Characters Appearing: Antibody, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Widow, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Chief Examiner, Donna Maria Puentes, Eon, Erishkigal, Heat-Ray, Hercules, Kayla Ballantine, Kenjiro Tanaka, Kismet (Her), Makkari, Marvel Boy (Quantum Bander), Punisher, Quagmire, Quasar, Skeletron, Thanos, Thunderstrike, Vision
Issue(s): Quasar #41, Quasar #42, Quasar #43
Since the name Marvel Boy is being used, he says that he'll take the name Blue Marvel. But the Avengers aren't really interested in making him an Avenger; they want to know what happened to Quasar.
So Blue Marvel flies off. He next goes to Quasar's (or Wendell Vaughan's) place of business and says that he's going to take it over as a headquarters.
It looks like Kenjiro Tanaka has been hiring, although Blue Marvel's arrival causes one person to quit.
The Avengers put an APB on Blue Marvel, and, after Blue Marvel defeats a villain called Heat-Ray (formerly Blockbuster)...
...he's found by Captain Marvel. She's supposed to just keep an eye on him until the rest of the Avengers get there, but she decides she has to act when Blue Marvel moves to execute Heat-Ray.
They get into a fight.
He doesn't believe that she's an Avenger, but he gets her ID card after he captures her.
He's about to kill her anyway when Thor, Hercules, and the Black Knight show up. After a brief fight, Blue Marvel realizes that he can't win, and teleports away. He later teams up with the Punisher.
This seems like the script covering for the art, since the Punisher shouldn't shoot directly at someone that he didn't know and wasn't his target.
And this seems like some meta-commentary on the fact that the Punisher always manages to accomplish such impossible things.
And the whole encounter just seems like a cheesy sales ploy.
Punisher eventually brushes Blue Marvel off, and then Thanos contacts him, telling him that he has a mission for him. Blue Marvel teleports away just as the Avengers catch up with him again.
Quasar himself doesn't appear at all in issue #41. We first see him in issue #42 in "The White Room" (no black curtains).
The other denizens of the White Room all have different theories about why they are there. All are previous holders of the Quantum Bands (or rather, as we'll learn at the end, residues of them).
Quasar then faces what will turn out to be tests by Eon ("I wished to better understand you"), trying to get him to give up his will to life. And then he's attacked by Blue Marvel, who was sent there by Thanos.
Quasar's is using a sword that he picked up from an "Angel of Vengeance" that was attacking him earlier. As we saw in the previous arc, he doesn't have his quantum bands at the moment. But it turns out that Quasar actually still has the Star Brand; it was under his bracelets.
Quasar defeats Blue Marvel and places him in his chair in the White Room, says goodbye to Eon, and then Star Brands himself back to the real world.
Meanwhile, on planet Scadam, Kismet continues to battle the Black Fleet. And Kayla and H.D. watch a giant version of the Chief Examiner do the same.
I was a bit disappointed to see how generic the Chief Examiner's powers were. Especially after Rogue managed to absorb the powers of specific heroes in Marvel Fanfare #33, i thought the Chief Examiner would have the actual powers of the people that he studied, not synthesize those powers into generic energy blasts.
Anyway, the Chief Examiner is destroyed by the Fleet, and Kismet is injured and has to retreat before her body automatically puts her back in a cocoon. Kayla continues to use the powers of the Star Brand, although initially she uses them just to keep herself and H.D. out of trouble.
They run into Durgan, the guy that controlled the Chief Examiner (i consider them to be the same character for tracking purposes).
Durgan's people have been wiped out by the Black Fleet, and Durgan apologizes for bringing them there before he dies. Angry about being stranded on a foreign planet, Kayla unleashes the energy of the Star Brand, destroying the Black Fleet. She also finds that the Star Brand can get transferred very easily.
This scene actually comes before the point in the main plot where Quasar realizes that he has the Star Brand too. So i assumed it got transferred from Quasar to Kayla. But in fact it seems that they both have it.
Kayla and H.D. find one of the portals that the Chief Examiner used to analyze super-heroes, but they opt to not use it and go looking for a spaceship instead.
The very end of this issue shows Quagmire sitting in a bar.
I don't know what to make of the Blue Marvel plot. For one thing, it seemed like a major point in Infinity War was that Thanos was changing, and yet he's doing a very generic bad guy thing here. Unless that's not the case and Thanos activated Blue Marvel as some sort of backdoor way to motivate Quasar to get out of the White Room. Thanos won't appear again in this series (except, as AF notes, in a fill-in in issue #59), so i guess we won't ever really know. I'm not sure what to make of the White Room itself but that's actually fine. I know that i'm disappointed by the resolution to the Questprobe plotline; it really feels more like a quick clean-up exercise that wipes out Durgan's people and the Black Fleet without really giving us a resolution, except it really wasn't all that quick, was it? And i'm really not loving the extended use of the Star Brand, either.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thanos deployed Marvel Boy during Infinity War, but Hercules is beardless this arc, placing this after Avengers #350-351. The Black Knight may still be recovering from injuries sustained in that story; he doesn't do anything too strenuous here. See the Considerations for previous entries regarding the direct continuation of the Questprobe subplot. I should note that the Stygian Starbender appeared before, in Quasar #26-27. But that was actually a replica, created by Thanos from Eon's body, same as the Marvel Boy in this story. I track this Marvel Boy separately from the 1950s/Agent of Atlas one, and therefore i think the Stygian Starbender that appears in the White Room is not the same as the one that appeared in Quasar #26-27. And therefore, since each Stygian Starbender only has one appearance, i don't have character tags for either.
Skeletron, later the leader of the Starblasters, is technically here leading the Black Fleet, although he doesn't appear on panel.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"So i assumed it got transferred from Quasar to Kayla. But in fact it seems that they both have it."
Posted by: clyde | April 21, 2016 11:33 AM
Thanos does appear again in the series, albeit in a fill-in and the only issue of Quasar not by Gruenwald.
Considering how Thanos/Starlin have treat Quasar as basically just a joke, I think it's for the better Gruenwald stayed away from using him after this. Starlin follows suit and doesn't include Quasar in Infinity Crusade at all (which honestly makes zero sense from an in-universe perspective).
This story is one of the FEW Quasar stories collected in trade (Infinity War Aftermath). I quite like parts of the story, if not the whole story except for the Punisher bits, but as I've often said, the art on Quasar gets progressive worse and worse. This story is weird in that it feels truncated but at the same time there's nowhere else to really go with it.
Posted by: AF | April 21, 2016 12:05 PM
Doesn't the fact that the Glakandar whom Quasar met in the White Room remembers having met him before indicate that he is (somehow) the same being as the Stygian Starbender who appeared in Quasar #26-27? Sure, Thanos may have created the bodies of the resurrected Protectors out of Eon's corpse but he never said exactly where he got their minds. Maybe Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to borrow the minds of the dead Protectors from the White Room and incarnate them in their replica bodies? Then, once they were killed, their consciousnesses returned to the White Room via the link provided by their Quantum-Bands? The fact that Andwella thinks there may have been someone else sitting in Quasar's chair before he arrived could mean that that was where Marvel Boy was sitting before Thanos resurrected him.
Anyway, even if the Quantum Banders who were resurrected by Thanos should be considered as being the same as their originals whose residual spirits exist in the White Room, this Marvel Boy is the one who appeared in Fantastic Four #163-164 and was much later revealed to never have been the original Marvel Boy (Bob Grayson) from the 1950s but instead was actually an unknowing imposter created by the Eternals of Uranus. That particular retcon may not be well-liked but it did bring back the 1950s Marvel Boy as the Uranian and thus it remains canon.
Posted by: Don Campbell | April 21, 2016 12:58 PM
And to use both those points, if Thanos is using the consciousness of the originals, that retcon also helps to explain why this Marvel Boy is downright insane and evil.
Posted by: AF | April 21, 2016 1:05 PM
Is it actually confirmed somewhere that the "Crusader" from the FF story is the same as the Blue Marvel from this story? I know that neither are the true Marvel Boy/Uranian, but there's something that says they were the same duplicate? The MCP has them tagged as separate characters.
I think that would settle for me the question of the Stygian Starbender, too. I assumed his knowledge in this story was due to him being a part of Eon, but i can see that he could actually be the same entity, too. Actually the fact that the earlier one was made from Eon's body and this one is in the White Room with Eon could mean that they are one and the same.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 21, 2016 4:05 PM
Sadly, no. The recent handbook entry for Crusader (Thelius) only has a note at the end: "The Titanian Eternal Thanos later used the Infinity Gauntlet's power to create a bioduplicate of Crusader, who renamed himself Blue Marvel and battled Quasar."
I'd much prefer it was the case that it was just the same guy as it gets a bit more mileage out of that retcon rather than having a total write-off character like Crusader. And with the Infinity Gauntlet, there's really no good reason to say Thanos couldn't have just brought him back. It also means that Blue Marvel is a bioduplicate of a bioduplicate which is ridiculous.
Posted by: AF | April 21, 2016 4:17 PM
In Quasar #43, Eon reveals that the White Room is a part of him, that the bodies of the former Protectors of the Universe who are there are composed of his body, and that "the spirits that animate these bodies are residues of the life essence each of these beings left in the Quantum-Bands when s/he employed them."
So, since the true Marvel Boy never wore the Quantum-Bands but the Crusader did, it follows that the Blue Marvel must be a resurrected Crusader, right? The Crusader's personality was re-created by Thanos from the remnants of Eon's mind and placed in a body re-created from the matter of Eon's corpse.
Posted by: Don Campbell | April 21, 2016 7:21 PM
I wonder if the White Room, where all the Cosmic Protectors coexist, inspired Grant Morrison's White-Hot Room, where all the Phoenixes coexist.
Posted by: Andrew | April 21, 2016 9:33 PM
Don, to close the loop, i think the point of contention is whether or not the Quantum Banders in #26-27 are really resurrected or if they're just replicas. The Handbook quote that AF cites seems to resolve that pretty definitively. Marvel had an opportunity to say it was the same guy but explicitly chose to say the opposite, and i think whatever applies to Crusader/Blue Marvel applies to Stygian Starbender as well. I think what you're saying is solid, and i'm in agreement with you and AF that it would have been better if it was the same duplicate, but i don't like making my own canon for this site.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 22, 2016 2:43 PM
As to why Thanos decided to get Blue Marvel out of that pocket dimension, my guess is that to Thanos, either Blue Marvel finally wins and Thanos gains a substitute Protector for his own uses, or Quasar wins and one of the last loose ends left over from the Infinity Gauntlet affair is dealt with.
Posted by: D09 | April 22, 2016 4:37 PM
I take your point about following the Handbook's lead. However, I just wish that they had seen fit to explain how the White Room Stygian Starbender was able to remember a meeting between Quasar and the Thanos-created bioduplicate of the Stygian Starbender. Having Thanos take the mind from the WR Glakandar to use in his creation seems to be the simplest, best and most obvious solution.
Posted by: Don Campbell | April 22, 2016 7:08 PM
Maybe Stygian Starbender actually having being Protector of the Universe, while Crusader wasn't, is the answer? Something about being one with Eon or something. I don't know, I'm tired.
Posted by: AF | April 22, 2016 7:42 PM
Comments are now closed.
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