Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1 was on sale May 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Animal Man #37, Iron Man #270, Legion of Superheroes #20, Quasar #24, Superman: Man of Steel #1 and Uncanny X-Men #278.
There are three stories in this issue. The origin of the Guardians, which we’ve already covered so I won’t waste everyone’s time with, part 4 of the Korvac Quest and a tale of the early days of the Guardians all done by Jim Valentino.
The final part of the Korvac Quests opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy, aboard the Drydock, arriving at the tail end of the 30th Century in orbit of Earth’s moon. On the moon’s surface in the Lunar colony, Michael Korvac’s father awaits the birth of his son and senses the Guardian’s presence. He lends part of his power to protect his wife as he goes through labour and flies into the sky to attack the Guardians, whom he believes are here to kill his family. There is a fierce battle, with the Guardians holding their own against Korvac Snr.
After stopping by the Watcher’s house and being observed by the moon’s leaders, the team face Korvac Snr as his son is being born. He tells the Guardians that he would gladly give his life to his son. A statement his son takes quick advantage of, draining the power off his father and becoming Michael: The Enemy decades earlier than he should.
The Guardians face off against the infant Korvac, fully knowing that they stand almost no chance against him. Fortunately, the team’s resident pre-cog has already seen this coming and summoned an ally, Krugarr the Sorcerer Supreme. Krugarr appears alongside his teacher, the ancient one. Vance Astro recognises him immediately as Doctor Steven Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme when Vance was a child.
Contained in this magic bubble, the baby Korvac is taken back through time to the point where all this started, the end of the original Korvac Saga. They appear on the world ship of Galactus who drains the infant of all the stolen power, but leaves the child unharmed. Now the Guardians are left again with that debate. What do they do with this baby that they know will become a monster. Being the good guys they are, they return the baby to his mother, who they tells the baby to wreak vengeance upon the Guardians after they leave. The Guardians were always destined to create Korvac.
The team then make Aleta an official member of the team and Yondu finds the book of Antag, starting off the Guardians’ quest to find the shield of Captain America. This leads directly into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 issue 1.
The next story takes place shortly after the Guardians meet up for the first time and the team only consists of Vance Astro, Yondu, Charlie-27 and Martinex. They are holed up in some abandoned building, in the ruins of New York City (I’m only assuming that, NYC is always Marvel’s go to location) There is some silver age bickering until Martinex comes up with the idea of finding a new location and means of transport. The team wander through the streets until they find the matter transporter. They remove the guards, punch in co-ordinates and are teleported to Jupiter.
They soon are surrounded by Badoon and realise that whenever they use the matter transporter, the Badoon can work out where they will materialise and can be ready for them. The team then steal a shuttle and after some fancy flying and dog-fighting, they leave Jupiter and crash land on the ice/ocean moon of Europa.
The shuttle is destroyed with an escape pod fleeing unseen and finding a huge metallic structure under the surface of Europa. Nothing should be here, not even any government facilities. The team fly inside the structure to look around.
The whole place runs on magnetism and with the huge M on the front, it does lend itself to you working out who built the place. The team go on board and find all sorts of things, from food, to costume-making facilities and then a large two nascelled spaceship, almost completed in a drydock.
The team decide to stay, to load up on provisions, clothes and tools to repair the ship and then they leave, piloting the USS Captain America out of Europa’s orbit and into their battle against the Badoon.
Notes: Korvac Quest Part 4
Finally, with part 4 everyone looks consistent, with costumes and art matching the more familiar Guardians look.
The story has a nice conclusion, with time sorting itself out and the power of Galactus being returned to Galactus with the baby surviving.
At this point in the 30th Century, the inhumans are in a reservation on the moon, which has interesting (if heavy-handed) parallels to Native Americans in the past.
In the Watcher’s house, the Guardians see alternate versions of their reality before being shown the door by Uatu, the Watcher. An irrelevant bit, but a nice addition to this issue.
The Guardians become the inspiration for their own worst enemy, a bit trite, but you need to have something like that with time travel stories.
An up and down story with a nice finish.
Notes: Encounter on Europa
This is a nice little story, filling the gaps between Marvel Superheroes #18 and Marvel Team Up #5, this shows both where the Mutants of Haven started from and where the USS Captain America came from as well, tying them up in a well written story.
I like how none of Vance’s jokes are got by anyone else, a nice little Buck Rogers-ish moment and fleshes out Vance’s man out of time sort of thing.
Over all a great little annual, full of bits and pieces that are worth looking at for even a passing Guardians of the Galaxy fan.
Next Time: On an all new post, we return to the Guardians’ main series.