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Quasar Classic - Volume 1 Paperback – March 7, 2012
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Previously, when Marvel presented us with a cosmic hero, we got a noble alien outsider like the wandering Silver Surfer, the outcast Captain Mar-Vell, and the endlessly-martyred Adam Warlock. Mark Gruenwald--most underrated writer Marvel has ever had--wanted to try putting an everyman in the shoes of the cosmic champion, and the Quasar series was the result. Here we have a hero charged with the mantle of Protector of the Universe, and he really has no idea how to go about it. Who would?
The big problem with this trade is that it ends just when the series was starting to hit its stride. The first dozen issues or so follow the traditional path laid out for putting new superheroes through their paces: lots of crossovers and cameos by popular, established heroes. We get the inevitable Spider-Man team-up, plus stories that feature X-Calibur and the Human Torch. Various stabs are taken at exploring the limits of his powers and trying to find a viable archenemy.
Personally, I feel this series might have been better served through the Essentials line of black-and-white compilations. The series really took off with #13, which begins an amazing four-parter, and keeps building steam until the double-sized 25th issue. It's a perfect size for another trade, but I have doubts about the probability of use ever seeing it.
Furthermore, Wendell Vaughn seeks approval from his absent, distant, judgmental, controlling, stoic, analytical, successful scientist Doctor Vaughan. His divorced father (Doctor Vaughan) is a remarkable, demanding, workaholic scientist. Wendell's father is not a demonstrative man nor had an active presence in his life. His principal passion is science, nothing more! Doctor Vaughan appears to have abandoned his ex wife and son after the subsequent divorce. He plays an integral role in the development of Quasar ( Wendell Vaughn's character and his self discovery). Wendell Vaughan has similar character traits similar to his father- although he does not care to admit!
Wendell Vaughan considered himself a failure to his father , to Shield and worse, to himself . One fateful day during a routine security detail, Wendell repels a terrorist invasion. He safeguards the cosmic , alien wristbands on his wrists. That day changed the trajectory of his life. He assumed the property of the wrist bands and repelled the terrorist assault on the scientific facility affiliated with Stark Industries. While other were incinerated with the build up of the exponential power of the wrist bands; Wendell Vaughan exhibited a calm, collected, disciplined approach to control the unbridled power. Wendell is unaware of his hidden qualities-his latent potential. This was the prime crucible of his indelible soul , the moment of truth in one's life- the opportunity to alter one's destiny. Quasar (Wendell Vaughan) seized the day despite his self doubts and humiliating failures!
Imagine if he had not abysmally floundered in a exam combat- he would not have wielded the alien power on his wrists!
This series deals with clinical depression, suicide contemplation, genocide,occult practices,failure, success, family dynamics between father and son, approval, euthanasia,quantum physics, and the metaphysical explanation of the universe. However, these thematic elements are subtle introduced amidst the standard fare comic book action trope. There are enough villains for our hero to vanquish. This book is not gratuitously violent, vulgar, dark nor nihilistic. There is radiance emanating from the pages in bright colors. The writing is superb and engaging.This book is appropriate for pre -teens, teenagers and young adults.
I am impressed by the series adherence to modern scientific theories and principles. It was a pleasure to read the extrapolating scientific theories of quantum physics, fifth dimensions, and planets similar to Earth's
Wendell, the principal protagonist takes control of his life and faces his inner demons. He has his self doubts but they are less apparent with further success. He has an semi -phenomenal Cosmic Alien Mentor, named Eon that selected Wendell to become Galactic Cosmic Protector of the Universe!Furthermore, Quasar is also the official Protector of Eon from an tentative assassination that could threaten the galaxy! The Galaxy is in imminent existential crisis due to the sinister machination of the, Menace!! His first mission was to valiantly confront the emissary of Death itself, Death Surge. Quasar barley surmounted that existential crisis with a whimper! Quasar exhibited low self confidence which lead to his near defeat due to the wily, manipulative forked tongue of Death Urge!! Quasar contemplated surrender to Death's embrace after a series of traumatic events lead to the death of innocents!
I suspect a latent homosexual relationship between the Alien Mentor Eon and Wendell's father. This may prove incredulous yet there was an underlying public affection form the stoic, cerebral Doctor Vaughn.They both spend an inordinate amount of time together. Wendell's father hardly speaks to anyone beside his son Wendell ( Quasar) and Eon. My suspicion are confirmed during the later issues and Wendell's envy of their relationship ( envious that his absent father was stealing his mentor "father"). The relationship he wished he had with his father. Quasar ( Wendell Vaughan) subjected himself to the cold, barren emptiness of space unwillingly to appropriate his father's love while the cold Doctor Vaughan regarded him as a guinea pig! Doctor Vaughan speaks with such passion and interest with Eon,it is truly uncanny the change in disposition in the presence of Eon. There are hardly any well written female characters except a possible love interest with a scantily clad secretary named Kayla and barely naked super heroine named Jennifer Kayle. There were hardly any significant females in the series. Doctor Vaughn becomes fully human in the presence of Eon yet Quasar does not elicit this interest or affection from the good doctor. The detached coldness to experiment on your own biological son further demonstrates his stoic demeanor. His singular love of Science alienates him from others. Eon embodies the totality of Scientific knowledge thus the latent attraction ! LOL
The author Mark Gruenwald sparsely eluded to this peculiar affection between Wendell's father and his Alien Cosmic Mentor Eon. lol Gruenwald had a perceptive eye for the psycho-sexual tension embedded on the subconscious level.It would have been scandalous to probe such controversial themes in the eighties. Gruenwald handles it with great subtlety and nuance. The diligent reader must read between the lines.
The first issues were highly entertaining and profound. The artwork is impressive and demonstrates a classic aesthetic. There are several crossover characters from Gruenwald's other comic series like DP7, Squadron Supreme, and other defunct titles ( Quagmire, Glitter, and Friction). Superb!! The latter episodes were mediocre. It is still entertaining nonetheless.