Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was cover dated July 1990 and was on sale May 1990, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman #438, Deathlok #1, Demon #1, New Warriors #1, Shade: The Changing Man #1 and Transformers #68. This comic has the distinction of being the first Guardians of the Galaxy comic I ever bought and as a result has a special place in my heart.
The Stark Truth was written and drawn by Jim Valentino and picked up right where #1 stopped. The Stark have arrived to re-assert their claim to Courg and to avenge the defeat of Taserface. The Guardians fight back at the new arrivals, but are unable to prevent the Stark from retrieving Taserface as Vance’s costume is slashed across the chest, exposing his body to the air for the first time in centuries causing excruciating pain.
Martinex runs over to freeze the wound, whilst a Stark warrior punches Yondu into the home of one of the natives, now two of the Guardians are out of the fight. Then the scene shifts to what appears to be a random appearance of Firelord, one time herald of Galactus and now acting as protector of the universe. He is spotted and so begins a narrative by Uatu, the Watcher. The Watcher as most Marvel fans know, is one of a race of powerful creatures who’s only purpose is to watch, never to interfere. His role in this is to give the origin of the race known as the Stark.
Iron Man during the war of the worlds, sent his armour into deep space to prevent it falling into the wrong hands. It ended up on an alien world, the primitive inhabitants using the armour and it’s technology to accelerate their development and launch them into a culture of conquest and resource explotation. They are imperialist warmongers, each with the power of Iron Man.
Back to the battle and Charlie-27, whilst admiring Nikki, notices that the Stark favour battling him, than her and reasons that with the Stark field commanders being female, that having another female on deck would be a tactical advantage and commands Starhawk to change places with Aleta. Aleta finds herself surrounded by Stark soldiers and strikes out with her solid light powers, killing one of the Stark.
The Stark’s leader is told of this soldier’s death, reacting as though her death in battle bought shame to her family and Taserface’s defeat has cost him his name and he is dispatched to bring the Guardians of the Galaxy’s leader.
The issue ends with Taserface grabbing Nikki from behind and demanding that the Guardians surrender. As this is going on, Aleta is under fire as she tries to make the change to Starhawk and is hit by several energy blasts mid exchange and for a second, it looks like there are two of them in the blast zone.
Points of Interest: The Stark are on the immediate attack and do not try to talk or investigate.
Vance’s suit is ripped open, it says that it’s the first time in centuries, but in Marvel Two in One #69, he takes his mask off, so that makes little sense. But the pain and shock are well shown and a nice reminder that Vance is a prisoner of his own skin and even showing his face to his father was a massive risk.
Although Martinex is the team leader, it’s clear that he defers to Charlie-27 as a battlefield commander as most of the tactial decisions are made by him.
The Stark are a matriarchial society, where women are revered and status is all.
Vance and Aleta have become quite flirty with one another, which is a new development.
The Stark cannot conceive of male leadership and so assume that Nikki is the leader, despite her being the youngest.
Both Firelord and the Watcher are still alive after over a thousand years.
Notes: It was a quality issue, continuing the story on Courg and layering in bits of exposition and early 90s action. The characters are written consistently and are becoming more and more likeable. I remember buying this and the next month I bought the next one and and the rest is history.