Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 25

Guardians of the Galaxy 25 was cover dated June 1992 and was on sale April 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Black Condor #1, Daredevil #305, Detective Comics #644, Epic #1, Green Lantern Mosaic #1 and Infinity War #1.

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And Now Galactus was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with the Silver Surfer, known now as the Keeper leading the Guardians of the Galaxy in their Drydock Station to Alpha Centauri and a rendezvous with the planet devourering Galactus.

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The Keeper continues his tale from last issue,  after Zenn-La’s destruction, he attacked Galactus. As you can imagine, that really didn’t go too well. His board destroyed and the power cosmic stripped from him along with his silver skin sheath, he was flung towards the edge of the universe.

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Found by one of the Watchers, he was taken from the universe to hide and heal. Over time this Watcher, Aron, taught the Surfer to use the bands more effectively and to reawaken the power cosmic within him. Thus the Silver Surfer became the Keeper and he save populations and worlds from Galactus wherever he could. One of the worlds he saved was Mainframe’s world, where Martinex is currently staying. He talks to the Guardians over the com-link, mainly to set up the story in GOTG annual 2. The plan is set, the newly arrived Firelord and the Guardians of the Galaxy will keep Galactus at bay, whilst the Keeper saves the population of the oceanic world that Galactus is trying to feed on.

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Firelord is quickly brought down and Charlie-27, Starhawk/Aleta and Talon take the fight outside to Galactus. Talon even uses magic to hold Galactus, which only gets him a telling off from a disembodied Dr Strange head. On the ship, Nikki seeks to warm Firelord up for aid healing, while Vance speaks to Yondu, who informs Vance that his spirit god Anthos had told him that there are Centaurians on the planet below.

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The Keeper teleports the Alphan underwater city to Centauri IV, just as Yondu arrives by teleport. An Alphan carries the drowning Yondu to the surface.

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Meanwhile Galactus wastes no time bringing the Guardians down, only to face a Keeper, as tall as him. This Galactus sized Keeper attacks Galactus who, having gone without sustenance for so long, is debilitated. The  Keeper is about to deliver the killing blow till Eon arrives and talks him down.

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With the Alpha city on Centauri IV, Galactus feasts on the planet Arima. An agreement is reached. Firelord will remain the interim protector of the universe and the Keeper will join Galactus to help him feed, while  saving lives. Then the Keeper reforms his board and Yondu finds the lost Centauri tribe. The Guardian who has lost the most, is home again.

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Notes: Where was Drydock throughout this whole run? This is the first time we’ve seen it since Annual 1, but it’s never said what happened to it.

This story seems a bit padded and seems to be just the chance for Valentino to do something with Galactus.

The Keeper assisting Galactus to feed him and save lives at the same time, seems to be such a simple idea, that it’s strange it’s not come up before now.

It was nice to see Firelord again, but his part in the story, much like Nikki was very minimal.

A fight scene including Galactus is always worth seeing.

Ok, the Guardians’ teleport system put Yondu in the middle of the ocean. Really?

Although it may lead to his leaving the team, Yondu finding his people is one of the high points of this issue.

Next Time: The Secret Origin of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 24

Guardians of the Galaxy #24 had a cover date of May 1992 and was on sale in March 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman #6, Captain America: The Movie #1, Cool World #1, Excalibur #50, Lobo’s Back #1 and Nomad #1.

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The Coming of the Keeper was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino with Steve Montano on inks and opens with Aleta (Now trapped in the body of Dark Starhawk) trying to have a conversation with her fiancée Vance Astro (Major Victory), who is having an understandably difficult time being with a girl who is now trapped in the body of the b@$+@£d who stole her away from you. The fact that the b@$+@£d in question is a man doesn’t help. There are a couple of person to person scenes fleshing out the relationships and how they stand. Talon and Yondu get to know one another better, Nikki and Charlie-27 reaffirm their platonic friendship, Tarin and Gabrielle wonder if there is even a Comandeers team left after all that has recently happened and then there is an alarm.

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The Silver Surfer/Keeper has arrived. He races towards Earth to beat Galactus there and there is a brief recap of his origin and some of the past that took place after the 20th century.  As he arrives in Earth’s atmosphere, his is immediately attacked by the Guardians of the Galaxy, still seeing the Surfer as an enemy from their battle with him in Silver Surfer Annual 4. (Follow this link https://liverpoolmunky76.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1034&action=edit)

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Taking none of it, the Keeper halts the battle and then meets with the Guardians to make peace. There is then a bit of filling in of the blanks, where Galactus returned to feast on Earth and along with Firelord and Dargo, the Future Thor, they held him back. This cost the Herald Nova her life and the chance for the Silver Surfer to save his homeworld Zenn-La.

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The Eon, a mentor figure and the entity who chooses the protector of the universe arrives and tells the Guardians and the Keeper that Galactus is not heading to Earth at all, but to the three inhabited worlds orbiting the star Centauri. Yondu gasps as he is from Centauri IV. The team decide in an instant to go and stop Galactus, no matter what.

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Notes: A welcome return to Jim Valentino on art, though a lot of it seems rushed. The story is another soap-opera before action, like 21 before it, but this sets up a more epic story.

There’s more of Vance being freaked out by Aleta being a man, showing the difference between the Earthborn Vance and the Acturan Aleta, only Starhawk is unsurprised by his reaction.

This is the last issue showing Vance’s coat, which shrunk and is now just gone. It shows up again in issue 28, but not again after that.

There’s mention of Martinex and his plans of a new group and Nikki reflects on her treatment of Replica, seeds that grow into something else down the road. Talon also shows that he has some mystical abilities, something else that will be explored later.

Yondu’s crest or as he calls it a Tahlei, is stated as being compressed hair follicles and it is hinted that it is connected to attracting a mate, like bird plumage.

This sets up the double sized 25th issue and it does so well and has me excited for the next issue.

Next Time:  And now: Galactus.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 23

Guardians of the Galaxy #23 was cover dated April 1992 and was on sale February 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Armageddon: Inferno #1, Cage #1, Justice League Spectacular #1, What If #36, X-O Manowar #1 and Youngblood #1.

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War of the Guards was written by Jim Valentino, but the art was by the first guest artist on this volume, Mark Texeira and opens with the last scene from issue 22. Starhawk  blasts the ground in front of the Guardians of the Galaxy, giving Rancor and her mutants time to escape into the house of Madripoor’s leader. Starhawk battles internally with Aleta while Major Victory and the rest of the team use their star badges to teleport to Rancor’s location where the two teams battle once more, Talon taking on Rancor directly.

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There’s another scene with an alien being recruited, this time the diminutive Grott the Manslayer. Now we learn that the person collecting these aliens is Brahl of Force. This brings all of Korvac’s Minions of Menace back together, last time these guys were together was Thor Annual 6 (covered on this here Blog) and there’s also a scene with Hollywood deciding to leave Earth to visit Mainframe. Both of these threads will get picked up in the next annual.

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The battle between Rancor’s team and the Guardians of the Galaxy is brief and brutal with Talon in particular acquitting himself very well against  Rancor. Before the fight is decided for good. Rancor’s mutants are teleported away, by someone with a familiar looking faceplate.

The Guardians then chase after a fleeing Starhawk and somewhere, the Silver Surfer, now known as the Keeper is heading towards Earth, following the course of Galactus.

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Notes: This is the first of the art fill in issues and sadly one of the best. Mark Texeira has a distinct style that doesn’t fit as well with Valentino’s Guardians. But taken against issues 28-29 and Annual 2, this is lovely stuff.

Not much happens outside of the action, but the action is fast and intense and Texeira’s panels flow well one into the other and it has a fantastic visceral quality that suits Rancor better than Valentino/Montano’s art.

Talon has a great hero moment, embarassing and disarming Rancor with aplomb and enjoys this hard won victory as most people would.

The set up for Annual 2 is now done and we leave the issue continuing the idea of Galactus coming to Earth to devour it, pursued by the Silver Surfer, bearer of the Quantum Bands.

Next Time: Valentino and Montano return to the art team for the Coming of the Keeper.

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 22

Guardians of the Galaxy 22 was cover dated March 1992 and was on sale January 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #674, Alpha Flight #106, Harbinger #1, John Byrne’s Next Men #1, New Titans #84 and Punisher Warzone #1.

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Re-Enter Starhawk was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with a quick recap of last issue and then a splash page introduction to the new Starhawk. Unlike the previous iteration, this time Starhawk and Aleta share the body equally, with Aleta being able to perceive both the outside world and also Starhawk’s mind. Despite his no longer being ‘One Who Knows’ they head straight for Madripoor to aid the Guardians.

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Starhawk watches as Charlie-27 fights Blockade, Nikki shoots Batwing, Talon flirts with MindScan and SideStep, Yondu savagely battles Shaddo and Vance Astro, free of his containment suit battles Rancor.

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There are then five little side scenes, one is two aliens Tork and Dumog fleeing capture, until like Teju last issue meet with an unseen ally. The second is Rinquist and his master confirming that the  cloaked figure who summoned the Guardians did not send Rancor and her lieutenants to him, then we see Replica posing at the Protege calling off the search for Starhawk under to watchful eye of Malevolence, Simon (Hollywood) Williams calls Vision (Mainframe) to try and reconnect with the only family his has left and finally there’s an external view of Galactus’ world ship where Galactus feels that his hunger is more important that a long ago made promise, which is full of ill portent.

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Back to Madripoor we go as Starhawk enters the fray, taking Rancor out after saving Nikki, before introducing him/herself. She/he is reuinited with a lets be honest justifiably freaked out Vance Astro. Rancor and MindScan try to convince Starhawk that he should join them as there is clearly tension between him and the Guardians. Charlie-27 states that Starhawk has never been a traitor, but Starhawk counters that he plays only by his own rules.

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Notes: Although a lot happens in this issue, very little of it moves the Rancor in Madripoor story along and a lot of time is dedicated to dangling plotlines and upcoming stories. That said it’s a great little issue and the time taken to reintroduce Starhawk fleshes out the changes within him/her.

Aleta and Stakar as back to bickering with each other which Aleta needling Stakar that he is no longer one who knows more than once. Then again, he does pay attention and isn’t stupid.

Rather than light powers, Starhawk’s new gifts are dark related, hence his new colour scheme. It does raise the question of whether Starhawk knew this was going to happen, or whether he is adapting to this new form.

Despite them once ruling an entire world, Rancor’s lieutenants do very poorly against a rather under-powered Guardians team, with only  Rancor herself seeming like any real threat.

The scene between Talon and SideStep is quite amusing, two people who would likely get on, but fate has put them on different sides. SideStep seems less cruel and violent than the rest and just seems to be working for Rancor because it’s easier.

After being apart for so long, Aleta and Vance are reunited, he’s out of his suit and she is now no longer a she. This is awkward and not played for laughs, which a nice touch.

Starhawk is clearly not loyal to the team and it’s left very much in the air what he will do next.

Next time: War of the Guards and a guest artist.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 21

Guardians of the Galaxy #21 was cover dated February 1992 and was on sale December 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Agent Libery Special #1, Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness #1, The Ray #1, Star Wars: Dark Empire #1, Warlord #1 and X-Factor #75.

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The Return of Rancor was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Rancor butchering people on the isle of Madripoor looking for her ancestor Wolverine. No one on Madripoor has any idea what she is talking about. The leaders of the island, an un-named man and his assistant Rinquist evacuate and all of this is observed by a shadowy figure who does not warn Rancor to disrupt his balance of power, so he anonymously contacts Avengers Mansion to warn those there of Rancor’s presence.

 

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In Avengers Mansion, along with the Comandeers are the Guardians of the Galaxy who are enjoying a little bit of downtime. Nikki tries to flirt with Talon, who backs away from the idea as soon as he can, this is overseen by Charlie-27 who decides the best thing to do is do nothing, lest the wrong idea be gotten. Tarin of the Comandeers tries a more formal declaration of love with Yondu, who being a very strictly religious Centaurian explains that he cannot return these feelings, he is pledged. He does however try to comfort her as best he can. Vance Astro (Major Victory) trains with Simon Williams (Hollywood) and both sort of bitch about being long lived and cut off from their loved ones.

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The Guardians learn of Rancor’s return and rush to Madripoor to face Rancor, who is ready for them. Then we swap back to Aleta trying to free herself from the grip of Stakar and the Hawkgod. She rails against this new absorption, but to no avail. Now draped in shadows and stars instead of sunlight Starhawk has returned.

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Notes: This issue takes some time to get the Guardians and Rancor’s people together, giving the character moments room to breath and it’s a less exciting, but more interesting story as a result.

There is a scene where a lizard like alien called Teju is freed from Stockade, a prison planet. Both Stockade and Teju will come back soon.

The romantic subplots are more of a Legion of Super-Heroes and X-Men trope, but fit nicely into this story, threading together to create a larger narrative.

I’m not a fan of Rancor, but was intrigued by the enemy of Madripoor and how he will factor into the future.

I’ve no idea who Rinquist or his ‘Grace’ is and I don’t think we ever find out, nor do we know what happened to Vance’s sleeveless coat, which shrinks along the way to Madripoor.

Next time: Re-Enter StarHawk.