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Quantum Juice or "Q Juice" for short is the nickname for dequantified plasma, a unique and sometimes deadly form of plasma. (In physics, plasma is a gas-like state of matter whose particles are partially ionized. Stars and lightning are examples of plasma.) This plasma is called dequantified because it randomizes Planck's constant, the physical constant of any interaction of matter or energy at the quantum level. Thus, Quantum Juice can warp the laws of physics to induce mutations in living beings like people, who then develop metahuman abilities.
Quantum Juice was developed by renowned quantum physicist Dr. Nathan Flack, who theorized its existence, but lacked the funding to prove it. Flack finally got a break after receiving a substantial investment from a man named Dharma. Unknown to Flack at the time, his benefactor secretly led the Shadow Cabinet, an ancient superhero team that covertly defends humanity from various threats. Through his own precognitive powers, Dharma learned that Flack's work would result in a new breed of metahumans capable of saving the world from an impending apocalyptic disaster.
Eventually, Flack's efforts resulted in a viable sample of Quantum Juice. Whether by accident or not, the container of Quantum Juice ruptured and exposed Flack to its contents. As a result, Flack now existed between his universe and a realm called Netherspace, thus making him undetectable unless he willed otherwise. Flack realized the incredible potential of his new abilities and decided to use Q Juice to similarly "bless" the rest of mankind with such power. Flack submitted his scientific findings to Dharma while concealing his powers and his long-term plans for humanity. The two men ended their partnership soon afterward.
The Big Bang
Since its discovery, Quantum Juice has too often been employed by those with criminal or unethical motives. The most infamous example was Dr. Flack, now known as Dr. Nemo, adding the mutagen to the tear gas that police used to quell the Big Bang, Dakota City's deadliest gang war. The Quantum Juice in the gas quickly overcame the surprised police, gangbangers, and innocent bystanders, 90 percent of whom died while the survivors later known as Bang Babies gained metahuman abilities. (It was the Bang Babies that Dharma had foreseen as the new race of metahumans.) These results inspired Dr. Nemo to plot replicating the Big Bang on a global scale.
Events at the Big Bang caught the attention of SYSTEM Amber, a Dakota-based SYSTEM cell. Amber Leader Mom dispatched squads of armored SYSTEMatics to collect as many Bang Babies and unexploded tear gas grenades as possible. The SYSTEMatics took all they had collected to Cross Station, a secret SYSTEM: Amber base where scientists tried to isolate the mutagen used at the Bang. SYSTEM: Amber had a temporary setback in their research when they were forced to abandon and then self-destruct Cross Station, which came under attack by the Bang Baby gang, the Blood Syndicate. However, Amber did successfully transfer the captive Bang Babies to their other Dakota City bases like Garden Station while the tear gas grenades went to a SYSTEM base in Las Vegas.
Hence, Amber was able to again conduct their secret experiments, leading to their discovery of the Q Juice formula. Mom ordered production of a concentrated form of Q Juice, which she used to enhance the powers of some of the captive Bang Babies who had been brainwashed to be obedient SYSTEM soldiers. However, aided by SYSTEM agent Rose, the Bang Babies overcame the brainwashing and used their increased powers to escape Garden Station. Mom's superior, Grandmother, promptly ordered Amber's Bang Baby experiments to be shut down, thus ending SYSTEM's research into Q Juice.
Q Juice's existence also became known to the Star Chamber, a group of Shadow Cabinet operatives who went rogue and plotted to acquire the mutagen as a weapon of world conquest. During the Shadow War, the Chamber attempted to steal SYSTEM's Q Juice stockpile in Las Vegas, but the Cabinet got to it first. The Chamber later succeeded in stealing radioactive material from the Einstein Institute and processed it into Q Juice. Then, they loaded the mutagen into a missile that they launched. Upon reaching orbit, this missile would be a trump card that would be detonated if anyone opposed the Star Chamber's plans of ruling mankind. However, an unseen Dr. Nemo had been observing the war and took control of the missile, which he detonated in order to mutate mankind into Bang Babies. His mad scene failed thanks to Cabinet ally Hardware, who intercepted the missile in mid-air and removed the Q Juice before it exploded. The defeated Star Chamber surrendered to local authorities while Nemo fled the scene to plot anew. Months later, the superhero Icon and his Bang Baby allies Static, Payback and Wise Son of the Blood Syndicate tracked down Nemo, who died when he overtaxed his cloaking powers to escape capture.
At the end of the Shadow War, the Shadow Cabinet destroyed all samples of Quantum Juice once belonging to SYSTEM and the Star Chamber. Despite this, Dakota crimelord Holocaust still had a small vial of the mutagen, which he acquired as a member of the Star Chamber. He began to regularly inhale his Quantum Juice in hopes that it would enhance his powers rather than kill him. Holocaust's gambit paid off because his pyrokinetic powers increased to such a degree that he eventually conquered Dakota's criminal underworld, making him a major menace to the city and beyond.
The DC Universe heavily changed its continuity into the DCnU following the events of Flashpoint in 2011. This was part of an effort to make storylines more accessible to newer readers, beginning with the New 52. This new timeline combines elements from the DCU, Vertigo Universe and Wildstorm Universe while drastically changing the origins and histories of characters.
Upgrade Two and the Return of Dr. Nemo
Due to the event known as Flashpoint, history was altered so that Icon and his allies thought Dr. Nemo had died by overtaxing his powers. However, Nemo cheating death came at a cost since his powers were now unstable, causing him to sometimes shift into Netherspace against his will. Desperate to avoid being permanently trapped in Netherspace, Nemo began conducting secret human experiments to perfect his Q Juice, believing it to be the means of his salvation. He funded these experiments by selling his original Q Juice formula via proxies to mob bosses who desired metahuman bodyguards and enforcers. Eventually, Nemo's experiments resulted in Upgrade Two, a purified Q Juice that produced fewer random mutations and thus increased the survival rate of those exposed to it.
The first test of Upgrade Two was performed by Nemo's latest mob client, Piranha, who used two canisters of the mutagen to transform his henchmen into a monstrous Bang Baby army. Nemo waived the fee for the test after learning Piranha would use his army to eliminate his hated foe Static, who barely survived the attack.
Later, Nemo offered his last canister of Upgrade Two to Piranha's ally, Darkstar CEO David Davidson. In exchange, Nemo wanted to enter Darkstar's interdimensional portal, which he believed would enable him to regain control over his powers. Davidson flatly rejected this offer, causing an incensed Nemo to destroy the Upgrade Two.
Subsequently, Alkalie, a clone of Static accidentally created by Darkstar's portal, destroyed the interdimensional gateway. This cataclysm apparently slew everyone in the portal complex, including Davidson. With no way to access the portal, Nemo's powers became completely unstable, and he vanished from Earth.
Though Dr. Nemo now seems gone for good, the secret of Q Juice did not perish with him. Hence, his scientific legacy will continue to impact mankind, for ill and for good.
Quantum Juice is created by a two-stage process developed by Dr. Flack. The first stage is acquiring and preparing certain radioactive materials whose exact nature is classified. These materials are found at only three fusion reactors on Earth: Benterai Research Center (Tokyo, Japan), the Einstein Institute (Tel Aviv, Israel), and L'institut Des Recherches Atomiques (Paris, France). The second stage is using a superconducting supercollider in a complex procedure that processes the radioactive materials into Quantum Juice. The resulting Q-Juice is greenish in color and unusually cold for a plasma (average temperature: 73 degrees Fahrenheit). When released into the atmosphere, the plasma resembles a green mist or gas. Due to the enormous expense and resources involved, Quantum Juice is generally produced by governments or well-funded private organizations like the malevolent international conspiracy, SYSTEM.
When a person inhales Quantum Juice, one of two effects will occur. In most cases, the person dies on the spot. If a person survives exposure, he or she enters a state called "quantum grace," in which the Quantum Juice will trigger genetic mutations often influenced by his or her subconscious desires. Hence, Static developed electromagnetic powers due to his secret desire to be a superhero like those he read about in comic books. In some cases, Quantum Juice will grant a person a non-human appearance along with metahuman abilities. An extreme example of this is Brickhouse, whose brick-like skin is due to the Q Juice merging her DNA with the molecules from the wall she was touching at the time of exposure. Because Quantum Juice responds to subconscious desires, it has been speculated that the substance is lethal only because many exposed to it expect that result.
In very rare cases, Quantum Juice has mutated animals such as the canine Dogg, who gained human level intelligence and the ability to speak. Why this occurs is a mystery since animals are not sapient and thus lack the subconscious desires that would trigger such mutations.
Bang Babies experience a major increase in their metahuman abilities if they survive a second exposure to the mutagen. In certain cases, additional exposure to Quantum Juice causes a Bang Baby to develop new powers as demonstrated by Bubbasaur who gained the ability to breath fire.
There is no known means of permanently reversing mutations caused by Q Juice. However, legendary hero turned criminal mastermind John Tower did create weapons called energy staves that could depower a targeted Bang Baby by re-establishing Planck's constant in his or her body. However, the effects of the staves would eventually wear off, causing the Bang Babies to revert to their mutated forms.
- The Cooperative, the extragalactic civilization from which Icon hails, is familiar with Quantum Juice, but it is not known if they have developed any benevolent applications for it. Cooperative scientists were frankly surprised that a primitive world like Earth had developed the mutagen.
- In the Static Shock animated series, Quantum Juice has a somewhat different history. On the show, the mutagen is called Quantum Vapor and is purple in color. It is this latter attribute that accounts for why the color purple is a common theme among Bang Babies, e.g., the purplish electricity wielded by Static. Also, it is implied on the show that Alva Technologies was responsible for developing Quantum Vapor.
Links and References
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Shadow Cabinet #0
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool #3
- ↑ Xombi #0
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Icon #20
- ↑ Icon #3
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Blood Syndicate #2
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Blood Syndicate #4
- ↑ Blood Syndicate #22
- ↑ Blood Syndicate #24
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Blood Syndicate #25
- ↑ Blood Syndicate #26
- ↑ Hardware #11
- ↑ Icon #10
- ↑ Icon #40
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 My Name is Holocaust #1
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 My Name is Holocaust #2
- ↑ Milestone Forever #1
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Static Shock #3
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Static Shock #4
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 Static Shock #5
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Static Shock #6
- ↑ Blood Syndicate #1
- ↑ Static #2
- ↑ Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool #1
- ↑ Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool #4
- ↑ Icon #24
- ↑ Icon #26