Monica Rambeau's 'WandaVision' glow up
Monica Rambeau, or Spectrum if ya nasty.
This post contains spoilers for WandaVision.
Every week WandaVision has shown how much care they’ve put into the onscreen depiction of a Marvel Comics character who at one time led the Avengers. They’ve taken the time to develop Lt. Trouble into Captain Monica Rambeau, and it’s been poetic to watch. The MCU is not yet abundantly overflowing with Black superheroines, so they needed to give Monica Rambeau the origin story her character deserves. After all, she is one of the few Black legacy superheroes within Marvel Comics and the MCU.
The reveal of her superpowers in "Breaking the Fourth Wall" was icing on that cake because they took the time to develop Monica Rambeau into a well-rounded character. Her greatness has been magnified onscreen instead of diminished like Storm’s throughout her FOX X-Men franchise appearances. Those films never took the time to develop much of anyone, but it’s still sad they didn’t even bother with such an iconic and well-known character. But that hasn't been Monica’s fate in WandaVision. Instead, the series has showcased how impactful she is before her powers even emerge, an important decision that stays true to her past characterizations.
WandaVision respects Monica Rambeau’s comics history. She has one of the greatest origin stories among Marvel superheroes, and if we get specific, among Black superheroines. Although the level of tragedy inflicted on her in WandaVision is not part of her "canon" origin story, the series uses the way she works through that trauma to help add more layers to the character while still remaining true to her comics counterpart. How beautiful it is that a superhero like Monica — who has been routinely sidelined and has endured several unnecessary name changes — be given back her importance and received such a powerful introduction to a broader audience.
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Monica Rambeau has been given a level of autonomy throughout the show that holds significance all on its own. WandaVision showcases this whenever possible instead of lazily implying it through something like a montage. The series shows how Monica decides to go immediately back to work after returning from The Blip and getting the most devastating news any child could receive regarding their parent. Although her reasons for doing so might be up for debate, what’s not debatable is the fact that it was Monica’s choice. She chooses to take a closer look at the energy field after the helicopter disappears, just like she chooses to potentially put her life at risk throughout the series. That’s the wonder and curiosity we saw in her as a small child in Captain Marvel. Maria Rambeau raised someone who was always destined to be a hero, so Monica has always been the captain of her voyage into superherodom.
Not even Wanda’s Hex couldn’t keep who Monica Rambeau is bogged down in grief. Even after she is thrown out of the energy field, Monica still makes choices based on her sheer desire to help. It’s one of her strongest attributes. Unlike Tyler Hayward, cowardice doesn’t rule her. It could never because courage is in her D.N.A. She came about her powers in her comics origin story because of it. The energy from the Hex couldn’t rewrite that. It could only give her the powers that emerge after she once again decides to go back in despite the possible outcomes. This is the same character who smashed an energy disruptor (in the comics) because she knew it could destroy the world in the wrong hands.
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The way WandaVision encapsulates Monica’s fight back into Westview reminds me of the movie Fast Color, which brilliantly showcases Black women working through their trauma before saving the world. Although the scene is short in WandaVision, the impact is not lost. We know how much Monica’s mom meant to her and how much she wanted to do great things like Maria and even her Aunt Carol. When Monica emerges on the other side with her powers, you know it’s not a start to her greatness but more of a mighty reintroduction.
Monica Rambeau is no stranger to breaking seemingly unbreakable barriers. Now that she finally has her powers, the playing field has been leveled. This serves to only increase her level of impact as the WandaVision story draws to a close. If we remain true to her original powerset, Monica can now harness any form of electromagnetic energy. We already know that the Hex is made up of cosmic microwave background radiation, so if anyone can do something about that, it would be Monica Rambeau or Spectrum if ya nasty.
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