Issue(s): Quasar #4
I thought "mudslinging extradimensional" was a reference to Set, and i was like, "Pffft! Just an extradimensional Elder God! Totally a local threat, since he's only an Elder God of this planet. I was told i get to be protector of the universe.", but as Michael notes in the comments, that's really a reference to Quagmire from the Squadron Supreme universe from an eight page Marvel Comics Presents story, and Quasar has a right to be upset about that.
But before Quasar can do protecting of any kind, he's got a day job to deal with. Right now he doesn't have any customers, or employees except for Kayla Ballantine. He clearly doesn't have an HR department to warn him that telling your secretary that you like how she dresses might be inappropriate.
After a scene like that, i am left wondering what the point of Quasar's day job is, both in story and as a narrative device. You'd think being Protector of the Universe would be a full time occupation that doesn't leave a lot of room for running your own business, and he's an Avenger besides that (which means, among other things, that he gets a stipend so he doesn't need to worry about making a living). On top of that, Mark Gruenwald doesn't really seem interested in developing out this part of the story. Did Kayla spend 8 hours coming up with a list of office supplies? What did Wendell do all day? I'm genuinely interested; if this is going to be a part of Quasar's set-up i'd like to see how he builds his business. Also, at most start-ups you don't work 9-5 and your first employee usually isn't your secretary.
Anyway, when Kayla leaves, Wendell goes back to being Quasar and visits Eon (in the closet at the office). Quasar has the idea to search out any aliens already on Earth to see if they are the threat that Eon has detected. Eon thinks that is a great idea and pulls up a map showing all the aliens on Earth. Eon also notes that the map would have been a lot fuller if it wasn't for ROM having wiped out all the Dire Wraiths (the Dire Straits joke should have been left on the cutting room floor, though).
I don't know how much it's worth analyzing the map. I wonder if the star in Australia represents Longshot (he's more extradimensional, right?)? Does one of the ones in the water represent the long forgotten Tamara Rahn and another the presumed dead Marrina? Is Eon's hand covering up Lockheed in the UK? Is one of the Great Lakes Avengers really an alien?
Anyway, Quasar picks one of the stars (weirdly, not a nearby one, but one all the way on the other end of the country, and flies off). As he's leaving, he wonders why Eon himself didn't suggest this alien locating approach if he had the power to project that map all along.
Quasar doesn't have immediate luck with the first alien, so he moves on to the next one. But he actually does attract the attention of the first alien.
The second alien turns out to be Aquarian, who he knows from his Project Pegasus days where Aquarian was originally Wundarr. Aquarian is leading a little hippie circle in meditation preparing for the Age of Aquarius.
Aquarian projects a null-field that interferes with Quasar's powers, but Aquarian can keep Quasar afloat on his own, and we'll also see that Aquarian can pull in the null-field closer to himself if he needs to. For now, though, we see the first alien that was following Quasar, and it turns out to be Quantum, from Steve Englehart's silly West Coast Avengers story with the four fundamental forces.
Quantum wonders if either Quasar or Aquarian are the same race as him, and he duplicates himself and attacks to find out. I love his Energize! Actualize! Quantumize! chant.
Here's where Aquarian pulls in his null-field.
Quasar's "Rock and Roll!" is much less cool than "Energize! Actualize! Quantumize!".
Quantum attacks Quasar and Aquarian while talking to them in his own language, which neither recognize at first.
But Aquarian starts to realize that he understands it. Meanwhile, Quasar contacts Eon to get him to call up info on Quantum, and Eon tells him about the West Coast Avengers' encounter. That time, the Avengers were able to stop Quantum with smoke, but this time cutting Quantum off from the sun doesn't accomplish anything (it will turn out that this is because Quantum let himself get defeated by the Avengers since he found out that Graviton had nothing for him). By then Aquarian is able to communicate with Quantum.
It turns out they are both Supermans (the name Dakkamite comes from the original Steve Gerber introduction of Wundarr, and is derived from the Daxamites of DC).
This would all seem to be a good thing, until it comes out that Aquarian is the original Dakkamite that came to Earth, since he's the son of a traitor.
I don't know if this is a case of mistaken identity or not. Wundarr/Aquarian's father was named Hektu, not Zeneg, in the origin story in Fear #17.
As for Quantum, this is not the origin Steve Engelhart had in mind, since he had Quantum coming from the sun itself to represent one of the four fundamental forces. But this is exactly what the Quasar series is all about: poking at and consolidating some of the weirder elements of the Marvel universe, and it's fun to see Aquarian and Quantum connected even if it does mean yet another Superman-ish character in the Marvel universe.
Quasar takes care of Quantum by blowing his mind and mine with some quantum science.
Aquarian isn't so sure that what Quasar did was human, and he offers to have Quantum hang out with him in his null-field where he'll be normal. But Quantum declines and flies off.
Quasar also leaves, wondering whatever happened to the rest of Quantum's platoon.
Solidly fun. What Mark Gruenwald misses out on, similar to his Captain America run, is building out a human interest side to go along with the cosmic adventure. Even Quasar's acquaintance with Aquarian is kind of lifeless, like, "Yes, we have met before.". But the cosmic adventure and the obscure characters are fun.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: As Michael notes in the comments, Quasar goes directly from this book to Avengers #311.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The "mudslinging extradimensional" is Quagmire, from Marvel Comics Presents 29. That's what you get for saving Marvel Comics Presents for last. But who can blame you for putting off slogging through Panther's Quest?
Posted by: Michael | November 5, 2014 8:21 PM
Argh, why was Marvel giving up on footnotes at this point?! Thanks, Michael.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 5, 2014 9:42 PM
Is that Stephanie and Charlene from DP7 jogging that Quasar asks about aliens?
Posted by: Mark Black | November 6, 2014 4:40 PM
I think Quasar's involvement with his business ends up being a weakness of the title. While I am big on supporting casts, I don't feel this was the right one for Quasar.
As others have mentioned, Quasar is basically Green Lantern without the GL Corps. As Protector of the Universe, he has a big job to do. Most of his adventures should not be on Earth, but in the cosmos - perhaps on alien worlds instead of outer space, but away from Earth. If he's on Earth all the time, how can he be doing his job?
I think the various Green Lanterns having jobs on Earth being the same way. What does it add to them? None of these characters need to earn a living - their powers will enable them to eat, have shelter, be clothed in a way that eliminates their NEED for a paycheck.
This is a very by-the-numbers approach. I think what would have worked better would be:
1) Q has no secret identity. He doesn't even wear a mask anyway. Just let it be open like the FF.
2) His supporting cast should include people whose work on Earth makes sense in regards to his role. Keep his dad. Have a science professor at a university, a graduate student radio astronomer, scientists from his days at Project: Pegasus, STARCORE, maybe someone from the military, SHIELD, or someone who fought in the Wraith War. They could all be ordinary people, but they'd have a real role to play in the book. He could even keep someone like Kayla Ballantine around as someone's secretary, friend, or the aforementioned grad student.
3) Let him be a traditional superhero on multiple planets out there. Set stories, but on one of the Skrull, Kree, or Shi'Ar colonies (or any of the non-imperial alien races). Let's have reaction shots from the rulers of those places as to this human who isn't fighting them, but helping their people. It would make otherwise pedestrian superhero fights more interesting.
4) I'd minimize events on Earth to a handful like this issue's investigation of Quantum, or his role in the Avengers mag. Get his butt in space as much as possible. It will make his encounters with an Earthbound supporting cast more interesting, which in turn will make quasar a more interesting character.
Posted by: Chris | December 16, 2014 9:28 PM
That map really could have been interesting, but I think you're right not to dwell on it - it's clearly disappointing.
I liked Quantum a lot better in his first appearance when we couldn't understand him, even if 1 - he could understand English when spoken to him by Graviton and Greer and 2 - Graviton could somehow understand him.
Just realized an advantage that comics are written in all caps. RI just looks like RI in all caps. ri looks kind of like an m. In other words, every time I saw the word "Aquarian", I kept looking for an orange-suited Atlantean.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 13, 2015 12:48 PM
I think there was a lost opportunity later on in the series to bring back Quantum. He's a powerful enough foe, decent costume, and an intriguing origin (despite being derivative from Superman) that he could have made a good recurring villain as part of Quasar's rogues gallery. "Kryptonians as militarists" angle and the nature of the experiment was different enough that Quantum could have become a good character on his own. And it eventually could have lead to interesting stories on Dakkam itself.
I think of one Gruenwald's mistakes is that everyone Quasar fought was kind of one and done, and he didn't build a recurring rogues gallery. I think if a few of the best villains reappeared and became Q's personal foes, it would have helped.
Posted by: Chris | June 20, 2017 1:06 AM
I agree. Quantum, Quagmire, Ereshkigal, Blue Marvel, Presence, Overmind... even Maelstrom didn't properly re-appear after Cosmos in Collision and he had the makings of Quasar's arch-foe.
Posted by: AF | June 20, 2017 4:37 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|