Star Brand

The flagship of the New Universe titles, Star Brand was created by Jim Shooter and John Romita, Jr.

During its first twelve issues, Star Brand tells the story of Ken Connell, a two-timing Pittsburgh auto mechanic who receives an apotheosis: he can withstand nuclear explosions, fly at cosmic speeds, and vaporize matter with a gesture, all thanks to a mysterious Old Man who may (or may not) be an alien. Connell remains too indecisive, and too wary of his own incompetence, to use his godlike powers for anything more than brief amusements.

Over the course of the first year, Connell experiments with his powers, begrudgingly develops a social conscience, and tries to figure out how he can use his powers for Good without severely messing up his life by revealing his identity.

In issue #12, written and illustrated by John Byrne, however, Connell loses control of his powers when fighting a rival, and accidentally disintegrates several thousand people at a comic book convention. Horrified, Connell then tries to shed the cosmic powers and become an ordinary man again. Instead, he obliterates the entire city of Pittsburgh and mutates the remnants of its people into disgusting monsters. In the context of the Cold War, this leads to a nuclear war which Connell's son prevents with his own cosmic powers. Somehow this creates a time-travel paradox which resolves several mysteries in the New Universe, including how Connell got his powers in the first place. The series ended with issue #19.

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