Guardians of the Galaxy 17 was cover dated October 1991 and was on sale August 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Animal Man #40, Excalibur #42, Mask #1, NFL Superpro #1, Starman #39 and X-Men #1.
Homecoming was written and drawn by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with a distraught Vance Astro demanding the immediate explusion of Starhawk from the team. There is no dissenting voice to this and Charlie-27, Nikki, Yondu and Vance all look at Martinex to make it unanimous. There’s a one page look through Martinex T’Naga’s thoughts in this, reminding us that Starhawk told Martinex that he would one day have to expell him from the team because of something that he’d do, but had no real choice in. Martinex realises that he too has no choice and agrees to firing Starhawk. There is then a couple of scenes, showing Homeworld, where Protege orders his fleet to find Starhawk, while both Malevolence and Replica show their influence on him and then there’s a scene with Starhawk and Aleta struggling for control over their shared form, this time though, there’s a third voice.
The Captain America II arrives at their home system. Enroute they see that many of Earth’s major cities are in ruins Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing and New York City as almost completely wrecked, but no sign of what had happened in the last 4 years. The team decide to check it out, with Charlie-27 changing into a more military outfit and carrying a cannon.
Teleporting to Times Square, the team are almost immediately attacked by what appear to be 31st century versions of the Howling Commandos. From a vantage point a woman observes the team, recognising Yondu and by extension the Guardians of the Galaxy. This woman is Tarin, last seen in Marvel Two-in-One #4-5 when Captain America and the Thing travelled to the 31st Century to free New York from the Badoon. The two teams come to peace, they walk to the sub-basement of Avengers mansion and then the Guardians are told of the last four years’ events.
It turns out that after Earth was freed, a new form of home entertainment called Realitee-Vee which had produced a narcotic gas and became so addictive, that the adults who survived the invasion just retreated inwards and died engrossed in this new entertainment. The younger ones formed gangs and started turf wars, with the most powerful being known as the Punishers.
Vance quickly guesses that the only knowledge of the costumed heroes/vigilantes of the 20th Century came from him and immediately blames himself for the harm done. Choosing resolve over his old self pity, Vance decides to stay on Earth and deal with these two problems head on. The rest of the team decide to join him, all save Martinex. Martinex’s idea is for a larger group of Guardians of the Galaxy, with satellite branches similar to what the Avengers had done. Martinex abdicates his leadership role to Vance and leaves, the team wishing him well.
As the Commandeers and the Guardians of the Galaxy walk back out into the sunshine, Vance is targetted by the Punishers, who prepare to fire.
Notes: This is a great new start issue, setting off a new era. This was a 90s staple.
The last time the Guardians were on 31st Century Earth was in Marvel Presents #3 which is nicely recapped.
The Commandeers are very much based on the howling commandos, with Crazy Nate, Inez and Gabrielle being very close parallels, Tarin takes the Nick Fury role with Old Redd taking the Dum Dum Duggan role, but he’s most clearly based on Old Skull, a supporting character from the Killraven stories. Belle is a bit of an unknown here, much as the silent Hollywood. To be honest, they don’t really leave much of an impression and most have very little personality.
I like the fact that Earth has fallen apart so quickly after their victory over the Badoon, often wars of liberation are followed by civil wars as old rivalries are buried under occupation, but rise to the surface in the absence of a common enemy.
I’m sad to see Martinex go, but he will pop back in from time to time, he is though, the first charter member of the team to leave, everyone else was a later addition.
While not a fan of the Punisher, the costume does have an iconic look and works great for a villain.
The art is as always fantastic and Vance, with a mission and once more command of the Guardians looks visibly different and that leads into a great little cliffhanger and an even better start to the next issue.
Next Time: Punished.