From 1989. Mark Gruenwald, story. Paul Ryan, pencils. Danny Bulanadi, inks. Janice Chiang, letters. Paul Becton, colors. By Marvel Comics.
In “The Absorption Principle” Quasar is helping to salvage some of Avengers Island after the attack in issue 311. That was the start of the Acts of Vengeance story, a story that continues here. Acts of Vengeance was a loose cross over – you could read one issue of your favorite comic and didn’t have to buy 100 other issues. In the arc, the major Marvel villains agree to switch enemies. The X-Men know how to beat Magneto because they’ve fought him so many times. But what if Magneto fought Spider-Man?
Under this principle, the Absorbing Man literally pulls himself together and is ready to fight the Hulk again. A strange man (I think it was Magneto in disguise but I haven’t read the entire crossover in so long) helps him. Why not fight someone new? Beat up an unfamiliar foe. Build up your confidence. Oh and here’s an upgrade, Absorbing Man can now throw his ball and chain and as long as he hangs on he will “fly” along with it.
Absorbing Man gets the brilliant idea to find some adamantium and hang on to a square. For good luck. This gets the notice of the Avengers and they send Quasar over to stop him. Absorbing Man touches and absorbs his cosmic bands and big things happen then go boom.
The comic is wonderfully drawn. Every panel keeps me interested. If there isn’t movement there’s something important being said. Great angles. The flow is easy to follow. Everything that happens is crystal clear. Clear inking, clear coloring. This is especially important when Quasar is using his bands to create things. I never thought of this Quasar run as Marvel’s Green Lantern but that was the vibe I got here and I loved it.
The best part though was reading this over 30 year old comic and following everything going on. I know who Quasar is, his alter ego, his job, his love interest, his dad, his mentor. I know he’s in the Avengers, newly so. I know about Stingray. I know what happened to the Avengers. I know Absorbing Man’s deal and understand the Hulk’s place in it even though he doesn’t appear in this issue. If I wanted to I could continue reading Acts of Vengeance cross over issues or I could keep reading Quasar. And there is so much in this issue that makes both of those ideas enticing. Plus it was a dollar an issue at the time!
I honestly had a blast reading this. I love serious comics and I understand writing for the trade. But along the way we all forgot how to make and enjoy one and done comics like this. Much like episodic TV shows can be enjoyed as single episodes or reward long time viewers over the course of seasons, this comic achieves both.
Quasar is from “my” era of Avengers and after reading this issue his series is moving closer to the front of my back issue bin searches.