Issue(s): Quasar #19, Quasar #20, Quasar #21, Quasar #22, Quasar #23, Quasar #24, Quasar #25
The story actually starts with a prologue showing Maelstrom (although he's not named yet) expanding into the infinity of space, which is how he was left in Avengers #250. He comes across Kronos, a similarly expanded character. Kronos was once an Eternal of Titan, but he later expanded into a godlike state and has slowly become gripped with ennui.
He spends his time now searching for Infinity, which he tells Maelstrom is an actual cosmic entity, like Eternity. Maelstrom is interested to learn about these powerful cosmic entities, and he decides to seek them out as well. His motives are a little disappointing ("Get behind me, Thanos. I shall make whatever evil you have wreaked seem like child's play"). In the past, Maelstrom seemed primarily motivated to one-up the Eternals and the Inhumans, since he is an Inhuman-Deviant hybrid whose father was shunned by the Inhumans. It might have made more sense to keep that motivation for him at least until he finds his cosmic entity, who can give him a new motivation. But i guess Thanos is technically an Eternal (from Titan), so maybe a rivalry with him makes sense (we'll see in issue #26 that Thanos couldn't care less about Maelstrom, though).
That's the prologue in part one. There's actually a prologue at each part of this story, beginning soon after Avengers #250 and following Maelstrom's actions since then, leading up to his present day appearance in these issues. He finds an entity called Anomaly, which is the embodiment of anomalies, and convinces it that it's doing a bad job because it's just like every other cosmic entity, an embodiment of the thing it represents (so it's not an anomaly). And then he kills it, sending it to "Oblivion", and takes on its role. Once he has that new role, he approaches another cosmic entity, Oblivion and offers an alliance. He proposes folding the universe into a single anomalous point thus rendering it all into oblivion. Oblivion agrees, and tells Maelstrom how he can get the Cosmic Awareness that he needs to make it possible. Oblivion tells him to go after Eon. After Maelstrom leaves, we see that Deathurge is a minion of Oblivion, and that Oblivion expected Maelstrom to come to him, which is why Deathurge had been hanging out with Maelstrom.
Maelstrom then decides that the Watchers are potentially a threat to his plans, so we learn that he was behind the Oblivion Virus that was killing them in Quasar #13-16. And he was also behind the Origin/Unbeing switcharoo from Quasar #18.
Again, the above all takes place in the past, and is told across prologues in the first 5 parts of this story.
The present day part of this story begins with Dr. Strange going to Project Pegasus to try to send Squadron Supreme home. He casts a spell but it winds up cutting the Supremes in half.
Quasar has to enter inter-dimensional space to bring their other halves back so that Strange can cancel the spell. Arcana says that it was a trap set by Dr. Lightner (aka Mysterium). Strange says that he could try to reach out to Lightner, but he would ultimately have to respect his proprietorship of the Supreme universe, since he is the Sorcerer Supreme there, and couldn't force him to allow the Squadron-ers to return home.
The above is not really related to the main plot of this arc, but it's nice to see that thread being addressed (although personally i'd be happy if Strange could have just kicked the Squadron Supreme home already). Some other developments: Quasar and Makkari get an apartment together, and then Quasar (as Wendell Vaughan) takes his secretary, Kayla out on a date and, in a really nice break from the usual tropes, reveals his secret identity to her.
And in a scene that will be relevant to our plot, we see that Wendell's strange employee, H.D. Steckley, has survived her visit to the closet where Eon is kept. She's found in Wendell's lobby, looking shaken. When Wendell tries to usher her out the door so that she'll go home and rest (he's not aware that she was in the closet, just that she looks rattled), she instinctively flips him to the ground, and then apologizes, mentioning that she studied martial arts at a very young age. When she gets home, we see her undressing (mostly off panel), and among the other things that drop to the floor is a wig. Know any bald martial artists with the initials H.D. as part of their name? We'll find out soon.
The reason Quasar revealed his secret ID to Kayla was because he detected an alien coming to Earth, and he didn't want to leave their date without an excuse. The alien turns out to be Jack of Hearts. He is dragging home a number of the aliens that were prisoners on the Stranger's planet, including the Presence and Red Guardian.
Jack gets belligerent when Quasar tries to find out what's going on...
...and when Jack manages to subdue Quasar (while they are both in one of Quasar's energy bubbles, Jack fires a blast, and it ricochets around and hits Quasar in the head), the Presence urges him to kill him.
The Presence is under the impression that Eon is the greatest menace to the Earth (we learn in one of the later prologues that Maelstrom is responsible for giving him this impression). So the Presence seemingly disintegrates Quasar and then zaps Jack of Hearts, since he objected to killing Quasar. The Presence's blast punctures a hole in Jack's armor, and his energy starts flowing out. Quasar then returns, having actually just quantum leaped away at the last moment. He sees Jack, the Presences and the Red Guardian, and the caravan that Jack was pulling, all falling to Earth in different directions. He chooses to go after the caravan first, worried that the cosmic assassin that Eon knows is coming to kill him might be on it.
As he's checking them out, he gets a call from Eon saying that he's under attack. So he leaves them semi-stranded in Siberia (although Dragonfly must make a
Quasar uses his Avengers ID card to call Peggy Carter so that she can alert that Fantastic Four that there is trouble in their building (they're not aware that Quasar rents an office there as Wendell Vaughan). The FF are being held off by Red Guardian when he arrives.
But the Presence is in Eon's closet. Quasar goes to confront him, and finds that Eon has expanded to fill the pocket dimension in the closet entirely, so they are actually inside Eon.
Eon expels his heart, giving it to Quasar so that he can protect it from the Presence. Eon can live 3.14 hours without it. Quasar covertly passes it to the Thing while leading the Presence away from the building.
With no need to hold back any more, Quasar teleports the Presence to the "Quantum Zone", trapping him there. It's worth recognizing that while Quasar thinks the Presence is a "nutcase", he's really just been manipulated by Maelstrom, so trapping him in the Quantum Zone might be a bit harsh. We'll see the Presence again in Quasar #45.
Quasar returns to Four Freedoms Plaza and returns the heart to Eon.
Later, after getting grilled by Mr. Fantastic (which we don't get to see) Quasar returns to his apartment to find Kayla cuddled up with Makkari. Without waiting to ask what's going on, he leaves and goes to his dad's house, where he finally finds out that his dad is dead. Eon shows up to tell him that he's been keeping it from him.
Quasar angrily "quits" his role of cosmic protector, severing ties from Eon. We see Maelstrom (who we still don't know is Maelstrom yet, but we recognize him as the same guy that is appearing in the prologues) gloating to himself that this was his plan all along.
We next see Quasar at his father's funeral. He's upset that the priest is making too many references to God even though his father seems to have been more or less an atheist. Quasar also is not feeling like he believes in an afterlife (although we'll see his thoughts on this evolve in issue #26). Upset, Quasar goes to his office in costume, not caring about his secret identity. He finds that the portal to Eon's pocket dimension is gone, replaced by a solid wall.
The next day, Quasar reveals his secret identity to H.D. Steckley, and Makkari also reveals to the group that he's an Eternal, but makes sure to emphasize that he can still mate with humans. When Kenjiro Tanaka (who learned Quasar's secret during the Presence and Red Guardian's attack, which also earned him a black eye) asks if anyone else has a secret ID, Steckley says "Not me". I can almost see the little ghost from Family Circus running out of the panel.
The conversations and clean-up of the office are interrupted when a minor villain named Thermo shows up, hoping to exploit the fact that there is a hole in Four Freedoms Plaza so that he can raid the FF's headquarters. Quasar, in his current state of mine, gives the guy way more of a beating than is necessary, and Makkari has to find a way to distract him.
Later, Quasar invites all of his employees (and Makkari) to go to dinner at the home of a rich prospective client. This panel makes me laugh.
When they get there, we see "H.D." detecting a psychic presence and worrying that the mansion is the "lair of The One". She also gets a headache. She tries to warn Quasar, but finds herself too scared to speak. The guests then meet their hosts, Malcom Stromberg and his "nieces".
Stromberg doesn't wait long to start dropping hints that he's Maelstrom.
And that's Phobius acting as the waiter, causing H.D. to feel fear. She works up the nerve to throw a knife at him, but it's stopped by "Stromberg" (Maelstrom absorbs kinetic energy)(we also see H.D. starting to refer to Quasar as "my love" in her head around this point). At this point Quasar is unsure what to do. Makkari tries to make a move, but Maelstrom stops him by stopping his heart. Quasar then tries to use his quantum bands, but the energy just bends around Maelstrom.
Maelstrom is able to freeze Quasar, and he threatens to kill more of Quasar's friends if Quasar doesn't give him his cosmic bands. The bands actually don't come off unless Quasar dies, but Maelstrom considers killing to be a waste, so he cuts Quasar's hands off (an idea that Mark Gruenwald teased earlier when he had MODAM considering the same option).
Maelstrom hangs Quasar up on a wall and leaves him. Deathurge shows up to taunt Quasar. In Quasar's second issue, he met Deathurge and Deathurge promised him that one day Quasar would beg him to kill him. Deathurge reminds Quasar of that now, and in Quasar's current state of mind, Quasar does indeed beg Deathurge to kill him ("I'm a worthless foul-up. An embarrassment to the human race. Everyone would be better off with me dead. Especially me."). Deathurge notes that Quasar seems to be more whining than begging, and in any event, in their previous appearance, Deathurge also told Quasar that he would refuse to kill him, and he does.
After Deathurge leaves, the ghost of Captain Marvel shows up.
Let me just say that the MCP lists this as an actual appearance of Captain Marvel. In my reading of this appearance, there's no reason why it couldn't just be a hallucination or a well-intentioned illusion by Eon (he does claim to be sent by Eon, the guy who kept Quasar's father's death a secret for half a year). It could be that a later issue somewhere confirms that this really is Mar-vell showing up, but i really hope that isn't the case. No need for Marv to return from the dead in any sense.
Anyway, Marv gives Quasar a pep talk, followed up by another one from Quasar's dad. But it doesn't seem to help.
Meanwhile, not to be graphic, but Maelstrom is having no luck trying to scoop the innards out of Quasar's wrist bands. We also learn that his "nieces" are really some of the aliens that we saw return to Earth in the caravan in issue #20. They are called the Weird Sisters.
Their efforts get, um, interesting.
The result is that Maelstrom is able to explore the properties of the bands and locate Eon. And he's now able to use the bands for himself. He no longer needs Quasar alive, so he sends one of the Sisters to tell Phobius to kill him.
Also meanwhile, the rest of Quasar's cast is being held prisoner in the basement, guarded by Gronk.
H.D. Steckley reveals that she is really Moondragon. She's infiltrated Quasar's company because she was "born to love" Quasar. Becoming his bride would, according to this story, almost make up for her failing to become the Celestial Madonna. After she met with Eon, she's been protecting the minds of Kayla and Kenjiro from attacks from Maelstrom, who caused Quasar's father to have a cerebral hemorrhage.
Back to Quasar, who is being whipped to death by Phobius.
And then things get weird.
Kid Reaper aside, it is getting pretty dark in this comic. So it is time for a guest star. After all, this is like the one book that the new Ghost Rider hasn't appeared in yet.
One thing i will say about Ghost Rider, especially as a guest star. The idea that he might be "too powerful" is of no concern to me. He is the goddamn spirit of vengeance. I love watching him plow through villains.
Phobius' fear power is nothing compared to Ghost Rider's.
Even Deathurge sshtooking his axe through Ghost Rider's chest is no problem.
Deathurge says that Ghost Rider is a "parochial" embodiment compared to what he represents, but that is all talk and Deathurge is soon fleeing (however he wants to frame it in his own head).
Meanwhile, Maelstrom is inside Eon, trying to kill him.
And Quasar's spirit is floating around with Kid Reaper.
Eon tells Quasar that he has to kill him, so that Maelstrom can't do it and take gain his cosmic awareness. That requires a confrontation with Maelstrom. Up yours, Maelstrom!
Quasar seems to acheive true cosmic awareness after that. And Maelstrom wants it.
But Quasar won't relinquish it, so Maelstrom leaves to destroy the Earth. The new and improved Quasar is chill about it.
Not so with a number of psi-sensitive Marvel characters.
By the way, according to the MCP that is the other Talisman, the one from Contest of Champions. Alpha Flight's Talisman is currently in a coma, but her father (Shaman) has been wearing a big cloak sometimes, so i thought maybe someone got confused and drew her that way.
Quasar gets less chill when he actually sees what is happening. But instead of relinquishing his cosmic awareness, he teleports away in the Quantum Zone. Maelstrom then determines that he actually has cosmic awareness anyway. He blasts Kid Reaper away and then begins gloating about how knowledge is power, and gets ready to move on to slowing the kinetic energy of the entire universe instead of just the Earth. He also has Deathurge chase Uatu the Watcher away.
Back in the real world, Moondragon fights the Weird Sisters to let Kayla and Kenjiro escape.
I kind of wish Moondragon was fighting Gronk, Helio, and Phobius instead of the less interesting Weird Sisters. When she's done fighting, Ghost Rider turns over Quasar's physical body to her, and then he gives Kayla and Kenjiro a ride home. Fun day for them!
Meanwhile, Dr. Strange summons Gaea and a number of Earth's mystical protectors and engages in a spell to hold the Earth together now that it's kinetic energy has been absorbed.
From left to right in the top panel of the second scan above, we have Arcanna, Dr. Druid, Shaman, Talisman, Roma (!), and someone that the MCP doesn't identify but i think might be Aquarian.
Inside the Quantum Zone, Quasar uses his cosmic awareness to locate Infinity.
Quasar will later describe her as appearing to him as a "the world's foxiest fairy godmother".
Infinity tells Quasar that since he has the stronger connection to Infinity, he has the means to defeat Maelstrom.
Maelstrom meanwhile goes around and bothers various cosmic entities, bragging about how awesome he is. I bet this happens a lot; some upstart suddenly gets cosmic powers and thinks they are suddenly a big deal and they go around to all the cosmic players, who probably roll their eyes.
Maelstrom's bragging tour is cut short when Quasar's spirit form returns to the real world.
A contingent of Watchers and Celestials gather to watch the universe nearly come to an end thanks to Maelstrom's actions. And it looks like Uatu has a girlfriend!
We'll also the Rigellians and the Recorder/Analyzer, Galactus and Nova, and the Elan observing events.
On Earth, Moondragon apparently has to get naked for a rematch fight with the Weird Sisters.
To make her not feel so bad, Sersi shows up, wearing nearly as little clothing.
Sersi is looking for Quasar after he didn't respond to the summons in Captain America #388.
Maelstrom's real henchmen finally show up...
...but Sersi takes all the fun out of it.
And Deathurge shows up to attack Dr. Strange, distracting him from the spell casting that he is leading. But Arcanna summons the Squadron Supreme to help out.
Meanwhile, Quasar finds himself face to face with Oblivion.
As i mentioned in the previous arc, one thing about Mark Gruenwald's treatment of cosmic stuff is that he's very matter of fact about it, and it just becomes kind of mundane. First of all, he's been throwing a lot of them at us (Unbeing, Origin, Anomaly, Infinity, Oblivion, and having Deathurge call Ghost Rider a parochial embodiment). On top of that, the characters are very literally defined. And then we have Quasar's reactions. "Seeing Infinity" ought to give anyone a double rainbow experience, but Quasar is kind of blase about it and is quickly making fairy godmother jokes. And his reaction to Oblivion is "Right. Another conceptual entity." and immediately starts calling him Obie. To be fair, Quasar has gone through a period of despondency and between that and his cosmic awareness is probably emotion-neutral at this point. And the advantage of Gruenwald's way of handling these things is that there's no confusion. We understand exactly what these entities are about. I often find myself scratching my head and wondering if maybe i'm supposed to be high when i'm reading, say, Steve Englehart's explanations of the cosmic beings. But i still feel like Gruenwald goes too far in the other direction and forgets to make us feel the bewildering majesty of these entities.
Anyway, Infinity shows up to balance out Oblivion.
So the entities and their avatars fight it out.,
The key to the fight between Quasar and Maelstrom is that Quasar apparently has an anomaly of his own. When Origin gave him a new costume, she actually retroactively changed it throughout time (apparently).
And that defeats Maelstrom, causing him to disintegrate since Quasar was the superior anomaly, and that distracts Maelstrom from his concentration on using the quantum bands, which he was unworthy of.
Oblivion tries to avoid taking any blame for what Maelstrom tried, since it wasn't his scheme. But Infinity isn't buying that and demands that new terms between them be established. That necessitates summoning their counterparts, Eternity and Death.
Quasar is not able to understand the terms of their new agreement. He instead winds up going back to Earth and returning to his physical body, complete with a new costume and new (thuk!) hands.
Infinity shows up to say that per the new agreement, Death and Oblivion get to keep Eon, but she gets to keep Quasar "and your friend Makkari", who wakes up.
Quasar returns the extra power that he was granted from her, which i assume includes his cosmic awareness.
The arc ends with Gaea informing Dr. Strange that her "most wondrous son of all -- the man called Quasar" has restored the Earth's motion, and then we see Kronos floating near Saturn, happy to have glimpsed Infinity.
Maelstrom was one of my first villains, who i met in Roger Stern's Avengers run. So i have a soft spot for him and his minions, including Deathurge. So it's nice to see the characters being used and an answer to the longstanding minor mystery of Deathurge, who always said that he was serving a higher purpose than Malestrom. As i mentioned at the beginning of the review, i do feel like Gruenwald has lost sight of what Malestrom's reason for being as a villain was. I mean the guy was always after power, but he did have some specific grudges regarding the Inhumans and the Eternals. I don't see that being contradictory to his actions here, but i think it would have been better if that was worked into the early parts of the prologue, with him maybe moving beyond that once he met Oblivion. Once he becomes simply an avatar of Oblivion (and/or a representation of Anomaly), he's a bit too generic as a villain. Being an Ultimate Cosmic Threat invites comparisons to Thanos and Infinity Gauntlet (since it's happening at the same time and even overlaps in this arc), and this story doesn't fare well in that comparison. But in its own right it's a fun story and a highpoint of the Quasar series so far. Gruenwald even stretches out beyond his usual plot-driven writing and devotes an issue to Quasar dealing with grief over his failures; i won't say it's the most sophisticated character-driven writing i've seen, but it's nice to see Gruenwald doing it. On top of that, a lot of cool concepts and fun characters are used.
Artwise, Greg Capullo may not be a superstar, but he handles a massive cast ably enough (and with no help throughout the event), and his cosmic entities are quite good. Moondragon and Sersi's "costumes" are a big turn off for me, immediately giving me the reaction of "Oh, this book was for adolescent boys", but that is an increasing issue throughout Marvel's line (and comics in general), not specific to Capullo. Moondragon deciding that Quasar needs to be her mate is similarly off-putting, but more on that next issue.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The first six issues in this arc all start with a Prolog detailing what Maelstrom has been up to since Avengers #250 and through Quasar #18.
There is actually a very logical place to split this story in between issues #20 and #21. #21 begins with Quasar's father's funeral, meaning that some time has taken place since Quasar discovered his body in #20 (but it's not too much time; at the funeral, Makkari thinks to himself that Quasar caught him snuggling with Kayla "the other night"). I've kept the entire arc together like it was in a trade, since i prefer to keep the story together and since even with that gap the story still has to be taking place concurrently with Captain America #387-392. But, for example, there is really plenty of time for Dragonfly to get from her appearance in Quasar #20 to joining up with the Femizons in the Cap storyline.
Quasar is unavailable in Captain America #388 because he is involved in this story, and Sersi is sent to look for him. She finds him in this arc, and Quasar appears (off panel) in Captain America #392. So this takes place concurrently with Captain America #387-392. Quasar's actual return home is shown at the beginning of Quasar #26, but i'll be treating that as a flashback.
When he's helping the Squadron Supreme, Dr. Strange has "just returned" from another dimension but nothing specific is mentioned. It's also said that Mr. Fantastic tried to use his time machine to help the Squadron Supreme return home "a few days ago" (but it didn't work).
Untangling the continuity between Quasar and Infinity Gauntlet is going to be the struggle of 1991. For now i'll just note that the floating island that Thanos and Mephisto are sitting on was created in Infinity Gauntlet #1.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (14): show
Is it a coincidence that the time Eon can live without his heart is the beginning formula for PI - 3.14?
Posted by: clyde | October 2, 2015 2:23 PM
Finally! Quasar's only good costume makes its debut! :)
Posted by: Piotr W | October 2, 2015 3:31 PM
I agree this is Quasar's best costume. I can't remember their names but it looks like a combination of two of the Legion of Super-Heroes costumes.
Posted by: Robert | October 2, 2015 4:27 PM
I just find it hilarious that here we have this huge, massive battle for the fate of the universe...and meanwhile Thanos is on standby ready to kill half the universe's population. You'd think with all the stuff going on at or near this time (between this, Superia, the collapse of the X-teams, the Avengers madness and who knows what else...let alone things to come), Thanos would have just waved his arm at this point and maybe spared us...I guess he just wanted a little entertainment before pulling what he needed to.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 2, 2015 4:57 PM
This is my all-time favorite cosmic story--eclipsing even my beloved INFINITY GAUNTLET--and one of my favorites comics in general. It is nothing less than a true shame that it hasn't been collected.
Fnord, I can't remember the source right now (I'll hunt for it later), but Gruenwald was indeed planning this for a very, very long time. He created Maelstrom for the sole purpose of eventually being Quasar's arch-enemy when he got his own series. That was about an 11 year gap between his creation and this story, so Gruenwald was definitely playing the long game.
Also, I don't know if you want to mention it, but Maelstrom was manipulating even Oblivion; as as Infinity points out, if the entire "create an anomalous point" scheme had worked, Maelstrom-as-Anomaly would have been in charge and gained power even greater than that of Oblivion.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 2, 2015 4:57 PM
@Ataru: I view it as less of a giant coincidence and more of a natural resonance between Death and Oblivion; we saw in SILVER SURFER that Death is in a bad mood lately, and it's not hard to believe that Oblivion would be as well, so they both initiated their big universe-shaking schemes simultaneously.
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 2, 2015 5:00 PM
@Thanos6: Yeah I was just being my own silly self. Its just funny that were we have Maelstrom's move preparing to wipe out the universe...and here's a cut to Thanos preparing to kill half of the life in the universe in an entire arc that's been building over the last year. And considering the downward spiral the entire Marvel universe was going through at this time due to all the creative problems from the Shooter-era writers leaving to the brew that would lead to Image Comics, it really feels rather appropriate that major players on a universal scale suddenly just want to destroy everything at the same time.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 2, 2015 8:26 PM
Fun storyline for Quasar, and Capullo's artwork is very nice. He is dynamic in his action sequences, and his little bit of cartoony look works well when dealing with these cosmic concepts. Paul Ryan is a good artist, but his work isn't appropriate for a really cosmic book, and the other artists have just been bad.
As others have mentioned, this does come at a bad time given the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, but that isn't Mark's fault.
The title was badly in need of a change in dynamics, and the changes here are mostly in good form.
Posted by: Chris | October 2, 2015 9:34 PM
Maybe a silly question, but when did Doctor Spectrum get his primary colors costume back? Wasn't he still in the black and white one the last time we saw him?
Posted by: Bill | October 2, 2015 10:35 PM
Quasar's costume in Infinity Gauntlet ("IG") is the older version and he says "not again" when his hands get blown off by Thanos so this story must have happened before IG. Why wasn't he wearing the new costume in IG?
Posted by: Grom | October 3, 2015 1:00 AM
In a later issue, they explain that Quaze sometimes still wears his old costume by mistake. (Doesn't explain the hair though)
Posted by: Thanos6 | October 3, 2015 1:55 AM
haha Thanos6 - that is lame. In real time I was so sucked into the build up to the IG that I viewed this plot as inconsequential. Reading the comments and the pages above I realise now in hindsight I downplayed a very good story in its own right.
Posted by: Grom | October 3, 2015 7:55 AM
As I look over this, I can't help but think that Geoff Johns and his Green Lantern run owe Gruenwald a little bit for some concepts.
I dropped this book when the art got bad with Manley back after 10, and it appears I missed out some good stuff. It's interesting to see where his plots led to.
The pencils in the arc are actually pretty good (cheesecake aside), but they're hurt by the sloppy inking and weird colors (everyone has orange skin, and what's going on with Maelstrom's face in those panels leading up to Quasar's hands being cut off?)
As epic as this story is, it likely got overlooked by the unfortunate timing of being up against IG.
Posted by: Bob | October 4, 2015 1:25 AM
The pencils are neat in that you can see signs of his current style on Batman, which he has been working on since the beginning of the New 52. Capullo was pretty sweet on X-Force as well, mixing 90s house style with some personal touches. It is odd that he ended up really honing his art and being a very solid sales draw on Batman, whereas Ron Lim, awesome at this point in time on both Cap, Surfer and then IG, sort of has gone into relative obscurity these days.
Posted by: PeterA | October 4, 2015 6:54 AM
Moonglow appears to be missing from the tags
Posted by: Berend | October 15, 2015 10:12 AM
I only noticed because I had completely forgotten who she was and wanted to look up her previous appearances :P
Posted by: Berend | October 15, 2015 10:13 AM
Arcana began disguising herself as Moonglow in Death of a Universe. In this story, when Dr. Strange recognizes her aura, Arcana says she's going to remain disguised as Moonglow until she can be returned to her family. Dr. Strange says, "I see.", i assume while rolling his eyes.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 15, 2015 10:27 AM
Ah, okay. Thanks for the explanation!
Posted by: Berend | October 15, 2015 12:22 PM
Also the first appearance of this Quasar costume which will pretty much remain his "default" costume. They gave him a new one in Annihilation for 3 issues and then went back to this one until 4 years later in Annihilators. Worth of mention in historical rating (since you mentioned the previous costume in that's first appearance) and maybe even a small boost in the rating.
Posted by: AF | April 9, 2016 3:37 PM
@fnord12: Yes at what point did Maelstrom's motives switch from one-upping the Eternals and Inhumans, to then begin investigating which cosmic entity might not be fulfilling its role effectively so he can replace it to seek an audience with Oblivion and make a deal to sink our universe into its realm? The prologues for "Refugees" seems like it required one establishing the change in Malcolm's motive from caste feud to destroying the whole universe. That seems a pretty drastic measure if he's pissed off!? Might it suggest there was some Oblivion cult on Earth, perhaps established by the Deviants as part of their worship of the Black Celestial? And what plan did he have beyond sinking everything into Oblivion's realm if he pulled it off? That is, if he managed to go from feuding Earth supervillain to cosmic entity, his ego would be that blown up that I can't see him remaining an agent of Oblivion for much longer after.
Oh, and in Hickman's S.H.I.E.L.D. #3, Isaac Newton is revealed to have journeyed to the Deviant City of Ashomia where he father's a child upon Morga. Say what!?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 10, 2016 1:34 AM
@Nathan Adler: If the plan had worked, Maelstrom would have become the most powerful being in the universe; as the universe would be one anomalous point, and he was Anomaly, he would have become supreme. Presumably he would have then recreated the universe as he deemed fit.
As for his motives changing, I've always read him as hungry for power and conquest. He just has the family feud in addition to that.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 10, 2016 2:47 AM
@Thanos6: But if he sank the universe into Oblivion's realm he would be the most powerful being of nothing.
And if Oblivion had his eye on him as early as Marvel-Two-In-One #72 (by leasing out Deathurge to him), would it not have seen through Maelstrom's motive? And if so, why go along with it?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 10, 2016 5:03 AM
But he would still be the supreme cosmic being, which would let him re-create the universe.
Oblivion may have figured that Maelstrom possessed enough cunning to gain cosmic power and be a useful tool, but that his desire for power and destruction would be sated by working for him. But both Death and Oblivion, at the very same time, underestimated their mortal "heralds" Thanos and Maelstrom.
Posted by: Thanos6 | April 10, 2016 5:30 AM
@AF, i agree. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 10, 2016 12:51 PM
Although Avengers #305 is footnoted, the actual flashback appears to be #329 as evidenced by Spidey, Iron Man and Hercules being there.
But the problem is Moondragon wasn't there for that meeting.
Quasar's costume doesn't matter because Origin retroactively altered his costume supposedly.
I think it's possible it's meant to be #305 and Capullo just looked at a more recent Avengers issue like #329 for who would've been there rather than actually looking at #305. Although then again, he might have just made safe bets. Everyone would have assumed Iron Man would've been at a massive Avengers gathering.
Posted by: AF | May 31, 2016 7:33 AM
I just read this storyline in its entirety for the first time. The scene with Quasar and Phoebius was especially good, though the 39 lashes for the guy being crucified was a bit on the nose. One thing I'm still not clear on: was it ever explained why Eon ate Moondragon?
Posted by: Andrew | November 18, 2016 10:08 PM
I believe he "ate" her to fill her in on what was going on when she was getting too nosy.
Posted by: Thanos6 | November 19, 2016 5:14 PM
I had several Quasar issues before Cosmos in Collision back in the day, and a couple after, but missed the big storyline itself. Reading through it earlier this year, I was impressed. It's a powerful moment when Quasar says "one" for the second time.
If I have a criticism, it's what fnord brings up, that cosmic entities like Oblivion aren't always treated with the gravitas appropriate to The Utter Death Beyond The Universe.
Posted by: Mortificator | November 19, 2016 8:20 PM
@Mortificator, might you remind me at which point that saying of "one" happened?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 20, 2016 1:36 AM
@Luis: When Quasar is being whipped to death but refuses to grant Phobius the satisfaction of counting the lashes. He just keeps repeating "one" to piss him off, even though it's implied it earned him a lot more lashes.
Posted by: Thanos6 | November 20, 2016 3:52 AM
Yes, I would say that scene is the best in the entire series. fnord, if you get a chance, I think your readers would benefit from seeing it in its entirety.
Posted by: Andrew | November 20, 2016 6:28 AM
I'm confused by Dr. Druid's appearance here.
I wonder if Capullo mistakenly drew him in the old look, and then somebody added a toupée in #24...
I noticed you put this arc after his transformation in Avengers Spotlight #37, and that's obvious, since the alternative would be to say that he's interveinging semi-subconciously from the time bubble...
UNLESS: what if the Dr. Druid story actually takes place concurrently with this? Maybe in Quasar #23 he feels Earth in danger and that snaps him out of the trance or connects him to our universe, or whatever, leading to the events in AS#37, and then he appears in Quasar #24.
I mean it's probably not worth to change the placement to accomodate for freaking Dr. Druid, especially since that does seem to just be a mistake, but hey it's fun to theorize, and the Avengers Spotlight story is context-free for all other characters.
(btw I don't actually have the issues, I'm just working off of this site, so I apologize if I got some details wrong)
Posted by: KombatGod | October 7, 2017 9:56 PM
I think the effect neatly avoids the possible error being an issue - you can just argue it's the mindblast obscuring it.
Posted by: AF | October 8, 2017 5:34 AM
Origin's appearance also seems problematic, it's either an old woman or not been born yet. And here, it looks much more like Arcanna's baby from the end of Death of a Universe.
Posted by: AF | October 8, 2017 5:36 AM
Just to close the loop here:
I agree that Dr. Druid's appearance was likely an art error but his bald spot is conveniently obscured so it's not really an issue.
Origin is given a label so it's definitely "her" regardless of her current appearance/status. (I'm sure AF is aware of that, just clarifying for people not scrolling up to look at the screenshot). Maybe that is Origin's spirit leaving the old woman's body to enter its new form.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 8, 2017 12:35 PM
Maelstrom says to the Weird Sisters: "Lose yourself in the dance of particles about us". In particle physics, Truth, Charm and Beauty are the names of the heaviest "flavors" of the quarks (Truth and Beauty are also called Top and Bottom, though).
Posted by: Xian | October 9, 2017 11:04 AM
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