One of the big questions left over from the Ms. Marvel series was all about the origins of the bangle left to her by her grandmother—the one that unlocked all the incredible powers within Kamala Khan. Well, thanks to The Marvels, we now know the truth. That cosmic bangle is but one of a pair, and they are older than history itself. They have deep ties to Marvel Comics lore. The Marvels reveals Kamala’s bangle is one of two Quantum Bands, one of the most powerful artifacts in the universe. They connect to a character who was an Avenger for many years, as well as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Marvel Comics’ Quantum Bands Were Weapons of the Protector of the Universe
In the comics, the Quantum Bands were ancient and powerful energy-manipulating devices that most humanoids could wear. The ancient cosmic entity named Eon, whose statue was shown in Thor: Love and Thunder, possibly created them. Although it’s also possible they are even older than he is. Eon then appointed a mortal champion to wear them, giving them the title of Protector of the Universe. The Quantum Bands were weapons, but also revered symbols of the Protector of the Universe.
The power of the Quantum Bands comes from a place called the Quantum Zone, where all the energy and power in the Marvel Universe actually comes from. The Quantum Bands store energy from the Quantum Zone, but if they ever cut access to that power coming from the Zone, then these instruments would have to use whatever energy they had stored within them. And once that energy ran out, without access to the Quantum Zone, they would be totally useless.
The Powers of the Quantum Bands in Marvel Comics
These bands allow whoever wears them control over the electromagnetic spectrum, and can sap the energy away from both lifeforms and machines. They can project energy beams of varying degrees of power, and can even make hard light constructs (similar to DC Comics’ Green Lantern). They grant the wearer a degree of strength, invulnerability, and flight. The bands even allow the wearer to make cosmic jumps across lightyears under their own power. They do have their limits though. The Quantum Bands can’t be used to control psychic energies or magic of any kinds, as those powers originate outside known reality.
Quasar Wore the Quantum Bands in the Marvel Comics Universe
In the Marvel Universe, there have been countless Protectors of the Universe who have worn the Quantum Bands. However, two are the most famous. The first was Wendell Vaughn from Earth, a.k.a. Quasar. Wendell Vaughn was a scientist working for S.H.I.E.L.D., who was studying the Quantum Bands which they had acquired. When the terrorist organization A.I.M. attacked, Wendell put them on, and became the superhero known as Quasar. Even though he was not granted the Quantum Bands by Eon, the entity eventually deemed him worthy of the status of Protector of the Universe. He eventually joined the Avengers, and served on many missions with the team over several years. In more recent times, he’s shared the Quantum Bands with another Earth scientist, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Avril Kincaid.
The other most famous wearer of the Quantum Bands was Phyla-Vell, daughter of Mar-Vell. In the cosmic crossover event Annihilation, a deadly energy wave reached across the universe, initiated by the Lord of the Negative Zone, Annihilus. Wendell Vaughn lost the Quantum Bands to Annihilus during this event. Later, Phyla-Vell managed to steal the bands from Annihilus, and became the new Quasar herself. As the new Quasar, she joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. During her time as owner of the Quantum Bands, she was able to create the Quantum Sword, a weapon unique to her. When she died, the Quantum Bands returned to Vaughn, although Phyla eventually returned to life.
The Quantum Bands in the MCU
Fans believed the bangles Kamala used in Ms. Marvel were the Nega Bands, the traditional Kree weapon of Captain Marvel. But In the MCU, we learned they were actually the Quantum Bands. These creations were millions of years old, and split up at some point in time. Legend says they actually were used to map the galaxy, where the various jump points were created, allowing for interstellar travel.
Although they never explicitly stated where their power comes from in the MCU, there is the Quantum Realm, which might as well be the same thing as the Quantum Zone from the comics. So it may be their source of power. The villain of The Marvels, the Kree warrior Dar-Benn, found one in a remote world. When she briefly had both that one and Ms. Marvel’s in her possession, she could tear a hole in spacetime itself.
Unable to control the incredible power of both bands at once, Dar-Benn died while fighting the Marvels. However, the Quantum Bands themselves survived. We see Kamala at the end with only one on. Will Kamala wear both in the future? Or will someone else wear them? The bands unlocked Kamala’s powers, but those powers are innate to her. Perhaps Wendell Vaughn will appear in the MCU soon. And if not him, Phyla-Vell already exists in the MCU too, as they showed her in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as a new member.
One thing’s for sure: someone is going to wear both Quantum Bands in the MCU. The question is who will have the honor?