Guardians of the Galaxy 20 was cover dated January 1992 and was on sale in November 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman #2, Daredevil #300, Elongated Man #1, New Warriors #19, Superman #63 and Wolverine 50.
Major Victory was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with a containment-suit-less Vance Astro leaping into the tense stand off from last issue and helping the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Commandeers turn the tide on the Punishers and the Badoon.
With the one of the two Badoon dead and the other running, the team give chase and ask Vance how he is free of the containment suit he needed to survive, only a day ago.
Krugarr the Sorcerer Supreme, used Hollywood’s ionic blood and some magic to heal Vance and cure his skin so that it wouldn’t oxidise on contact with the open air. The Guardians face off against the Punishers and cut a swath through them. Gabrielle of the Commandeers shoots Belle in cold blood for the betrayal that cost Inez’s life and to save Nikki, Yondu uses a laser weapon from his artifical hand to kill one of the Punishers, being a Habaktu, Yondu feels ashamed about this use of a technological weapon and vows never again to use it.
The Punisher General flees and along with the surviving Badoon, makes it to the Ultimate Punisher tank. Before they can drive off in it, Hollywood lifts it over his head and throws it. Krugarr catches it and teleports them to the centre of the complex.
The scene shifts to space and the glowing form of Starhawk where Stakar tries to convince Aleta to give up her claim on their shared body by giving her a simulation of her old family. She is happy to see them and seems to forgive Stakar for his part in their apparent deaths, but then realises that since Starhawk re-inhabits his own body time and again, there is no Stakar and it’s all Starhawk and she begins fighting for her body again. At the centre of the Bronx refinery, Charlie-27 rigs his cannon to go nuclear and take the refinery out, inside the tank, the Badoon tries to call the rest of the Brotherhood, but the Punisher General kills him and leaves once he realises that the Guardians will detonate the gun. Once he exits, Gabrielle shoots him in cold blood too and the Guardians escape before the gun blows, destroying the facility and ending the threat of Realiteevee.
There’s a brief scene with Martinex on Mainframe’s world trying to work out how his Galactic Guardians concept will work, while back on Earth, the Commandeers offer Vance’s team use of the sub-basements of Avengers Mansion. Vance takes a second to point out that he recognises Hollywood as someone called Simon, clearly Simon Williams or WonderMan, who was an Avenger as well as an actor.
This pretty much brings the story to an end, with Talon being offered Guardians of the Galaxy membership and a nice little pin up page. Then we’re shown what’s coming next. Rancor and the Mutants of Haven find that their search for Wolverine will lead to Earth.
Notes: Thus ends the era of the containment suit and begins the age of Major Victory.
This was a sort of third act of the story, with the team given that last minute boost and that hero moment of Vance Astro flying into the action and changing the course of the battle. You can almost hear some kind of orchestral overture as he jumps in.
Gabrielle executes someone twice and is only brought up about it once. This highlights the difference between the Commandeers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians are more of a super hero team, changed by their experiences and choosing to show restraint and mercy. The Commandeers however, are soldiers and very much still in this war. Gabrielle does what a soldier might do, but Vance’s reaction shows that for him that feeling was a long time ago.
Rancor is back, not thrilled exactly, but there are half decent stories coming.
Talon is offered membership and stays with the team for the rest of this volume.
Did everyone get the Wonderman thing? I suspected at the time, but even when it’s revealed there’s no real mention of his name, just that he’s called Simon.
Starhawk consolidates his control over Aleta and that will be brought back in the next issue.
Next time: The Return of Rancor.