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Gilbert Vaughn's funeral takes place and Wendell takes issue with the empty platitudes in the priest's benediction. He then snaps at his mother, swearing that, "[His father] is nowhere, he's dead!" Making it clear that he is largely an atheist like his father.
Discovering Moonraker buzzing Four Freedoms Plaza in an attempt to draw the Fantastic Four into combat, Quasar lost in his pain brutally attacked and hospitalized him.
It was as he had driven a wedge between Eon and his Protector that the true Cosmic Assassin chose to reveal himself. Malcolm Stromberg, a wealthy philanthropist wanted to gain the services of Vaughn Securities and offered the entire staff over to his mansion for an extravagant dinner. After some very brief pleasantries, Mr. Stromberg began to tell a story his past, about how he was a Deviant/Inhuman hybrid, and that he knew Wendell Vaughn’s identity as Quasar, saying in no uncertain terms that he would have Quasar’s Quantum-bands or he would kill Quasar's friends. Not knowing what else to do Quasar attacked only to find his beams bending around Stromberg. Quasar attempted to parlay for the release of his friends as Stromberg held him motionless in mid-air seeming through some mastery of kinetic energy. Stromberg would have none of it and over the course of several minutes cut Quasar’s arms off with a steak knife as his friends were powerless to do anything. Malcolm Stromberg then revealed himself to be none other than Maelstrom, the Cosmic Assassin.