One of the most important superhero aspects are their names. If the name is catchy and iconic enough, it might become a global phenomenon and be remembered for ages to come. Some characters like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man were lucky enough that their brand and imagery stayed pretty consistent since the character’s inception. Some, like Monica Rambeau, have been less lucky in that aspect. Monica Rambeau is a superhero from Marvel comics with long and rich history, but it was impossible to connect with her numerous names because she changed them fairly often. Today we will look at all of Monica Rambeau’s superhero names and explain them in more detail.
Monica Rambeau debuted as the second Captain Marvel in 1982. In 1996, she changed her name to Photon when Genis-Vell, the son of the original Captain Marvel, adopted the name. In 2005, Rambeau considered changing her name once again, and once again, due to Genis-Vell, she briefly considered adopting the name Pulsar. In 2013, she adopted the alias Spectrum to rebrand herself and distance herself from the Nextwave Squad. Her most recent name change cam in 2022 when she once again started using the alias Photon.
Now that we’ve presented you with a brief history of Monica Rambeau’s superhero names, it’s time to explain them in more detail. Stay with us if you’re interested in how that affected her image over time and keep reading!
Monica Rambeau debuted as the second Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel is nowadays mostly synonymous with Carol Danvers because she held the mantle for a long time in the comics at this point, and she debuted as such in the MCU. Before Carol Danvers, two Marvel characters also went under the name Captain Marvel. The first is Mar-Vell, and the second is the article’s subject, Monica Rambeau.
Monica Rambeau became the second Captain Marvel after Mar-Vell relinquished the title. Monica was born as a regular human and was known to be ambitious and smart from an early age. Despite being hardworking and smart, she was unable to ascend to the rank of captain in the Harbor Patrol, where she worked, due to her gender and race.
Monica gained her powers after destroying a device during a secret assignment that she underwent with Professor LeClare. She was bombarded by extra-dimensional energy, allowing her to convert her body into any form of electromagnetic energy.
After returning to her hometown, Monica designed her first superhero outfit and went back to the oil rig to rescue Professor LeClare and finish the job with the machine. She was finally dubbed Captain Marvel by the media, marking the beginning of her superhero career.
She conceded her superhero name to Genis-Well and adopted the name Photon
At one point, Rambeau became the leader of the Avengers. Her tenure will end in a somewhat tragic manner because it resulted in Rambeau losing her powers and most of her physical abilities as well. Monica Rambeau, at that time still called Captain Marvel, led the hunt for the sea monster Leviathan, and during the battle, Rambeau turned herself into a giant ball of electric energy and dispersed herself across the ocean, losing her superpowers and transforming into a frail, withered woman.
After retiring from the team, Monica regained her powers and developed the ability to manipulate mechanical energy; she resumed her crime-fighting abilities and even started her own charter company due to her love of sailing and ships.
She remained connected with the Avengers and served as a reservist and leader in the absence of the current chair. She participated in various battles, including Acts of Vengeance, Terminus Factor, and the Kree-Shi’ar war, and led a delegation to the Shi’ar Empire to petition for peace. Her original powers gradually returned during an adventure with the Starblasters and fully returned when the alien Stranger sped up the process.
When Genis-Well, the son of the original Captain Marvel, became publicly connected with the name Captain Marvel, she conceded the alias to him even though he felt she was more worthy. Monica Rambeau decided to rebrand herself and adopted a new superhero name Photon.
Monica Rambeau lost her superhero name to Genis-Well twice
The trouble with Monica’s and Genis’ identities didn’t stop when she conceded her first superhero name to him. After Genis-Well wanted to rebrand himself, he began calling himself Photon. Monica didn’t like this at all, and she even confronted him about it, but eventually, she dropped the name Photon after coming up with the name Pulsar which she considered taking on as her new official codename. Even though Monica Rambeau was technically known as Pulsar, nobody referred to her by that name in any official sense.
Monica eventually took on the role of a leader of the Nextwave team, part of the H.A.T.E., to fight against Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction created by the Beyond Corporation, wearing a new uniform and avoiding the use of a code name.
She adopted the name Spectrum to rebrand herself
After her brief adventures with the Nextwave team during the Infinity storyline, Monica decided once again to rebrand her character, outfit, and superhero alias. She adopted the name Spectrum, which was considered the best reflection of her abilities. The name Spectrum is a reference to the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and is also a direct reference to Monica’s power set. Under the name Spectrum, she likewise became the leader of Luke Cage’s new Might Avengers Team.
The name Spectrum didn’t last long, however, as Monica Rambeau decided to return to her roots.
Monica Rambeau most recently adopted the name Photon again
Luke Cage invited Monica Rambeau to lead Thunderbolts, a reframed superhero team in the aftermath of the corruption scandals, but she initially refused until she realized she could be of help. She initially refused to lead the team but agreed when she realized she could help turn things around. Even though she decided to join, she refused the leader’s mantle again, and eventually, Hawkeye took over.
This was around the same time when her relationship with Blue Marvel fell through, and in a new attempt to rebrand herself, she returned to her roots and started calling herself Photon.
Photon is the latest Monica Rambeau’s name, and it’s the one she is most likely to have in the MCU, considering her abilities, history, and the fact that her mother in the MCU, Maria Rambeau, had the name Photon as the callsign.