1981 · The 80s

October 1981: Marvel Team Up 113 – Or, Quasar’s the best Pegasus could afford?

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Synopsis: Marvel Team up 113 was written by Mark Gruenwald and pencilled by Herb Trimpe with inks my Mike Esposito and opens with Spider-Man jumping onto an armoured truck after his spider-sense warns him of trouble. The truck contains the villainous Nitro and is being transferred to Project Pegasus under the supervision of their security chief Wendell (Quasar) Vaughn. Quasar steps onto the roof and explains this to Spider-Man, who promptly decides to leave him to it, the pair clearly not getting along, with Spider-Man thinking Quasar is a bit of a stiff and Quasar thinking Spider-Man is undisciplined and frivolous. Once back in the truck, Quasar is alerted by his bands to an electro magnetic disturbance nearby and flies off, but not before one of his security staff asks why Nitro isn’t just flown by Quasar back to the project.

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Qusar follows the disturbance to Empire State University, where Spider-Man, in his other identity as Peter Parker, is a student there.  Quasar finds an underground lab (by drilling through the ground outside, well that’s safe) and finds his cosmic bands attacked by some form of energy creature, who is revealed to be the Spider-Man villain Dr Edward (Lighmaster) Lansky. Lightmaster finds he can possess and control Quasar’s bands and through them his body, he then flies up, only to be found by Spider-Man, who is kept at bay by Quasar’s constructs.

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Lightmaster starts stealing things, primarily to get equipment to restore his human form. Quasar escapes Lightmaster’s control, but is knocked out and taken to Lightmaster’s old hideout, which is being entered by Spider-Man. Lightmaster fights Spider-Man off, until Quasar wakes and decides to cut Lightmaster off from his new power source by deactivating his bands and Lightmaster dissipates. Quasar and Spider-Man work together to complete Lightmaster’s work and restore him to his human form of Dr Edward Lansky.  Lansky is jubilant at his resurrection, but is punched out by Spider-Man before he can do anything. When Quasar asks, Spider-Man states that his spider-sense went off and he didn’t want to give him the chance to zap Quasar. After realising that he’s no further help, Spider-Man leaves and Quasar flies back to Project Pegasus, both men reiterate their dislike for one another in internal monologues.

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Notes: Mark Gruenwald was a great writer who kind of made Quasar his pet character, similar to how Brian Michael Bendis did with Luke Cage decades later. At this point though, there’s not much of a character to use, Quasar is a guy with a job, who’s knowledge of Super-heroes is part of that job, and years later that’ll be more of a character trait than now, but it’s interesting to see it used here, even if only as exposition.

The characters don’t get along at all, their differences clearly being too great, but both are good guys doing their best. Their team up is a loose one at best, but at least there isn’t the standard fight first trope. Quasar knows who Spider-Man is and takes Ben (The Thing) Grimm’s word that Spider-Man is a good guy. Gruenwald avoids these cliches and the story benefits. The art is a decent 70’s house style set up, Herb Trimpe does a great job with Lightmaster and Quasar both, where a lesser artist would’ve struggled.

Over all this is a fairly forgettable story, serving only to keep Quasar in the public eye, a job done much better in Marvel Two In One, but it’s a good story, well portrayed by seasoned and capable comic creators.

Next Time: Captain America, Nick Fury and Spider-Man (again).

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