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Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #16: Review

Dec 1982
Roger Stern, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

Who’s That Lady?

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #16 Review by (June 27, 2023)

Review: Captain Marvel has always been an underappreciated character but I’ve thought she was cool. There are the offbeat superpowers, the ability to become any type of energy. Then there’s the distinctive mostly white (actually silver) outfit, contrasting with the darker skin and hair. The only quirky bit is that she is the only hero of that name who has no connection to any other Captain Marvel as the name was recycled to maintain a copyright. She will be a nice fixture on the Avengers though strangely she does not have a solo adventure until five years later in the aptly titled SOLO AVENGERS #2. After that there are two one-shots, one in 1989 and the other in 1994. Her final solo bid is AVENGERS: UNPLUGGED #5 where she gives up the Captain Marvel identity to become Photon and it’s under that name she has a five-issue limited series, MONICA RAMBEAU: PHOTON—a quarter of a century later. Well, the character has already appeared in the MCU and will gain superpowers in THE MARVELS, scheduled for November 2023; let’s hope she has more staying power after that.

Oh, a review of this issue? Well, we meet a new superhero and Spidey messes up once again, taking her for a villain and nearly destroying the world. It’s the standard Spider-Man comedy-action tale only this time, half the issue is taken up with a hero who isn’t Spider-Man, throwing off the usual pacing. But Monica/Captain Marvel is cool and Spidey can certainly take back seat to a guest star of this wattage.

Comments: First appearance/origin of Captain Marvel Monica Rambeau; her next appearance is in AVENGERS #227 and following. Avengers seen in a group cameo: Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, and She-Hulk, along with Iron Man and Wasp. Professor LeClare and Felipe Picaro return in SOLO AVENGERS #2, Monica’s first solo adventure as Captain Marvel.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #16 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Peter Parker arrives at the Port Authority bus terminal to meet Harry and Liz but a tall, attractive African American woman walks by and Pete’s Spider-Sense starts tingling. Seeing that he’s early for his friends’ bus, he decides to follow the woman discretely; when she walks into a shady neighborhood, Pete heads to the roof to change into Spider-Man. Two muggers harass the lady and trap her in an alley; she takes them both down with martial arts moves. Spidey approaches her from behind and she delivers an energy blast that knocks him flat. Realizing she’s made a mistake, she changes into a silver costume and vanishes in a bolt of lightning. Spidey sees this last bit and thinks he’s dreaming—but the Empire State Building is all lit up. The woman, Captain Marvel, surveys New York City and her mind goes back to her home in New Orleans and recent events….

Lieutenant Monica Rambeau of the Harbor Patrol confronted her commander, angry at being passed over for promotion to captain and insinuating that it’s because she’s a woman. Rebuffed, she storms out and heads to her office. There waiting for her is Professor Andre LeClare, who served in the War with her grandfather. He tells Monica his story: He is a physicist who devised a method for drawing energy from other universes and dimensions. He was hired for a project by South American dictator Generalissimo Ernesto Ramirez but when he learned Ramirez wanted to use his discovery as a weapon, Le Clare quit and fled for his life. Ramirez then hired LeClare’s assistant, Felipe Picaro, to continue the project on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. And now LeClare wants Monica to convince the authorities to stop Picaro. She decides to investigate so, off-duty, she takes a fishing boat out to the oil rig, telling LeClare to stay out of sight below deck. LeClare responds, “Oui, mon capitaine,” which she appreciates. She boards the rig in a skimpy bikini, claiming the rig’s previous occupants let her sunbathe. Monica meets Picaro who is smitten with her and boasts about his big project—and then LeClare who, against Monica’s orders, crept aboard the rig and was caught. Picaro reveals that the superweapon is ready to be tested—by destroying Fort Benning, Georgia. Monica tries to destroy the central grid with her fists and there is an explosion….

Monica finds herself back in the city and suddenly inside a radio station. She broadcasts a message for help to the Navy, which comes through with astounding force. Realizing she is wearing only a bathing suit she finds a rack of Mardi Gras costumes in the warehouse and puts together a silver outfit with a mask. By the power of thought she is back on the oil rig where she sees Picaro shoot LeClare; he warns her that the portal to the other dimension is expanding, threatening the universe. Monica stands in the portal absorbing all the energy. She saves the Professor’s life and defeats Picaro, leading a Mexican guard to say, “Captain est maravilla.” “The Captain is a Marvel.”

Two days later, Professor LeClare tells Monica that her body was changed by the exposure to the extra-dimensional energy and she can now turn herself into any form of electromagnetic energy. He presents her with a copy of her costume made of unstable molecules and shows her the newspaper: “Captain Marvel,” as the guard called her, is being hailed as a hero. LeClare persuades her to use her newfound powers to become a superhero. She agrees and so quits her job with the Harbor Patrol and begins a new life….

But the energy level in her body continued to rise, so Monica has come to New York to find scientific help in reducing the threat. Spider-Man reaches the observation deck just as Captain Marvel vanishes in a streak of light. Spidey must borrow a quarter from a kid (whose family has told him Spider-Man is a hoax invented to sell newspapers) to look through the binocular viewer to see what the lady was looking at and so he heads for the Baxter Building (and the kid’s parents don’t believe he met the real Spider-Man)….

Captain Marvel arrives at the Baxter Building to find the lab wrecked (from FANTASTIC FOUR #242). She meets the Thing and explains the problem viz. she could explode. Reed and Sue are out of town so he suggests the Avengers. Ben calls up the Mansion and Monica flashes through the radio signal, burning out the device. Spidey then arrives and takes Ben’s casual mention of her exploding to mean she’s a menace and he heads for the Mansion before Ben can explain….

Captain Marvel emerges from the other side of the communicator and accidentally burns out Iron Man and the Mansion’s defense systems. Shellhead asks for a spark to jump-start his system but Monica can’t control her powers that closely so Iron Man resigns himself to a wait. Then Jarvis walks in, mistakes Captain Marvel for a villain, and runs shouting for help. Spider-Man arrives and Jarvis reinforces his misguided notions and when he encounters Cap M, he first tries to web her up and then, when she burns through his webbing, he knocks her out. Iron Man arrives with Wasp, who was able to jump start him, and he explains how Cap M came for help, not mayhem. Iron Man and Spidey rig a means of Shellhead draining her excess energy and routing it through his armor and into the sky, while Spidey insulates him in webbing. Spidey and Jan take cover and Iron Man triggers the energy transfer and there is a massive ka-boom….

Thing arrives at Avengers Mansion to find Captain Marvel hanging out with the Avengers (and Spidey) and getting acquainted. And then Spidey remembers he was supposed to meet Harry Osborn and Liz Allen at the bus station. He hurries over and finds them just arriving, having taken a later bus.

John Romita Jr.
John Romita
Stan Goldberg
John Romita Jr. (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Peter Parker)

(Ben Grimm)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Liz Allan (Liz Osborn).

> Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The: Book info and issue index

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