Quasar #45

Issue Date: 
April 1993
Story Title: 
Battleground Earth

Mark Gruenwald (writer), Grant Miehm and David & Dan Day (guest artists), Paul Betcon (colorist), Rick Parker (letterer), Mike Rockwitz (editor), Ralf Macchio (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Quasar is attacked by a giant Antibody, and without his Quantum-Bands, struggles to use his newfound Starbrand power against it. The Antibody creates a smaller duplicate when Quasar punches it, and when he accidentally breaks off the giant Antibody’s arm, he drops the large Antibody, and it splatters into countless regular-sized copies. At the same time, the Presence, who has been trapped in the Quantum Zone for some time, sees a way out when a hand reaches in - he grabs the hand, and it pulls him through. Expecting his enemy Quasar, he is instead confronted by Neutron of the Imperial Guard, who is seeking Quasar, wanting vengeance against him for an earlier encounter. The two team up and make their way to Earth to seek out Quasar. They arrive at a most inopportune time, as Quasar is totally overwhelmed by the Antibodies, however, to their credit, they do rescue Quasar from the swarm. But, Quasar now has to contend with his two enemies. He grabs the Presence and takes off for space, trying to explain to him that their earlier encounter was due to a misunderstanding. Neutron follows them, but when Neutron accidentally slams into the Presence, it causes a small explosion, sending Quasar into a nearby farm. When he rises, he finds Dr Druid and the Shock Troop standing over him, adding to his problems. Meanwhile, on a mysterious spherical spaceship, Kayla Ballantine and HD Steckley find themselves possible captives of a strange race of aliens. And, elsewhere in space, Kismet leaves the planet Scadam, only to find that the space ship she was on takes off.

Full Summary: 

Earth, somewhere in North Carolina, Wendell “Quasar” Vaughn looks up, and sees a large black shadowy figure loom over him. ‘That degenerate Quagmire disappears… and suddenly this Antibody creature he seemed to have a symbiotic relationship with grows to the size of a house!’ the young hero thinks to himself. But, Quasar isn’t about to let the Antibody smack him, and he flies upwards, dodging the attack. He doesn’t have his Quantum Bands anymore, but the Starbrand tattoo gives Quasar a few reasonably cool attributes. ‘Run! While we can!’ a civilian down below calls out. ‘Never eat here again!’ another yells as they rush away from the McBurgers restaurant. ‘Blasted New Yorkers! Why can’t they just keep these super-types to themselves?’ another civilian asks.

Quasar swoops back down towards the ground, as he thinks to himself ‘Not only can I fly, but I’m stronger than a mule team’, attempting to use that power to take out the large Antibody, Quasar is surprised when he flies through his opponent, and Antibody splits into two. Quasar is shocked, as he expected Antibody to be solid. Quasar is worried, and wonders how he is supposed to subdue the giant if every poke he takes at him results in a clone - a clone that seems to share the same general hostility of the oversized original. ‘What’s your problem, buddy?’ Quasar calls out to the Antibody as he confronts the smaller clone. ‘If not for me, you’d still be part of your big brother!’ Quasar points out, while the larger Antibody suddenly stands on the McBurger restaurant.

Meantime, in the realm of potential called the Quantum Zone, a lone figure mars the pristine emptiness of non-space. His name is Sergei Krylov, though he refers to himself by the title, the Presence. But whatever name, he is an exceedingly unhappy man. For months now he has been suspended in this featureless void, having been exiled there by Quasar after attacking Quasar’s now-deceased mentor, Eon. The Presence is a Russian mutant who lives on radioactive decay, he is not bothered by the lack of food or water, or air, it is merely boredom that threatens his well-being. He lies in wait, hoping to catch a glimpse of Quasar when he passes through the realm in a space-warping quantum-jump. He has yet to see him. The problem is, Quasar never remains long enough in the zone for the Presence to locate him.

But now at last, the Presence sees something - a speck of color violating the whiteness. As quickly as he knows how, the Presence propels himself toward it, and sees that it is a humanoid hand and that it appears to be severed - no, surrounded by a nimbus of energy. The Presence grabs the hand, deciding that it is not Quasar’s as he does not see Quasar’s distinctive bracelets. As the energy ripples around, the Presence decides that this may be the exit from this contemptible dimension he has been searching for all this time. He starts to pull the hand through the energy - but the hand pulls back, and the Presence strains to keep in charge - and he is pulled through a portal.

‘I am free!’ the diabolical madman shouts, before seeing his peculiar “rescuer”. ‘You are not Quasar! Who are you?’ the Presence demands. The solid warrior announces that he is Neutron, fourth lieutenant in her Majestrix Lilandra’s Imperial Guard of the Shi’ar Imperium. ‘Are you Kree, Earthling or otherwise?’ Neutron asks. The Presence explains that he is of Earth, although his allegiance is to no nation or individual thereupon. The Presence asks Neutron what he knows of Quasar. Neutron reveals that it is Quasar who teleported him here and abandoned him during personal combat. ‘I managed to thrust my arm into the space warp-hole he retreated into. ‘You know of him, too?’ Neutron asks. The Presence explains that Quasar abandoned him in the dimension into which that warp-hole leads. ‘Whatever else you may be, you are an enemy of my enemy, man of Earth’ Neutron points out. Taking the Presence’s hand, he proposes that they pool their resources in order to save themselves from their mutual predicament. ‘Yes, and exact justice upon the one responsible for our dishonorable treatment!’ the Presence agrees.

Back on Earth, police officers have cordoned off the area where Quasar is engaging Antibody. ‘So come on, shortstuff! Tell me what it is you and your giant brother want! Please?’ Quasar calls out as he grabs the regular-sized Antibody from behind. Quasar thinks that these Antibody’s are related to the foot-tall Antibody he saw in that other universe, only he was a nice little imp that helped him out. ‘How did you guys get here? And what’s going to get you to stop running amok?’ Quasar asks. ‘All of you - back! Move it! Behind the line!’ one of the officers shouts, while his colleague asks ‘Who the heck is that blond guy in the cape? Thor?’

Quasar drops the smaller Antibody, ‘You’re not being cooperative’ he remarks, adding that he isn’t a tenth the menace that the giant is. Quasar wraps his arms around the large Antibody’s wrist, ‘Let’s see if I can get you out of harm’s way’ he tells himself, struggling to move the behemoth, Quasar is unsure how strong the Starbrand makes him, and decides that it is time he learned. ‘One… two… three… LIFT!’ Quasar shouts as he pulls the massive Antibody into the air, surprising the police officers down below. ‘I’m doing it! He’s off the ground! Man, what I wouldn’t give to have my Quantum Bands back. I’m not good at using brute force’ Wendell thinks to himself, as he lifts the large Antibody higher. ‘Where’s he taking the thing?’ one of the officers asks.

Straining under the pressure, the Starbrand glowing around his eye, Quasar tells himself that if he can manage, he will tow this thing through the stratosphere and dump it in deep space. But, suddenly, there is a loud BLURRCH as the hand that Quasar was tugging on rips off. ‘Oh, no!’ Wendell gasps. The Antibody starts to fall back down towards the McBurgers restaurant and Quasar fears that people will be crushed. ‘What can I do?’ he asks himself. He reminds himself that he has tapped into the Starbrand as pure force once before, but realizes he has next to no control over it. He decides he has no choice but to use it, and to hope that he doesn’t expel too much. ‘Here goes…’ Wendell thinks to himself as he casts the energy of the Starbrand down towards the falling Antibody - which causes dozens of regular sized Antibody’s to split from the larger one. ‘Oh no! I used the right amount of force all right - the right amount to blast the giant into a hundred flying six-foot clones of itself!’ Wendell thinks to himself, concerned. ‘This Starbrand business is definitely not going well for me’ he adds.

Meanwhile, somewhere on the other side of the Milky Way, there is a spherical starship, its origin yet unidentified. It contains a flying shuttle bus built by people called Scadamites, a race, who in recent weeks, was all but exterminated. Inside the shuttle bus are two denizens of Earth who have had the misfortune of being shanghaied to Scadam in recent weeks. They are Kayla Ballantine, who, like Quasar, possesses a portion of the Starbrand, and her companion Holly “HD” Steckley. ‘Where are we, Holly? What happened? Are we better off than we were trapped on Scadam… or have we jumped from the frying pain into the fire?’ Kayla, wearing only a towel wrapped around herself, asks.

‘Call me nuts, but I’m glad to be anywhere but that godforsaken planet’ HD replies. ‘You’re nuts! We’ve been captured by aliens! Who knows what they want us for? Maybe to eat us?’ Kayla replies. Suddenly, a panel opens, and Kayla and Holly are knocked back by a gust of wind as Holly tells Kayla not to be ridiculous. ‘All this technology just to catch a few morsels of food?’ she asks, before a large red alien with green clothing looms over them. ‘Stay back!’ Kayla shouts.

Meanwhile, a streak of energy soars through the cosmos. It has taken a month to whittle the nine hundred million mile journey down to a mere five million miles, but these two singular figures have pursued their common goal relentlessly, channelling all of the energies at their command into near-warp speed propulsion. At long last, the disc of Earth looms large before them. The Presence lies on his back, across Neutron’s back, as Neutron calls out to him, telling him awaken, as they are inside the orbit of Earth’s moon. The Presence replies that he has been awake since they passed Mars, and explains that he is now within range to begin scanning for their enemy’s brain patterns. ‘If quasar is anywhere within the Earth’s biosphere, I shall pinpoint him’ the Presence announces.

They moves ever closer to Earth, as Neutron tells the Presence that their alliance has proven most satisfactory. ‘When we find him we will attack in unison, in order to safeguard against his dispatching us as he had done before’. The Presence points out that Quasar cannot teleport them unless he touches them, so they must avoid his grasp. ‘When I am through with him, he will lack the strength to grasp a crutch!’ Neutron boasts.

Oblivious to the looming danger above, Quasar hovers in the air, still holding the large hand, as Antibodys swarm around him, he wishes that he had his Quantum-Bands, as he would bubble the Antibodys up and be done with them. ‘Not so close, guys!’ Quasar calls out to them, as the big hand suddenly breaks up into four more. ‘What am I going to do? Think!’ Wendell tells himself, before the Antibodys begin grabbing him. He knows that if he starts blasting them, they might blow apart into still more dark clones, and wonders what he is supposed to do - let them make him the squishy center of their flying monkey pile? He would, if he could lure them all into one place again, but he sees a bunch of them rampaging below who don’t seem to share enthusiasm of the crew attacking him. ‘If there’s any way this situation could be worse - I sure as heck can’t see how!’ Wendell tells himself.

At that moment, ‘Our quarry is directly below, Neutron! Our moment of vengeance is imminent! Let us strike swiftly and savagely!’ the Presence declares. Neutron agrees, but, as they loom over the McBurgers, Neutron announces that he fails to see Quasar. The Presence can’t see him either, but they do notice the Antibodys causing trouble, and Neutron comments that they resemble him more than they do Quasar, before asking the Presence if they are denizens of his world. The Presence replies that he has never seen them before, and casts his energies towards several of them, ‘Back you mindless multitude - I have no patience for anything but vengeance!’ he shouts. Neutron turns to the Presence and points out that he was able to distinguish a single brain pattern from among the untold many that make up this world’s populace. ‘But now that we’re next to it, you can’t determine -’ he begins, but the Presence points upwards, announcing that he has located Quasar in the mass of falling ebony beings.

Dozens of Antibodys start falling back towards the ground, and land in a heap, with Quasar on top of them. ‘Yes, you are right. It’s him!’ Neutron calls out, before asking if Quasar is dead. The Presence reports that brain activity continues, while Quasar moans. The Presence and Neutron stand over him, as Neutron remarks that he hoped Quasar would have put up some sort of struggle, as they meted out their retribution. ‘It does not matter to me. Let us commence!’ the Presence declares.

While, on the other side of the Milky Way, Quasar’s one-time companion, Kismet, leaves orbit. She looks unhappy and tells herself that the unknown power which she sensed on this alien world has vanished aboard an unidentified craft. She is unable to follow it unto warp space, and may never know what repulsed the alien invaders that devastated the planet below. Kismet decides that it is time to quit this frustrating star system and return - but she sees the cathedral ship, the Mourning Star, that brought her here. She tells herself that her companion, Marraki may still be aboard, and flies towards it - but it speeds away. ‘Gone. Lost to me in warp space. This is not funny’ Kismet tells herself matter-of-factly.

Back on Earth, the Antibodys continue to wreck chaos and destruction, while Neutron holds Quasar’s limp body overhead. ‘Any last words before I strike you again?’ he asks. ‘Please…guys. I don’t have time for this right now. I’ve got to stop all these gremlins!’ Quasar replies. ‘You wish for us to wait our turn to battle you, is that it? ‘Neutron enquires. ‘Well, yeah…or you could even help me -’ Quasar suggests, but Neutron responds by breaking Quasar’s shoulder-length hair off, and sending him bouncing along the ground. ‘Owww!’ Quasar calls out when he comes to a stop. ‘All right. That’s it! I’m as proud as the next super hero - but it’s time tro call in reinforcements’ Quasar decides as he pulls out his Avengers ID card, and uses it to contact Peggy Carter. Peggy appears on the small monitor, ‘Hey, Peggy? This is Quasar, I need -’ is all Wendell gets to say, before the Presence destroys the Avengers ID card.

‘We shall have none of that!’ the Presence declares. ‘You - idiot! Now you’re making me mad!’ Quasar replies. ‘What do you know of madness? I was left to die in a featureless void! A lesser mind would have gone mad!’ the Presence calls out, casting energy onto Quasar, he tells the young hero to know his pain. But, Quasar gets to his feet, surprising the Presence. ‘You…still stand?’ the Presence asks. ‘I’m a lot tougher than you remember’ Quasar replies, before informing the Presence that her had not intended to let him die in the Quantum Zone, as he figured that a genius such as he would find a way out. ‘But right now, I’d give my left nostril to stick you back there!’ Quasar declares as he lunges at the Presence, grabs him, and takes flight. ‘Let go of me!’ the Presence calls out, before telling Neutron that he can’t escape, and asks for help.

‘He’s towing me outside the atmosphere so he can quantum-jump once more!’ the Presence exclaims. ‘I only wish’ Quasar thinks to himself, while Neutron takes flight after them - followed by the myriad of Antibodys. ‘Unhand me, Quasar!’ the Presence demands, struggling to break free. ‘Not a chance’ Quasar replies, adding that what is ironic about this is that their animosity is all based upon a misunderstanding. ‘You lie!’ the Presence shouts. Quasar assures the Presence that he isn’t lying, and reminds him that the first time they fought, the Presence believed him to be tool of a cosmic menace, thanks to some misinformation that he was fed, and, for his own part, Quasar admits that his mistook the Presence for a cosmic assassin who gave him that misinformation. ‘So this flight - like our last one - is all one big mistake’ Quasar states.

Wendell tells himself that he has to keep the Presence distracted until he can figure out what to do with him. Suddenly, he has an idea, and as Neutron’s arms are seen as the Shi’ar Guardsman bursts through some cloud, Quasar throws the Presence at him, ‘Looking for your buddy?’ Wendell calls out. But, this causes a massive stream of crimson energy to erupt around them. ‘Whoa - didn’t expect that!’ Wendell thinks to himself, as Neutron punched a hole in the Presence’s armor, causing the violent energy release. The Presence collapses towards Quasar, just as the pile of Antibodys swarms around them. Cosmic energy glows around them all, as they start to hurtle downwards, towards some large power pylons. Quasar looks worried, but they crash land in some sort of farm. Hay bales all around, a crater forms from the impact. After some time, a hand reaches up - it’s Quasar, and he pulls himself from the glowing crater. ‘This…really…stinks!’ he mutters to himself. But, as he looks up, he sees four figures standing over him. ‘Huh? Who the -?’ Wendell asks. Standing over him, are Dr Druid, Shadowoman, the Blazing Skull and the Living Mummy. ‘We are the SHOCK TROOP!’ Dr Druid announces. ‘Good grief’ Quasar mutters….

Characters Involved: 


Kayla Ballantine

“Holly ‘HD’ Steckley” / Ereshkigal

Peggy Carter


Blazing Skull II, Dr Druid, Living Mummy, Shadowoman (all Shock Troop)


The Presence



Police officers

Story Notes: 

Quasar lost his Quantum Bands in the “Infinity War”.

The Presence was sent into the Quantum Zone in Quasar #20.

Quasar teleported Neutron away in Quasar #33, part of the “Galactic Storm” crossover.

Quasar was in the New Universe in Quasar #31.

The extermination of the Scadamites was played out over Quasar #38-40.

Issue Information: 
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