Real Name: Kayla Ballantine

Identity/Class: Enhanced human/"paranormal"

Occupation: Former secretary

Group Membership: Formerly Vaughn Security Systems

Affiliations: Former girlfriend of Quasar;
    former roommate of H.D. Steckley (actually Ereshkigel);
    possible girlfriend of Metallurge

Enemies: Black Fleet, Starblasters, Stranger

Known Relatives: Devon (brother), Mr. and Mrs. Ballantine (parents)

Aliases: "Starbrand"

Base of Operations: Earth-148611 (New Universe), formerly Manhattan, New York of Earth-616

Appearances: Quasar#3 (November, 1989)

Powers: Kayla originally was a normal woman in good physical condition. Her possession of the Starbrand gave her the ability to tap into a nearly infinite power source to enhance her physical abilities, fly, project energy blasts, or any number of other things. She was not trained in physical combat or the use of her power. She may or may not still possess a portion of this power after surrendering it to the Stranger.

History: Shortly after Kayla Ballantine was hired by Wendell Vaughn, she was assaulted by the Angler, and was saved by Quasar. She worked for Vaughn for some time, eventually informing him of her romantic interest in him when she felt he wasn't taking enough of an interest in her. Moondragon forced Kayla to kiss Quasar's then-roommate, Makkari, in an attempt to break-up Kayla and Quasar, so that she could have Quasar for herself. Quasar soon learned the truth and, after recovering from bilateral hand amputation by Maelstrom, intended to begin dating her seriously.

Kayla's major problems began when Quasar inadvertently transferred a portion of the Starbrand to her. The Starbrand is a powerful energy source from the alternate reality known as the New Universe, an alternate Earth dimension which existed outside the Multiverse, part of the greater Omniverse. Quasar himself received the Starbrand after becoming stranded in that alternate Earth after being blasted out of the Multiverse by alternate dimensional counterparts of an Infinity Gauntlet holding Thanos and Maelstrom empowered by the cessation of all motion in the universe. Quasar managed to convince its previous recipient, Jim Hanrahan, that his intentions were honorable, and Hanrahan transferred a portion of the Starbrand to him. A portion of the Starbrand almost always stayed with the donor when it was transferred. Upon his return to Earth-616, Quasar inadvertently transferred a portion of the Starbrand to Kayla.

Kayla was unaware of this new power within her, even after she used it to incapacitate the Angler, who had attacked her at her apartment. She and co-worker H.D. Steckley were taken to the planet Scadam by the Chief Examiner, who sought to duplicate Kayla's power to save his world from its attackers. The Examiner was destroyed in its attempt to analyze and duplicate the power. The Examiner's power receptacle, the Chief Exterminator, soon fell before the invaders. Kayla was incinerated by energy blasts from attackers, but was reformed by the power of the Starbrand. Beginning to realize her power, she accessed it to destroy the entire fleet of invaders.

Kayla used her power to return herself and H.D. to Earth, encountering the enigmatic race known as the Dance in the process. On Earth, Kayla inadvertently incapacitated Quasar's ally, Kismet. H.D. convinced Kayla that the power was not something she wanted to keep, and convinced her to transfer it to her. H.D. then revealed herself as the Deviant Ereshkigel, and sought to use her power to takeover control of the multiverse. This plot was foiled by Quasar.

Kayla thought herself free of the power, but found she still possessed it when she and Quasar encountered the Angler and the Geometer. Despite her power, she was caught unawares, rendered unconscious, and abducted by the extraterrestrial marauders known as the Starblasters. The Starblasters were led by Skeletron, the sole survivor of the Black Fleet, whom Kayla had destroyed on Scadam. He traced her energy back to Earth and sought to possess it himself.

Skeletron partnered himself with the Stranger to investigate the Starbrand power. The Stranger, posing as the judeo-christian God, duped Kayla into surrendering the power to him. In a complicated series of events, The Stranger allowed Skeletron to travel to the New Universe and absorb the full power of the Starbrand, but then shunted the Earth of that reality into mainstream Earth, leaving Skeletron stranded in a lifeless universe.

The overseer of the multiverse, the Living Tribunal, ruled that a barrier must be placed around the Earth of the New Universe to prevent the alien Starbrand energy from re-contaminating the prime Earth dimension and upsetting the entire balance of power. Kayla was exiled to that planet, as she had been contaminated by the Starbrand energy. Quasar sought to rejoin her and petitioned the Living Tribunal to allow him to penetrate the barrier. Due to his numerous heroic acts in defense of the universe and beyond, the Tribunal agreed to allow him through the barrier. However, the Tribunal made the condition that he would similarly be exiled to that Earth, never to return to the Earth-616 universe outside. Judging his responsibilities as Protector of the Universe as too important to abandon, Quasar reluctantly left Kayla on the alternate Earth, hoping she would understand. Kayla, unaware of the events going on outside the barrier, was lonely at first, but quickly found a new friend in the paranormal Chris Barrett, aka Metallurge, a native of the New Universe Earth.

Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald.

Further interaction with the New Universe is extremely unlikely, so Kayla can only be assumed to have lived happily ever after. I would personally love to see a follow-up series based on the New Universe, but I may be one of the five people on the planet to feel this way.



Other appearances:
Quasar#4-6 (December, 1989 - January, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Quasar#9-15 (April-October, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (#9-10), Tom Morgan (#10), Fred Fredricks (#11-12) & Dan Panosian (#13-15), (inks), Howard Mackie (#9-13) & Len Kaminski (#14-15) (editor)
Avengers I#325 (October, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Fred Fredricks & Diverse Hands (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Quasar#17 (December, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (artist), Len Kaminski (editor)
Quasar#18-24 (January-July, 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Len Kaminski (editor)
Quasar#26 (September, 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Fred Fredricks (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#30 (January, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Joel Zulueta, Pat Broderick & Co. (pencils), Fred Fredricks (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#31-32 (February-March, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#33-34 (April-May, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rurik Tyler (pencils), Harry Candelario (#33) & Fred Fredricks (#34) (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#35-38 (June-September, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Harry Candelario (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#39 (October, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle (pencils), Harry Candelario & Mark McKenna (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#40 (November, 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Steve Lightle & Andy Smith (pencils), Mark McKenna & Ralph Cabrera (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#41-44 (December, 1992 - March, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Andy Smith (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Quasar#45 (April, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Grant Miehm (pencils), David & Dan Day (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Quasar#46-48 (May-July, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Andy Smith (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Quasar#49 (August, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Grant Miehm (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks/editor)
Quasar#50 (September, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Andy Smith (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Quasar#51-53 (October-December, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), John Heebink (pencils), Ralph Cabrera, Jim Amash (#51) & Michael Avon Oeming (#51) (inks), Ralph Cabrera (editor)
Quasar#54 (January, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), John Heebink (pencils), David & Dan Day (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Starblast#1-2 (January-February, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Herb Trimpe (pencils), Ralph Cabrera (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Quasar#55-56 (February-March, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), John Heebink (pencils), Aaron McClellan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Starblast#3 (March, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Grant Miehm (pencils), Mandy Hands (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Quasar#57 (April, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald & Peter Sanderson (writers), John Heebink (pencils), Aaron McClellan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Starblast#4 (April, 1994) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Brian Kong, Nate Palant & Rich Buckler (pencils), Don Hudson & Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)

Last updated: 02/16/14

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