider-Man: Life Story (2019) #3

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And that’s our guide to Monica Rambeau comics! Are you excited to see her in The Marvels? What did you think about her 2022 solo comic? Let me know on Twitter @vinwriteswords and remember to follow the site on social media @MyCosmicCircus for more Marvels coming soon!

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Also check out our full list of comics reading guides here, including Ms. Marvel and the Scarlet Witch below!

Ms. Marvel Reading Guide

Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan comics reading guide

Scarlet Witch Reading Guide

scarlet witch reading guide-8

All images courtesy of Marvel.

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Vin

Reviews, reading guides, and crazy theories. Obsessed with the Midnight Sons. Find me on Twitter @vinwriteswords!

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