Starblast #1

Issue Date: 
January 1994
Story Title: 
Once in a Blue Moon

Mark Gruenwald (writer), Herb Trimpe (penciler), Ralph Cabrera (inker), Michael Higgins (letterer), Paul Becton (colorist), Mike Rockwitz (editor), Ralph Macchio (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Uatu the Watcher is kidnapped by a group of aliens known as the Starblasters, who force him to reveal to them information about the Starbrand. Wanting the power of the Starbrand for themselves, the Starblasters set a Moonthruster onto the moon, which begins to force the moon closer to Earth. Quasar and his lover Kayla Ballentine - wielder of the Starbrand - are about to embark on a journey of discover to find out how Kayla can be rid of the power, when Quasar notices something strange with the moon, and sends Kayla to his apartment while he goes to investigate. He isn’t the only hero to do this, as others become aware of the trouble with the moon. The Avengers contact Captain Marvel, while the X-Men ask Binary to investigate. Darkstar and Vanguard of Siberforce teleport to the moon, while Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme and Ikaris of the Eternals venture to the moon also. Black Bolt of the Inhumans and Adam Warlock of the Infinity Watch soon follow, while Gladiator of the Imperial Guard notices the numerous heroes making their way to the moon, so goes to investigate himself. Quasar and Captain Marvel meet up first, and are puzzled by the strange building which has been placed on the moon and emit’s a strange energy. Investigating it, Captain Marvel is drawn into it by strange tentacles. Binary shows up, but before Quasar can talk to her, he too is captured, but is able to maintain the upper hand by using his aura. He soon finds Captain Marvel, Darkstar, Vanguard, Adam Warlock and Black Bolt in dire trouble. He rescues Captain Marvel first, only to find that she is under some kind of control thanks to the strange device on her head. She uncontrollably attacks Hyperion when he shows up. Binary attempts to calm down Captain Marvel, while Quasar and Hyperion go back into the Moonthruster to rescue the others. Hyperion frees Black Bolt, while Quasar rescues Darkstar, who latches onto her brother on the way out, while Adam Warlock is able to free himself. However, Vanguard reacts just like Captain Marvel, when suddenly Ikaris arrives, and is captured by the Moonthruster. Just as Adam Warlock makes his way out, he too is attacked by Black Bolt, while Quasar deals to Vanguard. On Earth meanwhile, two of the Starblasters have been sent on a mission - to capture Kayla Ballentine! Kayla is overwhelmed by them when they attack her at Quasar’s apartment. However, Nova witnesses what is occurring, and intervenes - but he is taken down by the Starblasters, who then leave with Kayla Ballentine as their prisoner. Back in space, the controlled heroes are eventually freed one-by-one, and everyone works together to topple the Moonthruster, of which Darkstar and Quasar make the most impact thanks to their powers. Collapsed, the Moonthruster departs, with the moon now safe. Quasar takes one of the devices to analyze, and asks everyone to stay in touch, before the heroes depart, unaware that Gladiator has been watching them from a distance. Arriving back on Earth, Quasar finds Kayla missing, and realizes that the mission on the moon may have been a distraction so that someone could take the Starbrand….

Full Summary: 

The universe. Most of it is empty space. Scattered through the emptiness at irregular intervals are hot swirling balls of luminous gas called stars. Spinning about some of the stars are clumps of cooled matter known as planets, of which have their own “followers”, tiny clumps of matter called moons. On a small proportion of these planets and moons, sentient life has evolved - life like that of Uatu, one of the sentient beings called The Watchers, who, like the stars, are scattered across the universe. The purpose of Uatu’s race is to observe and record the wonders of the universe for posterity. The Watchers avoid contact with other sentient beings, and above all, never use their vast physical and mental capabilities to interfere in the events they observe.

Right now, Uatu hovers on the edge of the moon belonging to the planet Earth, while a large spaceship hovers overhead…. ‘Witness then, my profound mortification as I learn that an immense catastrophe is about to wrack, the primary planet of my purview - the Earth, it’s moon, and some of its most powerful champions…and I am indirectly at fault!’ the Watcher exclaims. Uatu remarks that the starship on his view screen has just emerged from hyperspace on the far side of the moon - the moon that is his base ‘Aboard that ship are some of the most -’ Uatu begins, when, indeed, a tall alien being clad in orange and green hovers before Uatu, he introduces himself as he exclaims ‘So, this is an all-seeing, all-knowing Watcher, hmm? You did not watch out for Nygorn the Monitor, did you?’

Nygorn collects the Watcher as he declares that the Starblasters have need of him. Then, the intruder vanishes with his captive, across the lunar surface, they arc at near light-speed, passing in less time than it takes to tell from the side that perpetually faces the Earth to the side that perpetually faces away, until they reach the ebony starship in a stationary orbit on the far side of the moon. The space ship floats there, ominously, like a disease-carrying insect playing dead….

Inside the starship, Nygorn enters the bridge, the captive Watcher in his clutches. ‘Skeletron! Nygorn is back!’ a fleshy-tentacled alien calls out to a grey-clad alien. ‘You have him?’ Skeletron asks, turning to Nygorn. ‘Of course’ Nygorn replies, holding the Watcher up. ‘Good’ Skeletron replies, remarking that even if they did not have need of his knowledge, they would be well served to incapacitate this particular Watcher, for he has been rumored to abandon his oath and warn certain of his subjects to abject threats to their existence. ‘Bring him to me - I will apply the restraining implementation!’ a yellow-skinned alien with a large red globe on his head exclaims. A nasty-looking bulky alien with a large set of teeth replies ‘Yes, Insidio, quickly! Before he wakes! Watchers’ eyes are said to be able to bore holes into your brain!’. ‘Then you need not worry, Threkker’ Insidio retorts.

Inside the busy bridge of the starship, Skeletron points out that Watchers see everything and know everything within their observation horizon. ‘This one knows more than any other about the object we seek here!’ Skeletron adds, before turning to Insidio, who, while concentrating, replies that the Watcher will be ready in moments. Skeletron warns Insidio not to fail him. ‘I need not remind you of the importance of our mission here!’ Skeletron exclaims, adding that the future of the cosmos will be determined by the deeds of each and every one of them aboard the Starblast. ‘Agreed, prime one!’ Insidio replies, before announcing that the Watcher is ready.

A horrid contraption is placed on the Watcher’s head, before Skeletron orders Insidio to direct the Watcher to speak. ‘Tell us all you know about the Starbrand!’ Insidio orders. Though he tries to resist, Uatu is clearly in agony, and wearily replies ‘Yes…’.

(Shown with flashback illustrations, narrated by The Watcher)

‘It all began when I became restless with reality and sought to observe alternate worlds where history took divergent paths’ Uatu begins, explaining to achieve that, he had installed a portal device by which he could peer into a myriad of dimensions. Uatu reveals that all was well, until one of Earth’s rogue superhumans - the Living Laser - flew into the device in a high energized state, while attempting to escape the designated protector of the universe, a fellow human named Quasar. Uatu explains that the Living Laser was transported into the alternate world that he was observing, but in an attempt to return to his rightful world, the Living Laser entered the observation portal from the other end, succeeding only in diverging multiple counterparts to wreak more havoc in dimensions not his own.

Forced to seek help, the Watcher went to the human whose presence caused the Living Laser to flee into his dimension viewer in the first place - Quasar. Uatu explained to Quasar how he was unable to rectify the situation due to his oath of non-interference, so, reluctantly, Quasar agreed to gather the Living Laser’s renegade counterparts. Uatu reveals that Quasar succeeded in capturing the renegade Living Lasers’, only to find himself caught between two of the most destructive individuals in all the Multiverse - Thanos and Maelstrom - locked in a battle that never took place in this cosmos.

The Watcher explains that Quasar disappeared in the resultant explosion, and that for untold hours, he scanned the possible universes into which Quasar might have been flung, but to no avail, as Quasar seemed to be annihilated from reality. As it turns out, Quasar later claimed that he had been flung outside the Multiverse - the continuum of universes that comprise all reality - into a New Universe, vastly distant and very different from this one. A few days later, when Quasar re-materialized within Earth’s Nexus of Realities, home of the Man-Thing.

However, when Quasar’s Quantum Bands’ power burned out, he managed to acquire this unknown energy object he called the Starbrand, and used it to make the quantum jump back home, and though he used up the Starbrand power in transit, he actually transferred the power to his human companion, Kayla Ballantine, when they hugged. Uatu adds that, since her acquisition of that power, Kayla has been the target of one entity after another trying to acquire from her the anomalous power source, and Kayla now seeks nothing more than to rid herself of the Starbrand, believing that those with dark designs upon it will continue to plague her as long as the power resides in her.


Skeltron congratulates Insidio on excellent work, reminding him that, had he done anything less, his torture engines would be at work upon him. ‘But of course!’ Insidio replies quickly. Standing over the motionless Uatu, Skeltron remarks that the Watchers are notoriously difficult to catch, and had they not encountered that rogue Watcher who gave them the means to outwit this one, sneaking up on him unawares would have been impossible. Skeletron exclaims that Insidio may do with the Watcher what he wishes, provided he isn’t killed. ‘And I do not want him to escape!’ Skeletron warns Insidio, who replies ‘Yes, sire, your will is my will!’

Insidio turns to two more of the Starblasters and barks orders at them: ‘Kreeg! Zardok! Help me move this subject to the restraining cage!’. Skeletron calls out to the Starblaster called Fabrikant, and asks the green-skinned alien what the status of the Moonthruster is. Fabrikant replies that it is ready for launch, and that he is just waiting for telemetry to signify they are in optimal position. ‘Excellent!’ Skeltron replies, telling him that of all the Starblasters, he is his most trusted. ‘We non-organics truly are superior peoples!’ Skeletron boasts. ‘Yes, sir’ Fabrikant replies, before announcing that he has received the signal, and asks if he should launch the Moonthruster. ‘By all means!’ Skeletron replies.

A hatch on the Starblast opens, and the Moonthruster drops from it like a seed from a tree, a very large cylinder-shaped facility, with a large drill-like end, which impacts with the lunar surface of the moon with a soundless splash of moondust and pulverized rock. Moments after contact, the Moonthruster comes to life, sending up a blue geyser of energy over twenty miles high! The moon’s period of rotation is equal to its period of revolution around the Earth. The Moonthruster is on the far side of the moon, but its plumage illuminates the hidden hemisphere, framing the face of the moon with a pale blue corona, visible in Earth’s night sky….

Meanwhile, on that planet known to many as Earth, specifically, New York City, where the hero Moon Knight is fighting the criminal known as Trump. ‘You’ve played your trump-card, Trump - and it still doesn’t beat my hand!’ Moon Knight exclaims as he kicks Trump over. ‘Or my foot, for that matter!’ Moon Knight jokes. Trump passes out, while the Moon Knight notices that the lights and shadows tonight seem strange - off kilter - as everything has a blue cast to it. Mon Knight wonders if it is some kind of new street lamp, only to get concerned when he realizes that it is the moon. ‘Something’s going on up there, I can almost feel it!’ he tells himself. ‘But this earthbound Moon Knight hasn’t a clue what it is…I just pray that somebody does!’ Moon Knight thinks to himself.

Flying across the star-lit sky, is Wendell Vaughan a.k.a. Quasar, accompanied by his girlfriend, Kayla Ballentine, who calls out after him, asking him to wait for her. Quasar apologizes, admitting that he was not paying attention to his flight speed, and that he was thinking about what they could try next to help Kayla get rid of the Starbrand safely. ‘Come up with anything?’ Kayla asks Quasar as she catches up to him and flies alongside him. Quasar replies that the only thing he has come up with so far is a list of all the cosmic entities he wants to consult to see if they have any suggestions. ‘”Cosmic entities”? You mean aliens, right?’ Kayla asks. ‘Yeah, kind of’ Wendell replies.

Quasar is about to tell Kayla where he intends to start with the consultations, when he suddenly notices a strange bluish haze around the moon. Wendell declares that he should check it out, and tells Kayla to wait for him at his apartment. Kayla exclaims that she wants to come with, but Quasar flies over and hugs her as he reminds her that he is the super hero, while she is the one who wants to get rid of her super powers. ‘Yeah, take care, lover’ Kayla replies as she kisses Wendell. ‘”Lover”? Wow!’ Quasar thinks to himself as he flies towards the moon.

Meanwhile, at Avengers Mansion in New York, the Black Widow, Giant Man and their staff member Peggy Carter are greeted by Nick Fury of SHIELD who contacts them via a communications monitor. Fury reports that there is something funny going on on the moon, and that he doesn’t just mean the blue glow. Fury explains that, according to readings from their satellites, the moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth is getting stronger, and some of the scientists understand that to mean the moon is getting closer to the Earth. Fury tells the Avengers that SHIELD is putting together a shuttle crew to investigate, and suggests the Avengers might like to send someone, as they could do it a lot faster. Peggy assures Fury that they will do what they can. The Black Widow asks Peggy to contact their reserve member Captain Marvel, for with Quasar no longer on the team, Captain Marvel may be the fastest they have.

At that moment, in Salem Center, at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Professor X is in a library with Jean Grey, who asks him what is going on, as she can tell he is screening his thoughts from her. Charles apologizes and points out that it is a reflex, before remarking that, as if they do not have enough to worry, he has now sensed alien activity in their solar system, which threatens to encroach upon their planet on a major scale. ‘Thanos - again?’ Jean asks. Xavier replies that it is more of an unknown quantity, for he senses members of a multitude of extra-terrestrial races, among them which are the venal Z’Nox. ‘Whew! What should we do?’ Jean asks. Charles replies that he will contact Carol Danvers, as she has had more experience in space than any of the X-Men.

Half a world away, somewhere in Siberia, at the home of Father Alexi Garnoff, the elderly Russian hero tells his team - Siberforce - that something is wrong with the moon. Stencil points out that it looks a little bluish, while Father Garnoff announces that he has intercepted satellite transmissions, and that unless the data is an error, the moon is moving towards Earth. Vanguard, Ursa Major and Sibercat look on as Laynia “Darkstar” Petrovna points out that she and Nicolai have been to the moon before, and she can use her Darkforce to transport them there. Father Garnoff tells Darkstar to go then, and see what is amiss, but to return here immediately if the entire might of Siberforce is needed. With that, Darkstar teleports herself and her brother Nicolai “Vanguard” Krylenko away.

Back in New York, at Project Pegasus, three of its resident heroes, the Squadron Supreme - mightiest heroes of another Earth - are also monitoring the strange happenings of the moon. Hyperion asks Power Princess what she thinks is going on, to which Power Princess replies that there can be no doubt the moon has moved several feet out of orbit, and it is only a matter of hours before the Earth starts to feel the tidal effects. Arcanna Jones points out that this sort of threat is no strictly within their purview, and therefore they will have to get clearance from Project Pegasus officials. Hyperion tells his friends that he will fly on ahead to determine the cause, and asks Arcanna to complete the paper work and have the rest of the Squadron Supreme stand by. ‘Be careful, Hyperion!’ Power Princess calls out.

In Olympia, Greece, home of the Eternals, where, amongst the lush greenery, Ajak informs Ikaris and Thena that the inexplicable lunar movement could spell vast environmental catastrophe for Earth - flooding, earthquakes and hurricanes. Ikaris points out that the Eternals are, historically, reluctant to involve themselves with Earth welfare, but that one day that reluctance may spell the end of the human race. ‘Surely, Thena, you do not want that’ Ikaris adds. Thena replies by asking Ikaris if he wants her permission to investigate, then he may do whatever he wish, but tells him that it is her belief that this sphere is now teeming with superhuman beings of various origins, and the intervention of the Eternals is, as usual, unnecessary.

At a seaside amusement park, where the ruling family of the Inhumans has gathered, Triton makes his way into the sea, telling his family that they may be able to disguise themselves to dwell among human kind, he cannot. ‘Where Triton swims, he swims alone!’ he calls out. Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak and Gorgon wave farewell, when suddenly, the canine Lockjaw begins howling. Medusa asks him what is wrong, while pointing out to Black Bolt that Lockjaw seems to be baying at the moon. ‘Perhaps he senses something amiss in Atilan!’ she suggests. Medusa understands what her silent husband is wanting to do, and informs the others that Black Bolt will accompany Lockjaw alone, before telling her husband to be careful, as Lockjaw and he teleport away.

At Monster Island, in the South Atlantic, three member of the Infinity Watch - Adam Warlock, Moondragon and Pip the Troll have also discovered something awry with the moon. ‘You are right, Warlock - there is some psychic disturbance emanating from the moon!’ Moondragon exclaims, assuring him that she doesn’t believe Thanos or any of Warlock’s other selves are responsible. ‘Perhaps you are right, but I need to be certain’ Warlock tells the haughty Moondragon, before asking Pip to teleport them up to the moon. Pip chomps on a cigar, before sighing, and muttering ‘If you say so, Chief!’

Somewhere between the Earth and the moon, and alien Shi’ar ship circles after a recent mission on Earth. A Shi’ar officer aboard the vessel informs the Captain that their scanners are picking up a number of human sized blips exiting the Earth’s atmosphere. The Captain asks if they are pursuing this ship, to which the officer replies that, given their trajectories, it would appear not. The officer adds that there is a starship on the other side of the moon, which has just released at least two shuttlecrafts. Gladiator of the Imperial Guard points out that the Majestrix has a special interest in this sector, and a hatch opens, enabling him to fly from the Shi’ar vessel to perform reconnaissance. The officer - Si’ani - turns to the Captain and announces that unsanctioned use of the stargate in the sector is in violation of code 1-11-54C, and suggests it may be prudent to notify imperium command and have the Imperial Guard put on alert. ‘Yes, do so’ the Captain replies.

On the far side of the moon, Quasar arrives, and gazing upon the Moonthruster, he wonders what it is. He attempts to use his quantum bands to get a read-out of the energy which pours from the Moonthruster, when he is surprised by the arrival of Monica Rambeau a.k.a. the second Captain Marvel. Quasar puts an air tunnel up between the two of them so they can talk in the vacuum of space: ’Hey, Captain, good to see you’ Quasar remarks. Monica asks Wendell what he is doing here, reminding him that the Avengers believed he resigned so he could go off and patrol the universe. ‘I was doing that’ Quasar replies, explaining that he had business in this vicinity, which he thinks is a good thing, because this building here is up to no good.

Quasar informs Captain Marvel that he was ready to search the building for an entrance, and he and Captain Marvel fly off in opposite directions to search. Quasar thinks to himself that it looks like a cross between a starship and a nuclear reactor, and notes that his energy scan indicates a wide wavelength array in the mile-high discharge. Around the corner, Captain Marvel tells herself that it is so eerie here without sound, and that she is sure glad Quasar is here, as he has had so much more outer space experience than she has. Monica notes some sort of hatchway, and takes hold of it, before deciding she should signal Quasar before proceeding, as she has no intention of blundering blindly into something she knows nothing about, ‘Like some dim-witted teenager in a horror movie!’. Suddenly though, before Monica can signal to Quasar, several metallic tentacles emerge from the hatch and take hold of her, pulling her inside the hatch. ‘If only I could discharge energy like I used to!’ Monica regrets as she is sucked away.

Quasar hopes that Captain Marvel is making out better than he is, before noticing an approaching energy signature - none other than Carol Danvers a.k.a. Binary. Wendell reminds himself that he hasn’t seen Carol since the end of “Galactic Storm” and is pleased to see that she is back in fighting shape. ‘The more the merrier!’ Quasar thinks to himself as he flies towards Carol, only to be grabbed by the same tentacles that attacked Captain Marvel. ‘What the -?’ Wendell wonders as he is pulled into the Moonthruster. As he is pulled along through the Moonthruster, Quasar realizes that whatever has hold of him can’t quite penetrate his aura, so he decides to go along with it to see what is going on.

Moments later, Wendell is pulled into a large chamber, where several other heroes have been captured by the tentacles also - ‘My word! A whole punch of Earth heroes, all tangled together! There’s Captain Marvel…Black Bolt…Warlock…and those two Russian mutants!’. Wendell knows that none of them have a protective aura like he does, and it looks like they are being violated by living dental drills, as he sees strange devices clamped on their heads, with tentacles creeping into their mouths. Darkstar cries as she is attacked, while Quasar wonders who he can pull the heroes out of here without ripping them all to ribbons.

Wendell exclaims that he has to try something, so expands his aura to keep the tendrils at bay, freeing himself, before deciding to attach his quantum life-line to one of the other heroes, but he is not sure who, as he knows he cannot get them all at once - not carefully at any rate. He decides to start with Captain Marvel, and attempts to slice off the tendrils attacking her with a scalpel-sharp energy beam, before he attaches a two line and pulls like his life depends on it - and eventually, they are free. Quasar sees Binary, now joined by Hyperion, and decides that he is going to need all the help he can get. With Captain Marvel at his side, Quasar beings to attack air-tubes so they can all speak, but, unexpectedly, Captain Marvel begins cutting loose with a barrage of energy bolts, one of which smacks into Hyperion.

Quasar realizes that Captain Marvel must be traumatized, and calls out to Binary, pointing out that there are others trapped inside, he asks Binary to subdue Captain Marvel, while he and Hyperion fly towards the hatch of the Moonthruster. Wendell asks Hyperion if he is okay, to which Hyperion replies that he was just taken by surprise. Quasar informs him that a handful of super folk are trapped inside, before surrounding Hyperion with his quantum aura, to keep Hyperion safe from attack. ‘Gee, Quaze, I never knew you cared’ Hyperion jokes.

Binary hovers around Captain Marvel, recalling how, when she was staying with the Avengers after Galactic Storm, she was informed that this Captain Marvel had lost her energy manipulating abilities. ‘She must have regained them, because they’re sure in evidence now!’ Carol thinks to herself, but knowing that whatever power Captain Marvel manifests, is no match for her own, and as Carol unleashes a stellar barrage on Monica, Captain Marvel falls towards the moon surface, reeling from the impact. Carol decides that she has overwhelmed Captain Marvel, and wonders if she has killed her.

Meanwhile, the Starblaster lands on the Atlantic Ocean, and the Starblasters report back to Skeletron, informing him that they have landed, while Skeletron asks if their camouflage screen are still engaged. ‘Yes, we should have escaped notice on all of their detection instruments’ one of them replies, before Skeletron orders them to launch the shuttlecrafts, in which Codabac and Xlymm are stationed. ‘Done, sire!’ one of them replies as the shuttles are launched. Skeletron looks at Codabac and Xlymm on monitors, asking if they read him. ‘I read you’ the sluggish alien Xlymm replies. ‘Right here’ the bulky Codabac replies. ‘You know your missions. Do not fail’ Skeletron tells them, before informing them that their launch window is 0200 to 0400. Skeletron turns to the rocky Zardok and asks for a telemetry report on the Moonthruster. Zardok replies that there are, at present, eight highly-energized Earth beings inside the conversion chamber.

Back on the moon, Quasar pulls on Darkstar with his quantum bands, thinking that he is sure glad to have help in here, but it is still tough trying to pull everyone to safety, as he wonders what the things tangling them all up are. Hyperion has managed to free Black Bolt. Darkstar thinks to herself that she managed to cover her face with the Darkforce so the tentacle creatures could not get inside her mouth and nose, and regrets that she was not able to do the same for her brother. ‘While I appreciate Quasar’s efforts, I’m not about to leave my brother behind!’ Laynia thinks to herself as she extends the Darkforce to wrap around her brother, pulling him along. Warlock sees that Quasar has managed to maneuver within the dangerous environment, but doesn’t need Quasar to come to his rescue, as his soul gem makes him insusceptible to the tendrils’ mental domination.

Moments later, Quasar reaches space, thinking that he was starting to believe he was getting turned around, and that for some reason, hauling Darkstar out of the building was harder than Captain Marvel -’Wonder why?’ he thinks, only for Darkstar and Vanguard to appear. ‘You okay?’ Quasar asks Darkstar, who replies she will be as soon as she frees her brother, but as she does so, Vanguard smacks her over. ‘Her’ brother’s been subverted!’ Quasar tells himself.

Nearby, Ikaris arrives, and sees the Moonthruster, believing it to be the source of the lunar disturbance. ‘And then, to the contrary, I see no Earth champions about to deal with the situation!’ he adds, only for Hyperion and Black Bolt to emerge from the Moonthruster. ‘Made it out!’ Hyperion thinks to himself, before seeing Ikaris get caught up in the tendrils! Hyperion releases Black Bolt, ‘You’re going to have to fend for yourself!’ he thinks, knowing that he has to help a fellow Eternal, Hyperion flies back through the hatch.

On another side of the Moonthruster, Adam Warlock emerges after wrenching his way out of the quagmiric device, but he knows that he is still no closer to determining its nature than he was before he entered it. But, before Warlock can even get his bearings, he is knocked backwards by a blast from Black Bolt.

Several thousand meters away, Quasar tells himself that Darkstar has been knocked for a loop by her tow-headed brother, and realizes that Vanguard must be under the same alien influence as Captain Marvel. Wendell attempts to use his quantum powers to catch Vanguard in a vice, only for Vanguard to use his own mutant power to repel Quasar’s quantum pincers. ‘I lost control over their cohesion - that’s Vanguard’s power?’ Wendell thinks to himself.

Back on Earth, specifically, West End Avenue, New York, Kayla Ballentine inspects Quasar’s apartment, wondering when the last time Wendell came home was, as the dust is half an inch thick. ‘I’m so bored, I almost feel like cleaning!’ Kayla tells herself, deciding against it, as she doesn’t want Quasar to think she is going domestic on him, as he will never settle down on Earth - unless, by some miracle - both of them lose their super powers. Kayla tells herself that she has got to do something, and decides to take a long, hot bath, when, suddenly, a window smashes, as Threkker and Codabac burst into the apartment. ‘The skull-mugger!’ Codabac calls out to Threkker, who holds the skull-mugger up, before Codabac orders him to release it, as the woman must not be allowed to react to them.

‘I know that!’ Threkker mutters, before throwing it towards Kayla, who is not experienced enough in her powers to react, and finds the skull-mugger attached to her face, covering her eyes and nose, with a pipe extending into her mouth. Kayla tries to pull it from her face, but can’t, and her eyes swell up with tears. Codabac picks Kayla up, scolding Threkker for almost giving Kayla enough time to direct her power. ‘I did not, you four-armed freak!’ Threkker retorts as they make their way onto the apartment balcony, unaware that Nova is hovering there, ‘Hi, guys. You know we got a law against double parking?’ he jokes, referring to their small space jet, before adding that they have a law against kidnapping ladies too, as he punches Codabac, forcing him to release Kayla.

Nova thinks to himself that he sure is glad he noticed their unidentified aircraft swooping into the city, before collecting Kayla and taking flight, telling her that it is okay, as she is in the hands of the ever-capable Nova, the Human Rocket. Nova assures her that she will be safe up here, when he notices the strange contraption on her face. Leaving her, Nova flies back down to the apartment, where Threkker alerts Codabac to Nova’s return, and points out that he wears the uniform of the Xandarian Nova Corps. ‘I thought they were all wiped out!’ Threkker exclaims. ‘When we’re done with him, they will be!’ Codabad boasts.

Back on the Moon, Hyperion has rescued Ikaris, and hovering outside the Moonthruster, thinks that he will be okay, when he notices the strange device on Ikaris’ head. ‘What was Quaze telling me about it?’ Hyperion wonders, only to get his answer when Ikaris lunges at him.

Nearby, Adam Warlock finds himself knocked back into the alien device, with the tentacles trying to wrap themselves around him, as he makes his way out again. ‘Now where…ah, circling around like a vulture!’ Warlock thinks to himself as he sees Black Bolt overhead. ‘Okay, Inhuman - perhaps a blast from my soul-gem will help you regain your senses!’ Warlock thinks to himself as he flies towards Black Bolt and blasts him with his power. But, even as Warlock’s karmic energy strikes the silent Inhuman, a cloud of highly charged electrons erupts from Black Bolt’s antenna - and travels along the karmic stream, back to its source - smacking Adam Warlock backwards.

‘Pain…intense…I have to override the alien parasite!’ Adam Warlock tells himself, augmenting his soul gem with his own personal energies, he forces the techno-organic device clamped around Black Bolt to explode soundless under the onslaught of power. Warlock sees Black Bolt signal for a cessation in their fighting, and realizes that Black Bolt has regained his own will. The fly side-by-side, wanting to get to the bottom of the lunacy. Arriving back at the Moonthruster, Warlock sees two figures he doesn’t recognize fighting, only to realize that one of them is Quasar. As he watches Quasar he wonders which of them is being controlled by the parasite, only for the contraption to explode off Vanguard, who rubs his face, free.

Quasar opens a air tunnel so he can speak with Warlock, and exclaims ‘Long time no see!’, before Warlock asks what is going on here. ‘Your guess is as good as mine’ Quasar replies, before pointing out that Warlock can rescue minds from subversion and that there are at least five others here, so he asks Warlock if he wouldn’t mind checking who else needs rescuing. ‘I’m going to see what can be done about the moon-mover itself!’ Quasar exclaims.

Nearby, Hyperion battles the mind-controlled Ikaris, wishing that he could extend the air-filled aura that Quasar put around him, so he could warn Ikaris of what he intends to do to free him of the alien thing on his head. Hyperion grabs a hold of the device, then flies into the fiery blue exhaust emitted by the Moonthruster, pulling Ikaris in after him. ‘It may be working. The alien head-piece is melting!’ Hyperion exclaims to himself, and, when he emerges with Ikaris on the other side, they find Quasar awaiting them. Quasar extends an air tunnel to Hyperion and tells him to gather everyone he can, as they have got to try to tip the propulsion unit on its side.

And soon, Hyperion has gathered Binary, Captain Marvel, Black Bolt, Vanguard, Ikaris and Warlock on one side of the Moonthruster, though he wonders where Quasar is to give them the signal, and so the heroes just push at the Moonthruster. On the other side of the towering obstruction, Quasar is with Darkstar, using their powers to blast at the grounding of the Moonthruster, their combined use of quantum and Darkforce energies begin to topple the Moonthruster. ‘It’s starting to move!’ Quasar exclaims, before urging Hyperion to get his side to keep pushing. Eventually, the Moonthruster falls, bounces once against the surface of the moon, then speeds off into space, leaving a blue trail behind it. ‘We did it!’ Darkstar exclaims.

Back on Earth, Codabac holds onto Nova, while telling Threkker to hurry up. ‘You are the slowest power leech I have ever known!’ he exclaims. ‘Shut up. He’s almost finished…there!’ Threkker retorts, before returning to their small aircraft, leaving Nova on the balcony, they fly towards a nearby building where Nova left Kayla. Threkker declares that there is no hurry, as she cannot recover from the skull-hugger. ‘See?’ Threkker asks as he picks the still immobile Kayla up off the nearby rooftop. Codabac orders Threkker to put Kayla into storage, ‘Then let’s quit this ugly grey world!’.

On the moon, Quasar, Darkstar, Vanguard, Binary, Captain Marvel, Hyperion, Black Bolt, Ikaris and Adam Warlock gather together. ‘Okay…so we sent the moon pusher on its merry way…’ Hyperion remarks, while Quasar asks his allies if anyone has the slightest idea who might be behind this all. Warlock points out that it is not Thanos’ style, while no one else has any suggestions. Holding one of the strange devices, Quasar explains that there is nothing much left to do here, and that he will have this analysed, before asking if everyone has a way back home. ‘Good. Then let’s stay in touch!’ he suggests, unaware that nearby, on a moon rock, Gladiator has been watching them.

Fifteen minutes later, back on Earth, Quasar flies towards his apartment, fearing that there is a big part of the picture which he is missing, and that after he checks in with Kayla, he wants to go back up to the moon and search the entire, in case he comes up with something else. Suddenly, he notices an ambulance and a bunch of people milling around near his apartment - some of those people just happen to be Firestar, Rage and Speedball of the New Warriors, who watch as paramedics tend to their teammate Nova. ‘Look! Up in the sky!’ Speedball exclaims, motioning to Quasar.

Wendell drops down beside the New Warriors and asks them what has happened. Speedball replies that their buddy Nova got smeared in a fight with a couple of bad extra-terrestrials who were hassling some chick. Quasar excuses himself, before flying up to the apartment, only to discover his window broken as he calls out to Kayla. Concerned, Wendell wonders if this is all a coincidence, or if that business on the moon was just a smokescreen to get him off Earth so somebody could grab the Starbrand…?

Characters Involved: 


Kayla Ballantine

Jean Grey & Professor X (both X-Men)

Darkstar, Father Garnoff, Stencil, Sibercat, Ursa Major, Vanguard (all Siberforce)


Captain Marvel II

Black Widow & Giant Man (both Avengers)

Arcanna Jones, Hyperion, Power Princess (all Squadron Supreme)

Ajak, Ikaris, Thena (all Eternals)

Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, Lockjaw, Medusa, Triton (all Inhumans)

Moondragon, Pip the Troll, Adam Warlock (all Infinity Watch)

Firestar, Nova, Rage, Speedball (all New Warriors)

Gladiator (Imperial Guard)

Moon Knight

Peggy Carter

Nick Fury

Uatu The Watcher

Codabrac, Fabrikant, Insidio, Kreeg, Nygorn, Skeletron, Threkker, Xlymm, Zardok (all Starblasters)


Captain Ou’zli & Si’ani (Shi’air officers)


In Flashback / Watcher’s story:


Kayla Ballantine

Living Laser





Story Notes: 

The Starblast mini series is actually part of the “Starblast Crossover”, which ties into Quasar #54-56, and loosely into several other titles, though one does not need to read the following titles to understand what is happening in the core part of the story: Namor (1st series) #45-47, Secret Defenders #11 and Fantastic Four (1st series) #385-386.

Nygorn the Monitor first appeared in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #3, followed by Quasar #16, before appearing here. Threkker first appeared in Captain America Annual (1st series) #3. The other members of the Starblasters make their first appearance in this issue, or other issues associated with this event.

The Living Laser enters the Watcher’s portal in Quasar #6, and was found by Quasar in #30.

Quasar encountered the New Universe and acquired the Starbrand power in Quasar #31.

The New Universe was a short-lived series of series (Starbrand, D.P.7, Psi-Force, Kickers Inc) from the mid 1980’s, set in, a new universe. Little was done with them outside of their main series, though the New Universe was explored by Mark Gruenwald on occasion.

Quasar joined the Avengers in Avengers (1st series) #305, but had departed by #339.

Jean’s comment ‘Thanos - again’ refers to the Marvel Universe’s recent conflict with Thanos, as seen in the uber-crossovers: “The Infinity War”, “The Infinity Gauntlet” and “The Infinity Crusade”.

The Z’Nox are a race of aliens whom Xavier and the original X-Men battled in the early years. [X-Men (1st series) #65, X-Men the Hidden Years #8-9]. The Starblaster Kreeg is apparently of the Z’Nox race.

Xavier was friendly with Carol Danvers given the time she spent residing at the Mansion after Rogue’s attack on her [Avengers Annual #10, Uncanny X-Men #150, #153-154, various other issues]

Darkstar’s appearance here takes place after X-Men (2nd series) #17-19.

Siberforce was formed after the events of the Soviet Super Soldiers one-shot. They are sometimes referred to as the Exiles (not to be confused with the reality-hopping Exiles).

Darkstar and Vanguard were on the moon in Iron Man (1st series) #109-112.

On page 19, Darkstar says that she and Mikhail have been to the moon - this is meant to read she and Nicolai. Vanguard is Nicolai Krylenko, Ursa Major is Major Mikhail Ursus. Their real names have often been confused. Vanguard is also called Mikhail on page 34, 35.

The Shi’ar mission on Earth took place in Nova (2nd series) #1.

Galactic Storm was another uber-crossover that took place in numerous titles, including Quasar [issues #32-34] in which Binary was gravely wounded.

Word balloons on page 32 between Quasar and Hyperion are mixed up, with some of Quasar’s speech included in Hyperion’s word balloon.

Captain Marvel lost her energy manipulating powers following the events of Avengers (1st series) #293-294.

On page 34, Darkstar mentions that she managed to cover her face with the Darkforce so that the tentacles could not get inside her mouth and nose - however on page 29 she is clearly shown with the tentacles inside her mouth and nose. Perhaps she managed to expel them with the Darkforce before they could do her any harm.

Hyperion and Ikaris met in Quasar #28.

On page 38, Codabac and Threkkers lines about not throwing it in time come from the wrong person.

This issue is followed by Quasar #54.

Issue Information: 
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