Quasar (Wendell Vaughn)

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Quasar
Cover art for Annihilation: Nova #3
Art by Gabriele Dell'Otto
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance as Marvel Man: Captain America #217 (January, 1978)
as Quasar: Incredible Hulk #234
Created by Don Glut
Roy Thomas
John Buscema
In-story information
Alter ego Wendell Elvis Vaughn
Team affiliations The Avengers
Project: Pegasus
"Defenders for a Day"
S.H.I.E.L.D.
Star Masters
Annihilators
Notable aliases Marvel Boy, Marvel Man
Abilities Energy manipulation.
Teleportation.
Solid light constructs.
Flight

Quasar (Wendell Elvis Vaughn) is a fictional character, a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics Universe. He is one of Marvel's cosmic heroes, a character whose adventures frequently take him into outer space or other dimensions. However, Quasar deviates from the archetype of the noble, dauntless alien set by such Silver Age cosmic heroes as the Silver Surfer, Adam Warlock and Captain Mar-Vell in that he is an everyman. He starred in an eponymous monthly ongoing series written by Mark Gruenwald that ran for sixty issues beginning in 1989 and has served as a member of The Avengers.

Publication history[edit]

The character first appeared as Marvel Boy in Captain America #217 (January, 1978). He continued to make guest appearances in Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Marvel Two-in-One, and Avengers. He was revamped as Quasar by Mark Gruenwald,[1] and first appeared under this new name in Marvel Two-in-One #53.

Quasar received an eponymous series in October 1989, written by Mark Gruenwald and illustrated by Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi. The title crossed over with Infinity Gauntlet, Operation: Galactic Storm, and Infinity War.

Later, the New Universe's Star Brand was introduced into the Marvel Universe. Its presence precipitated into the Starblast crossover, which was intended to stir up interest in Quasar's solo series or a prospective cosmic team series starring Quasar, but it failed to do so. Quasar was cancelled at issue #60.

The character reappeared in Cosmic Powers Unlimited (1995), Star Masters (1996), Silver Surfer vol 3 #123, Avengers: Infinity (1999), Maximum Security (2000), and Fantastic Four #521-524 (2006).

Quasar appeared and died in the four-issue mini-series Annihilation: Nova (June-Sept. 2006). He appeared as a spirit in Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2007), by writer Christos Gage and penciller Mike Lilly.

A future version of the character was shown in the Nova annual for 2007.

An astral form of Quasar had a recurring role in Nova vol 4 beginning with issue #17, as the writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (known collectively as DnA) thought he was too useful a character to stay dead:

the writers felt Vaughn’s unique powers, never say die attitude, and everyman perspective made him too good of a character to stay dead. "His return was always on the cards because of his power set," DnA told CBR News. "We were just waiting for the best opportunity to fit it in as an organic part of the story. The Secret Invasion tie-in, and the return of Project Pegasus in particular, gave us that opportunity."[2]

The character regained a physical form in the Realm of Kings one-shot (2009) and played a role in The Thanos Imperative (2010). Quasar has assumed the leadership role of the titular team in Annihilators #1-4 (2011) and Annihilators: Earthfall (2011).

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origin and early career[edit]

Wendell Vaughn was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He graduated from S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. Although considered highly capable by his superiors, they nonetheless deem him unfit for field work, sensing that Vaughn lacked the necessary "killer instinct"—the will to win at all costs.[3]

His first assignment is security detail for a research facility where a team of scientists were performing experiments on the Quantum Bands taken from the deceased Crusader. A test pilot selected to wear the bands proves spectacularly successful at wielding them, but he perishes when the energy output reaches a critical mass beyond his control. Vaughn dons the bands when the criminal scientists AIM launch a full-scale assault on the facility. Using the bands' power to generate solid energy constructs, he repulses the attack. When the energy buildup begins to overwhelm him, he decides to simply relax and "go with the flow". To his surprise, the buildup abruptly dissipates. Vaughn realizes the key to wielding the bands is a flexible will, rather than an indomitable, uncompromising one. Ultimately, his lack of a killer instinct makes all the difference.[3]

Wendell Vaughn becomes a superhero, using the codename Marvel Boy in his first appearance alongside S.H.I.E.L.D.'s superhuman Super-Agents.[4] He later becomes Marvel Man,[volume & issue needed] and finally settles on Quasar.[volume & issue needed]

Alongside Captain America, the Falcon, and the Hulk, he battles Moonstone and the Corporation.[5] Later, as security chief of Project: Pegasus, he battles the original Deathlok, Nuklo, the Grapplers, and the Nth Man when they attack the facility.[6] Quasar later journeys with the Thing into an alternate reality.[7] His mind is temporarily taken over by the Serpent Crown.[8]

Protector of the Universe[edit]

Quasar journeys to Uranus, where the original Marvel Boy had received the bands. The bands' true nature and origins are revealed to him by the cosmic entity called Eon.[3] Eon explains the bands were intended to be worn by his agent, the Protector of the Universe (previously the late Captain Mar-Vell). Quasar is offered the role and accepts. As a result, his mind is opened to the true extent of the bands' power, including how to use the bands to teleport via a dimension called the Quantum Zone. He also battles Deathurge.[9] After returning to Earth, he resumes his role as a superhero and assists the Avengers in battle against Super-Nova.[10] He is inducted into the Avengers shortly after.[11]

Quasar meets Uatu the Watcher.[12] He encounters the Stranger, and solves the Watcher's "Oblivion Plague."[13]

Quasar #32 (March 1992). Cover art by Greg Capullo and Harry Candelario.

After a falling-out with both his estranged father and Eon, he quits his role as Protector of the Universe. During this time Maelstrom, the "Cosmic Assassin," kills both Quasar and Eon. However, Quasar is recreated in an energy form by the cosmic being Infinity and battles Maelstrom and Oblivion. Quasar saves the universe from collapse. Maelstrom is destroyed by the Quantum-bands and Quasar resurrects himself.[14] Quasar fights Thanos at Eon's funeral.[15] Eon is reincarnated in the form of its newborn offspring, Epoch.[16]

When a stargate being used by the Shi'ar during the Kree-Shi'ar War threatens to destroy Earth's sun, Quasar is able to undo the damage with the help of Binary.[17]

During the Infinity War, Quasar travels to the Dimension of Manifestations to gather intelligence. With the aid of the Contemplator, he discovers the cosmic being Eternity in a catatonic state.[18] He leaves the dimension to join with his fellow superheroes. Quasar attempts to use the near-omnipotent Ultimate Nullifier against the godlike villain Magus, but Magus uses the Infinity Gauntlet to turn the weapon against Quasar, wiping him from existence.[19] Quasar is able to resurrect himself through means of the Star Brand, which he had acquired during a trip to the New Universe prior to the Infinity War.[20] When the Presence threatens to kill his loved ones, Quasar fakes his death and leaves Earth.[21]

Avengers Deep-Space/Annihilation[edit]

Quasar helps defend the universe from aliens called Infinities.[22] When Earth is threatened by Ego the Living Planet, Quasar absorbs Ego's essence and exiles himself into space, for fear of Ego expanding to planet-size.[23]

Quasar helps to operate an Avengers deep-space sensing station with the support of Living Lightning and Monica Rambeau,[24] and then becomes envolved in Kang's War.[25] He later assists the Fantastic Four in a battle with Galactus.[26] When the Annihilation Wave strikes, Quasar and Nova try to stop it. Quasar is killed by Annihilus.[27]

Wendell is restored to life in a Quantum Energy form thanks to the scientists of Project Pegasus.[28]

Realm of Kings[edit]

Wendell volunteers to scout the rip in spacetime caused by the War of Kings. During the trip, he regains physical form and discovers an alternate universe planning to invade his universe.[29] Trying to return to his reality, Quasar encounters an Imperial Guard exploration ship.[30] Quasar joins Nova's team to resist the invasion.[31]

In an effort to prevent further galactic catastrophes, Quasar joins the Annihilators.[32] The team protects Galador from an invasion of the Dire Wraiths and brings an end to the generations long war between the two worlds.[33] The Annihilators learn of an attempt to revive the Magus by the Universal Church of Truth, and they prevent his resurrection with the aid of the Avengers.[34]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Wendell Vaughn is an athletic man with no inherent superhuman powers. He received extensive training in hand-to-hand combat, and moderate experience in the same. He is an expert in all basic espionage skills, as a S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy graduate.[35]

Quantum Bands[edit]

Quasar's powers are derived from the pair of Quantum Bands fused to his wrists (or more specifically, from the seven gems on each of the bands).[36] Quasar's quantum-bands are permanently affixed to his wrists.[37] He can make light bend around them so they appear to be invisible, they are still tangible. They are linked to their wearer's nervous system and grant tremendous powers of energy manipulation. The Quantum Bands are composed of unknown materials and were originally created by Eon to be worn by his designated Protector of the Universe.[38] They were discovered by the Uranian Eternals in a weapons depot left by the alien Kree and brought to Earth by the deluded Crusader that believed himself to be the 1950s Marvel Boy.[39]

Foremost amongst these powers is the ability to tap into a limitless source of potential energy called the Quantum Zone. Quasar can project quantum energy in the form of devastating beams of force or heat, but more commonly employs them to fashion incredibly durable constructs of solid energy in any shape he can visualize, such as containment spheres, pincers or most commonly as a personal force field. Once they are formed he no longer has to concentrate on them to keep them intact.[35]

The Quantum Bands can also exert control over many other types of energy that are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. He can siphon energy from virtually any power source. For example, Quasar once tapped into a sun and caused it to emit an enormous solar flare. He can also absorb and redirect the cosmic energy wielded by such powerful beings as the Silver Surfer[citation needed], Jack of Hearts,[40] Adam Warlock,[41] Thanos,[citation needed] Phoenix[citation needed] and the Watchers,[citation needed] siphoning their power and using it to augment his quantum energy. Forms of energy the Quantum Bands cannot control include magic and the Darkforce.[42]

Although he cannot overtly affect psionic energy, Quasar has programmed his bands to render him impervious to protect his mind from psionic attack or takeover. Even Moondragon and the Overmind proved unable to overcome this defense. This however does not protect him from magical forms of compulsion.

Quasar can create apertures into and out of the Quantum Zone, thus allowing passage through its infinite, featureless expanse. He mainly uses this ability to traverse interstellar distances in a manner similar to hyperspace travel. The effect is essentially a form of teleportation, which Quasar refers to as a Quantum Jump. A Quantum Jump has a destructive side effect on the local environment, violently upheaving gravity and tearing holes in the atmosphere (on Earth, it would damage the ozone layer), so Quasar initially refrained from using it except when in space or in dire circumstances. However, he eventually discovered that he could prevent this effect by surrounding himself with a barrier of solid energy before jumping. Quasar can also shunt other matter into the Quantum Zone provided that he's in physical contact with it.

The Quantum Bands enable their wearer to fly by manipulating gravitons. The maximum flight speed he can attain is unknown, but he made a trip from Earth to Uranus in approximately four years flying non-stop (this was before he learned how to quantum jump). That would require a constant speed of roughly 50,000 miles per hour (80,000 km/h). This doesn't take into account the velocity he can achieve in a short burst of acceleration.

The quantum band gems possess some capability for analyzing and processing information as if they were extremely advanced computers. This allows Quasar to navigate the Quantum Zone and the depths of space. The gems are able to detect, analyze, and track energy emissions across vast distances. They can also "program" his Quantum energy to register and react to certain preset conditions. For instance, at one time Quasar had the Earth surrounded with an invisible lattice-work of energy that was designed to act as a global alert system against potential extraterrestrial threats. The energy field could detect any surges of exotic energy emanating from the planet's surface as well as if any object larger than a micrometeorite passed through it; in either case, the field would react by transmitting an alert signal to the Quantum Bands.

Quasar has a direct link to Epoch through his bands, which gives him ready access to her nascent omniscience.

The bands contain a finite amount of energy which will drain away if they are isolated from their power source (as yet unexplained) and that they also remain linked in some way to their former users.[43] Wendell later returned as a being of pure quantum energy, apparently due to his link to the bands despite his physical death.[44]

Star Brand[edit]

While he possessed the power of the Star Brand, Quasar gained the abilities of flight, superhuman strength and resilience. He also was able to regenerate his entire body from minute remains and did not need to eat, drink or breathe. However, virtually all of the energy derived from the Star Brand was depleted not long after he gave it away. The Living Tribunal later stated that Quasar's body retains only an insignificant trace amount of energy.[45]

Cosmic awareness[edit]

Quasar also briefly possessed the same powers of cosmic awareness that Eon granted to Kree soldier Mar-Vell (later known as the original Captain Marvel). By simply concentrating for a moment, he could gain complete knowledge about virtually anything in the universe. It's unclear why Eon didn't bestow cosmic awareness on Quasar permanently, but being nigh-omniscient himself, he likely determined that it would have been detrimental to Quasar's psyche (as it was to that of Genis-Vell). The fact that he received the awareness while his mind was inhabiting an energy construct, and he did not demonstrate it upon returning to his body, may also have something to do with it.[citation needed]

Standard Operating Procedure[edit]

While Quasar's powers are quite powerful and diverse, since he doesn't make it a habit of using all of his power to destroy his opponent, it is important to note his standard operating procedure:[46]

  • Contain. Quasar encounters someone who looks menacing. Immediate reaction: whip up a containment vessel around him to prevent further danger.
  • Drain. If it appears this menace has energy-based powers, Quasar taps those powers and drains them off. The length of time this takes depends on the extent of the menace's power. He cannot do this to persons whose energies are outside the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Attack. Clobber the guy with a quantum-construct, be it a personal weapon (Quasar prefers nunchakus) or something big like a giant hammer or anvil.

Other versions[edit]

Captain Universe Quasar[edit]

Main article: Captain Universe

After a failed war with the Elder God Set and the deaths of every hero on Earth save The Silver Surfer, Quasar was merged with Captain Universe to form a super-being that was capable of capturing and defeating Set. Using the Eye of Agamotto, Quasar trapped himself and Set within its pocket dimension.[47]

Once, during a trip through alternate realities, the Earth-616 version of Quasar viewed his Captain Universe-enhanced counterpart and Set battling each other.[48]

Guardians of the Galaxy[edit]

Tricked by Eon's evil 'child' Era, Quasar jumps to a sentient nexus of energy and is killed. He ends up in the 'White Room', where all Quantum Band wielders go after death. Eon is entrapped with him, in the form of a centerpiece on the Room's table.[volume & issue needed]

Her, now called Kismet, teams up with the long-lost son she had with Quasar, Starhawk. They visit Quasar's grave and learn what Era has done. With the aid of the Hawk-God Starhawk worships, the two vow to stop Era.[volume & issue needed]

House of M Quasar[edit]

Main article: House of M

Wendell Vaughn briefly appeared for one panel as a scientist during the alternate time line of caused by Wanda Maximoff. There is no indication that he possesses the quantum bands in this universe.[49]

Last Avengers Story[edit]

Quasar briefly mentioned as having been driven insane in Last Avengers Story #1, but he does not appear.

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In Marvel Zombies: Dead Days Quasar is one of the heroes who attended the briefing given by Nick Fury to defend their world from the zombie plague.[volume & issue needed] A zombified Quasar is featured in the 2009 limited series Marvel Zombies Return. He is part of a super-powered zombie force steadily consuming this dimension's Earth. This includes the Super-Skrull, Namor, Moon-Knight and Thundra. His group destroys many of the somewhat heroic zombies featured in Marvel Zombies 2. Quasar murders his reality's human Kitty Pryde by holding her underwater. Quasar's team of murderous zombies is eliminated by a group of somewhat heroic zombies that had developed a nanite delivery system. [50]

Ultimate Quasar[edit]

Although Quasar has not appeared as a superhero in the Ultimate Marvel setting, S.H.I.E.L.D agent Wendell Vaughn is the head of security for the top secret Project Pegasus in Devil's Point, Wyoming. He first appears in Ultimate Power #1, when Project Pegasus is attacked by the Serpent Squad.

In other media[edit]

Toys[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buttery, Jarrod (February 2014). "Hulk Smash!: The Incredible Hulk in the 1970s". Back Issue (70) (TwoMorrows Publishing). p. 16. 
  2. ^ Quantum Leap: DnA Talk "Nova", Comic Book Resources, September 25th, 2008
  3. ^ a b c Quasar #1 (1989)
  4. ^ Captain America #217
  5. ^ Captain America #229-230; Incredible Hulk #232-234
  6. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #53-58
  7. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #73
  8. ^ Marvel Team-Up Annual #5
  9. ^ Quasar #2
  10. ^ Avengers #302-303
  11. ^ Avengers Annual #18
  12. ^ Quasar #6
  13. ^ Quasar #15-16
  14. ^ Quasar #19-25
  15. ^ Quasar #26
  16. ^ Quasar #27
  17. ^ Quasar #33-35 (Mar - May 1992)
  18. ^ Quasar #36 (Jun 1992)
  19. ^ Quasar #40 (Oct 1992)
  20. ^ Quasar #31 (February 1992)
  21. ^ Quasar #60
  22. ^ Avengers Infinity #1-4 (2000)
  23. ^ Maximum Security #1-3 (Jan 2001)
  24. ^ Avengers vol. 3 #38
  25. ^ Avengers vol. 3 #46-55
  26. ^ Fantastic Four #520-524 (2006)
  27. ^ Annihilation: Nova #3-4, Aug-Sept 2006
  28. ^ Nova (vol. 4) #17
  29. ^ Realm of Kings one-shot
  30. ^ Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3
  31. ^ The Thanos Imperative #1-6 (July - Dec 2010)
  32. ^ The Thanos Imperative: Devastation (Jan 2011)
  33. ^ Annihilators #1-4 (2011)
  34. ^ Annihilators: Earthfall (Sept - Dec 2011)
  35. ^ a b Quasar #1 (1989)
  36. ^ Annihilation Conquest:Quasar #1-4 (2007)
  37. ^ Quasar #23 (1991)
  38. ^ Quasar #2-3 (1989)
  39. ^ Fantastic Four #164-165
  40. ^ Quasar #19 (1991)
  41. ^ Quasar #38 (1992)
  42. ^ Quasar #2 (1989)
  43. ^ Annihilation Conquest:Quasar #1-4 (2008)
  44. ^ Nova vol 4 #17 (2009)
  45. ^ Quasar #58
  46. ^ Quantum Zone: Everything There Is To Know About Quasar's Quantum-Bands by Mark Gruenwald
  47. ^ What If (vol. 2) #25
  48. ^ Quasar #30
  49. ^ House of M[volume & issue needed]
  50. ^ Marvel Zombies: Return #1-5 (2009)
  51. ^ More Galactic Guardian Heroclix Spoilers, Heroclixworld.com

External links[edit]