Issue(s): Quasar #17
"Virtually no point" and the Elders of the Universe go hand in hand, and the race is organized by the Runner.
The speedsters include Makkari, the Squadron Supreme version of the Whizzer, Quicksilver, Super Sabre, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Black Racer, and Speed Demon.
Some of the heroes show up with friends (Makkri -> Quasar, Whizzer -> Dr. Spectrum, Quicksilver -> Scarlet Witch), and it looks like Black Racer has brought Fer-De-lance (next to Scarlet Witch).
Which makes sense. The villains would want back-up in case any of the heroes tried to arrest them. And why don't the heroes try to arrest them? Maybe they don't recognize them as villains, although i think of both Quasar and Captain Marvel as people that have every villain's Avengers file memorized.
There's at least one more person standing in the background.
The Runner has a tube constructed by a previously unheard of Elder called the Architect that will serve as the race track. It goes from Earth to the moon.
And off we go.
Regular SuperMegaMonkey readers know about my griping about Captain Marvel vs. Quasar and may think that the scene of her getting disqualified would upset me. But no. She didn't belong in this race at all. She can fly at lightspeed (or near lightspeed nowadays) but she's not a speedster like the others. The Runner invited her to race but said that her feet had to touch the ground at regular intervals, but that's not the way she's used to moving. I think it was totally fine and fun for her to be included, but i also think it's fine for her to get disqualified this way.
While the others are racing, another participant suddenly shows up, wearing colors that may be familiar to DC readers.
Even though he starts from way behind (but not the starting line; he starts at the 20,000 km point), he winds up overtaking everyone else. Makkari, even though he was dealing with a bum calf from overtraining, comes in second.
Just in case anyone out there is even more DC deficient than i am, "Buried Alien" is a nod to Barry Allen, the civilian name for DC's main Flash character up until the point that he died while running in their big Crisis event. I think the implication is that he came from Crisis to appear here. "Buried Alien" (who will be called Fastforward in his next appearance) is taken away by the Runner to participate in a galactic version of the race. Quasar consoles his friend Makkari, noting that the "prize" for winning didn't sound so great and that Makkari still qualifies as the fastest person on Earth.
Also in this issue, it doesn't really register with Quasar that something is wrong with his dad.
And Quasar learns that his employee H.D. Steckley went into his office in the previous arc, but he doesn't notice anything when he goes to talk to Eon. However, after Quasar leaves, we see Eon quickly swallow one of her shoes, implying that he also ate her!
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: In this issue, Quasar, Makkari and Squadron Supreme return from a "several-day sojourn" into space during Quasar #13-16, so they shouldn't appear elsewhere in between. This should take place after Avengers West Coast #63 when Scarlet Witch is up and about again. And this should probably take place before the Serpent Society is all arrested in Captain America #382. Finally, Quasar arranges for the Squadron Supreme to meet with Mr. Fantastic at 10am this coming Saturday. Mr. Fantastic doesn't actually appear on panel, but since Quasar must have talked to him during the course of this issue, i've included him as a character appearing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showArcanna, Black Racer, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Doctor Spectrum, Eon, Fastforward, Fer-De-Lance, Haywire, Hyperion, Kayla Ballantine, Kenjiro Tanaka, Lady Lark, Makkari, Mr. Fantastic, Power Princess, Quasar, Quicksilver, Runner, Scarlet Witch, Shape, Speed Demon, Super Sabre, Whizzer (Squadron Supreme)
I've been waiting for this issue to be reviewed for a number of reasons.
When I read this in real-time, I didn't get that reference at all. And I was familiar with the "Flash from the "Crisis" event.
But, here's my main problem with this story -
"Even though he starts from way behind, he winds up overtaking everyone else. Makkari, even though he was dealing with a bum calf from overtraining, comes in second."
It never seemed fair that he could miss a significant part of the race and still be able to participate in it. It's like someone running the 400 meter sprint and someone else comes in halfway through and wins the race. Of course he has a better chance of winning. He didn't have to go through the first half which may have exhausted him to a higher degree. Even if "Buried Alien" would have been able to beat Makkari fairly, this wasn't the way to prove it to us.
Posted by: clyde | July 10, 2015 3:15 PM
A few years later, when Kurt Busiek was assembling a new Avengers team, he hinted in message boards that one of the new team members would be someone who first appeared outside of regular continuity*, and if you look back at the guesses people were making, "Buried Alien" was frequently guessed. Which is completely ridiculous...they're not going to put Flash in the Avengers, people of the mid-90s.
Posted by: Andrew F | July 10, 2015 4:44 PM
Pertinent is the fact that when Quasar indicates that "Buried Alien" is an extradimensional, he compares him to his analogue, the Whizzer.
Whizzer...with a yellow costume. Oh, the humanity.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | July 10, 2015 5:49 PM
Eon considers Runner "one of the more harmless Elders". Yeah, aside from the fact that he tried to destroy the universe.
Posted by: Michael | July 10, 2015 5:57 PM
Clyde, I agree with your assessment with problems in the outcome of the race, especially as it is establishing "Buried Alien" as a character for the first time in the Marvel Universe.
However, it does highlight what I think is one of Gruenwald's strengths as a writer: that he has characters face off with notable adversaries occasionally when one or another character is not at their peak, often due to injury. He usually establishes the injury well in advance of the fight or competition, and allows it to have some influence on the outcome.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 10, 2015 9:25 PM
Was there any story reason why Northstar and/or Aurora were not available to be part of the race? Until seeing the chronology set up here, I had always sort of assumed this story took place during the period that Northstar was off in Asgard thinking he was a fairy...but obviously that wasn't the case after all.
Posted by: Dermie | July 11, 2015 12:35 AM
"'Virtually no point' and the Elders of the Universe go hand in hand"
Posted by: BU | July 11, 2015 11:25 AM
I liked the way Busiek dealt with the "who is the fastest?" question in Avengers/JLA. On the DC Earth, The Flash easily outruns all of Marvel speedsters because of his connection to the Speed Force, but in the Marvel Universe, there is no Speed Force, so he can't even compete with the local runners there. That was a nice way of showing respect to the most iconic speedster hero, while at the same time not making the Marvel heroes look like losers.
Posted by: Tuomas | July 12, 2015 5:12 PM
It's a useless issue, but a fun tribute to the Flash.
I like the statement that there are a thousand or so Elders Eon is aware of. It preserves the concept for any number of other Elders should a writer want to create a new one.
Posted by: Chris | July 12, 2015 6:40 PM
I remember reading the Flash comic at this time and someone wrote in to point out this issue.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | July 14, 2015 11:08 PM
What speedsters came in third, fourth, fifth, etc?
Posted by: AbeLincoln1865 | July 15, 2015 10:58 AM
We're not shown who crosses the finish line after Makkari.
Makkari and the Whizzer were in the lead before Buried Alien came along, with Makkari eventually pushing past the Whizzer. So the Whizzer probably would have come in third but it's not shown. It looks like Quicksilver was next, and then Speed Demon. Super Sabre conked out a little earlier, and Black Racer before that. That's not to say that any one of them could have found a second wind before it was all over, though.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 17, 2015 1:31 PM
This issue kept me collecting Quasar for lot longer than I would have. Great concept with a nice tribute. I have to agree with Michael that it was jarring seeing the Runner act so civilly after his SS exploits. Maybe after Thanos Quest he decided he would be better off on his own and being a decent fellow.
Posted by: Grom | August 13, 2015 10:07 AM
By this time, we would have already had the new origin for the Flash, wherein rather than disintegrating in Crisis, he had gone beyond the speed of light, gone back in time and become the lightning bolt that has caused his origin in the first place. So, it begs the question (as it would, later when he was brought back at DC), how do you pull him out of a loop in which he becomes his own origin?
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 28, 2015 9:32 PM
You placed this story just after Speed Demon broke his leg in Marvel Tales 242. Isn't better to place it before MT 242?
Posted by: Midnighter | January 22, 2016 11:47 AM
Agree, thanks Midnighter.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 22, 2016 2:25 PM
FNORD - can you note this on the shifting log on the forum for future reference?
Posted by: clyde | January 22, 2016 3:41 PM
Done. Thanks for the reminder. (Next time, can you remind me in that forum thread, since it's kind of an administrative thing that people that read regular comments might not care about?)
Posted by: fnord12 | January 22, 2016 3:46 PM
That one thought balloon of Makkari during the race make no sense. In the second panel, he refers to "the two I've already overtaken," yet we see four speedsters ahead of him and the only two not shown (Super Sabre and Speed Demon) and later shown to still be ahead of him.
Also, maybe the prison stints did affect Speed Demon, because shouldn't he have about the exact same top speed as the Whizzer? Here, he's almost dead last while the Whizzer was in second place before FastForward showed up.
Posted by: Dan H. | January 22, 2016 11:40 PM
Well, the Squadron Sinister version of Hyperion was shown to be slightly less than equal to the Squadron Supreme version, so it stands to reason that the same would be true of Speed Demon.
Posted by: AF | January 23, 2016 5:00 AM
Based on what's established in Kurt Busiek's later "Avengers/JLA" crossover (which is canon, and takes place in the 616 universe), "Buried Alien" can't be Barry Allen. In that story Flash (Wally West, the guy who replaced Barry after his death) finds out that he doesn't have his superspeed in the Marvel universe, because the Speed Force (the elemental force which powers DC speedsters) doesn't exist there. So if "Buried" was indeed universe-hopping Barry, he wouldn't have his speed either.
Posted by: Tuomas | August 30, 2017 6:12 AM
Of course, when this story was published, the Speed Force hadn't even been established yet...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | August 30, 2017 2:22 PM
Of course, Geoff Johns's retcon that Barry Allen generates the Speed Force across time by running would probably rescue the whole thing.
But...nahhhhhh. It's a cute bit in a cute story, and it's not worth much more thought. It is interesting to see just how many super-speedsters there are int he Marvel Universe at this point, and more will be added later in books like Silver Sable and Dan Slott's She-Hulk
Why wasn't Whirlwind included?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 30, 2017 5:49 PM
Comments are now closed.
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