One Perfect Moment - Quasar (The PROPER one :P :) )
Back in the early 90's a new cosmic series emerged from Marvel which was unlike nearly all their other output.
The adventures of Quasar were a throwback to the days of space opera. Quasar was Wendell Vaughn, a normal, decent, everyday kind of guy, a former SHIELD agent (Who never became a field agent because he lacked the necessary "killer instinct"), who only put on the legendary Quantum Bands (as worn by the original Marvel Boy (Well, sort of, it got complicated once Agents of ATLAS came along, but we'll gloss over that)) to prevent them falling into the hands of AIM (And this is despite knowing that the Bands had incinerated the last two people to wear them (As it turns out, the Bands would turn on anyone who tried to use them to kill, so Wendell's flaw was actually the thing that saved him)
He was a recurring character in Marvel Two In One, as the security chief for the Vault, an alternative energy research centre which tried to work out how so many beings could manipulate such astounding quantities of energy; Klaw, the Living Laser, Wundarr and the like. After that he sort of disappeared, to return in his own series some years later.
The series, like the Vault appearances, were written by the late, great Mark Gruenwald, who indulged his extraordinary knowledge of Marvel continuity and history to pepper the series with a host of unjustly forgotten and ignored space characters. It was a blast!
Unlike most of the other heroes debuting in their own series about this time he wasn't dark, or gritty, or grim, he was an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation, an adventurer and hero, but also a flawed human one, who travelled in space, but didn't lose his sense of wonder about his mission, or the places he went. He worked for a cosmic potato for heavens sake! :)
I LOVED both the character and the series (and it deserves a bit of a posting sometime perhaps). I've always liked heroes who are, at their core, ordinary people, dealing with extraordinary circumstances and coming out on top through determination and courage.
So, at any rate, the "Cosmos in Collision" storyline around the end of the second year came as something of a shock, as it brought to a head the story threads that had been being played since the start of the title. It also brought the series into a disturbing and warped place quite unlike anything it had done before. the art was darker and scratchier, by Greg Capullo, rather than the smooth Paul Ryan art of earlier issues.
Quasar was an agent of Eon, who was an agent of Infinity, one of THE big four cosmic entities in the Marvel universe (Eternity, Infinity, Oblivion and Death). His "opposite number" was Maelstrom, an old villain who was an agent of Oblivion.
This moment is at almost the end of the downward slide for Wendell. When Maelstrom discovered that he couldn't remove the bands from the captive Quasar, he took the easy way out, and cut the poor guys hands off just below the elbow, but used his powers to ensure he wouldn't bleed to death. Until Quasar died, the bands couldn't even be removed from the severed arms, and Maelstrom wanted to investigate the link between the Quantum Bands and the wearer, and now he had a guinea-pig to... try things out on.
So, to summarise, in this scene Quasar is powerless, maimed, helpless, completely isolated from any of his allies and contemplating death. The bad guys hold ALL the cards... things are about to get EVEN worse... The Dessad like guy is Phobius, who lives to cause fear and pain.
He may have lacked the "killer instinct", but even in his darkest hour, Quasar's stoic dealing with a depraved monster like Phobius is EFFING AWESOME!
I wish I could recall where I first read the quote - "Anyone can be brave, a hero is someone who is brave for a second longer, and then another second, and then another second."