Quasar #40

Issue Date: 
November 1992
Story Title: 
Null and Void

Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle & Andy Smith (pencilers), Mark McKenna & Ralph Cabrera (inkers), Paul Becton (colorist), Janice Chiang (letterer), Kelly Corvese (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

In space, Quasar aims the Ultimate Nullifier at the Magus’s fortress, and activates it. A small white ball of nothingness emerges, and slowly engulfs Quasar. He finds himself floating in nothingness, along with countless other beings. None of them will speak to him, and he decides they are in shock, and that this must be here you go when you are nullified. As he flies through the aliens an the nothingness, Quasar comes across Oblivion, one of the four most powerful abstract entities in the universe. He realizes that he should have anticipated Oblivion, given the earlier encounter with his herald, Deathurge. Quasar gets Oblivion’s attention, and asks if he is dead for good this time. Oblivion explains that it is worse - that he has been nullified. But, Quasar challenges Oblivion, who appeases Quasar because he “amuses” him, and brings forth Kid Reaper, the cartoony imp who Quasar dreamt up once when his body lay between life and death. Kid Reaper battles Quasar, who is able to still use his Quantum Bands and their power in this nullified state. Kid Reaper and Quasar battle for some time, until Quasar flies right into Oblivion, but it does nothing, so, Quasar quantum-jumps to another corner of the Dimension of Manifestations, where the Contemplator is residing. Kid Reaper follows, and after Quasar gets no response from the Contemplator, Kid Reaper shoves his scythe into Quasar, despite Quasar offering to make a deal with him. The Quantum Bands pass to Kid Reaper, but they suddenly vanish, and appear back in the physical universe, on the being known a Origin. Meanwhile, over the planet Scadam which is being ravaged by black warships, the starship Mourning Star has arrived to mourn the dead. Makkari is onboard with them, and one of the mourners tries to explain why they do what they do, while Her has left the starship and is using her vast power to try and destroy the black warships. While doing so, she contemplates life, and gives herself a new name - Kismet. But, on the planet below, whatever - or whoever - is growing from the remains of Kayla Ballantine is being watched over by HD Steckley, despite the approaching the black warships. In fact, it is Kayla, reborn from her own ashes. Kayla feels strange, HD tells her that she must have power like the Chief Examiner said. She notices a strange symbol behind Kayla’s ear, and Kayla supposes that is the strange itching she has felt under her scalp, while HD tells her it must be the source of her power. HD suggests that Kayla try lifting herself off the ground, and it works - and half an hour later, Kayla picks HD up and takes flight, while a fifty-foot being has engaged the black warships in combat. On Galactus’s starship, the remaining Earth heroes including members of the X-Men and the Avengers learn from Thanos that Quasar has failed in his questto nullify the Magus, and has died as a result. The heroes take a moment to mourn Quasar, while Thanos decides that is sentimental nonsense, and contacts Marvel Boy duplicate who is eating rocks in the corpse of Eon. Thanos tells opens a portal to Earth and tells Marvel Boy that he is to be the new Protector of the Universe now that Quasar has died.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere beyond our cosmos stands the fortress of the greatest foe our reality currently faces. To this foreboding place, but one man has dared to travel - the cosmic Avenger called Quasar a.k.a. Wendell Vaughn. Though he has been designated Protector of the Universe, he now holds in his hands an instrument of annihilation - the Ultimate Nullifier. Sweat drips down his face as the young hero holds the formidable weapon in his hands. He tells himself that he must keep concentrating on his target, clear his mind of all thoughts except for the Magus. He knows he cannot let a single extraneous thought creep in, or the sphere of Ultimate Nullification will grow and mushroom out of control.

‘Steady now - Magus - this is for you!’ Wendell thinks to himself as he aims the weapon at the Magus’s floating fortress in the middle of the cosmos and activates it - only to find that nothing has happened. But he sees the nullifier’s nozzle, a marble-sized sphere of whiteness emerges, and Wendell realizes that he has done it, he has activated it, without perishing in the process like all the weapon’s previous users. He sees the sphere begins to grow quickly, and he tries to keep it focused, keep it heading towards the target, and, when it reaches the target, he must will it to contract. Suddenly though, Wendell’s hand gets caught in the inside of the nullification sphere, he was unable to judge its distance from him. He can’t feel his hand now, as the sphere begins to creep up his arm.

‘It’s nullifying me! I’ve got to get away!’ Wendell thinks to himself, but he knows that the nothingness will grow with no one to stop it. He decides that he has to stay and stop the null-sphere from growing. He thinks that it has already engulfed the Magus’s stronghold, and as his body is consumed by the sphere, he tells himself that he can stop it, that he must. ‘Stop. Stop. St-’ he thinks, before he is completely engulfed by the nullification sphere.

Meanwhile, in this universe, Quasar’s closest companions, the Eternal called Makkari and the cosmic being known simply as Her, concern themselves with the invasion of the distant planet Scadam, are oblivious to Quasar’s plight. ‘There! She’s heading toward another Black Fleet vessel!’ someone from inside the vessel Mourning Star remarks as they watch Her flit about from one ship to another as the Black Fleet lay waste to the planet below. ‘It would seem your companion seeks to rout their invasion all be herself, Makkari’ one of the Mourning Star cult remarks. Watching the monitor, Makkari points out that she is not doing a shabby job of it, either. Makkari wishes that he could help her, but without a surface to run on, his hyper-speed is as useless as gills on a gorilla. ‘I am not certain if I understand your reference’ the cult member called Fath states.

Makkari tells him that it isn’t important, while Fath asks him not to misunderstand, adding that Mourners do not encourage or condone such wide scale devastation as what they witness here. He states that they just accept the face that no matter what anyone does, the universe is full of death and destruction, such as this. ‘It is our task then to acknowledge and honor those who surrender their lives to the universe’s grand cycle of life and death’ he explains. Makkari asks him if seeing all this tragedy never gets to them, and Fath replies that it affects them profoundly. Her flies off monitor range, and Makkari asks the Mourners to find her. They start scanning, while Her is flying to another of the Black Fleet ships.

‘So vast is the Black Fleet - the seven ships I have disabled thus far have not stemmed the tide of devastation they are visiting upon the hapless world below one iota. But, Her is not going to stand by idly, watching with ghoulish fascination like those wretched Mourners. ‘I am going to do something!’ Her tells herself, knowing that as long as she can still muster a single bolt, she shall cut through their world-circling ranks like a scythe. Her decides that even if she fails to save a single life on the world below, she shall fight on, as such unmitigated savagery shall not go unpunished - such annihilation shall not go unavenged. She casts another blast of energy towards the Black Fleet ship, Her is no stranger to interstellar warfare, and decides that it is her kismet to find such cosmic conflagrations, therefore she shall refer to herself by a pronoun no longer. ‘Let Kismet be my name!’ Kismet decides.

Kismet’s cosmic bolts cripple another ebony warship, causing it to plummet into Scadam’s atmosphere where it bursts on fire, only to rain more destruction on the beleagured planet below. There is a massive KATHOOM, and, unknown to Kismet, another native of Earth happens to be on the ravaged world she fights to protect - a fellow acquaintance of Quasar’s who goes by the name Holly “HD” Steckley. HD is kneeling beside the naked body of something - or someone - that is growing out of the remains of the ashes of her companion, Kayla Ballantine.

HD notes the bombardments seem to be getting closer, but she is reluctant to abandon whatever it is she is guarding. ‘What’s happenign to you, Kayla?’ HD wonders. ‘The power that the being who kidnapped us to this horrid place said you had…is it so potent that it can resurrect you from your own ashes?’ HD asks herself. ‘Or have you become something else altogether?’ HD wonders as she pulls back Kayla’s eyelids, and Kayla, with short hair, sits up, ‘Holly…what happened…?’ she asks. ‘You were dead…but you got better!’ HD replies, shocked.

Elsewhere from anywhere, ‘Whoa. Where the heck…?’ Quasar wonders as he finds himself completely engulfed by the nullifier. Countless other beings float aimlessly through the nothingness as well. ‘Excuse me, sir. I just got here. Mind telling me where I am?’ Quasar calls out to one of them, but gets no response. ‘Sir…?’ he asks again, but still gets no response, so he grabs the alien by his face and exclaims ‘Look at me. I’m talking to you’, but Wendell realizes that the aliens, all of them, whoever they are, seem to be in shock. Quasar wonders where he is, ‘The Quantum Zone? Never saw beings like these there before’ he recalls, and raises his Quantum Bands to do an energy scan. He realizes that this is not the Quantum Zone, but he does detect a powerful energy source nearby and decides to check it out.

Quasar flies through the mass of aimless beings, his energy the only form of color in the mysterious reality. ‘What happened to me? Oh, yeah…the Ultimate Nullifier happened to me. If this were you go when you’re nullified - or did some cosmic muckamuck pull my fat out of the fire again?’ Quasar contemplates. Wendell decides that except for the lack of color, this might even by the Dimension of Manifestations. Suddenly, ‘Oh, no! Not him! Oblivion!’ Quasar tells himself as h approaches a large pink and purple cosmic being. Wendell knows that Oblivion is one of the four most powerful abstract entities in the whole universe, and one with no particular use for him. Wendell decides that he should have anticipated this, what with his run-in with Oblivion’s herald, Deathurge.

As more aliens float around Oblivion, and fall from his hands, Quasar flies towards him, ‘Uh, hi. Remember me?’ Wendell calls out. ‘All to well’ Oblivion replies, before Quasar asks him if this is it, if he is dead for good this time. ‘Not dead - worse. Nullified’ Oblivion responds. Quasar asks if he can have a hearing on the subject, but Oblivion tells him that he can’t. ‘Wait a minute - iu learned about guys like you since the last time we met. You’re just a manifestation-body…and for all I know, a garbled one, at that’ Quasar declares, boasting that he is not about to take what Oblivion says as the straight truth. However, Oblivion states that it makes no difference to him. ‘You’re not even going to try to convince me?’ Quasar asks. ‘What would it take to convince you?’ Oblivion enquires. ‘A fight? You against me - winner takes all?’ Quasar suggests.

Oblivion replies that he does not fight as Quasar understands the term. ‘But because you amuse me, I will conjure forth your own death-avatar in order to appease your final request’ Oblivion declares, and from amongst the mass of beings around him, pulls forth a small skeleton with a purple cloak. ‘Hiya, Quaze! Howzit goin?’ the skeleton asks. Quasar is shocked to see ‘KID REAPER!’ he exclaims, recalling that he dreamt up Kid Reaper, a cartoony imp, when his body lay between life and death. Kid Reaper moves towards Quasar, holding a scythe, he calls out ‘So ya wanna fight for yer life, is that it? Then let’s go to it, bunky!’ But Quasar hesitates, ‘No, wait!’ he calls out. ‘Wait shmait!’ Kid Reaper exclaims as he brings his scythe down towards Quasar, who throws up a quantum-shield, but the scythe manages to penetrate it. ‘Try this on for scythe!’ Kid Reaper jokes.

Wendell decides to try and contain Kid Reaper, and casts forth a quantum-bubble, but before it closes around Kid Reaper, the stranger being flies out of it. ‘Missed me!’ Kid Reaper exclaims, while Quasar creates a quantum-armor around himself and tells Kid Reaper that he liked him better as his sidekick. Wendell isn’t sure what good armouring up will do, other than giving himself a psychological boost. Quasar raises a quantum-staff and blocks Kid Reaper once again. ‘Nice move, bunky! Between you and me…let’s draw this little tussle out a bit, okay?’ Kid Reaper suggests, adding that he has a feeling Oblivion is going to bop him back to otherness as soon as he aces Quasar. ‘And I’m in no particular hurry ta go, know what I mean?’ Kid Reaper adds.

‘You got it! Just do me on favor -’ Quasar replies. ‘What’s that?’ Kid Reaper asks. ‘Don’t hold it against me when I bear the tar out of you!’ Quasar declares. ‘Oooo, strong words from a -’ Kid Reaper begins, before he and Quasar fall away from each other, which takes Kid Reaper by surprise as he wasn’t expecting Quasar to twist and redirect his strength against him. Kid Reaper continues to fall backwards into them ass of alien bodies, and he calls out ‘Ya know, if I had any feelin’s in this pint-sized bod o’mine that woulda hurt. An if I had any emotions in this empty chest cavity o’mine, I’d be peeyo’d at you big time’. Kid Reaper warns Quasar that if he had any sense in his hollow head, he could ask Oblivion if he could have Quasar’s body as soon as he made him evacuate it.

Meanwhile, on the starship of the World-Devourer Galacts, where a battalion of Earth’s mightiest heroes have joined forces with Thanos against a still greater threat. Hercules, Captain America, Cyclops, the Vision, Jean Grey, She-Hulk, the Thing, Archangel, the new Thor and Iceman stand before Thanos, as Captain America asks him what happened, how Quasar fared, and whether the Magus has been neutralized. Thanos announces that Quasar has failed and that apparently he has been nullified while using the nullifier, so his target remains intact. The heroes look shocked. ‘Poor kid’ the Thing exclaims. ‘Now we can only hope that Galactus succeeds with -’ Thanos begins, while Captain America asks him if he is sure about Quasar. Thanos points out that their enemy remains, while Quasar does not. Captain America addresses the other heroes and tells them that it would be appropriate to observe a moment’s silence for their fallen comrade.

‘Sentimental nonsense’ Thanos mutters as he leaves the heroes for another chamber within the ship. He stares out at the stars and tells himself that it is only a matter of time before they vanquish the Magus, and decides that he best begin for preparation of that eventuality.

Meantime, in the Eonverse, Marvel Boy leans against his surroundings while eating what appears to be rocks, when suddenly, he hears a voice call out to him: ‘Marvel Boy?’, and Marvel Boy looks up, smiling, ‘Master! At last! I thought you’d forgotten about me, stuck here in the rotting corpse of your old foe, Eon!’ he smiles. The voice tells Marvel Boy to go to Earth, as Quasar is dead and has left no heirs to his power. ‘You shall now take his place as Protector of the Universe. My Protector of the Universe’ the voice tells Marvel Boy. A portal opens within the corpse of Eon and Marvel Boy exclaims excitedly ‘Oh, boy! This is going to be great!’

Way elsewhere, ‘Don’t think you can hide from me, bunky!’ Kid Reaper exclaims as he flies back towards Quasar, thrashing his scythe about, boasting that he can hack his way through these colorless stiffs like a putdown artist at a dullard’s convention. Quasar tells Kid Reaper that he isn’t hiding, but strategically retrenching. Quasar removes his quantum-armor and flies on through the aliens, ‘Think, think, think!’ he tells himself, deciding that his only way out of here is by defeating the diminutive death-bringer, however his only weapon, his quantum-energy, appears to be useless against Kid Reaper’s scythe. ‘Good idea losing the armor - it made you look like a refugee from Spartacus!’ Kid Reaper calls out, while Wendell realizes that he has another weapon - the six pound hunk of gunk situated between his ears.

Quasar flies towards Oblivion and tells himself that there must be some way to outwit the kid and his master both, and as Kid Reaper approaches him, he shouts ‘Wait! Don’t hit me! I need to talk to Oblivion!’, but Kid Reaper just lunges with his scythe - ‘Talk to this!’ he shouts, however Quasar manages to move just in time, so Kid Reaper’s scythe strikes Oblivion in the face. ‘Whups - sorry boss!’ Kid Reaper calls out, while Oblivion announces that this is ceasing to be amusing. ‘Get done with it’ he orders. Quasar darts away, ‘Didn’t think that would hurt Oblivion - but if I can get him peeved at me, maybe he’ll send me on a one-way trip out of here!’ Quasar decides as he hides amongst the mass of floating aliens.

Kid Reaper calls out to him, telling Quasar that he is tired of tag. ’Let’s have a séance - you be the dearly departed!’ Kid Reaper jokes, while Quasar backs up so that he can get a good flying head start, and then pours on all the speed his Quantum Bands can muster, as he darts past Kid Reaper. ’Huh? What got into you?’ Kid Reaper calls out. ’Was it something I said?’ he asks as Quasar flies straight past him. ’With any luck, they won’t know what I’m aiming for - till I’m there!’ Wendell thinks to himself as he swiftly approaches Oblivion.

Back on the planet Scadam, ‘The dead do not come back to life, Holly! Except in horror mobies! It’s against my faith! There must be a better explanation!’ Kayla exclaims, adding that she doesn’t feel like she was dead, just a little groggy. HD replies that she saw what she saw, and tells Kayla that she was dust, ashes, then began to grow back a body, right from the ashes. ‘It was astounding!’ HD remarks. Kayla touches her short hair and tells HD that it feels icky. HD points out that if Kayla can grow her body back in the space of six hours, then she should have no problem growing her hair back. ‘Face it, Kayla - you’ve got the power the Chief Examiner said you have’ HD declares, before noticing a tattoo in the shape of a star on the back of Kayla’s neck. ‘There is?’ Kayla asks, before supposing that is what has been itching under her scalp the past month. ‘What is it?’ Kayla exclaims, worried.

HD tells Kayla that she thinks it is the source of her power, and reminds Kayla about Angler, who was blown across her bedroom. ‘You did that to him’ HD remarks, suggesting that Kayla may be able to do anything she can think of. ‘Just try something…anything!’ HD exclaims. ‘Like what?’ Kayla asks. HD suggests that Kayla try lifting herself off the ground, and Kayla does just that. ‘Whoa! I’m - I’m -’ she gasps, ‘Yes! You’re flying! That’s great - now we can get somewhere - try to find a way off this crazy planet - a rocket, maybe!’ HD suggests, before telling Kayla to keep practicing, and then, as soon as she is up to it, to try and lift her.

Half an hour later, ‘Easy now…let’s not go too fast!’ HD suggests as Kayla wraps her arms around her and pulls Holly into the air. Kayla announces that she sees something going on over the gill, a whole bunch of those black ships are bombing something. HD suggests they head in the opposite direction, but as they fly higher, they see what appears to be a fifty foot man with a blue and yellow costume in the middle of the swarm of black ships. Kayla points out that he has a helmet on like the Chief Examiner. HD suggests that it must be the synthetic being that the Examiner said he was synthesizing all of the powers of the Earth super-beings into what he wanted to do with Kayla’s power. ‘One person against all of them? It doesn’t seem fair!’ Kayla exclaims as she and HD watch the mysterious being defend himself - or itself - against the swarming fleet.

Elsewhere again, ‘Eeesh!’ Kid Reaper exclaims as he moves away from Oblivion as energy surges from the cosmic being. ‘Pathetic!’ Oblivion then calls out. ‘Ya want I should boil that lance, boss?’ Kid Reaper asks. ‘In a manner of speaking?’ he adds. Quasar looks concerned and tells himself that it seemed like a good idea at the time to put all his quantum power concentrated into a single shaft of energy sent at high speed straight into the heart of Oblivion. Wendell had hoped to be able to break up Oblivion’s manifestation body, only it didn’t work. Wendell hates fighting metaphysical beings, before realizing that maybe there is some way he can fight a manifestation with a manifestation. ‘If I’m where I think I am - a corner of the Dimension of Manifestations - maybe…just maybe…’ he tells himself, before vanishing in a burst of quantum-energy. ‘Boss, Quasar just disappeared! He used his quantum jumping power’ Kid Reaper calls out, and begs Oblivion to let him follow.

Quasar re-appears elsewhere, as he tried to home in on the quantum-marble that he gave to the Contemplator. ‘I think I sensed it - I’ll know as soon as the flash of the quantum-jump effect fades’ Wendell tells himself, before seeing the Contemplator hovering before him. ‘You’ve got to help me!’ Quasar calls out to his associate, explaining that he needs a manifestation-body, as Oblivion is after him, and wants to keep him here in the Dimension of Manifestations permanently. ‘You’ve been here a while. Have you figured out how to go about getting the M-bodies here to assume your form?’ Quasar enquires, but he gets no response, and as he reaches out to touch the Contemplator, his hand passes through him.

‘Oh, no - he must not be able to hear me because I’ve been nullified’ Wendell thinks to himself, when suddenly, Kid Reaper materializes nearby. ‘I’m hurt, bunky. Running out on me like that!’ Kid Reaper exclaims. ‘Listen to me, Kid. You’re my personal death avatar, right?’ Quasar asks. ‘Yeah, so?’ Kid Reaper replies. ‘I dreamed you up. Gave you the form and consciousness you have. So when I’m dead, so are you,. Without me, you’re nothing. You go back to the formless void you came from with nobody to bring you back ever again’ Quasar explains. ‘Think about it before you park your scythe in me, okay?’ Wendell asks Kid Reaper, who replies that Oblivion is going to be mad at him if he fails. ‘What can he do to you? Discorporate you - big deal. I can bring you back together’ Quasar points out.

‘He’s got no use for you once I’m gone. But I do - you’re my personal death-figure. I promise you I’ll bring you back. Just as you are, if you spare me’ Wendell tells Kid Reaper, who pauses, before remarking ‘I know you, Quaze. You’re a man of your word. Okay, if you promise to bring me back to life, as it were, if anything happens to ma - and it will - I’ll spare ya from my reapin!’ Quasar tells Kid Reaper that he is a true pal, the best death-avatar a guy could have. ‘Now maybe you can help me get a manifestation body…like yours and Oblivion’s’ Wendell asks, adding that the way he figures, he might be able to fool Oblivion if he gives him a proxy of himself. But, as Quasar turns his back to Kid Reaper, Kid Reaper then shoves his scythe into Wendell’s back.

Wendell cries out in pain, and turns back to Kid Reaper, ‘…why…?’ he manages to utter. ‘Never trust an avatar of death, bunky - especially not your own’ Kid Reaper replies, adding that they answer to a higher authority. Quasar’s body goes stiff, as Kid Reaper grabs his arms, ‘Now lemme remove your quantum doohickie - the big O wanted me to bring ‘em to him as proof of yer buyin’ the farm!’ Kid Reaper remarks. Contemplator hovers nearby, while Kid Reaper pulls the Quantum Bands from Wendell’s wrists. But, suddenly, ‘What happened to ‘em!?’ Kid Reaper gasps as the Quantum Bands vanish.

Back in the physical universe, there is an embryonic being destined to be born with power on the cosmic scale. This strange being is called Origin. It hovers in space, while the mysterious female called the Caregiver watches over Origin. Before the Infinity War began, Qausar helped this unborn infant escape the depredations of an entity who sought to consume its nascent soul. And now, inside its embryonic sac, between one of its flipper-like limbs, to objects suddenly materialize - Quasar’s Quantum Bands….

Characters Involved: 



Her / Kismet

Kayla Ballantine

“Holly Debra ‘HD’ Steckley” / Ereshkigal

Archangel, Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey (all X-Men)

Captain America, Hercules, Thor II, Vision (all Avengers)

Human Torch II, Thing (both Fantastic Four)



Marvel Boy VI



Kid Reaper




Fath and others aboard the Mourning Star

Various aliens

Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the “Infinity War” crossover, and specifically follows on from Infinity War #5.

Wolverine appears on the cover to this issue only.

Quasar encountered Oblivion in Quasar #25.

Quasar’s run-in with Deathurge took place last issue.

Kid Reaper was dreamt up by Quasar in Quasar #22.

The Marvel Boy who appears this issue is a duplicate of Grayson who appeared in Quasar #26-27, and appears next in Quasar #41-43.

The Starbrand is from the New Universe.

Kayla blew Angler across her room in Quasar #33.

Issue Information: 
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