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Quasar #53: Review

Dec 1993
Mark Gruenwald, John Heebink

Story Name:

To the 5th power

Review & Comments

4 stars

Quasar #53 Review by (April 30, 2023)
Quasar's past guises are sort of as described in the comic:-
He was a SHIELD Agent, shown here in the usual jump-suit, when he got the Quantum Bands but he'd already got the 2nd costume as SHIELD Super-Agent Marvel Boy in his 1st app in Captain America #217.
He became Security Chief of Project Pegasus as Quasar in Marvel Two-In-One #53, still in that 2nd costume.
He actually got the 3rd costume in Avengers #302 before Eon made him Protector Of The Universe, successor to Captain Marvel, in our #2.
He got the 4th costume in #19 at start of the 7-issue story that would make him an Avatar Of Infinity. And then got his current costume at the end of that in #25.

Adam Warlock's past selves seen here are:-
The effectively naked Him started from Fantastic Four #66.
High Evolutionary gave him his 1st proper costume and the name Adam Warlock in Marvel Premiere #1.
The 2nd costume is courtesy of Jim Starlin in Strange Tales #180.
The 3rd costume dates from his rebirth in the Infinity Gauntlet event.
He started using his latest costume at the start of the Infinity Crusade event.

The epilogue leads into the Starblast event based around the eponymous 4-issue series and our #54-56, plus Secret Defenders #11, Namor The Sub-Mariner #47-48 and Fantastic Four #385-386.

Warlock will have a small part in Starblast #1 with Moondragon and Pip The Troll and then a cameo in our next issue with Pip where he seems to decide that the Blood And Thunder event with Thor and Silver Surfer is more important. So he and the Infinity Watch don't appear in the rest of Starblast.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Quasar #53 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) has brought his girlfriend Kayla Ballantine to Project Pegasus to be examined because of the energy and powers she has gained from the Starbrand on the back of her scalp which he tells Arcanna (from the Squadron Supreme's universe) he brought from another Earth (in the New Universe in #31). They want to know if the Brand can be removed. But Kayla panics and her energy wrecks the scientific equipment, so Wendell takes her out of the exam room and leaves her to change back into her own clothes. He refuses to let Project Director Myron Wilburn run any more tests. Arcanna offers to mystically calm Kayla so she can accept the tests but Quasar declines. Then the duo say goodbye to their friends in the Squadron and leave.

As they fly away Kayla worries that she'll never be able to get rid of the Brand. She reminds us that she did manage to give it to her roommate Holly Steckley (#49) who turned out to really be a Deviant named Ereshkigal, but Quasar defeated her (#50) and he gave it to the Living Tribunal. However it returned to Kayla.

But they decide to forget about such things for an evening and go out to dinner. When they meet at the restaurant she's used her power to grow her hair long again. She's started to change her mind and thinks it would be good to keep the Brand and learn how to use it for good. She could join him when he's off being Protector Of The Universe. Then they both agree that wouldn't be the best idea.

Kayla suddenly has another idea of how to get rid of the thing, and she leads Quasar to Monster Island to meet Moondragon. The telepath admits that she planted that idea in Kayla's mind because she wants to see the changes in her since they last met (#26). Wendell refuses to let Heather Douglas mindprobe her but Kayla says it's OK. But then neither of them can be sure MD didn't make her say that. The arrogant Titanian claims it's in Earth's best interests that she's allowed to determine whether Kayla's up to handling such power. Wendell accuses Heather of being mentally unstable. Moony replies that she's 1 of the Infinity Watch, the guardians of the Infinity Gems, entrusted with the Mind Gem on her brow. And she mind-blasts him with it. But she's also summoned Adam Warlock, the leader of the Watch, who blasts him with his Soul Gem making him disappear.

Quasar finds himself facing Warlock in what Adam describes as the psychic plane. Q claims that Warlock only beat him during Infinity War because he was distracted (by Contemplator in #38). Adam responds that he knew the original Captain Marvel, Quasar's predecessor as Protector Of The Universe, and wants to see if he's a worthy successor. Q's reply is to manifest a quantum construct around W's head which will remove the Soul Gem from his brow. But instead 4 more Adam Warlocks appear who say that they are Adam's past selves, and each of the 5 of them will give him a separate test of his worthiness. And a multi-Soul Gem blast splits off 4 other selves from Wendell which he recognises as SHIELD Agent, Project Pegasus Security Chief, early POTU and Avatar Of Infinity. So now each Warlock can test a different Vaughn, in time order.

1st up is Him and the SHIELD Agent. Wendell is put in the situation where he's gone back in time and come across a child who he knows will grow up to slaughter millions. Will he kill the child. Wendell answers yes.
The next scenario is in space where a giant asteroid is about to wipe out intelligent life on a planet. Meanwhile his best friend is about to die because the helmet of his space suit is fractured. Vaughn saves the planet.
Next Maelstrom is menacing the Galaxy and Thanos offers a deal to help, but Quasar knows that Thanos is a worse menace. Wendell says he'd find another way to stop Maelstrom.
Dilemma 4 has Quasar discovering that the entity that gave him his Quantum Bands is evil and gains power each time the Bands are used. Quasar would kill him and give up the Bands.
Lastly Eternity and Infinity determine that he must die to save the universe. Wendell says he would submit to their judgement.
The recombined Warlock says that Captain Marvel answered the same to 4 of the 5 questions, but he won't say which. And now he returns them to reality a few seconds after they left ...

... where Wendell sees Moondragon mindprobing Kayla. Heather says she's finished and Kayla says she's OK. Moony says she's determined that the Starbrand is from outside this multiverse, but that Kayla is as safe a guardian as the Watch are of the Infinity Gems. But even *she* couldn't figure out how to safely remove it. So Quasar and Kayla take their leave of Monster Island.

In an epilogue a starship appears behind the Moon. It's boss Skeletron is informed that there's a Shi'ar craft nearby. Skeletron orders them to remain hidden for now but soon they will assault Earth.

John Heebink
Ralph Cabrera
Paul Becton
John Heebink (Cover Penciler)
Ralph Cabrera (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Janice Chiang.
Editor: Mike Rockwitz. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Wendell Vaughn)

Plus: Kayla Ballantine, Moonglow (Arcanna Jones), Myron Wilburn, Squadron Supreme.

> Quasar: Book info and issue index

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