Monday, October 19, 2015

Saturday Hastings had a sale, all used books $2.99--not graphic novels this time around, but I've picked over their selection already! Along with a couple Star Wars novels, I got the newest two Stephen King books, Finders Keepers and Revival. I'm not sure when either came out, and may have only read Mr. Mercedes and 11/22/1963 earlier this year, too. King will probably have another two books out by the time I finish these, and I read like a chainsaw...

Somewhat more germane to this blog, though, I did pick up a solid ten bucks worth of quarter books...over forty, yeah. Admittedly, some are replacing books I may have lost, or at least didn't have handy, because for a quarter why not? And here's one I love, even though that's not my favorite costume of his: from 1991, Quasar #19, "Refugees" Written by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Greg Capullo, inks by Keith Williams.

The story begins with a visit to the disembodied consciousness of the Eternal Kronos: some five thousand years ago, as he experimented to discover the secrets of the Eternals' life-force, he was blown apart, his molecules and mind expanding through the universe ever since. At this point, although possessed of vast cosmic power, he's also lost a bit of focus, as he explains to a visitor he meets; a being who seems to share Kronos's discorporeal existence. The visitor declines to give his name, saying only "beings jealous of my power forced me to hyper-enlarge myself," then letting Kronos go on. Kronos recounts his origin, and how he used to be a "benevolent god" to the Eternals on Titan, but has had a hard time caring anymore, even though he knows Thanos has returned and might be on his way to destroy the universe. Instead, Kronos spends most of his time trying to catch a glimpse of Infinity, one of the abstract entities of the Marvel Universe like Eternity. The nameless one realizes these abstracts might be able to back him, and resolves to make Thanos look like a piker: a bold statement, although he may want to work up some name recognition first.

Meanwhile, back on earth, Quasar is hanging out with the Squadron Supreme, who had been trapped in this dimension for some time. Doctor Strange makes a house call--oh, I'm sure he never gets tired of hearing that--to Project: Pegasus to try and help the Squadron get home. Strange is only able to get them halfway there, though, since he's getting pushback from their home dimension's Wizard Supreme. Now a jurisdictional issue, Strange is unable to help, and the disgruntled Squadron settle in. Elsewhere, Jack of Hearts gets probably his first splash page in years, as he tows several small ships to earth.

As Wendell Vaughn, Quasar visits his friends at his small security company, including bizarre new hire Miss Steckley, who disappeared for two weeks. Unknown to everyone, she saw behind Quasar's bookcase, where he keeps his cosmic mentor, Eon. Eon communicates telepathically with Ms. Steckley, who takes off her hair before taking a bath...! Quasar finally has a date with his secretary Kayla, who's really into him, but he keeps having to run off on emergencies. This time when one comes up, he just tells her, explaining his secret identity, and how he has to be on the lookout for an extraterrestrial threat to earth. "I'll take you flying, like in the Superman movie." Meeting Jack of Hearts at the edge of earth's atmosphere, Quasar asks him what's up with the ships, and a cranky Jack isn't the mood to talk about it. Against energy-based foes, Quasar usually used his quantum-bands to drain their power, but doing so nearly kills Jack and he lets up. Intending to get him to medical help, Quasar puts them both in a bubble, and Jack sucker-blasts him. Next, a helmeted figure Jack calls "Sergei" tells him to kill Quasar, so they can make their presence known to Eon...

If you had been reading Marvel Comics for some time, the nameless one, Ms. Steckley, and Sergei were all established characters; and you could have guessed them. I should've recognized the nameless one, since I actually had the issue where he had been discorporated! Ms. Steckley's reveal will leave you hitting your head "of course!" Sergei just isn't referred to by name here: he's the radiation-powered Russian villain the Presence, who is a total dick every time I see him even though he's usually accompanied by his girl. The second Red Guardian seems to have been attached to him just to mitigate his horribleness and is wasted there. By the way, we saw a little from Quasar #23 some time back: no spoilers, but things get much worse for Quasar before they get better!

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