The Protector of the Universe, Wendell Vaughn, wields great power through his cosmically- empowered Quantum Bands. Known as Quasar, he defends the Earth and the cosmos, and is quick to put his own life on the line if it means saving others.
Born in Wisconsin, Wendell Elvis Vaughn grows up there, where his mother Lisa still works as a librarian. His father, brilliant physicist Gilbert Vaughn, is an outwardly cold man who has difficulty showing emotion, even with his family. His workaholic aloofness eventually leads Lisa to divorce him. Though Wendell lives with his mother and his sister Gayle, he never stops trying to please his often-absent father, forever seeking some glimmer of affection or approval. This dysfunctional father-son relationship fuels Wendell’s self-esteem issues and occasional fits of depression, which plague him well into adulthood. Seeking structure and purpose, Vaughn enlists in the United States Army and rises to the rank of lieutenant, but he feels uneasy as a soldier and his superiors eventually tell him he lacks the killer instinct necessary in a fully successful military man. Leaving the Army, he joins the elite intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and gets top marks at their academy, but is told he lacks the aggressive qualities required in a top field agent. Crushed, Wendell resigns himself to a future of desk jobs and minor support work. Vaughn’s destiny takes a strange turn when S.H.I.E.L.D. obtains the Quantum Bands, ancient extraterrestrial energy weapons usually worn as bracelets.
The Quantum Bands
For most of the past eight billion years, the Quantum Bands had been wielded by a series of champions serving Eon, an Eternity-spawned cosmic being charged with ensuring the perpetuation of life in the universe. Each of these champions had been selected by Eon to serve as Protector of the Universe, chosen for their intelligence, courage and resourcefulness. Eon’s latest appointed Protector of the Universe had been the legendary Kree warrior Mar-Vell, AKA Captain Marvel, but the Quantum Bands had gone missing and Mar-Vell never had a chance to wield them before he died of cancer. The bands had come into the possession of the Crusader, a mentally unstable duplicate of 1950s hero Robert Grayson, AKA Marvel Boy, created by the Uranian Eternals. Unable to control the bands, the Crusader ultimately disintegrated himself in battle with the Fantastic Four, who turned the bands over to S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. S.H.I.E.L.D. hired a research team—assembled by wealthy industrialist Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, and led by Gilbert Vaughn—to study the bands; however, project participant Dr. Stanley Zane was secretly a spy for the subversive organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.).
Bonding to the Bracelets
When Wendell receives a security detail assignment for the Quantum Band research project at Stark International’s Pittsburgh facility, he attends the first test of the bands, observing daredevil test pilot William Wesley try them on for size. While Wesley quickly masters the bands’ basic functions, he cannot halt their escalating power buildup; realizing too late that the bands could not be removed once they had bonded with a wearer, Wesley panics and disintegrates. Minutes later, an A.I.M., assault team invades the facility to claim the bands. Intending to protect the bands at all costs, Wendell dons them despite his father’s warnings and defeats the A.I.M. attackers. In the process, he builds up an energy charge that seems certain to disintegrate him like the others, so he flies up to the edge of outer space and awaits the blast, resigned to his fate and trying to avoid hurting anyone else. As the energy abated, Wendell realizes the secret of safely controlling the quantum power was to relax and go with the flow of the energy rather than resisting. Ironically, his lack of a killer instinct saves his life.
With his new powers, Wendell trains as a S.H.I.E.L.D. super-operative under his father’s scientific supervision. Initially adopting the name and costume of Marvel Boy in tribute to the seemingly deceased Grayson, Wendell soon renames himself Marvel Man. Teamed with Don Thomas, AKA Blue Streak, Drew Daniels, AKA Texas Twister, and Denise Baranger, AKA Vamp, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. Super-Agents under the combat tutelage of Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon (later Captain America), Marvel Man briefly moonlights as a member of the fractious Defenders super-team, but he quits their ranks after only a day. Meanwhile, the Super-Agents disband after Wendell’s boyhood idol Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, helps expose Blue Streak and Vamp as double agents of the subversive Corporation. Texas Twister quits, but Marvel Man stays on long enough to help Captain America, Falcon, and Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, cripple the Corporation.
Vaughn later fails to subdue a rampaging Hulk, and gets teased from bystanders about his “goofy” name, therefore he adopts a new code name: Quasar, an alias derived from his father’s early, erroneous theory that the Quantum Bands might be powered by quasars.
Phenomenal Quantum Powers
Wendell Vaughn is currently composed of sentient quantum energy, which in its natural state usually manifests as an aura or beam of golden light, though he can shape his energy into various alternate forms. He most often shapes himself into a holographic facsimile of his former human body; while this hologram effectively duplicates the colors and other details of his original form, it constantly glows with a golden inner light. He can also shape his energy into other forms, though he typically retains the luminous golden default coloration of quantum energy when he assumes any shape other than his own humanoid body. He often appears as a beam of light but can assume more complex shapes, such as transforming himself into a super-strong, quantum-energy imitation of the Hulk. Whatever shape he assumes, with sufficient concentration, Vaughn can temporarily render his energy form physically tangible, presumably via a process similar to the Quantum Bands’ generation of solidified energy constructs. With his energy form temporarily solidified, he can perform physical tasks such as grasping and manipulating objects or throwing punches.
Vaughn can also release portions of his bodily energy, often as blasts emitted from his hands. He can levitate or fly, traveling at light speed when he does so, and seems capable of warp speed flight and traversing dimensional barriers. By solidifying some or all his energies while in flight, Vaughn can strike targets at high velocities like a living battering ram. He can explosively release most of his body’s energy in a single omnidirectional burst of luminous quantum energy, blinding onlookers and incinerating most of his surroundings, but requires time to recharge after such a feat. Due to his long-term use of the Quantum Bands, Vaughn’s spirit is linked to the bands, and his energies are drawn to them during times of transition or distress for the bands’ wielders. Since he is currently composed of quantum energy, Vaughn’s form can be controlled by whoever wields the Quantum Bands. He is capable of speech in his new energy form, presumably either telepathically or via self-generated radio waves.
Quasar also wields the Quantum Bands, jeweled metallic bracelets attuned to the infinitely vast potential energy realm known as the Quantum Zone. Mentally controlled, the bands draw energy from the Zone and other sources (including the full electromagnetic spectrum), employing this power for various effects. The bands enable levitation or flight by enveloping the wielder in a nimbus of photons and antigravitons, which also protects the wielder from detrimental flight conditions such as friction and has a tremendous capacity to absorb impact or pressure. Users can trap an air supply within this nimbus for flights through a vacuum or underwater. The bands’ flight speed is virtually limitless, but to avoid causing environmental damage, wielders seldom exceed subsonic speeds—or, when necessary, supersonic speeds—while operating within planetary atmospheres. Far greater speeds are safely achievable in a vacuum, such as space or hyperspace. Vaughn can achieve warp speed by “quantum-jumping” into the Quantum Zone and emerging elsewhere in the material universe, covering interplanetary or even interstellar distances in moments. He usually quantum-jumps alone, but can take along passengers and cargo if necessary by opening larger apertures into and out of the Zone. On rare occasions, he abandons particularly hazardous beings or materials in the Quantum Zone, where they might remain lost forever in its infinite expanse. Vaughn’s new energy form is capable of flight without the Bands and may be capable of quantum-jumping as well, but using the Bands might enhance his speed or help slow depletion of his energies.
While on Earth, Quasar navigates by attuning his bands’ jewels to the North Pole, assorted radio broadcasts and air traffic control transmissions. The bands can send and receive radio waves, and he sometimes uses radio waves to communicate in a vacuum, occasionally in combination with an air-filled quantum energy tunnel between himself and others. The bands also contain an internal chronometer. Vaughn’s bands can maintain an ongoing two-way audio-visual communications link with cosmic advisor Eon and with Avengers communications systems. To ensure instantaneous communication even across interstellar distances, Quasar sometimes installs permanent “quantum taps” or “Q-links” of quantum energy at a given site; he can subsequently access these “Q-links” via his bands for two-way audiovisual communication regardless of his own location. The Quantum Bands can detect and track targets over interstellar distances, especially anomalous energy signatures; on a smaller scale, their emissions can be used as radar to track movements in nearby airspace.
Quasar can create, animate, and manipulate solidified energy constructs formed from his bands’ quantum energy. These glowing golden constructs can assume any shape that Quasar can visualize. While the constructs sometimes deteriorate or dissipate if Quasar is rendered unconscious or distracted, he more often forms constructs that remain intact indefinitely regardless of his presence or concentration. He can also create energy objects timed to dissipate after a specific interval. His energy constructs tend to be structurally simple items such as anvils, baseball bats, battering rams, braces, bubbles (sometimes containing atmospheres in which to transport passengers through space), cages, catcher’s mitts, chairs, chisels, crossbows, drills, fists, funnels, gliders, hammers, hands, javelins, lassos, locks, mallets, manacles, megaphones, nets, pincers, pontoons, saws, scissors, screens, shackles, shears, shields, spheres, spikes, swords, tow lines and vise grips. These items are often mentally manipulated oversized versions of their everyday counterparts, but Quasar sometimes creates life-size objects that he wields manually, notably weapons such as nunchakus or quarterstaffs, or a super-durable battle armor he can form around his body. At the other end of the scale, he can create and manipulate quantum constructs as large as skyscrapers.
His more complex or exotic energy constructs using the bands have included electromagnets, energy-redirecting lenses, flying automobiles, miniature “quantum bubbles” he can track anywhere, portable beacons that ascend and glow upon manual release, “quantum crystals” through which others can communicate with him over vast distances, rudimentary spacecraft, treadmills, trip wires that detect and snare any moving object passing through their vicinity, and vacuum bell jars. Quasar has formed a permanent, invisible latticework of energy in the exosphere surrounding Earth; when he is on or near Earth, his Quantum Bands alert him whenever anything larger than a micrometeorite passes through the energy lattice, which also detected exotic or highly energetic power sources on Earth’s surface. In addition, Quasar has created and deployed thousands of mile-high, quantum-energy monitor dishes scattered throughout the universe to track off-Earth events.
Quasar’s quantum constructs tend to be extremely hard, rigid and durable, absorbing high impacts and other attacks by shunting most of the energy into the Quantum Zone; however, he can vary the texture and consistency of his constructs at will, creating soft, yielding forms such as energy cushions, mattresses, parachutes, ribbons or trampolines. He can also alter the physical properties of his quantum constructs in various highly specialized ways — for instance, rendering them adhesive, invisible to radar, lighter than air, superheated or viscous. He can project energy constructs at light speed by firing them as a beam of light that takes on a solid shape when it reaches its target. Certain substances or energies can disrupt his quantum constructs, notably particular sonic frequencies.
The Quantum Bands can generate many forms of energy, including concussive force (either as targeted beams or as an omnidirectional cascade), intense heat beams, blinding light, radio waves, cosmic energy and detailed (but monochromatically golden) holograms. They can absorb and manipulate virtually any form of energy, though they have little or no control over antimatter, Darkforce, magic and psionic energy. Quasar has programmed safeguards into the bands that render his own mind immune to psionic attacks or mental takeover. The bands can absorb most forms of energy, and once channeled an entire star’s power. The bands’ quantum energy can be used to lift massive weights aloft, or to throw energy-augmented punches that strike with superhuman force. Mental fatigue can impair Quasar’s control of the bands.
In human form, Quasar stored his costume or other clothing within a Quantum Band crystal and could materialize the stored clothing upon his body at will, changing outfits instantaneously. The Quantum Bands were permanently affixed to Quasar’s wrists in his original human form, and the flesh and bone encircled by the bands were rendered indestructible so long as their bond with the bands persisted. The bond could only be broken upon the wearer’s physical death, at which point the bands could be removed easily. Quasar seems able to don and remove the bands easily in his new energy form. While Quasar can bend light around the bands to render them invisible, they remain physically tangible. The bands normally appear as two three-inch wide bracelets of dark metal with golden trim, studded with fourteen golden jewels or crystals (seven encircling each band).
A physically athletic man in his original human form and possessing above normal intelligence, Wendell Vaughn has extensive unarmed combat training but little experience in using it. His military and espionage training has given him some ability in the areas of modern weaponry, piloting small aircraft, tactical skills, combat tech, surveillance and cryptography.
As Quasar, Wendell faces many cosmic threats, including Eon’s ancient relative and personification of non-existence, Oblivion. When Eon’s prophesied cosmic assassin Maelstrom arises, with Oblivion’s support, he slays Gilbert, Eon, and Wendell. Though Wendell survives as an energy wraith and is eventually resurrected by Oblivion polar opposite, Infinity, the entirety of space.
He also faces an insane Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch, the world-eating Galactus, and Negative Zone tyrant Annihilus, who also takes Vaughn’s life. Though he survives in an energy form and later faces the alien Skrulls during their invasion of Earth.
Advocates and Allies
When he comes into his powers, he serves the cosmic entity Eon as the Protector of the Universe and eventually is godfather to Epoch, Eon’s offspring.
Meanwhile on Earth, he trains as a S.H.I.E.L.D. super-operative and works alongside his idol Captain America (Rogers), Ben Grimm, AKA the Thing, and Bill Foster, AKA Giant-Man (later Goliath). He joins the Avengers, the Project: PEGASUS security team, and Queen’s Vengeance. He also forms his own spacefaring team, the Star Masters, and starts a security firm where he hires secretary Kayla Ballantine and the super-mentalist Heather Douglas, AKA Moondragon. The pair of women show their romantic interest in him, but Vaughn’s more interested in returning Kayla’s feelings, which results in Moondragon leaving the company.
In his adventures as Quasar, Vaughn encounters many superhumans including the Eternal speedster Makkari, who becomes his roommate, Deathurge, Joey Cartelli, AKA Blue Shield, Earth-712’s Squadron Supreme, the Stranger, Paul Witman Spade, AKA Jack of Hearts, and many others.
After perishing at the hands of Annihilus, Mar-Vell’s daughter Phyla-Vell takes up the Bands, becoming the new Quasar and Vaughn, his spirit connected to the Bands, eventually helps her against his enemies Maelstrom, Oblivion, and others. He also aids the cosmic hero Richard Rider, AKA Nova, who helps defeat Vaughn’s killer Annihilus with Phyla-Vell.
Protector of the Universe
Vaughn soon became security chief of the U.S. government’s top-secret Project: PEGASUS energy research facility. Obsessively devoted to his work, Quasar defended the Project from exotic threats such as Thomas Lightner, AKA the Nth Man, while befriending temporary PEGASUS security agents the Thing and Goliath. Vaughn was also briefly engaged to PEGASUS psychotherapist Jeannine O’Connell, though they ultimately broke up. When the arcane Serpent Crown mind-controlled Vaughn and the rest of the PEGASUS staff into serving it, the threat was ultimately neutralized by Dr. Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, and the Thing. Blaming himself for the near-disaster, Vaughn resigned despite Project administrators’ attempts to convince him to stay on.
Depressed and directionless, Wendell retreated to the Vaughn family home for months until his mother pressured his father to find a project for him. With Gilbert’s encouragement and technical guidance, Quasar undertook a years-long one-man journey to Uranus to research the origin of his Quantum Bands. Finding only the long-dead city of the Uranian Eternals, Quasar was so overwhelmed by the pointless futility of his mission and life in general that he attracted the attention of the mercy-killing entity Deathurge, who tried to slay him. Quasar was rescued by Eon, who imparted a fuller understanding of the Quantum Bands to Wendell and told him he had been chosen as the new Protector of the Universe. Accepting the job, Quasar defeated Deathurge and took Eon with him back to Earth, a journey made in mere moments now that Wendell had unlocked the Quantum Bands’ full potential. In addition to safeguarding Earth and the universe, Quasar was also charged with acting as bodyguard to Eon, who had foreseen an alien threat that would manifest on Earth and try to slay Eon to usurp his cosmic awareness. In light of this “cosmic assassin” prophecy, Quasar began to focus on investigating—and, if necessary, apprehending—the extraterrestrial beings and forces active on Earth. In the process, he formed friendships and alliances with other super-beings such as new PEGASUS security chief Joey Cartelli, AKA Blue Shield, Earth-712’s Squadron Supreme, cosmic creative force Origin and the Eternal speedster Makkari, who became Wendell’s roommate. Quasar also joined the prestigious Avengers, though he struggled to find time for Avengers business given his many other responsibilities.
During this period, Wendell founded private security firm Vaughn Security Systems (later Vaughn Security Consultants), whose core staff would include secretary Kayla Ballantine, old S.H.I.E.L.D. friend Ken Tanaka, and the mysterious H.D. Steckley, later revealed to be Moondragon in disguise. Quasar shared his secret identity with all of them. Both Kayla and Moondragon proved romantically interested in him; however, Wendell only had eyes for Kayla, and Moondragon eventually departed on bad terms. Other tensions arose from the unlikely friendship between Gilbert Vaughn and Eon, which made Wendell jealous. When the prophesied “cosmic assassin” Maelstrom finally arose, he killed Gilbert, Eon, and Wendell, but Quasar survived as an energy wraith with the aid of the cosmic being Infinity, serving as her champion against Oblivion’s champion Maelstrom, who sought to collapse the universe. In the end, Oblivion and Maelstrom were defeated, the universe was saved, and Quasar was resurrected. Shortly thereafter, Quasar assisted in the belated birth of Eon’s offspring Epoch, serving as godfather, guardian, and guide to the cosmic infant while she matured and accumulated the knowledge to serve as Eon’s successor.
During a visit to the remote and atypical alternate reality of Earth-148611 (the “New Universe”), Quasar returned home by absorbing the cosmic tattoo known as the Star Brand. On returning to his native Reality-616, Quasar thought the Brand was burned out, but he unwittingly transferred it to Kayla while retaining a dormant fragment of its power himself. Shortly thereafter, the intergalactic carnage of the Kree-Shi’ar war convinced Quasar he should spend more time in space in hopes of preventing such disasters. Quitting the Avengers, he explored space alongside his cosmic-powered admirer Her (later Kismet) and Makkari, unaware that Kayla was enduring a nightmarish series of misadventures thanks to her inherited Star Brand power. Slain again during the Infinity War when he tried to use the Ultimate Nullifier against the Adam Warlock, AKA Magus (Warlock’s dark side), Quasar survived as a spirit through the secret assistance of Origin and soon resurrected himself using his Star Brand fragment, burning out its power just in time to retrieve his Quantum Bands, lost during his death. Kayla ultimately gave up the Brand, but the cosmic arbiter known as the Living Tribunal deemed Kayla too “contaminated” by its other-universal energy to remain in the Earth-616 universe, and he exiled her to Earth148611, ending her romance with Quasar.
Shaken by the loss of Kayla, Quasar decided to exile himself from Earth altogether to protect his loved ones and better serve his Protector duties, a plan made more urgent when the radioactive madman Sergei Krylov, AKA Presence, threatened his family. Faking his own death during a battle with Presence and Laynia Petrovna, AKA Darkstar, Quasar began living full-time in outer space, patrolling the universe in search of threats. He briefly formed a spacefaring super-team, the Star Masters, with fellow cosmic heroes Beta Ray Bill, Morfex, Norrin Radd, AKA Silver Surfer, and Xenith. Learning the Presence had disappeared, Quasar renewed occasional contact with his Earth associates, aiding the Avengers against Morgan le Fay and the Infinites. He eventually decided to move back home, but his hopes were dashed when he absorbed the “living planet” Ego into himself to save Earth. Unwilling to risk unleashing Ego on Earth, Quasar continued to operate primarily in space, sometimes assisting the Avengers against space-based threats such as the Triple-Evil and Kang the Conqueror, AKA Kang’s orbiting Damocles base, and he helped construct and operate the Avengers’ deep space monitoring station in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Somehow separated from Ego, Quasar became more directly interactive with Earth and other planets, aiding heroes such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four against menaces like the insane Scarlet Witch and Galactus. Finally, when Negative Zone tyrant Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave fleet began conquering the positive matter universe, Quasar led the evacuation of Aakonian colonists from planet Nycos Aristedes. Aided by Nova, Quasar held off the Wave long enough for much of the colony to escape, but he was apparently slain and absorbed by Annihilus, Quantum Bands and all. As he died, Quasar tried too late to quantum-jump to safety, but only his consciousness escaped while his physical form was consumed. Nova eventually destroyed Annihilus with the aid of other cosmic adventurers, including Mar-Vell’s daughter Phyla-Vell, who claimed the Quantum Bands and became the new Quasar. During a subsequent cosmic war with the techno-organic Phalanx, the lingering essence of Annihilus within the Quantum Bands threatened to corrupt and control Phyla-Vell; however, Wendell Vaughn’s consciousness manifested within the bands long enough to drive out Annihilus’ essence, though Vaughn had to exit the bands along with his foe for this gambit to work. Pausing just long enough to reassure Phyla that she was a worthy successor, Wendell disappeared again.
Vaughn’s consciousness survived as a dormant mass of sentient quantum energy that coalesced in the Negative Zone. Project: PEGASUS scientists suspended this exotic radiation within a “quantum flask” containment device for further study. Fearing the energy’s immense destructive potential and uncertain of how to control it, the Project kept the energy contained for weeks while trying to find or develop a supercomputer powerful enough to monitor and control it. When alien Skrull warriors overran the Project during their people’s secret invasion of Earth, Nova aided the Project’s new security chief Christopher Powell, AKA Darkhawk, and other PEGASUS staff in battling the invaders. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, the Project’s defenders sought to harness the quantum flask’s energies. Extracting the Xandarian Worldmind supercomputer from Nova’s mind, PEGASUS scientists Dr. Evelyn Necker and Robert Rider (Nova’s brother) used it to awaken and release the quantum flask’s sentient energy. Now conscious enough to communicate, Vaughn shaped his energies into a luminous facsimile of his former human body and helped the Project defeat its Skrull attackers, residing at the Project for some time thereafter.
When Phyla-Vell seemingly died in the realm of Oblivion at the hands of Maelstrom while trying to resurrect her slain lover Moondragon, Wendell sensed Phyla’s distress via his connection to the Quantum Bands and came to her aid. Maelstrom had already usurped the Quantum Bands, granting him control over Wendell’s energy form, but Vaughn defeated him with the aid of Moondragon’s father Drax the Destroyer and finally reclaimed the bands. Phyla then aided Drax and Vaughn against the demonic Dragon of the Moon by striking a dark bargain with the creature, gaining new powers and resurrecting Moondragon in the process. Insisting that the Quantum Bands and the Quasar alias were rightfully Wendell’s, Phyla gave them up and Vaughn returned to Earth. Upon arriving, Wendell immediately sought out Rich Rider, who was dying after the Nova Corps’ Worldmind stripped him of his Nova powers. To save him, Vaughn gave Rider the Quantum Bands, which halted Rider’s physical decay, and Rider became the newest Quasar. Aided and advised by Wendell, Rider exposed and repaired the Worldmind’s insanity, regaining his Nova powers in the process, while Vaughn reclaimed the Quantum Bands and his Quasar title once more.