The Marvels Better Not Ignore Everything That Made One Of Its Characters Great

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

When The Marvels hits theaters in slightly over two weeks, it will be the culmination of three movies and two different television series. It’s also the first time that MCU stars Iman Vellani (as Kamala Khan) and Teyonah Parris (as Monica Rambeau) get to appear on the big screen. This is great, but it’s a shame that Parris and her character, in the comics a former Captain Marvel and leader of the Avengers now known as Photon, has been handled so poorly in the jump to live-action.

Monica Rambeau In Marvel Comics

Making her debut back in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, Monica Rambeau was a Naval Officer when she hit energy from a strange device that granted her superpowers, and no, that’s not a typo, she dismantled an energy disruptor by punching it with her bare hands to save New Orleans. Notably, the ability to transform into any form of light on the electromagnetic spectrum, from x-rays to electricity, but usually, the result is moving at superspeed and projecting high-powered energy blasts. In short, she’s been a powerhouse of multiple teams, from The Avengers to The Ultimates, and is so powerful even The Beyonder has been drawn to her (in her mini-series, Monica Rambeau: Photon.)

In Avengers #279, Monica became the new Chairwoman of the Avengers, taking over for the departing Wasp and making history as the first black woman to lead the team. During her tenure, the Avengers fought in the first Secret Wars and went up against Kang the Conqueror; while at the time, the Avengers were not the premier Marvel team (that would have been the X-Men), her in-universe accomplishments are incredible, and that’s decades before she helped to transform Galactus from the World Eater to the Life-Bringer.

In the MCU, The Marvels may pull on the cosmic background of Monica from the comics, but we’ve barely even seen her use her powers at all, never mind acting as Thor’s boss! The worst part, though, is it’s very likely that Disney will never show Monica at her absolute best: as the leader of Nextwave, Agents of H.A.T.E.

Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is the type of book Marvel will never produce again, especially not with every character potentially looked at as a part of the MCU, and there is no chance that after The Marvels Monica can go back to her cussing, no-nonsense self. Written by Warren Ellis (brief disclaimer that this was done a decade before he was accused of sexual misconduct) and with art by Stuart Immonen, Nextwave rejuvenated the cast of D-list heroes. Yes, from her heights in the 80s to the mid-2000s, Monica Rambaeu had fallen out of favor with Marvel and was largely ignored.

As the leader of the Agents of H.A.T.E. (The Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort), Monica was the field commander for the team consisting of The Captain, former X-Force member Boom-Boom, Elsa Bloodstone, and The Machine Man, Aaron Stack. Realizing their employer, the Beyond Corporation, was evil, the team went rogue and set about dismantling the company, going up against Dirk Anger (if you add 30 layers of characterization, he could be considered a “thinly-veiled” parody of Nick Fury), Fin-Fang Foom, and the Forbrush Man.

While The Marvels will likely show each of the heroes as a powerhouse with a desire to work together, Nextwave did away with that whole “teamwork” concept despite Monica’s best efforts. Flashbacks in each issue revealed the team members’ backstories, from Machine Man being judged to be a “total ****” by the Celestials to Else Bloodstone getting tossed into battle with monsters at the age of 2 by her father. It’s weird, it’s amazing, and if you want to see the very best version of Monica Rambeau, it’s this one.

The Marvels Needs To Do A Lot With Monica Rambeau

the marvels

If The Marvels won’t give us the Photon that led the Avengers and won’t touch Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. with a ten-foot pole, what version of Monic Rambeau is coming to the big screen? Teyonah Parris has had the least screentime of any star asked to be a co-headliner in the MCU, and while she did a good job in Wandavision, lots of questions remain.

The Marvels is going to address the biggest question, which is how Monica will react to the return of Carol Danvers, her “aunt” whom she hasn’t seen since she was a little kid. Will the MCU Captain Marvel treat her like an equal or a little kid? Or will we get the no-nonsense leader that made her popular in the first place?

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