Marvel Super-heroes 18 was relased on October 15 1968 and shared spinner rack space with such comics as; Atom & Hawkman # 40, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D #8, Secret Six # 5 Avengers #59, Flash #184, Captain Marvel#9 and Green Lantern #65.
The Guardians of the Galaxy was the cover story. It was written by Arnold Drake, pencilled by Gene Colan, inked by Mickey Demeo and lettered by Herb Cooper. It starts in the year 3007 with a soldier returning from deep space patrol to find his home-world deserted and his people gone. He soon finds the Badoon, a race of reptilian conquerors, have reached his home Jupiter. The solider is Charlie-27 one of a race decended from human beings of Earth who have been genetically modified to live on Jupiter who have eleven times the cellular density of a regular human, making them incredibly strong and resilient. He dispatches the two Badoon who find him and he decides to use a tele-port station to get whatever help he can. He teleports away without setting a destination and he finds himself on Pluto.
Once there, Charlie-27 avoids another pair of Badoon who seem to be taking their pets to a pool party as they’re already wearing their purple speedos. Before they can locate him, he is pulled inside by a crystallin hand. It belongs to Martinex and pluvian, also a decendant of earthmen his race has been engineered to survive in freezing cold and darkness with crystal skin and eyes that don’t seem to require light to see. There’s a moment of tension as it’s shown than Jovians and Pluvians don’t get on too well with Pluvians being called rock-heads by the more human looking Jovians. Martinex creates a distubance by sending robot maids and butlers after the Badoon, so that they can both flee to earth which they both hope is still free.
In a sort of throne room, the local commander, Drang has had two prisoners brought before him. One prisoner is a blue humanoid with a red crest-like mohican and the other a human dressed in a purple bodysuit covering every part of him. The body suited man is Vance Astro, an astronaut from the 20th Century who was sent on a thousand year journey to the Centauri system, his body forever wrapped in the foil bodysuit which keeps him alive. The only problem is that 200 years after he left, a scientist called Harkov cracked faster than light travel and there were human beings waiting for him, making his journey and sacrifice rather pointless. After being forced by the Badoon to relive this experience he convinces Drang to let him shoot the other prisoner, Yondu who was a native of Centauri with his own bow and arrow. As he fires, Yondu whistles and the arrow changes direction and hits a nearby Badoon. Using this distraction Vance and Yondu jump out of the nearest window and using Vance’s psycho kinetic power glide safely towards the teleport station just as Martinex and Charlie-27 arrive.
After a brief patented marvel misunderstanding fight they realise their all amongst the last of their respective kinds and vow to find a free colony of humanity and take the war to the Badoon and liberate the Earth.
A fine story for it’s time with a different look to Gene Colan’s art. It does raise a few interesting questions.
1: How did the Badoon conquer two solar systems when you never see any more than two at once?
2: Why were the robots dressed up as maids and butlers?
3: Why does Martinex have a remote control built into his forehead? Are there no pockets on Pluto?
4: Where exactly is New New York?
This is a bare bones origin story which launched the Guardians of the Galaxy concept, but many of the more familiar elements and characters don’t come in for a while yet.
The best is yet to come, but not for aut 6 years.
Next Time: Marvel Two in One # 4