AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #16 (1982): 1st Captain Marvel

There haven’t been many important annuals lately–so this is a nice surprise: The debut of Monica Rambeau, the new Captain Marvel.

Stern and Romita Jr. create a new African American character who (a) doesn’t speak in stilted street slang and (b) is female. Oh, and (c) is technically a legacy character (albeit in name only).  A pretty brave thing to do—kudos to Marvel for letting them do it.

Almost all of the issue is devoted to Monica’s backstory. She seeks out Reed Richards (who isn’t home) and the Avengers’ help because she can’t control her powers.

She’s got a black star on her chest similar to the one worn by Captain Mar-Vell, but the reasons aren’t clear.  Nor is it clear why she’s called Captain Marvel, but one assumes Marvel Comics needed to reassert their right to use that name.

Thing and The Avengers, specifically,  Iron Man, Hawkeye, Shulk, Thor and Wasp guest star.  Yes, I wrote that right: Spidey is really just a guest in his own annual.  But that’s fine, it kind of makes it more special—and really, the likelihood was very low of people buying a one-shot starring a new black female character named after a guy who really was only popular as the star of a Graphic Novel featuring his own death.

As much as this is really Captain Marvel’s story, there’s some nice Roger Stern Spidey moments.

This story leads directly into her joining The Avengers.  Of course, the best use of Monica would be as the leader of NextWave…

An interesting creative note: John Romita Sr. inks his son’s pencils! I think that’s the first (only?) time that’s happened!

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