Two of Marvel’s new Guardians of the Galaxy are dangerously close to reliving Donald Blake’s recent history with Thor.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #13 by Al Ewing, Juan Frigeri, Federico Blee and VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now.
The massive new Guardians of the Galaxy team is big enough that the group can split into two teams to tackle multiple threats at once. Both squads are more than capable of taking care of their individual missions without too much backup, but some circumstances require a particular set of skills. And when the experience of one particular Quasar is needed in Guardians of the Galaxy #13, the team’s other Quasar is sent to the other side of the Marvel Universe, much like the old arrangement between Thor and Donald Blake.
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On a newly discovered rim world, a small team consisting of Drax the Destroyer, Marvel Boy, Phyla-Vell and Wendell Vaughn’s Quasar investigate the wilderness of the planet where a survey team has vanished. Drax sniffs his way through the forest, where they find evidence of a Skrull fire cult. When the situation calls for an experienced spy, Phyla Wendell to call in someone a bit more suited to the task at hand. With a clang of his Nega-Bands, Wendell disappears in a flash only to be instantaneously replaced by Avril Kincaid, the other Quasar.
While Quasar might not be a household name, the mantle of Quasar is one of Marvel’s richer cosmic lineages. In 1979’s Incredible Hulk #274, by Roger Stern and Sal Buscema, S.H.I.E.L.D. Super-Agent Wendell Vaughan claimed the Nega-Bands that turned him into Quasar, a mantle that he held for decades. After briefly passing on to Phyla, the Quasar mantle went to Avril, another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, shortly after her first appearance in Captain America: Sam Wilson #7, by Nick Spencer and Angel Unzueta. Wendell took Avril as something of a protege, and the two share the Quasar mantle now.
The ability for these two supremely powerful and tactically skilled heroes to be able to swap places is handy in a pinch, but there’s no telling what the long-term effects could be. Thor’s own alter ego, Donald Blake, was given an entire artificial world to reside in when he and the God of Thunder would trade places, but years of exile drove him completely mad in Donny Cates and Nic Klein’s ongoing Thor series.
After finally returning to the real world, Donald Blake destroyed the staff by which he would trade places with Thor before going on a blood-soaked campaign of terror against any who shared a shred of his power. This was something that took years to build up before becoming the waking nightmare it is now, but Donald Blake also had much better accommodations than Wendell and Avril.
Wendell and Avril don’t go to a synthetic suburbia when they trade places with one another, but rather to an endless and inescapable void. Should either of them become grievously wounded while outside in our dimension, there is no certainty as to whether or not the one occupying the void would be able to return on their own. While the situation could certainly be worse, there are still far too many potential threats to their shared existence to think that none of them will come up sometime in the near future. Hopefully, when that time comes it doesn’t create another deicidal killer like Donald Blake.
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