Captain Universe: The Uni-Power!
This is a weird one which really never took off as it spread through the Marvel Universe, but the power/character is the basis around the Spider-Man “Cosmic Adventures” which is where I first saw the Captain Universe concept, and wished I’d known a little more going in.
The basic concept is the power shifts from person to person depending on the situation. The gimmick in selling it was “It could be YOU!” A neat concept for a kid’s hero.
The Uni-Power first appeared in the collaborative Hasbro line, Micronauts, and was part of that for several issues — something not likely to be reprinted, but then it got a Marvel Spotlight for 3 issues, as they attempted to spin it off into its own series, done by Bill Mantlo and Steve Ditko — Ditko doing his own inks, this is some of his last commercial work before he decided it’s better “not to try” on such projects, where the inkers then did most of the heavy lifting. You can see his full abilities on display in these issues of Spotlight, which when he returns to the character in Web of Spider-Man with Al Milgrom inking, it almost seems like Milgrom drew the story himself.
Several more back-up stories were done around this character, including Mantlo’s Hulk Annual #10 and also going into the Spider-man Cosmic Adventures, a big crossover of all the spider-books in the 80s which also was part of the larger event, Acts of Vengeance. Here, Spider-man gets crazy cosmic powers which make him too powerful. It’s a lot of fun.
From that point forward the Uni-Power appeared in a few different spots, with a couple more Ditko-drawn shorts. There is a “Captain Universe: Power Unimaginable” TPB which captures most of these appearances — and having read the Cosmic Adventures of Spidey prior to this, I highly recommend getting this TPB to give an idea of what the power is before it hits Spider-Man. I wish I’d read this first, and the TPB is easily available used at a discount.
It’s nearly a “complete collection” of appearances up until 1995, though it’s missing a Captain Universe/X-Men one shot from that time period in addition to the Micronauts stories which can’t be reprinted due to copyright. The power returns later in a couple of shorts in the rebooted Amazing Fantasy Series (2004), followed by more one-shots, one of which appears in the X-23 Complete Collection Volume 1 (Captain Universe / X-23 #1). Roger Stern also brought the concept back to the Spider-line in the Brand New Day era for a couple of issues. Neat stuff!