Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Artist: Mike Manley, Greg Capullo, Joel Zuleta, Pat Broderick
Released : 1990 to 1992
Note: This Review is for Quasar Issues #15-30, read as individual issues.
I’m continuing to go back and read (or reread) some classic series that I’ve got in issue format. This series always looked interesting to me as I’m a big fan of the cosmic Marvel Universe. I wasn’t blown away by the first set of issues I read, while the next batch has some improvements and a few new drawbacks as well.
Up first, the positives: After three reworkings, Quasar finally has a decent costume. It’s apparent that the Marvel guys realize the the original costumes were no good and the new one was a big improvement, as the cover to issue #26 even states “in his all new final costume!” While the art has been inconsistent in this series, a well designed costume goes a long way to making all the art appear more dynamic. Another improvement is that Quasar is no longer essentially a New York hero, as his adventures in this set deal with characters like Thanos, Maelstrom, and the Watchers. Quasar’s power set is also becoming more defined, requiring more discussion of absorbing and redirecting energies, which (although it can read a bit slow at times) distinguishes his abilities as more than a Green Lantern knock off.
Unfortunately, it’s a one step forward, one step back situation. The longest storyline in this set of issues is the seven part Cosmos in Collision storyline, which features a sudden and jarring change in styles to a much darker art and story. **Spoiler alert** Quasar gets his hands cut off and is tortured to death at one point, which is quite a jump from a guy who basically wasn’t even punched in the first 17 issues. The storyline crossing over with the Infinity Gauntlet event is much better, with some logical outgrowth (that’s a solid pun, if you know the issues I’m discussing) featuring Eon’s expansion from the Baxter building.
The worst part of this series thus far, though it nearly replicates a misogynistic Mad Men kind of way, is the treatment of female characters in Quasar. The supporting cast features three recurring female characters in this set of issues, Kayla (Quasar’s secretary), Moondragon and Her. Moondragon is obsessed with making Quasar fall in love with her, and uses her abilities to control others to make it happen. Her becomes obsessed with mating with Quasar to create a genetically perfect offspring. Both characters feature formfitting skin tight attire 90% of the time, with Moondragon sporting one of the least practical/most revealing superhero outfits in the Marvel Universe. Kayla is the obvious reader/Quasar favorite, but through 30 issues her development has stalled at her having a crush on Quasar, and him liking her as well, but never interacting for more than two pages in an issue. Basically every woman loves Quasar in a sexual manner.
The next batch of issues will be under Quasar #43, as that’s the highest numbered issue currently on Goodreads.