Wendell Vaughn is your average Joe. He’s got the brains to make it into S.H.I.E.L.D. and get through training – in fact, he excels. There’s just one hitch: he lacks a “killer instinct.” His superiors don’t believe he can make the sometimes deadly decisions one has to make in the course of standard operations. He passes, but he’s relegated to a security position.
He’s bitter but happy enough when he receives his first assignment. He has to guard a project that his estranged father is working on and it involves the testing of the Quantum Bands that once belonged to Marvel Boy. Things go awry, and a team of A.I.M. agents attacks in hopes of stealing the bands for sure-to-be nefarious purposes.
Unlikely as it seems (well, not to the reader), Wendell saves the day by donning the bands despite the great risk to his person. He handily foils A.I.M.’s plans. When the bands are controlled properly they provide impressive power. They don’t consume him precisely for the trait that S.H.I.E.L.D. counted as a mark against him.
The way they bands are wielded reminds me of the way Green Lantern uses his ring. The energy can be formed and manipulated with Wendell’s imagination.
After the display of bravery and force, S.H.I.E.L.D. reconsiders Vaughn. He has the Quantum Bands, and now he’s a formidable asset. Vaughn embraces his new gifts, gets a fancy costume, and calls himself Quasar.
He gets a gig as the head of security for Project PEGASUS but resigns after he is taken over by the serpent crown.
Yeah, that will ruin your day.
Depressed about his failure, he takes a long journey through space to Uranus to discover more about the Quantum Bands. Who created them and why? He eventually gets those answers but more importantly, he encounters the being called Eon who appoints him Protector of the Universe.
He returns to Earth rejuvenated, a new man with a shiny, new outfit. He soon starts a security consulting firm and rents office space in the Baxter Building. Maybe Fantastic Four offers the space at low prices, but I’m surprised Wendell can afford it – especially since he doesn’t have any paying gigs yet. He must have been saving dough for a while. He wastes no time in hiring a secretary either.
Seriously. In what universe would someone wear a bra and a miniskirt to a job interview for a business position and expect to get hired. I guess she did end up with a job though.
Before long, Quasar is in demand!
He teams up with a dazzling array of characters, and it all feels natural. Everyone lives in New York City, and I like that he runs into the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man without it being a giant multi-issue crossover event. It should be commonplace for them to all cross paths – not the next BIG thing that will span forty issues and costs you tons of money. (Okay, I have feelings about “events”).
The Avengers squabble over which coast gets him, he works with the X-Men, Spidey and Stingray, he fights Venom and the Angler. He’s popular, and he’s committed to helping the city. He struggles between balancing his burgeoning business and being the super hero people need. He’s always on call, and he comes up with the excuse of having a racquetball team to explain his frequent absences to his secretary. I had no idea anyone would buy someone being that obsessed with racquetball.
I think part of the reason he pushes himself to always be there and available is that he feels like he constantly has to prove himself. None of that pressure seems to be coming from external sources, but it seems to me that Wendell keeps thinking back to the time in S.H.I.E.L.D. training when he was good but not quite good enough. He wants to be the best and given what I’ve seen of his powers and personality – he’s doing more than okay.