Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Classics - Quasar #17

   One of the under appreciated gems of the late '80s / early '90s was Marvel's Quasar.

   The series was written by Mark Gruenwald, who crafted the series with a fun, Silver Age approach.

   But the series actually incorporated a classic DC feel to the stories of Wendell Vaughn, a man named Protector of the Universe (taking up the mantle left behind by Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) when he died).

   Using the powerful Quantum Bands (which were similar to Green Lantern's Power Ring), his adventures were imaginative but science-based and evoked the classic stories of heroes like Green Lantern and the Atom.

   But this issue Gruenwald (with excellent art by Mike Manley) went full DC with a fun story that set up a race between all of Marvel's speedsters.

   As he's returning the Earth on a spaceship loaded with members of the Squadron Supreme (the Justice League, wink wink), he encounters a mysterious being known as The Runner - an Elder of the Universe who sets up a race from Earth to the moon on a high-tech racetrack.

   Those running include Quicksilver, the Eternal named Makarri, the Whizzer, Speed Demon, Super Sabre, Black Racer and the new Captain Marvel.

   The real fun starts when a mysterious new runner enters the event - an amnesiac man with long blonde hair and a shredded red costume - and yellow boots. Should I add that this issue took place not long after the "death" of a certain Scarlet Speedster in DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths?

   It was that sense of fun, with a wink and a nod of one knowing fan to another, that made this series a lot of fun.

   It was never a fan favorite, but it was one of my favorites - I miss it (and the sadly departed Gruenwald) to this day.

Grade: A



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