Issue(s): Quasar #51, Quasar #52, Quasar #53
Quasar and Kayla Ballantine head home from the Everglades, stopping to throw Kismet's cocoon in the Q-Haul.
Quasar then takes Kayla and Kismet to Project Pegasus. He wants Project Pegasus to store Kismet's cocoon. He's greeted by Blue Shield and the Squadron Supreme, and while he's there a Vault Guardsman is bringing in the Angler. It's said that the Vault has become overcrowded, so Project Pegasus is taking in the ones with extradimensional origins.
And of course they're not just imprisoning them, they're experimenting on them. With Angler, they start by removing his "skintights".
And things go wrong quickly (Quasar wonders if he's bad luck since every time he's at Project Pegasus there's a problem). Quasar and the Squadron Supreme go up against the Angler.
The Angler makes his way to Kayla, who it turns out still has the Starbrand power.
For what it's worth, in Quasar #3 it was speculated that the Angler was one of the Brand commandos from Captain America #289. This story does say that the Angler was working for Roxxon (Brand's parent company) and was using an Nth Projector, but it says that he was trapped while searching for energy sources. So he's seemingly not directly related to the troops in the Cap story.
Quasar gets rid of Angler by using an Nth Projector. But that just results in the arrival of a bigger creature called the Geometer.
The Geometer was a scientist that came up with a theory that explained the universe, but eventually another scientist proved his theory wrong, so the first scientist started traveling the multiverse to find a dimension where his theory was right. He never did find that dimension but he gained the power to reshape dimensions and he's been using it to make other dimensions conform to his theory. And now he's going to do it to our dimension. (He seems to have originated in our dimension, for what it's worth.)
Quasar fights him, and he's bolstered with the help of Doctor Spectrum and the Whizzer, who weren't around for the fight with the Angler because they were out picking up the villain Ion for Project Pegasus.
The Geometer is like a nightmare the night before a big math exam. He runs around yelling equations at you.
Quasar is hit by the Geomter, and he becomes Angular.
But the Geometer is alarmed by the Starbrand, which is a threat to his theories. Quasar tells the Geometer that the universe is riddled with such anomalies, and that the only way to get rid of them all is to go back in time to when the universe first started. The Geometer is surprised to learn that time travel is a thing, but he likes the idea and undoes the damage he's done in the present, and then heads off to find a way to go back in time. Everyone is a bit worried that Quasar has just made things much much worse, but Quasar says that going back in time will just cause the Geometer to create an alternate dimension, and if he's wrong, well, they'll never know.
I think Quasar is wrong about that at this point. That was Marvel's standard line on time travel for a while, but Fantastic Four #353 suggested that those alternate timelines were created by the Time Variance Authority, and that same story cut the TVA off from our timeline, which i interpreted to mean that time travel works more like you'd "expect" it to from now on. In any event, one way or another, it looks like the Geometer will resurface during Maximum Security (per AF's comments). I do feel kind of bad for the Angler since he just gets dumped out in the dimensional void (and will also never appear).
Issue #53 has Quasar and Kayla still at Project Pegasus, using its resources to try and figure out a way to remove the Starbrand.
There's something about the way Kayla's possession of the Starbrand is handled that bothers me a bit. Normally when a character gets super-powers, the reaction is "Hooray, you have super-powers! Here's your unstable molecule costume starter pack. Now let's go fight some bad guys!". If the character's abilities are very powerful and dangerous, well, that can be a concern but that just means training and supervision. With Kayla it's just assumed from the start that the powers have to be removed. I don't know if Kayla's use of her powers against her father and Kismet in the last arc were enough to convince us that that needed to be the case. I guess it was enough to convince Kayla that she didn't want the powers, and i suppose that should be enough. For what it's worth, Kismet did say that Kayla was mentally unfit to wield the powers, and we learn in this arc that Quasar had to have Dr. Druid pacify her in some way at the end of the last story.
Kayla also has a phobia about hospitals, so she's not able to handle the tests very well and they leave the facility.
They go home and Kayla uses her Starbrand power to grow out her hair (she says she's tired of looking like "that obnoxious blonde on that diet show on cable", i assume a reference to Susan "Stop The Insanity" Powter). That and the fact that she starts thinking about how the Starbrand might allow her to travel the universe with Quasar suggest that she is coming around to the idea of having powers.
She's then interrupted by a "thought" that causes her to lead Quasar to Monster Island. This turns out to be the work of Moondragon, who is interested in the Starbrand.
Adam Warlock keeps Quasar busy while Moondragon is investigating Kayla. Warlock has apparently wanted an opportunity to test the guy who has inherited the mantle of Captain Marvel. So he takes him to the astral plane and asks him a series of morality questions (you're seeing various past forms of Warlock and Quasar in the art).
I'm not sure if Quasar's answers are meant to be based on any actual decisions we've seen him make. Nothing is cited. It's said that Captain Marvel would have given four of the same answers (out of five) that Quasar gave, and that's enough for Warlock to consider him to be worthy. They then return to the real world, where Moondragon declares that Kayla is as good a possessor of the Starbrand as any of the Infinity Watch are of the Infinity Gems.
It's amazing to me that this Starbrand thing, which would have been ok as a cute single-issue story back in Quasar #31 has been going on for close to two years now. And we're not nearly done. Next issue begins the Starblast crossover featuring a villain named Skeletron.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This opens with Quasar and Kayla flying home from the Everglades, so it should begin soon after that. Thanks to Kayla's subplots, much of Quasar's series has been pushed back in publication time, but it does seem like there's a clean break between the end of this arc and the beginning of the Starblast crossover. That series does have Quasar and Kayla still searching for a way to remove the Starbrand. It's worth noting that during Infinity Crusade it's said that Quasar can't be reached because he's in space. Maybe he was taking Kayla somewhere. There's more to be said about Starblast's placement but more on that in those issues.
Pons Indenbaum is a Project Pegasus scientist appearing here. He'll have one more appearance, so i've listed him as a Character Appearing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAdam Warlock, Angler, Arcanna, Blue Shield, Doctor Spectrum, Epoch, Fabrikant, Geometer, Haywire, Hyperion, Insidio, Ion, Kayla Ballantine, Kismet (Her), Lady Lark, Moondragon, Myron Wilburn, Pons Indenbaum, Power Princess, Quasar, Shape, Skeletron, Whizzer (Squadron Supreme)
The Starbrand used to be a big deal. I expected it to have more of a spotlight in Quasar, but I find myself underwhelmed by Gru's handling of the concept.
One of the five aspects of Quasar in the astral plane is "avatar of Infinity", a title that he used to claim some 30 or 40 issues before. That has never been elaborated to my satisfaction (and is not very likely to make much sense), although it seems to connect to the resolution of Cosmos In Collision, also reflected in the third dilemma presented.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | February 10, 2017 4:23 PM
I think the Geometer thing is a parody of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, about how the Anti-Monitor's final plan to destroy the universe before it starts wouldn't work at Marvel.
Posted by: Thanos6 | February 10, 2017 7:07 PM
The Geometer does actually appear again - in Maximum Security #1 and #3.
Posted by: AF | February 9, 2018 1:00 PM
Posted by: AF | February 9, 2018 1:01 PM
Awesome, thanks AF.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 9, 2018 1:13 PM
Comments are now closed.
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