Captain Marvel #1: Review

Nov 1989
Dwayne McDuffie, M. D. Bright

Story Name:

The Dream is the Truth

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain Marvel #1 Review by (July 4, 2023)

Review: A belated solo adventure for the unappreciated Captain Marvel starts by depowering her, the go-to plot for traumatizing a female superhero (for a male superhero it’s always killing his girlfriend). But there are a few dregs of power left in Monica so Reed Richards makes with some scientificating and we learn she has some new powers which mainly work to cause more trouble for her. The unstable powers result in more suspense (a too-strong hero isn’t good for much except power fantasies) but we also see Monica take quite a beating. I’m sure she’ll be better when she becomes acclimated to her new situation but we won’t see it as she is without a regular home book for the rest of her run (the very offbeat NEXTWAVE notwithstanding).

Comments: “Giant-Size Special!” The title comes from a quote by Zora Neale Hurston that appears on the last page. Monica lost her electromagnetic powers in AVENGERS #293 and the Stranger will restore her original powers in STARBLAST #4, a miniseries connected to Starbrand of Marvel’s New Universe. First appearance of Powderkeg. Cap M and Moonstone previously fought in AVENGERS #276. Only appearance of Ms. Ramos. Marvel Database incorrectly lists Leviathan (Marrina Smallwood) as an antagonist in this issue. Stan Drake and Frank Bolle split inking duties between them.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain Marvel #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Monica Rambeau has a recurring nightmare that, as Captain Marvel, she is fighting a dragon in her energy form; she unleashes a powerful blast but it continues to drain off all her energy until she is consumed and dies. Her parents are concerned but they think she will be all right as she no longer has powers and is about to start a new career….

At the port of New Orleans, she assumes command of the cargo ship Tea Cake, having finally made captain. Her First Mate is an old friend, Carlos Goodman and the ship’s owner, Ron Morgan, is a former comrade in the Harbor Patrol….

When they reach Rio de Janeiro, five passengers massacre the crew and capture the passengers. Two of them apprehend Monica, thinking she is another passenger. Though no longer a superhero, Monica uses martial arts skills learned from Captain America to take down the two baddies. She overhears the other bad guys talking and learns their boss will likely order them to kill all the passengers. She dons her Captain Marvel costume and bluffs the other three gunmen into surrendering. Then she is attacked by the boss, Powderkeg, who sweats nitroglycerin, making his punches literally explosive. She lures him to the cargo hold where she dumps six tons of wheat on him, seizing the respite to herd the passengers and captive baddies into a lifeboat and send them away. Monica returns to look for Powderkeg but he is searching through a burning hold, looking for something and refusing to go until he finds it. Monica accidentally launches herself into the sky, realizing she has some of her power back—but she is awkwardly flying in her solid form; she manages to alert a helicopter to the sinking ship and returns to the Tea Cake. She fights Powderkeg, discovering she is much physically stronger than she was before. She knocks out her foe, and tries to leave, only to discover they are trapped by flames. So, CM slams Powderkeg against a bulkhead, blowing an escape hole in it. She swims to the surface where they are picked up by a rescue ship….

In Rio, Ms. Kristina Ramos hears a report and orders their second-best agent to search Ron Morgan’s offices for the missing crate—and to kill Captain Marvel should she interfere again….

Captain Marvel visits Reed Richards, who subjects her to a battery of tests and comes to various conclusions about her new powers. The dimensional interface surrounding her shunts energy directed toward her into the other dimension which gives her strength and flight abilities but it only works if she is concentrating on it. She will be vulnerable to surprise attacks and distractions. She flies to Ron Morgan’s office to discover it has been ransacked; Ron tells her about finding a crate of circuitry lost by Stark International; Ms. Ramos offered to finance his company start-up in exchange for the crate. He agreed and then learned she is a Brazilian crimelord and balked at giving her the circuitry. So, she tried several times to take it, the latest successful; CM recognizes the thief from Ron’s description and so flies to Rio to intercept Moonstone as she disembarks for her flight. The two women battle at the airport, with Moonstone dominating CM until a last-minute maneuver kayos the villainess. Then Ms. Ramos arrives, wearing a suit of Guardsman armor, and clobbers CM; Ramos then blasts a plane wing and Monica is kept busy rescuing an airport staffer that Ramos has the time to incorporate the new circuity into her armor, making her unstoppable. Ramos hits Cap so hard she crashes through the wall of a hangar and that’s where she is found by Stark representative James Rhodes who gives her a device to attach to the Guardsman armor to fuse and destroy all the circuity. Rhodey offers to fight the villain for her but CM wants to finish what she started. Monica slam dunks a car on Ramos, pulls her out, then attaches the device, rendering her helpless. Ron and Rhodey offer her a ride back to the States but Monica wants to fly on her own for now….

M. D. Bright
Stan Drake
Frank Bolle
M. D. Bright (Cover Penciler)
? (Cover Inker)
Paul Becton (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Paul Becton.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

James Rhodes
James Rhodes


(Karla Sofen)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

Plus: Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Powderkeg.

> Captain Marvel: Book info and issue index

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