Guardians of the Galaxy #14 was cover dated July 1991 and was on sale in May 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman #480, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Legend of the Shield #1, Sensational She-Hulk #29, Superman: The Man of Steel #1 and X-Factor #68.
Hallowed by thy name was written and drawn by Jim Valentino and was inked by Steve Montano and opens right after #13 ended, with the Spirit of Vengeance attacking the Guardians over Replica’s membership in the Church of Universal Truth. Although the Guardians fight well, they are not in the same weight class as the 31st Century’s Ghost Rider. Nikki and Yondu shoot at him, getting nowhere, Martinex’s wall of ice doesn’t even slow him and Charlie-27 takes a hit to the face, scarring him, but as he notes, Jovians are hard to kill. Aleta tries to calm the Spirit down, but Replica then goes of and threatens to kill this demon.
Before anyone dies, the fleet of the Universal Church arrives and demands the Spirit be handed over, realising that the Guardians are not agents of his enemy, the Spirit of Vengeance flees, hoping to buy time for the Guardians to flee. The Guardians however are in no condition to leave and Martinex asks Replica to plead their case to the locals, who have decided to kill the Guardians.
The scene shifts to another world, where Force have arrived, under the command of Malevolence. She reveals that there is a protege who will one day become the next Magus and he will appoint a matriarch to guide him in the use of his powers. Malevolence aims to take that job, Force are their to remove her rival, Aleta.
Back on Sarka, Replica tells the Grand Inquisitor, the giant head, but no body guy, that she was trying to teach the Guardians the ways of her church by example. The Inquisitor approves of the idea and decides to send the Guardians to the indoctrination chamber, because that always sounds fun. The Guardians rebel, Charlie-27 suggests that Vance and Yondu escape to get help and throws himself back into the fight, which the Guardians promptly lose. Nikki, Martinex and Charlie are captured, wearing stolen robes, Vance and Yondu escape and walk the streets to find help. Curious about the world around him, Vance walks into a bar, Yondu questions this, but Vance asks for his trust.
Back in space, Aleta finds the barely alive form of Starhawk, who tries to re-absorb Aleta. He does this partly to save himself and partly to let her know about the Protege. Back on Sarka, Replica finds Martinex, Nikki and Charlie near death after being tortured to encourage them to convert. Martinex tells Replica, that he would never worship a deity that causes so much pain for any reason, even love.
Back on the street, Vance leaves the bar and remarks that for most people, the Universal Church of Truth is a positive and benign influence for most. Yondu seems confused, for him that is the whole idea of faith. Then two men race past them, immediately shot and killed by Knights of the Church, who are then murdered themselves by the Spirit of Vengeance.
The Spirit takes the two of them to their team-mates, after a question from Vance. The Knights murder the non-believers, the Spirit murders the Knights, how are they at all different?
Replica disguising herself as the Grand Inquisitor frees the captive Guardians and returns their stars, the real Inquisitor confronts them and as all seems lost, the Spirit of Vengeance returns, in the melee, Martinex retrieves Replica, informing her that she is a Guardian and what happens to her matters. The team escapes the Tilnast system and follow a course of Aleta’s decision, she asks them to accept the word of one who knows.
Notes: The Protege is going to be the Magus, so it’s not the Magus of Jim Starlin’s cosmic sagas in the 70s.
There are several parallels between the Church and the Spanish Inquisition, which is quite heavy handed in it’s delivery.
This continues the Child story and the rivalry between Aleta and Malevolence and sets up the next two issues.
A solid issue, worth the read, but definitely part of a whole.