Guardians of the Galaxy 19 was cover dated December 1991 and was on sale in October 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman #1, Excalibur #45, Human Target Special #1, Iron Man #275, Robin II #1 and Sensational She-Hulk #34.
The Gentleman’s name is Talon was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with the Punishers surveying the devastation from the previous issue and the Guardians escaping through tunnels. The huge Punisher general kills the sniper who shot Vance Astro in the previous issue and demands to know about the man with the tale, commenting that they have an inside man and finding the Guardians will not be a problem.
In the tunnels, Charlie-27 demands to know more about this furred ally and gets knocked on his rear end for his trouble. Talon then and shoots Charlie-s hand with claws As a fight brews, Yondu steps forward to end it, once more being the voice of reason. The fight avoided for now, Talon points out that he has left Vance in good hands.
The scene shifts to Comandeers headquarters where Hollywood is joined by Krugarr and the astral form of the Ancient One, once known as Doctor Strange, who notifies Hollywood that some of his Ionic blood is needed.
Then we’re back off to Courg. Martinex has evaded the knife and turns the tables on the Courgan native, who informs Martinex that all the devastation he can see is his fault. The Guardians drove off the Stark, but left the dead and disease followed. The Stark returned and massacred the people who survived the illness. The Courgan (who’s name was Atur, I think) tells Martinex that the never considered the consequences of actions like this and a simple show of force does not solve the problem. Martinex is visibly shaken by this.
Back on Earth, the Guardians are enroute to the Realitivee refinery, people sort of pair off and there is a little bit of light hearted banter, including Tarin telling Yondu of her admiration of him. Yondu only responds with pointing out that he can hear a high pitched whine, like that of a homing device, one of the Commandeers is visibly shocked by this.
Meanwhile.. Deep in the heart of the Shi’ar empire, a museum curator shows a broken piece of a familiar looking claw to Rancor and her lieutenants from issues 9-11 who quickly kill the curator. There is another scene with Aleta and Stakar, trapped in a grey void along with their children while the Hawk God changes their body.
The Guardians arrive at the refinery, the only such refinery on Earth, nestled in the Bronx, far from the Punisher’s turf. The Guardians find out that brains behind Realitee-vee are in fact the Brotherhood of the Badoon. They turn and see the Punishers behind them and from within the group Belle draws her gun against Charlie-27. Enemies in front of them, behind them and within them, Tarin calls for the Comandeers and Guardians of the Galaxy to surrender.
Above the refinery, Krugarr, Hollywood and another figure in shadow watch. The shadowed man points out that it’s up to the three of them to save the rest. Hollywood points out that there’s only 3 of them and their enemies are legion.
“Yeah, I hope they’re up to it!”
Notes: Another gripping part of this continued return to Earth story and it looks like it’s heading for an exciting conclusion.
Belle is revealed as the inside man earlier than the next to last page, but only in retrospect.
Tarin’s attraction to Yondu is brought up again, this time she tries to tell him about it.
An immediate rivalry exists between the military minded Charlie-27 and the free-wheeling Talon, which adds conflict to a team that is starting to get on a little bit too well.
Talon himself is an interesting character, secretive about his past, but a lot of fun and a lively addition to the story and eventually the team.
This issue takes us to the Shi’ar empire, the Shi’ar are bird-like aliens long associated with the X-Men and have been both friends and enemies to them, depending on who’s in charge and what threat the X-Men and other humans pose to them. The Shi’ar scene tells us that the Mutants of Haven will make a comeback soon and am glad of it.
The Badoon are back, it only took 19 issues but they’re back in their purple speedos and flying dogs.
Next Time: Major Victory.