Phyla-Vell as Martyr.
Art by Paul Renard.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Captain Marvel (vol. 5) #16 (December 2003)
Created by Peter David (writer)
Paul Azaceta (artist)
In-story information
Full name Phyla-Vell
Team affiliations Guardians of the Galaxy
United Front
Notable aliases Quasar, Captain Marvel, Martyr
Abilities Superhuman strength, flight, energy projection and absorption, cosmic awareness

Phyla-Vell is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She has gone by the names Quasar, Captain Marvel and Martyr. She was created by Peter David and Paul Azaceta in Captain Marvel (vol. 5) #16 (January 2004).

Her name is derived from the scientific classification phylum, one of the levels of organization (taxons) for classifying life. This is a reference to the fact that her brother Genis-Vell's name comes from genus, one of the other classifications for life forms.

Publication history

The character appeared in Annihilation: Conquest, featuring in her own, self-titled mini-series written by Christos Gage.[1] Leading on from this appearance she is part of the line-up for a new Guardians of the Galaxy.[2]

Fictional character biography

Phyla-Vell as Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel #17 (February 2004). Art by Paul Azaceta.

After Genis-Vell, then known as Captain Marvel, previously destroyed and recreated the universe, the "new" version was subtly altered with Phyla-Vell's existence being one of the changes. It is revealed that she is the second artificially created offspring of Captain Mar-Vell who was created by her mother Elysius in the "new" universe because her first attempt (Genis-Vell) had been so successful. Initially her origin conflicted with previously established storylines, but this is resolved in Captain Marvel (vol. 4) #18 (February 2004).

She fights her brother Genis-Vell, who was insane at the time,[3] in the process helping to restore his sanity. She then tries to lay claim to the "Captain Marvel" title, though her brother refuses to give it up.[4] Phyla is next seen at the trial of Starfox.[5]

The Captain Marvel (vol. 4) series heavily hinted that Phyla-Vell is a lesbian, and in #25 (September 2004) the character admits that she is attracted to Moondragon and invites her on a tour of the "spiral nebula near Renault VII". Before Moondragon can accept the two wander through a portal.[6]


Main article: Annihilation (comics)

Phyla later appeared during Annihilation where she had been visiting her father's grave with Moondragon when the pair were attacked by Thanos who ripped off Moondragon's ear and gave it to Phyla, telling her to go to Drax the Destroyer and how his actions would determine Moondragon's fate shortly before teleporting away with Moondragon. Drax has indicated he will not be stopping his pursuit of Thanos.[7]

Phyla then goes with Nova and Star-Lord to lead a final battle against Annihilus, being saved at the last second by a massive energy wave caused by the just freed Galactus, which left only the three heroes and Annihilus as survivors. Ultimately in the battle, Phyla manages to steal away the quantum bands that Annihilus took from Quasar, weakening him and allowing Nova to finally bring an end to the Annihilation Wave. She is then seen re-united with Moondragon, and deciding it's up to her to become the new Quasar.[8]

Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar

Phyla had her own mini-series as the new Quasar, stating July through October 2007, called Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar. The series was written by Christos Gage (who wrote Union Jack), penciled by Mike Lilly. Phyla is finding it hard to follow the footsteps of the former Quasar and also to follow in the Mar-Vell family’s footsteps. The story is a lot about her trying to handle this power, and seeing if she can contain it. She’s on a quest, and the object of the quest has real importance, not only to her, but to the entire storyline. Phylla and her lover Moondragon follow a voice to find the saviour for the Kree race who is attacked by the Phalanx. In the end it turns out 'the voice' is the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree; thanks to the Supreme Intelligence they find a cocoon, in which Adam Warlock is restoring. The cocoon breaks open and Phyla and Moondragon ask Warlock to help them fight against the Phalanx. This story was continued in the main mini-series Annihilation: Conquest.[9]

Guardians of the Galaxy

Following Annihilation, she joins the new Guardians of the Galaxy.[10] While helping Drax search for Cammi, an Earth girl who he had taken into space before the Annihilation War, they consult a psychic to get a lead on Cammi's whereabouts only to be informed that Moondragon was trying to contact them.[11] They attempt to consult Mentor, who apparently kills them.[12] Mentor sends Phyla and Drax to Oblivion where they encounter Maelstrom and the Dragon of the Moon. After losing the Quantum Bands to Maelstrom Phyla is offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon so that Maelstrom can be in its good graces. While inside the dragon she apparently makes a deal in exchange for Heather Douglas. The dragon then releases them, with Phyla wearing a new red and black costume adorned with skulls and wielding a new sword, and they return to the world of the living where Phyla refuses to elaborate on the deal that she made with the Dragon. It is later learned from Maelstrom that she agreed to become the new avatar of Oblivion.[13]


Now calling herself Martyr, Phyla-Vell is a more abrasive and aggressive figure. When the Guardians attempted to negotiate with the Inhumans to stop the War of Kings, she ruined the attempt by taking Inhuman princess Crystal hostage instead; this led to battle between the Inhumans and Guardians, while she continued to escalate.[14] Eventually, the Inhumans would try to end the war by detonating a weapon that shattered space itself, creating a multiversal Fault.[15]

When Adam Warlock stopped the Fault's growth by using a redundant timeline, one where he became the villainous Magus, Phyla-Vell revealed that her deal with Oblivion was to kill "the Avatar of Life" and she'd know what to do when the time came. Knowing he would now become Magus, she ran Adam through but this failed to stop his transformation. Several of the Guardians, then stranded in the year 3009, were then sent back in time to stop Magus' creation and Phyla was prevented from making her move. This time when Warlock was transformed, she engaged him in combat - but Magus magically teleported her own sword from her hands and slew her with it.[16]

However, Phyla was revealed to still be alive, along with Mantis, Gamora, Cosmo and Major Victory, but trapped in suspended animation and prisoners of the Magus.[17] She then breaks free and frees the other Guardians, but after a fierce fight she is misled by Maelstrom into freeing Thanos, who was concealed inside a cocoon. When the two teams of Guardians reunite, Phyla-Vell is reported as the first victim of Thanos' rampage, her remains seen by Mantis but never shown on panel. She is later mourned by the Guardians on Knowhere.[18]

Powers and abilities

Phyla has superhuman strength. She can fire energy blasts and fly. She also acts like an "energy sponge," absorbing any energy attacks directed at her and returning them as energy blasts. She has cosmic awareness and is a proficient fighter.

She then came into possession of the Quantum Bands formerly owned by Wendell Vaughn. The Bands grant vast energy manipulation powers, such as absorbing and transforming energy on a stellar level, forming solid energy constructs and forcefields, allowing for space travel and providing protection from telepathic attacks, but gaining the Bands has caused her to lose her Cosmic Awareness.

While searching for Heather Douglas, Phyla lost the Quantum Bands to the villain Maelstrom. She has gained unknown new powers by becoming the new avatar of Oblivion. However, Wendell has stated that her Quantum Sword will still draw power from the Quantum Bands and that they will always be a part of her.[19]

In other media


Collected editions

Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar has been collected into trade paperbacks:


  1. Hero's Journey: Gage Talks "Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar", Comic Book Resources, April 18, 2007
  2. "Greeting the Guardians: Quasar". Newsarama. May 12, 2008. Archived from the original on September 6, 2009.
  3. Captain Marvel vol. 4 #17-18 (January–February 2004)
  4. Captain Marvel vol. 4 #19 (March 2004)
  5. She-Hulk #12-13, 2006
  6. Captain Marvel vol. 5 #25
  7. Annihilation #2
  8. Annihilation #6
  9. "Back To Space In Marvel's Annihilation: Conquest". Newsarama. February 26, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #1
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #7
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #9
  13. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #12
  14. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #14
  15. War of Kings #6
  16. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #17, 19 (December 2009)
  17. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #22 (January 2010)
  18. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #25, 19 (June 2010)
  19. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #12, 19 (May 2009)
  20. Hunsaker, Andy (April 8, 2011). "DVD Review: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Vol. 1 & 2". CraveOnline. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
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