Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 35

Guardians of the Galaxy 35 was cover dated April 1993 and was on sale in February 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Bloodshot #1, Hardware #1, Lance Barnes: Post Nuke Dick #1, Legionnaires #1, Sandman Mystery Theatre #1 and Stormwatch #1.

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Biological Warfare was written by Michael Gallagher, drawn by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with a brief recap of the current situations of the Guardians of the Galaxy before switching focus to Martinex’s Galactic Guardians and the decaying area of space seen in the last issue. Giraud, the current Phoenix, flies ahead of the rest of the team into this decayed space, falling victim to Bubonicus, who infects him with some sort of disease.

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He flies back to his team, with his power raging and the flaming raptor effect grows so large it dwarfs the Icarus and engulfs a nearby uninhabited planet.

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Firelord, as a protector of the universe and the spirit of vengeance are enraged and fly after Phoenix, despite Martinex’s warning, while Mainframe gives us some exposition on Bubonicus.

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As this happens, Bubonicus infects Firelord and the spirit, both collapse (well they’re in space, so they sort of fold over, but don’t actually go anywhere) and Martinex orders the ship de-cloaked and the two retrieved. Replica argues, which doesn’t sit well with Martinex.

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Meanwhile it seems that Bubonicus’ actions may have a larger consequence as Mainframe communes with Eternity, the being whose body encompasses the universe itself. The decaying space is actually a malignant cancer in the body of the universe and unless the Phoenix can help, the universe is in danger. On the Icarus, Bubonicus attacks Martinex, only to learn that Martinex was behind him and Replica is unharmed, she changes form into a Jadroxxian the beats Bubonicus into unconsciousness.

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Giraud burns the infection from himself and then does the same for Eternity and all living things take notice. Phoenix returns to the Icarus and does the same there, causing Bubonicus himself to vanish, but allowing the rest of the infected team members to recover.

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Replica sees that Bubonicus has gone and the Galactic Guardians head to rendezvous with Drydock, just in time to see it destroyed by the Dread Dormammu.

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Notes: That is a hell of a cliffhanger.

This is a disjointed story, feeling at once rushed and also padded.  The threat of Bubonicus is consdered so great and yet he is taken out by a teenage Skrull. It seems a little too easy.

I enjoyed seeing Eternity as part of the story and his being injured was interesting. Using Phoenix to cauterise the fabric of the universe is very much in keeping with it’s earliest use in the 70’s X-Men.

West’s art style has fully taken hold now and it’s looking like a good fit, with the not quite so human looking characters still having personality and features.

It feels very much like a fill in issue, but by the main creative team and am it feels like a getting the pieces in place for later issue, than a fully fledged story, that said I do like seeing the Galactic Guardians again and Martinex has been missed from this title for the last 18 or so issues.

Next Time: The Galactic Guardians vs Dormammu and what happened to the Guardians of the Galaxy?



Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 34

Guardians of the Galaxy 34 was cover dated March 1993 and was on sale in January 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #686, Amazing Spider-Man #375, Death: The High Cost of Living #1, Fantastic Four Unlimited #1, Justice League America #72 and Secret Defenders #1.

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A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Charlie-27 choking on some blood in his throat which has congealed. Nikki standing beside him can only panic until the female Yellowjacket, last seen in issue 29 offers to help. She shrinks down to ant/yellowjacket size and flies into Charlie’s open mouth and dislodges the clot with a energy blast from her stingers.

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She returns to regular size as Martinex, the former Guardian leader notifies her that he and the Galactic Guardians are enroute and ready to help any way needed. Vance and Aleta are still kissing from the last issue and the weird energy on the starboard hull from last issue has now grown a smoking face.

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On Earth, Dr Doom uses Realitee-Vee to control the slaves brought there by Rancor and her people to finishing repair the Realitee-Vee refinery. Under the RTV control they will work themselves to death. When MindScan asks “We’ve imported thousands of labourers, what happens when they die?”

“Then you shall bring me thousands more.” Even Rancor is suprised by this cold bloodedness.

On Drydock, Rita DeMara (Yellowjacket II) is commissioned as a Guardian of the Galaxy, just as the ship is attacked by some unknown force.  The Galactic Guardians whilst flying to Drydock’s location see a section of space decaying through some unknown means. There’s then a quick recap of the events of issues 30-32, where Vance mentions that he passed through the Dark Dimension. This sets alarm bells off with Talon who rushes off to contact his former mentor, Krugarr, the sorcerer supreme.

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Drydock is circled by the seven rings of Ragadoor, Aleta/Starhawk dissolves the rings, but Talon already knows they’re in great danger and Krugarr is ambushed before he can assist.

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On Earth, Doom and Rancor meet, whilst Doom is looking at the Moon, trying to find the Inhumans. He is stumped by the fact they remain hidden, but we are shown that this is by someone else’s design and soon this person will have their revenge, on who and why we’ll just have to wait.

Back on Drydock, the nameless threat announces himself. The Guardians of the Galaxy now face The Dread Dormammu.

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Notes: Well that was different. Most of the Guardians’ threats have been scientific in origin. They’ve dealt with aliens and their technology/powers and so on and less with any mystical threats and the first one they come across is Dormammu?

West’s art is well established now as the look  of the title and his design of the characters is looking better.

It’s nice to see Martinex back, as well as the Galactic Guardians and the decaying space plot will materialise next issue.

The Doom/Rancor moments are really enjoyable in a Game of Thrones sort of way, both need each other for the moment and respect one another, but very eager also to kill one another. They are also both supremely confident, giving the scenes an added edge of scenery chewing. The Inhumans subplot hinted at before and started here will go one for several months, but is a welcome addition and will also flesh out the origin of Talon when we get to it.

Gallagher was more keen as a writer to continue with Talon’s mystical side. In each issue he either does something magic related or makes reference to magic.

Yellowjacket is a welcome addition to the team, giving the character something to do and once again connecting the title with Marvel’s present.

I liked this issue and reading them one by one am getting more out of them, unlike a lot of more recent comics runs.

Next Time: We take a break from this story to see what the Galactic Guardians are getting up to.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 33

Guardians of the Galaxy 33 was cover dated February 1993 and was on sale December 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, Captain America #412, Green Arrow: The Wonder Year #1, Hulk: Future Imperfect #1, Stanley & His Monster #1 and Venom: Lethal Protector #1.

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Cut Bait & Run was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens were issue 32 ended with L’Matto, the Badoon Captain Universe about to kill Charlie-27. Vance Astro and Dr Strange arrive and fight back and even when Nikki and Talon arrive, the battle is still going the Badoon’s way.

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Back in the 31st Century, the Retox gang take the last surviving Commandeers, Old Redd and Tarin, to the Saltex compound in the Bronx and run into those running the Realitee-Vee complex, Rancor and her lieutenants, bringing the Doctor Doom and Retox subplots back into the main plot after a few months.

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In the 20th Century, the battle for control of the body of Starhawk is over, the two have split and a now corporeal Aleta and an infant Stakar are revealed. Stakar will be placed in the path of the Reavers to begin his life again as was forseen in issue 8. Aleta then flies to Moord to rejoin the Guardians and when she arrives battles Captain Universe and between her and Doctor Strange are able to defeat him and remove the Uni-Power, leaving everything as before, but leaving the Yaka dagger given to Charlie-27 by Yondu.

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On Drydock, the stowaway is becoming familiar with all the ship’s systems, but is surprised by readings from the ship, more on those stories in later issues. Charlie-27 is badly beaten and has a multitude of sever injuries, Vance decides to return the 31st Century to find Martinex and there’s a brief rundown of who Martinex is for the benefit of Talon or new readers.  Before they leave for their own timeline (including a brief explanation of how they are in the 616 universe and not the Guardian’s past) Aleta teleports aboard and there is a reunion between Vance and Aleta.

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In sickbay, Charlie is getting worse and is choking. The stowaway introduces herself and tells Nikki to stand aside and let her help.

Notes: The Badoon story for now is over, but it will come back.

I like this issue, it brought the 20th Century story to an end as puts the Guardians where they need to be the 31st Century.

It’s nice to see a happy ending for Vance and Aleta, but even now you know that isn’t going to last.

Charlie-27 takes an absolute pounding from L’Matto, reminding you how strong he is. Very few beings can take that kind of a kicking and Captain Universe is a cosmic level threat.

We start with friction between the earnest, but cheesy Vance Astro and the cynical Talon as Vance tries to rally the team a la Captain America and it doesn’t go well. There’s more use of magic from Talon, with the usual result. The team seems to be coming together, but slowly a change in style from Valentino’s run.

The Infinity War is blamed for the Guardians of the Galaxy ending up in the 616 and not the past of their timeline 691. To be honest it’s a flimsy excuse to have the Guardians title part of the Infinity War cross-over, but it was nice to see the team encounter their own pasts.

The Realitee-Vee stuff will come to a head in about 6 issues or so, but first we have the story of whatever is on the starboard hull and who the bottom on the final page belongs to.

Next time: A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy.




Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 32

Guardians of the Galaxy 32 was cover dated January 1993 and was on sale November 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Batman: The Blue, the Grey and the Bat #1, Doom 2099 #1, Justice League America #70, Stryfe’s Strike File #1, Superman #75 and X-Force #18.

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We who are about to die salute you was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Nikki and Talon being attacked by Charlie-27 in retaliation for her attack on him last issue. Charlie overpowers Nikki after accidentally knocking Talon out and in response Nikki pushes her flame/hair into Charlie’s face.

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Back in the 31st Century, the Retox gang torture Tarin to get the information about the destruction of the Saltex refinery in the Bronx, meanwhile Dr Doom tells Rancor and her lieutenants his role in Realitee-Vee. It’s revealed that the Badoon’s involvement, the Punishers creation and Realitee-Vee itself was all the plan of Doom.

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Doom forces Rancor’s assistance is restoring Realitee-Vee by addicting her and her team to Realitee-Vee itself and as a sweetener, gives her the broken claw of Wolverine lost in issue 23’s battle with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Back in the 20th Century Captain America and Vance ‘Major Victory’ Astro meet with Doctor Strange and he agrees to help Vance get to Moord, once Strange realises that Vance has met Strange’s older self.

On Moord, Charlie-27 arrives at the arena and faces L’Matto. Nikki’s attack on Charlie has cost him the hair on his head, but nothing else and he is ready to meet his opponent. He is unprepared for Captain Universe, who begins to pummel Charlie visciously.

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Nikki and Talon have at some point been strapped to their chairs and are facing the screen watching Charlie take on L’Matto, but are blasted from behind by the unseen stowaway.  Vance and Doctor Strange travel through the Dark Dimension and run across some of the Mindless Ones and after blinding them to escape appear over Moord. Charlie is doing well against L’Matto, but he really has no chance, fists have failed, he tries a gun, the gun fails and he tries Yondu’s dagger. The Badoon is interested in the dagger, but is ready to kill Charlie before analysing the weapon. Vance and Strange appear just as Charlie is about to be slain…To be continued.

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Notes: Whilst in-team conflict is often a good thing in comics, for me it just seems like the previous writer spent months bringing the team together and then the new writers just throws a hang grenade into the mix. That said, seeing how much of a pounding that Charlie-27 can take reminds you how tough he is and the bald look stays for a while.

Again it’s mentioned by the Badoon that Charlie-27 is a Jovian,  a race that as yet doesn’t exist. That’s two issues now where that’s just washed over.

Dr Strange only helps Vance because he knows he’ll still be around in over a thousand years, which is dubious reasoning to be honest.

Vance hands a disk to Captain America to give to the 616 version of Vance Astrovik, who at this point is in prison for the negligent homicide of his abusive father, this story was detailed in recent issues of New Warriors. It’s not really relevant to this series, but worth noting.

Dr Doom is awesome in this comic, as arrogant and scheming as he has ever been, he’s now seasoned by the centuries that have passed and far more in control. He has Rancor’s people by the throat and Rancor at bay for the moment and just accepts that it’s how it should be. Of all the things in this series that Michael Gallagher took time to get, Doom is not one of them.

The cliffhanger here leads into next issues climax of the Badoon Homeworld story and it’s only getting better.

Next Time: What happened to Starhawk.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 31

Guardians of the Galaxy 31 was cover dated December 1992 and was on sale October 1992, sharing the  spinner racks with Fast Forward #1, New Warriors #30, Ravage 2099, Spectre #1, Timber Wolf #1 and X-Force #17.

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Prelude to a Kill was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Captain America and Major Victory enjoying a sparring session with Cap being very clear that he believes himself ready for anything Vance can throw at him. Dr Druid tells them of the risk of chronological chaos that would result from their shields touching, since their shields are the same object from different timelines (no I didn’t get that either) and puts a polarising spell the two shields to prevent them from touching.

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On Drydock, Nikki, Charlie-27 and Talon have learned that the Badoon have learned that they are on their way and offer an alternative to all out war. The crew wonders how the Badoon knew they were coming and how they know exactly where to send the transmissions to. Even if Vance warned the Badoon that the Guardians were coming, he had no way of telling them when or even what course they’d take. The team wonders where Starhawk is and wish he were with them.

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Inside Starhawk, Stakar and Aleta talk about their situation. Aleta promises to stop fighting, as long as Stakar admits that all she’s seen since being reabsorbed, the Hawkgod, her children were all illusions to weaken her resolve. Stakar admits, hoping to end this fight. It does as now devoid of mercy and sympathy Aleta strikes Stakar down and he simply screams.

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But this is a comic about the 31st Century, so lets see what’s happening there. The Commandeers are defeated and tortured to death by the Retox gang who want Realitee-Vee restored as they are suffering addiction withdrawl, only Old Redd and Tarin are left. In Latveria Doctor Doom suffers the wrath of Rancor, for about a second before he encases her head in an airtight forcefield before telling her lieutenants that he doesn’t want her dead, but wants their help in also restoring Realitee-Vee. He releases Rancor, who decides to bide her time before taking her revenge.


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Back in the 20th Century, Cap and Vance run rooftops in New York to get to Dr Strange’s townhouse, so that Vance can return to Drydock and resolve his issues with the Guardians. The Guardians are having new issues now as the Brother Royal of the Badoon talks to them and offers a deal, one on one combat with an appointed champion. If the Guardians win, Moord is theirs and their homeworld’s devastation can be stopped before it starts, if their chosen member loses, the Badoon take Drydock and all of it’s weapons. The team agree once they are given the location of the Brotherhood’s hatchery, feeling they are on the level, the Guardians agree then spend the rest of the issue fighting amongst themselves to see who is to do the fighting on the Guardians behalf.

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The Badoon have one more trick up their sleeve as L’Matto, the Badoon from the last issue walks into the Brother Royal’s chambers and we see why the Badoon like this plan, L’Matto is possess by the power of Captain Universe.

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Notes: Captain Universe is the construct of the Uni-power a sentient power source that possesses random people in the universe and gives them powers as needed. The first comic where that happened was Micronauts #8 from August 1979. He has appeared several times since, at one point possessing Spider-Man, another was one of Star Lord’s team from Annihilation Conquest and the current Captain Universe is part of the Avengers.

The fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy are in the traditional marvel universe (called 616) and not their own is still puzzling to me. After Marvel Two in One 69, the timeline’s split off after Vance Astrovik didn’t become an astronaut, leading to him not travelling to Alpha Centauri.

There is a mistake of sorts when discussing the situation with the challenge, Talon points out that the Badoon already know how to deal with Mercurians and Jovians, but not Inhumans. This isn’t right, since Mercurians and Jovians won’t exists in the Guardians timeline for 600-700 years and there’s no reason that they will exist in the 616 universe as explained above.

Seeing Captain America and Major Victory together is visually confusing, both wearing the same costume nearly and using the same shield as a weapon, but you can clearly see Vance’s hero worship of Cap as he listens. Gallagher’s Cap is a little preachy though.

The stow-away subplot continues.

This is the first appearance of Retox and they don’t get less annoying, but serve a purpose later on.

All Hail DOOM!

Dr Druid is in this issue and I can honestly not tell you why or even where the magic comes from, I’ve always seen him as a psychic character and not a mystical one, if you need a mystical one, use Dr Strange, who is in the next issue.

Over all I like this comic and it is starting to get better.





Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 30

Guardians of the Galaxy 30 was cover dated November 1992 and on sale in September 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Batman Adventures #1, Daredevil #310, Darkstars #1, Excalibur #56, Eclipso #1 and Spider-Man 2099 #1.

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Arguing a called Strike was inked as always by Steve  Montano, but this issue started Michael Gallagher on full scripting duties and the new penciller of Kevin West. The story opens with the team arguing over their reason for being in the 20th Century, a pre-emptive strike on the Brotherhood of the Badoon, 1,000 years before their attack on the solar system and the genocide that followed. Vance is clearly against this and as a result, the team leaves him behind and leaves orbit in Drydock, course set for the Brotherhood homeworld of Moord. Onboard, the remainder of the team wonder how things are going in the 31st Century.

In answer to that, Rancor and her lieutenants are being held somewhere in eastern Europe (*cough* Latveria) after being held for several weeks, by a familiar looking figure in grey armour and green robes, a person Shaddo believes has been dead for centuries.

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On 20th Century Earth, Vance signals the Badoon, but sends no message. He wants to prevent the genocide Starhawk and Charlie-27 have planned, but can’t bring himself to hurt his team. But by sending the beam at all, something journeys to Moord ahead of Drydock.

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On board, the team is arguing about the attack and Nikki goes over the events of her childhood and Starhawk and Aleta battle for control of their shared form and Charlie tells them to leave, before the ship is destroyed.

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This ends all dissent and the team are united in their desire to wipe out the Badoon. Inside Drydock, there is a stow-away.

On Moord, the signal and it’s passenger arrive and latch onto a Badoon radio operator called L’Matto, changing him forever and just maybe the universe itself.  Only the passenger arrives though, the signal contains no information as Vance cancelled the call as soon as L’Matto went down, not knowing the damage is already done.

In the 31st Century, the Comandeers have broken the remnants of the Punishers, but rumours of a new faction called Retox, addicted to RTV that was destroyed in issue 20. Tarin and Old Redd lament the absence of Hollywood and the Guardians of the Galaxy

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Later on, the Badoon contact the cloaked Drydock and demand to speak to it’s captain Charlie heads for the bridge. In Avengers Mansion, Vance is wandering around and mentions out loud to no one in particular that he wishes he could speak to Captain America. A hand rests on his shoulders and Captain America stands before him. To be continued.

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Notes: Kevin West and Steve Montano are the regular art team pretty much till the comic ends, with the exception of annuals and fill ins, but their look for the characters define the rest of the Guardians tales until the title’s cancellation. His is a different style to Valentino, but it’s clean and pleasant to the eye and remains consistent.

Doctor Mutha-F*@#in’ Doom is in this issue, this series just got better.

Talon is now wearing his hair in a pony tail, which to be honest does sort of work for a character who leaps about so much and West’s look of the character is better than Valentino’s in my opinion.

There is a great panel with the team as it looked in the first issue, showcasing both West’s take on the team as it was, plus how much every character has changed visually since then.

The stow-away plot is resolved in a couple of months, but had my interest from the start.

It is great to see the Badoon again and the fate of L’Matto is revealed in the next issue.

Next Time:  The Guardians vs the Guardians and the plans of the Badoon.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 29

Guardians of the Galaxy 29 was cover dated October 1992 and was on sale in August 1992, sharing the  spinner racks with Batman: Sword of Azrael #1, Cable: Blood & Metal #1, Cyberforce #1, Eternal Warrior#1, Shadowhawk #1 and Youngblood #0.

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Let lose the Dogs of War was plotted by Jim Valentino, scripted by Michael Gallagher, guest pencilled by JJ Birch and inked as always by Steve Montano and opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy facing off against the 2nd set of Masters of Evil from the last page of issue 28.

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Holding onto Nikki and Yellowjacket, Dr Octopus’ team seems to have an advantage. The Guardians hold their own, but make no headway until Nikki and Yellowjacket wake and start to turn the tide.

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Then dopplegangers arrive (this is an Infinity War tie in after all)  and reluctantly the two teams start to join forces and elsewhere in the building Starhawk and Aleta do the same whilst struggling with Starhawk’s doppleganger.

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Even after a second group of dopplegangers attack, the team triumph and Dr Octopus tries to have his team take out the tired Guardians. This doesn’t go well with the grateful Masters of Evil, who decide to turn on Doctor Octopus rather than start another fight with their one time allies.

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Yellowjacket stays behind and whilst everyone is congratulating themselves, Jarvis returns and points out how much of a mess is left and tells the Guardians to pitch in as they “Can’t leave the mansion looking like this”. So after travelling over 1,000 years into the past, crossing timelines, meeting the Inhumans, beating the Masters of Evil and the dopplegangers, the Guardians are then left cleaning up. And an era ends.

Notes: This was the last plot submitted by Jim Valentino before leaving the title for good. Shortly after this he left Marvel altogether and devoted his time to Image Comics which he co-founded with Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larson, Todd McFarlane and others.

While still not a fan of the art (with Vance’s vanishing jacket vest) it’s still a better fit than Herb Trimpe.

One of my favourite moments in the comic is Vance vs Puff Adder “the name is Major Victory. Remember it when they’re filling out your report in the Emergency Room.”

This is the end of an era and Valentino’s absence will be missed, but there are still adventures to be had.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 28

Guardians of the Galaxy 28 was cover dated September 1992 and was on  sale in July 1992 and shared the spinner racks with Deathstroke the Terminator Annual #1, The Heckler #1, Justice Society of America #1, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #1, Team Titans #1 and WildC.A.T.S. #1

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Villains, villains everywhere was as always written by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano, but the pencilling was by Herb Trimpe, more on that story later. The story opens with Doctor Octopus gathering a new iteration of the Masters of Evil and planning to attack the at this moment vacant Avengers Mansion. This team of Oddball, Powderkeg, Jackhammer, Titania (and when you get Titania you also get) Absorbing Man and the second Yellowjacket, Rita DeMara is a very D-List ensemble, which Doctor Octopus thinks will be easier to control than the Sinister Six.



As they move to attack, the Guardians teleport to Earth from the moon, since they Guardians were living the the Avengers Mansions basement in the 31st Century, the Guardian star badges are already calibrated for that location. They arrive and are immediately attacked by Jarvis and the Avengers’ support staff, before they are recognised as the Guardians of the Galaxy.  It’s at that moment that Doctor Octopus’ team attacks and the Guardians face off against them.

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In the midst of this fight Starhawk is attacked by another duplicate and calls for Aleta’s help. The Guardians make short work of these bad guys, mid fight though Nikki is saved from Absorbing Man by Yellowjacket before they both head into the Mansion.

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Once they get inside they find Doctor Octopus along with Shocker, Puff Adder and Gargantua with Nikki and YellowJacket held in the Doctor’s coils. To be concluded.

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Notes: Lets just get this out of the way, I don’t enjoy the art here. Herb Trimpe was one of THE Incredible Hulk artists and along with Sal Buscema defined the post silver age look of the character. He was a great fit for that, but his style evolved into a more cartoony style which doesn’t suit the Guardians of the Galaxy as a title, nor the character designs.

I like the set up of the issue and with Valentino still scripting, everyone’s voice is consistent and there is a nice bit where Jarvis thinks about the difference between 1,000 + year old Vance Astro as Major Victory and the 90’s version Vance Astrovik as Marvel Boy.

There’s a nice look at the difference between the Guardians and the Avengers in their approaches. The Avengers are heroes first and will always try to do things more peacefully than not. The Guardians of the Galaxy were freedom fighters and soliders. When Absorbing Man absorbs the properties of soil instead of concrete, Charlie-27 just pulls his side-arm and blows his head off. Although he comments that he’ll survive, that seems almost an after thought. It’s not a big moment, but it reminds you that Charlie is a soldier above all.

The last scene with the second team of bad guys leave you with the thought, why use these guys as a back up? Shocker is a solid bank robber type and Puff Adder is one of the Serpent Society and Gargantua looks huge, isn’t this better than Oddball and a YellowJacket with a lousier reputation at this point than Hank Pym.

Next Time: More Masters of Evil, more duplicates and we say goodbye to Jim Valentino.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 27

Guardians of the Galaxy 27 was cover dated August 1992 and was on sale June 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #679, Amazing Spider-Man #365, Demon Annual #1, Mighty Thor #450, Savage Dragon #1 and Giant Size Yogi Bear #1.

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Back from the Future is written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Drydock travelling back through time and Vance (Major Victory) Astro finding out about it. He berates Starhawk, Nikki and Charlie-27 in order before seeing Talon collapse in front of them. Before he passes out, he mentions that he is an Inhuman, has Graal’s disease and needs to go to Atilan, the lunar home of the Inhumans.

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They arrive in the present Marvel Universe, just at the beginning of the Infinity War. The Royal Family of the Inhumans are discussing the situation. The amphibious Triton, the hoof-footed Gorgan, the uncannily accurate Karnak, Madame Medusa with her living hair and the silent king Black Bolt. Being marvel characters, they don’t agree and leave the decision to BlackBolt, but before he can make any gesture, the family are called to Rynda Square by a flying Inhuman , who tells them of an orbiting space ship and aliens teleporting amongst them.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy appear and seek medical help for Talon, again this is a Marvel title and there is a brief, unnecessary fight. Vance ends the fight and then cooler heads prevail. Just as things look like they’re all sorted out, distorted duplicates of the Inhuman Royals and the Guardians appear.

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Once again a battle, once again it’s quick and easily resolved and serves only to tie this in to Infinity War, which had a lot of evil twin stuff in it, if I remember correctly. Gorgon and Nikki treat Talon and head back into the fight and when Talon recovers he is met with LockJaw, the Inhuman’s dog/transport system.

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He then greets the Inhuman  Royals with a degree of reverence and points out that the Inhumans live on a reservation almost slaves and this was due to a betrayal of an Inhuman Royal, but not actually an Inhuman. Medusa believes it to be her neice Luna (Daughter of Crystal and Quicksilver, but has neither mutant or Inhuman characteristics). The groups part as friends and the Guardians of the Galaxy teleport to Earth to the last grounded location they used, Avengers Mansion.

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This is bittersweet, although he is part of the writing team for the next two issues, this is the last pencils by Jim Valentino.

The idea of pre-emptive strike has become almost genocide and most of the team are okay with that, which is understandable seeing as half the team suffered under the Badoon, although Starhawk’s motives are unclear.

This is where we learn Talon was an Inhuman, which given his non human appearance, is quite understandable.

The idea of the Inhumans ending up in reservations was pointed out in Guardians of the Galaxy annual 1 as a side comment and remains consistent with published history.

None of the fights make sense either narratively or visually and look very forced and tacked on.

I loved seeing the Inhumans and will always have time for LockJaw, the bulldog the size of a pony.

The next few issues show a severe drop in art quality, which is a shame.

NEXT TIME: The Masters of Evil

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 26

Guardians of the Galaxy #26 was cover dated July 1992 and like the last one I covered (annual 2) it was on sale in May 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Armageddon: Inferno #4, Avengers West Coast #84, Batman: Shadow of the  Bat #1, Hells Angel #1, Robocop Vs Terminator #1 and Spawn #1.

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The (Secret) Origin of the Guardians of the Galaxy was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino with inks by Steve Montano, but the credits aren’t really easy to find.

The story opens with Captain Charlie -27 finally getting home to the planet Jupiter after a solitary patrol of the solar system. He finds the Jovian captial deserted except for two Badoon called Maz and Maul who declare him the last Jovian and start firing at him. Charlie is quick to take the two of them out and heads to the local command centre, on the way there, there are more Badoon, they call after him, confirming he is the last of his kind.

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Seeking reinforcements, he makes it to the nearest teleport station and makes it to Pluto, there he finds more deserted streets and patrolling Badoon, this time with Saturnian Hawkhounds with them. He finds himself cornered and finds a Pluvian local called Martinex T’Naga who tells him that he is also the last of his kind and was trying to escape before Charlie arrived. Using Robotic servants as a distraction, they both make it to the teleport station to get to Earth, hopefully a free Earth.

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It isn’t, Drang of the Badoon has taken over Earth and has had two prisoners brought before him. One is the last known Centaurian, Yondu Udonta and the other is the famous 1,000 year old astronaut Major Vance Astro. Drang is amused and seeks Vance’s co-operation and his story. Vance was born in the present and his internal organs were physically altered to survive a thousand year journey to Alpha Centauri. To preserve his skin, he was coated in a foil suit and sent off. Waking up routinely to keep the ship maintained, Vance went mad and when he arrived on Centauri IV, he found humans waiting for him. Harkovian physics were discovered two centuries after he left allowing for faster than light travel. The long journey, his loneliness, the isolation of his suit and he madness of slow travel in space, all was worthless.

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He travelled Centauri IV and met Yondu, who attacked him for interrupting a ritual, the two made peace and became friends, but Vance comments that he has no loyalty for anyone, all his people are long gone and he offers to shoot Yondu with his own bow to prove his allegiance to the Badoon. Yondu then whistles loudly and the arrow changes direction, frightening the Badoon and giving their two prisoners time to escape.

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As they make it to the nearest transport station, Charlie and Martinex arrive from Pluto and after a patented Marvel ‘misunderstanding fight’, they team up. They take out the chasing Badoon soldiers and escape through an old sewer line, all free they decide to team up permanently and the Guardians of the Galaxy are born.

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I know what you’re thinking, this all sounds very similar to Marvel Super Heroes #18 and in some ways it very much is, but there is a bit of difference. Every now and again, there is a almost off panel appearance by Starhawk, who seems to be moving people and orchestrating events to get the Guardians to form, he sets Charlie’s escape to Jupiter and keeps the Badoon away from Martinex, he helps guide Vance to Centauri IV and helps him and Yondu fly towards the transport station. He’s even the light that leads them through the sewer. He does all this unseen and the team have never known this.

After the story ends, Starhawk points out that they can travel in time to perform a pre-emptive strike against the Badoon and Vance needn’t know, till it was too late.

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Notes: This is almost a shot for shot remake of Marvel Super Heroes #18, with some more fleshed out scenes. The idea of Starhawk making sure that the team comes together is completely consistent with his origin, but the way he does it is consistent with the aloof characterisation from before his split from Aleta.

It was nice to see the team as it was, now half of the original group is gone, it’s a pleasant change to see them all again, battling the Badoon.

This story seems to take place just before the second story in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1

The Guardians are about to travel back in time, some stuff is not going to go well and we are soon to say goodbye to Jim Valentino as penciller and as writer. But first, the secret of Talon.