FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Captain Marvel

Siskoid and Shag's coverage of Marvel Team-Up: The Black Costume Era brings them to issue #142 (June 1984) as Spider-Man and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) hit the town to prevent a supervillain... uhm... economist(!) from tackling the overpopulation problem in the most draconian way (move over, Thanos!). Check it out!

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Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental

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25 responses to “FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Captain Marvel

  1. I absolutely adore Monica Rambeau! She was my Captain Marvel growing up. I actually had Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 which is an awesome issue. Roger Stern’s run on Avengers is not only my favorite Avengers run, it’s also when I started reading the book.
    It was a damn shame she was derailed by an absolutely abysmal decision. Not only did the decision to try to make her ineffectual, they depowered her and aged her! She was out of Avengers and out of comics! Infuriating! Just a few years ago she was one of FOUR characters chosen for the cover of the TSR Marvel RPG. There she is up there with Spider-Man, Captain America and The Thing!!!
    One of my favorite Monica stories (and one of my favorite Monica covers (Avengers 255) features Monica heading into deep space to investigate Thanos’ starship Sanctuary II. This leads to a Star spanning adventure that introduced Nebula, daughter of Thanos.
    Oh, and don’t worry Shag. I’m sure your not having read Stern’s Avengers will help fill out the comments for this episode

  2. So, shots fired among the co-hosts, huh? We’ll I’ll bribe the listeners to comment more on B&B! Ha!!!

    Anyhow, I was there on the ground floor with Monica Rambeau as well, with that ASM annual. I remember as a kid thinking “Hey, how come this is happening in Spider-Man’s comic? Who is this lady? How is SHE Captain Marvel?” This was partially because I was only vaguely aware of Mar-Vell, but I was a big fan of the Big Red Cheese, who had a live-action TV show, a cartoon (in the Kids Super Power Hour with Shazam!, as Shag mentioned) and a regular feature in World’s Finest, which I never missed. Despite all that, I did like the character, and read quite a few issues of the Stern run when I could find it. I didn’t realize until years later editiorial interference nerfed her. What a crime! Lots of editiorial tampering going on in mid-to-late 80s Marvel comics, ruining things Roger Stern had lovingly established (cough-cough HOBGOBLIN!).

    I’m happy to say my daughter really took a shine to Teyonah Parris’ Monica on WandaVision, and is excited for her to return in The Marvels film (and I am too!). Which is good, because she doesn’t really like Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers! She’s hoping Monica takes the Captain Marvel moniker at some point. Wouldn’t bother me none!

  3. Pam Grier “wasn’t pretty enough”??? Insane.

    I wasn’t familiar with this iteration of Capt Marvel until this very issue! I was confused by her links to the original version that I’d only heard of because of Ms Marvel! Like the esteemed Shag, I found her powerset confusing and vague, but I loved her nonetheless!

  4. I have liked Monica Rambo from her days with avengers in mid 80’s. I have always enjoyed light/energy powered heroes. Plus she had a costume that was so different from everyone else. But I never fully liked her being called Captain Marvel. For me, Captain Marvel was Mar-vel. I had hand-me-down issues with Mar-vel, Rick Jones, and negative bands.
    I am so glad she got a different code name. She has always needed to her own person. Plus I am really enjoying what MCU is doing with her.

    I hope this helps your ego Shag. ;-p

  5. The pink monster does look like the rancor. Shag is right . Sorry shag I’ve no knowledge of this Captain marvel . I’ve bin busy working on shazam month for March of 2023 and western month 2023 on my YouTube channel Bucky749. So “say the magic word shazam !”

  6. Here’s my team up captain marvel from marvel meets ghoul from the ultraverse . When ghoul is struck by a random gama beam from the marvel universe he’s sent to avengers mansion and Star fox who stayed up late watching Elvira’s zombie marathon. Freaks out making captain marvel come to see what’s going on they has fight . And next issue shaman shows up and they fight the freight full four and then shaman sends ghoul home .

  7. Obligatory ego boost for semi redeemable Shagg. He needs more refinement. Maybe he needs more hours of podcasting experience..

  8. I also have fond *and* vague memories of “The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!”. Was there really a character called “Dirty Trixie”? I also recall Black Adam being tricked into saying his magic word and turning to dust because he was 1,000 years old.

  9. I am always glad to see a spotlight on Captain Marvel. I am a huge fan of this character from way back. My first Avengers issue was #274, right off the stands and during the epic “Under Siege” story where the Masters of Evil storm the mansion. The peak of the Roger Stern era, IMO. This is very much “my” Avengers, and not only made me a huge fan of Captain Marvel but also the Black Knight, another underused yet awesome character. Shag, I can’t believe you haven’t read the Roger Stern run on Avengers. It is team superhero comics at their finest. They’re all on Marvel Unlimited. What are you waiting for, man? 🙂

    Monica Rambeau under Roger Stern’s pen was powerful, majestic, commanding, compassionate, and heroic. While she had a year or two as a “rookie” Avenger, she was never a wide-eyed kid in her early days on the team. She was a grown woman who had a career before getting her powers and joining the Avengers. She had law enforcement experience as an officer in the New Orleans Harbor Patrol (NOT the Coast Guard like you guys said…not to be pedantic) and was portrayed as frustrated at sexism in the system that kept her from rising in the ranks there. The CAPTAIN Marvel identity was an acknowledgement that she deserved that rank. I liked her ties to New Orleans and her relationships with her parents (who were refreshingly normal people–not supervillains, evil scientists or anything like that, and in a rare twist for comics, NOT DEAD). The scenes Stern wrote with Monica zapping herself to New Orleans to visit them and ask for their advice were so charming and relatable. Many young people go to their parents or parental figures for advice, something we rarely see superheroes doing outside of Superman and Spider-Man.

    Her powers amazed me, and still do. What fun to imagine myself being able to do some of the things she can do, like fly anywhere in the world in mere moments, or pass through solid objects (including the MOON, they showed at one point), turn into a living hologram where I can’t be hurt, and project powerful energy blasts or dazzle opponents. Stern always had bystanders and her fellow Avengers (and she wasn’t the only character he did this for) marveling (no pun intended) at her powers. “That woman just took form from a beam of light!” “How did she get here so fast?” “Amazing, she flew right THROUGH the force field!” Stern wasn’t afraid to make his heroes awe-inspiring, and he effectively showed that from the reactions of people around the heroes, and among the heroes themselves. And Monica was no exception.

    In the Stern run, she is shown as the Avenger that MOST concerns Baron Zemo before attacking the mansion and he has to make a special plan JUST to contain her. She is shown going toe to toe with ZEUS and taking on the hordes of Pluto. And she defeated Magneto in about 2 seconds by flying THROUGH his force field and zapping him. Boom. Done. The X-Men’s most powerful foe, laid out in no time flat!

    Speaking of Superman…I don’t get the “she’s too powerful” argument against Monica. Comic books are STUFFED with characters one could deem “too powerful”. Superman, Supergirl, Flash, Green Lantern, Thor, any of the Phoenix characters, Silver Surfer, Hercules, etc. All it takes is a writer with the imagination to work with the powers of these characters, showing them to be formidable but at the same time not downplaying their powers to make the stories work. Roger Stern, a master of his profession, could pull it off. Not many can.

    Shag, if you read the Roger Stern run you find he explains her powers very well and they are not vague at all. She can turn her body into any form of energy and project energy. She’s able to turn intangible, invisible, and fly at the speed of light. In the podcast, you were wondering about her powers and how they work scientifically and the limits of what she can do. Stern explores this very nicely, taking advantage of the Black Knight’s often-neglected scientific acumen in some very cool scenes where he tests her powers and advises her on new things she can do with them that she then puts into practice. Great stuff.

    I remember being dismayed at the “deconstruction” of the Avengers that happened after the Stern era (and being a kid, I wasn’t aware of a writer change being behind it) that led to many terrible things happening to these characters I liked so much, the worst of which is what happened to Captain Marvel. She was depowered and off the team, but in my youthful naivete I was certain she’d be back soon. But the years went by and we moved into the early 1990s and she was never a series regular again. Just showed up for big events like Operation Galactic Storm and had a Marvel Comics Presents, Solo Avengers, or one-shots. I stopped collecting comics when I went to college but later started to catch up in the early 2000s and was astounded that STILL no one had brought her back.

    And as we got deeper into the 21st century and Marvel began purposefully introducing more diverse characters like Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, Miles Morales/Spider-Man, the new White Tiger, the new Power Man, and brought Luke Cage and Falcon to the forefront…we STILL were not seeing her getting a “regular gig” anywhere. She’s been in some teams like Ultimates and Nextwave (though in that latter series, I had to chalk it up as a “silly” comic and not take it too seriously because Monica’s personality was NOTHING like the Monica I grew up reading about) and those features are very welcome and steps in the right direction.

    Maybe her rise in the MCU will be reflected in the comics. I sure hope so. Here is a female POC who is a natural leader and has truly awesome superpowers, and Marvel has seen fit for 30+ years to put her on the bench. It’s truly mindboggling (and don’t get me started on the “benching” of other characters like Night Thrasher, Silhouette, and Wiz Kid!). I would much rather see Avengers comics with her as a team regular again vs. the 9,000th Avengers team iteration of Iron Man, Thor, and Cap. Borrrring. Let’s give underused characters like Monica a chance to shine.

    Do not get me started on the nonsense around her codename. Characters whose superhero identity gets changed a million times suffer for it. Look at Hank Pym, for example. Marvel for a while there had a really bullheaded policy of “there can’t be two characters with the same name”. This policy got nicely circumvented the minute Miles Morales and Kate Bishop came on the scene. I still love Clint Barton saying “No reason you can’t be Hawkeye, too.” DC figured this out a long time ago what with their multiple Green Lanterns, Green Arrows, and Flashes. No one gets confused by multiple superheroes with the same codename. I am a fan of Carol Danvers being Captain Marvel, but why can’t there be two Captains Marvel? Photon, Spectrum, and Pulsar just do not cut it. Monica is a powerful force to be reckoned with, in personality and superpowers. She deserves a majestic codename like Captain Marvel, and there’s no reason her and Carol (and Genis-Vell) couldn’t all share the name.

    OK, I think I’ve ranted long enough. 🙂 Just one more thing: you guys were wondering if she often, in her energy form, was rainbow-colored. Rarely, if ever. She usually was just yellow energy. To the point other Avengers called her “the golden Avenger” or “golden one”.

  10. First to Jason Lady, fantastic write up of Monica! Well done, always glad to see other CM fans! If you haven’t listened to it yet, Ryan Daly and I covered Monica’s first appearance in an episode of FW Presents back in 2019: http://fireandwaterpodcast.com/podcast/fw-presents-find-your-joy-the-amazing-spider-man-annual-16-and-captain-marvel-talk/

    As for this issue of MTU, I really appreciated seeing CM outside of the Avengers, introducing her to more comics readers, which is the job of the team up series. Michelinie did ok with her character and powers, but it missed the mark a bit, like with her thoughts on Starfox. I think David was playing matchmaker too much with those two, something not seen in Avengers, and it’s his style to include soap opera drama like that.

    But I did like being creative with her powers, plus CM getting physical with the bad guys, since that’s more instinctive for her. As for that rainbow, I’d have to no-prize it, because that is not in her other appearances. Artistic license here. Technically, with enough moisture in the air, her light form could refract like a rainbow, but whatever, I think the creators wanted to play around.

    Funny about gamma rays, they’re one of CM’s standard moves against tough problems. It worked well against Hulk clones, and piercing an impenetrable force field to save the FF. But she tries to be careful using gamma rays. Likewise, she’s never used cosmic rays around the FF, which is good since that might induce PTSD!

    You know, in regards to Shagg’s admission about not reading Stern’s Avengers, I’m simply going to make another FW plug for the Stern Talk episode: http://fireandwaterpodcast.com/podcast/fw-presents-find-your-joy-stern-talk/

    See, I’m always here for MTU. Nuff said.

    1. Hello Tim, thank you for your kind compliment on my Monica write up! Evidently it’s a topic I had a lot to say about, lol. It’s seriously been stewing around in my head since fifth grade, in the late 1980s, when they did her wrong! I actually have listened to your FW Presents episode covering her first appearance and I very much enjoyed it! I didn’t know about the Find Your Joy: Stern Talk episode, I must go listen to that!

  11. All right, Shag(g), I’ll play your little game and comment. Entertaining episode, both of you. My first point is that Thomas Robert Malthus was wrong. We’re not overpopulated. Properly enabled, people produce new resources for themselves and others. There are plenty of very nice places in the world with high population density. It’s about how we use the resources and whether or not everyone gets a fair shot at them.

    I am biased to mistrust the dogmatic Malthusians. Too many of them are even worse than MCU Thanos, in that they have specific ideas about which people should be depopulated. And anyway, the most effective control on the birth rate seems to be education, economic opportunity, and health care, especially for moms and babies. None of that makes this issue’s villain unrealistic, of course. Economists are often useful, but some of them come to bad conclusions.

    Second, in answer to why I like Monica Rambeau, ditto to everything Jason Lady said. I can’t say it anywhere near as articulately. What is this guy, a writer? [That’s Jason R. Lady, folks, author of the books Time Problems, Super Problems, and Monster Problems, all on sale now!]

    Finally, Shag, you seem very evolved, so I don’t know if you ever notice this sort of thing, but artists always portray Monica as quite attractive. That’s true despite the fact that Marvel wasn’t smart enough to model a heroine on Pam Grier.

    Keep up the great work, men! Looking forward to whomever comes next. (Hmm, “Who’s next?” — where have I heard that before?)

  12. Good to hear you lads back talking MTU.

    Why do I like Monica Rambeau? Captain Marvel is cool because of her puffy sleeves. OK, I don’t understand her powers, and she’s a bit cranky at the moment in Thunderbolts (still, it’s connecting to her Nextwave persona) but I’m never unhappy to see her. I did try the first issue of her new book, but it was a tad bland.

    Perhaps one of the reasons you are perhaps not getting enough feedback is that these issues are not that exciting – there are some great periods of Marvel Team-Up, such as the Claremont and Byrne time, but this run was mainly pretty blah – why did you choose it again?

    As Shag pointed out, the issue-to-issue changes in writers didn’t mean a lack of consistency in quality, but the quality wasn’t amazing… the issues were always decent, but not outstanding. And while Greg Larocque will always have a place in my heart for his Legion work, his art looked clunky at times – look at the splash, for example, Herman looks like his head is in his chest, a la Arnim Zola.

    Those goons definitely had a Mirror Master vibe!

    I want to know more about the Morgue chap, he had a bit of personality.

  13. impressive podcast most impressive. The cover does look pretty cool. What? Capt. Marvel is it in this fight? Are you saying that comic book cover lied? That never happens. 😉 🙂 The grooves close are pretty generic. Though they do remounted more of Prof. power than anyone else. Them not recognizing Spiderman is kind of silly. It made sense in the movies since his costume and France. Peter had a very different costume than this one. But, oh well. Capt. Marvel using her powers in such weight works for her. I’m sure is a way to trapper within something. Perhaps some sort of device that can control electricity can be utilized configure what she’s in that form and put her in some sort of trap. A tesla coil might be used to trapper in her lightning form. Or send a different current that could counteract the one she is in. It’s if she’s an AC they can attack her with DC. Since energy can be displaced. Not destroyed, but displaced.

    So I wouldn’t call her invincible or something. For every action there is an opposite reaction. So while she gets herself to these different forms there are ways to cause her problems. As for the expression on her face I’m not sure how unrealistic that would be. Having recently taken a level I skydiving course. It was an indoor skydiving course. And we were only as high up in the air as one can reach to the sky. But there was one point why for like I was going to fall to the ground. And I’m sure my eyes were too dissimilar to that. Granted in comics they always do a slight overreaction. Exec subtleties won’t work. Usually the general audience will miss them. So you have to overplay them a bit. The monster is a bit messed up looking. And yes him sitting on Jarvis does remind me of the ogre but bit from that one movie. Heck I’m impressed he somehow grew hair. Maybe exposure to the gamma radiation gave Jarvis hair temporarily. And unfortunately when Capt. Marvel expose it to him again. It removes his temporary hair growth .

    I wonder if Doc Sampson can make a bunch of money by making a hair club for men in the Marvel universe with gamma radiation? The final fight at the end was decent enough. And in turning the linens that way is probably not how that would work. But, we’re dealing with a device that would never exist in reality anyway. And it is kind of close to the plot from the avengers movie as you say. Also were dealing with the fact that a man gets the powers of a spider because it was hit with radiation and the spider bit him. And a woman that somehow was hit with an experiment and gets all these different powers of the spectrum. So one more weird device doesn’t seem a bridge too far for me. Anyway can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  14. This was a fun episode covering an issue that, for me, is just okay. I agree with a lot of people here in the comments that Monica as Captain Marvel was a really interesting character and I loved her in those Stern Avengers issues. It was great to see her put in a position of leadership so quickly. And I enjoy reading characters who feel like they’re thrust into that super-hero life after acquiring powers and not because they have some kind of personal vendetta or goal.

    I liked her design, even though her costume did look like a modified 80s workout leotard. Makes it look like she was a ballet dancer and just broke out an old outfit.

    I really liked how she looked when she flew, that long tail of energy that followed her. In my head I can see a cover where she is ricocheting off a dome and I wish I could remember what issue that was from. It is a great image.

    Lastly, Shag’s complaint about Monica thinking Starfox wanted to stay behind with her instead of seeing The Rockettes could simply be a result of his power. The guy is a walking talking pheromone.

  15. I am… compelled… to comment… Im-ho-teph, Im-ho-teph….

    This is the Captain Marvel I knew – thanks to TSR Marvel’s RPG. I knew there had been some previous Marvel Comics Captain Marvel’s thanks to the origin of Rogue’s extra powers, and OHOTMU, but this Captain Marvel was new to me. Sadly my friend who bought comics didn’t really collect any Avengers of that era, so I never got to read an issue with her in them. If I recall correctly, in one play session of Marvel someone used Captain Marvel and dominated play so we put her in the “too powerful” bucket of characters.

    When I first read Crisis on Infinite Earths, I thought Dr. Light’s costume looked an awful lot like Captain Marvel’s costume, and wondered if she was a nod to the character. Also, on the same bent, I feel like Banshee’s classic costume with his gliding wings looked ridiculous, but the same vibe more exaggerated on Captain Marvel’s costume really worked for me.

    The monster design looks vaguely familiar, but I think it’s just familiar to a lot of other generic monsters out there. To me it feels like a random DC demon with some mandatory 80s shoulder pads. To my modern eyes, it looks a bit like an Evangelion stripped of all armour but the shoulders!

  16. Sorry this is so late but I’ve been listening from ep. 1 onwards. The alien creature looks almost exactly like one of the Z’nox, the alien species that ended the original X-Men series at the end of the ’60’s. https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Z%27nox_(Race)

    I read Monica’s first appearance in the Spider-man annual, bought off the rack, and while I thought that it was a dumb idea to give the recently deceased CM’s name to an unrelated character, the more I read of her (in this MTU issue and the Avengers) I thought it was even more outrageous that they would squander one of the best new characters they had in a while on a copyright stunt, saddling her with a name that had nothing to do with her or her powers. She always should have had a light- or EM- based name. DC clearly thought so when they introduced the female Dr. Light character a few years later. That would be my suggested ideal team-up.

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