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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.