Posted by:
Matt McGloin

Hey Marvel! Quasar isn't the self-doubting rookie he once was!




They did it to Quasar in the Realm of Kings one shot - gave him that self-doubt that was ever present in Mark Gruenwald's early run in Quasar ('89).

Now Marvel does it again in one of their "Psych Ward" articles. These are a series of articles where said hero (or heroes) has a "psych" session with Tim Stevens (MA, a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a Federal Correctional Institute, has experience in organizing and facilitating group therapy sessions).

Early in his career, Quasar is burdened by a heavy sense of self-doubt, not feeling he was up to the task of fulfilling his obligation as Protector of the Universe (keep the POU in mind as that comes into play in a bit). These stem from recent failures he experiences as an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. All this is deep rooted in his desire to please his father, who he doesn't have the best relationship with. Quasar feels his father doesn't think that highly of him, and as Wendell constantly tries to win his father's approval - Dear Ol' Dad comes off cold and heartless.

This all comes to a head during the epic "Cosmos In Collision" event that ran through Quasar from #18-25 (I count #18 as a prelude of sorts). Here Quasar faces Maelstrom and Oblivion for the sake of the Universe. Maelstrom gets the better of our hero which puts Wendell somewhere between worlds. Quasar encounters the former POTU, Mar-vell, and also the "spirit" of his father, where Wendell has a heart-to-heart talk with both. The Avatar of Infinity (that's Quasar, folks!) learns some things about himself in the process  - and to make a long story short - overcomes his depressed inner turmoil (and of course Maelstrom).

At the end of issue #25, Quasar makes his way back to our world, new costume and all, and declares that he is "back" and "big as life" (bold - Gru's own). He says the new costume signifies that the various stages of his "apprenticeship" are over and that he has become his own kind of hero.



From there, Quasar goes on to save the multiverse and then the omniverse.

For whatever reason, writers like to zone in on that self-doubting aspect of Quasar. I thought it to be dead and gone when I read the Annihilation: Nova mini - as Quasar came off quite confident and powerful - with an awesome new costume designed by Gabriel Del'Otto to boot.

Then Quasar died and he came back - again.

Anyway, as I mentioned above - he was written as the doubting-Wendell, once again in Realm of Kings.

Now as Wendell is set to debut as an Annihilator, Quasar is - once again - shown to have that poor quality from so long time ago.

Here are some excerpts from Tim Steven's Psych Ward: The Annihilators. My comments will be in [brackets].

TIM STEVENS: I was just looking over your intake paperwork and I think the staff made a mistake. According to what I have, this meeting was required by a “Cosmo.” who is—

QUASAR (head down, speaking quietly): Oh, please don’t say i—
[Quasar "head down" - the alarm goes off! They are not really going to go there, are they?]


BETA RAY BILL: In fairness to us, Cosmo is a mutated—

Q: And very intimidating
[Quasar comes off a bit timid, unsure. Ok, more warning bells.]


TS (keeping his tone neutral): I’m sure he is. In any case, you are here because this Cosmo wishes to see you develop teamwork skills in advance of entering the field as (looks at the paperwork again) the Annihilators. Huh. That certainly is a…strong name.

Q: Umm…there’s still some discussion about whether or not we are actually calling ourselves that.
[I'm fine with this. Quasar is the Protector of the Universe, after all - right? See below. Still, he is questioning it, doubting it.]


TS: I can certainly understand why you would both feel that way. I am sure most in your position would experience that kind of tension between the desire to be a force for good in the world beyond your kingdom and the need to still be a leader for your people. How about those of you who do not hold part of the ruling class? Where does your hesitance come from?
Q: I’m not sure I’ve really found what I want to do next, but I am tired of the fighting, too.
[Huh? Not sure what he wants to do next? Isn't he the Protector of the Universe, anymore? Or how about going to check on his buddy Steve Rogers? Wait, Brevoort wouldn't allow that - DOH! :)]
With Nova gone…I just don’t know how many more friends and allies I can lose and keep doing this.
[Keep doing this? What the ka-bleep is that all about? Quasar has fought for the sake of the Universe, Multiverse and Omniverse and now what? Instead of going to FIND NOVA - which is what Quasar WOULD DO -- he is pissing and moaning about it?]
It’s hard to keep the faith, you know?

By Epoch's only eye, I hope the self-doubting unconfident Wendell Vaughn that we laid to rest all those eons ago does not come back when The Annihilators assemble this March!