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
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.
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.
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.
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.