Along with their new responsibilities, uniforms, and teammates, the new Guardians of the Galaxy have resurrected one of their most powerful heroes, Quasar. Wendell Vaughn and other Quasars had worked with previous incarnations of the Guardians in the past but it appears he isn’t the only Quasar on their current roster. His latest protégé Avril Kincaid is also on the team where she and Vaughn alternate the responsibilities and powers whenever their specific skill sets are required.
Created by Don Glut, Roy Thomas, and John Buscema for Incredible Hulk #234 (1979), S.H.I.E.L.D agent Wendell Vaughn’s life was changed forever when he put on the experimental Quantum Bands to help fend off an attack by A.I.M. Originally calling himself Marvel Boy, Vaughn settled on Quasar where his quest to understand the Quantum Bands eventually made him the Protector of the Universe for a while, engaging in battles with cosmic-level threats while also helping out Earth heroes like the Avengers whenever necessary. Following Vaughn’s repeated deaths and resurrections, the title of Quasar was held by Captain Marvel’s daughter Phylla-Vell and temporarily by Nova’s Richard Rider. S.H.I.E.L.D agent Avril Kincaid is the latest person to inherit the title of Quasar with Vaughn as her mentor. She seemingly died during Secret Empire, sacrificing her life to destroy the planetary shield that kept some of Earth’s most powerful heroes off-planet. Following her death, Wendell Vaughn returned to his role as Quasar.
However in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1 (2019), Vaughn learned that Kincaid did not die but somehow had been sucked into a black hole where she remained, alone in a never-ending void. In Guardians of the Galaxy #13 by Al Ewing Juan Frigeri, Federico Blee and VC’s Cory Petit, Quasar is working again with the Guardians, helping to investigate a newly discovered planet and the disappearance of a survey team. When they discover the surveyors have been killed, their investigation uncovers a prehistoric Skrull fire cult with hundreds of members. At the Guardians’ request, Wendell Vaughn bangs his Quantum Bands together and thus switches places with Avril Kincaid, whose experience in stealth and subterfuge may be necessary to infiltrate and help the Guardians understand the cult’s motivations and agendas.
Kincaid herself admits it took forever for them to work out this new arrangement and likens it to Mar-Vell and Rick Jones’ arrangement back in the day. Not only does this latest Guardians team technically have three Quasars—though current member Phylla-Vell has outgrown the role—but Quasar’s newest arrangement is one we’ve seen constantly in Marvel’s heroes such as Donald Blake and Thor. With the help of a powerful conduit, one entity is summoned and the other waits in limbo or sometimes another plane of existence until the action is reversed. In this case, Wendell Vaughn is Quasar but when his skills are not enough, it’s time for Avril Kincaid to shine. The detail that distinguishes this from the other similar situations is that these are all temporary measures as Kincaid remains lost in exile, an experience she now shares with her former mentor-turned-partner.
This latest incarnation of the the Guardians of the Galaxy continues to add new perspective to this long-time fan favorite team that found new audiences thanks to the MCU. With Quasar rumored to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, his presence could serve as an introduction to this popular Marvel character while taking him in new, unexplored directions. By getting two Quasars, the Guardians of the Galaxy prove they are up to the task of protecting the Marvel universe from current threats along with any new ones that are simply biding their time to strike.