Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 39

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Guardians of the Galaxy 39 was cover dated August 1993 and was on sale in June 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Batman/Grendel #1, Battletide II #1, DC Trinity #1, Deadpool: Circle Chase #1, Harcase #1 and Prime #1.

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Skeletal Remains was written by Michael Gallagher, drawn by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Rancor facing the brain of Dr Doom in her ancestor Wolverine’s skeleton. Doom admits that he killed Wolverine (although he doesn’t say how) and savagely attacks Rancor, pointing out how much he wants to see her in pain. As Rancor mutant lieutenants watch in horror, MindScan discovers the Guardians of the Galaxy have entered the complex and she wakes up Batwing and Blockade to battle them. To be honest, even with MindScan, Shaddo and SideStep on the team, the result doesn’t change, leaving Starhawk time to look for Tarin and Old Redd.

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As she does so, she notices the mass graves from the slaves provided by Rancor, who were worked to death by the Karoshi program introduced by Dr Doom.  Aleta/Starhawk declares that this Realitee-Vee must be destroyed and then we’re back to the fight.

In Rancor’s defense, she hold’s her own, driving the broken claw into Doom’s eye socket and then smashing his head with heavy equipment to drive it deeper into Doom’s skull. Deprived of full vision, he is unable to kill Rancor with a sweep of his claws and she finds a power cable where he missed her and uses it to eletrocute Doom’s skeleton.

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We are then shown the moon once more. Composite, the Inhuman shows off four of his brethren to their master: Wormhole, Stupor, Phobia and Imprint are the survivors of gladitorial games and now comprise the army of the man who enslaved the Inhumans, the Norse god Loki.

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Rancor’s team decide to flee the Guardians, despite Batwing’s complaining, but they are unknowingly followed by Yellowjacket, as the mutants bicker Rancor appears on the scream, wounded, but apparently victorious.  This lasts about a second, before Doom rises and skewers Rancor. The mutants beg for the Guardians to save her, but what saves Rancor is Doom noticing that Starhawk has begun the destruction of the Saltex compound. Knowing his time is up, he leaves, giving Yellowjacket time to get Rancor to the Icarus and it’s Sickbay.

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On the Icarus, Rancor recovers, possessing the same healing attributes of her family line and beats Yellowjacket, stealing a medical shuttle and teleporting her team aboard it before leaving. An embarassed Yellowjacket tells her team and with Tarin and Old Redd safe, they return to the Icarus while Aleta/Starhawk unleashes the power of the Hawk God on the Saltex Compound, leaving nothing standing.

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Weeks later with the threat of the Badoon, Dr Doom, Rancor, the Punishers, Realitee-Vee and the Retox ended, Tarin and Old Redd along with the Guardians try to rebuild the eastern part of the United States of America. Tarin assumes the role of President of the North East Corridor and her running mate Old Redd is made Vice President. Their goal is to restore order, stability and literacy to the remains of the United States. At her inauguration Vance Astro/Major Victory fulfills his oath and uses the shield of Captain America as a rallying symbol of freedom, liberty and hope. The shield now stands as an icon of the beginning of new golden age for the people of Earth.

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The End and in many ways, the Beginning.

Notes: This issue ends most of the subplots that have been brewing since Jim Valentino brought the Guardians back to Earth in issue 17. The Badoon, the Punishers and Realitee-Vee are dealt with. Rancor’s quest for Wolverine’s remains and Dr Doom’s attempt to consolidate his control over the Earth all brought to a conclusion. This leaves West and Gallagher room to move onto their own stories and ideas, many of which are hinted at already.

The fight with Doom and Rancor is wonderfully brutal, showing Rancor’s savagery and the ruthless determination of Doom. The claw in the eye bit is very cinematic and the whole thing looks like the terminator v predator film that was never made.

Once again, we are shown that without Rancor, her team is next to useless. Blockade tries to step on Nikki, who burnt his eyes beyond repair, by standing on her head.. WHICH IS ON FIRE!!! What did he think was going to happen?

MindScan manipulating Vance to save Rancor puts him in a very Captain America role, the code of honour line comes out of nowhere, but you can see he’s operating from a very What Would Cap Do? mentality and that is what Cap would do, he’d save everyone, even the bad guy.

The mass grave scene was effective, without being too gory and it gives the more reserved Starhawk reason to lose it and destroy the whole place.

Yellowjacket continues to try and prove herself to the Guardians, despite being accepted already and this leads to her feeling a lot of shame when Rancor (a fighter no one on the team has beaten one on one) beats her and escapes. No one but her feels that she let anyone down, but you’re always harder on yourself than anyone else is.

The Inhuman’s storyline heats up and the bad guy is revealed to be Loki. So I guess we’re off to Asgard at some point. Will be interesting to see what that’ll be like.

The first signs of reconstruction in nearly 15 years is a welcome sight and while Tarin becoming president is a little convenient, it’s closes the loop on her story, from helping free New York, to helping to save it, to trying to do the same for the rest of the country, it makes sense.

The moment where Vance hands the shield over is a heartfelt moment, it’s the scene I feel most suffers from Valentino’s absence as he put the shield with Vance and he always seemed to give Vance’s face more personality.

For the first time since Marvel Presents #3, the Guardians of the Galaxy leave Earth in search of new adventures, their war over and the future bright. Don’t worry, this is a marvel comic, that’s never going to last.

Next Time: Annual 3 and Cuchulain: the Irish wolfhound.

 

 

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 38

Guardians of the Galaxy 38 was cover dated July 1993 and was on sale May 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Batman #497, Incredible Hulk #407, Static #1, Stormwatch #0, Wild.C.A.T.S. Trilogy #1 and X-Factor #92.

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Beyond the Pale was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano, the story opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy ready to head back to Earth. Vance Astro tries to engage the ever increasingly distant Aleta (who now only wishes to be known as Starhawk) in conversation and when she abruptly leaves, he is distressed by his actions since issue 30. As he wonders what kind of man he is, he is approached by the Beyonder who wishes to speak  to him.

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He points out his interest in this new universe, discovering it after Bubonicus’ attack on Eternity in issue 35, and tells Vance that he has captured Malevolence and the Protege. When Vance points out how dangerous they are, the Beyonder gets angry and blasts Vance, this only seems to leave him with a black under shirt. The Beyonder tells him that the power within is his to discover, and not to waste it on self pity and guilt. He is gone and Vance is called to the bridge. On the bridge, Charlie-27 and Talon check in on Nikki and Yellowjacket who are getting changed and there’s a little bit of perving from the pair. They Vance and Yellowjacket show off their new looks as they enter Earth’s orbit.

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The Guardians arrive at the Commandeers base and see the damage left by Retox. They then look at a video log, bringing them all up to date. Talon cries out for vengeance and the team head to the Saltex compound to bring the fight to Retox and to destroy the complex.

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In the tunnels by the bronx, the Guardians encounter Batwing and Blockade. Batwing is quickly defeating by Talon’s new mystical prowess and Vance, using more power than ever before launches a growing Blockade into the complex, through a wall.

They arrive and see the scene from last issue, Rancor stabbing Dr Doom. It’s not long though, before Doom turns the tables telling Rancor that she can have the broken claw of Wolverine back, he has the other five.

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There’s a great two or three pages of Doom divesting himself of his armour and showing that under it, he is only a brain inside a motorised skeleton, the motorised skeleton of Wolverine.  Just as the fight that we all want see can start, we are hit with the words that annoy and enthrall in equal measure… to be concluded next issue.

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Notes: This is the first appearance in the Guardians timeline of the Beyonder. The Beyonder was introduced in 1985’s Secret Wars. In that his was merely a voice “I am from beyond, slay your enemies and all you desire shall be yours.” His appearance here is from his appearance in Secret Wars II a year or so later. Since both of those things happened after Marvel Two-in-One 86, neither of them is assumed to have happened in the timeline lived in by the Guardians of the Galaxy. So this is the Beyonder from that series, but as if that series hadn’t happened. Where his appearance comes from isn’t explained and we’re all going to pretend that the question doesn’t need asking.

The Beyonder gives a black undershirt to Vance which will pay off several issues later. This scene also puts another obstacle in the love life of Vance and Aleta (I almost wrote Valeta there, I feel dirty just mentioning that) and while unrequited love is a staple of Marvel, by this point, I’m getting a little tired of it all.

Yellowjacket gets a new costume too and there’s a weirdly inappropriate scene where Charlie-27 catches Nikki and Yellowjacket getting changed.

Batwing and Blockade get their backsides handed to them so very badly here, it’s even funny how Batwing is taken out off panel by Talon while still mocking Talon’s claw attack.

The A and B plots are back together again and the Dr Doom, Rancor and RealiTeeVee storyline is about to come to an end.

There is some clunky and over expositional dialogue here and it does detract from how good this comic can be, but it sets up the next issue very well and made me look forward to re-reading it, so it did it’s job.

Next Time: Wolverine’s corpse Vs Wolverine’s great great great grandaughter in a non X-Men extravaganza.

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 37

Guardians of the Galaxy 38 was cover dated June 1993 and was on sale April 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Brigade #1, Deathblow #1,  Green Arrow #74, Infinity Crusade #1, Justice League Task Force #1 and X-Men Unlimited #1.

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Time bears all of it’s sons away was written by Michael Gallagher, drawn by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opened with the Dread Dormmamu holding the dead form of the Ancient One, Dr Stephen Strange in space, claiming his soul.

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On the Icarus, Major Victory teleports Dormammu aboard, moving him from place to plae, allowing both Charlie-27 and Yellowjacket a chance to perform hit and run attacks, wounding and distracting their enemy. Dormmamu tries to vaporise the ship, being teleported away before that happens and leaving no damage done to the Icarus. Freed by Talon, Krugaar prepares to battle Dormammu.

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Back on Earth, Dr Doom is still looking for the Inhumans, but on the moon, a man in green and yellow scorns this attempt before being interrupted by an inhuman called Composite. Composite asks for a brief rest for the Inhuman slaves and is rewarded with a day of debauchery for all.

 

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On the Icarus, the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Galactic Guardians are recalled and Krugarr and Talon use mystical means to subdue and banish Dormammu back to the dark dimension, where the mindless ones await him.

 

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Krugarr returns to the ship and rewards Talon with the Ancient One’s amulet, to show he has proven himself worthy. He leaves, taking the Galactic Guardians with him, but not before Martinex donates the Icarus to Vance and the Guardians of the Galaxy and and Hollywood asks them to check in on the Commandeers back on Earth.

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After the rest depart, Yellowjacket is surprised to learn that Hollywood was in fact Wonder Man.

In the final scene, Rancor convinces Doom that they can find the Inhumans on the Moon and Doom follows, too late realising that this is a trap and finds himself stabbed through the chest with the broken claw of Wolverine.

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Rancor then demands that Mindscan show the workers in the Saltex compound whats happening, showing her in control and about to feast on the heart of Doctor Doom.

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Notes: A bit more like it, the Dormammu battle is finished off after 4 months of waiting, but finished off in style. Yellowjacket gets to join the team in battle and I adore the scene with Charlie-27 pounding Dormammu left and right. After months of being in a sick bed, watching Charlie kick ass, is a welcome addition to this issue.

After hinting at it for a while, Talon is shown to be a gifted mystic, who lacked the confidence in his own worthiness. Holding his own against Dormammu and being gifted Strange’s amulet marks a change in the life of this Inhuman and gives him something to do beyond the Hawkeye-esque give grief to the boss quips he’s done so far.

Composite, the Inhuman seems to be made up of several of the current 616 Inhuman Royal family, having Triton’s skin, Medusa’s hair, Gorgon’s legs and the tuning fork of Black Bolt, he also has a muzzle, suggesting more than just the tuning fork. His master also gets a bit more a look in, giving hints as to who he may be.

The team restored and in their own ship, is a welcome sight and allows the series to get back to the hanging subplots which have now started to dovetail towards a main plot.

Doom being stabbed by Rancor seems only to be a surprise to Doom and these last four pages only serve to whet my appetite for the next couple of issues, things are coming to a head and that can only be a good thing, for a reader anyway.

Next Time: From Beyond.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 36

Guardians of the Galaxy 36 was cover dated May 1993 and was on sale in March 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Blood Syndicate #1, Cable #1, Icon #1, Incredible Hulk #405, Supergirl/Team Luthor #1 and Web of Spider-Man #100

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Taste the Deathless Life was  written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West with Steve Montano on inks. It opens where #35 finished with Drydock being destroyed. Seconds later, Martinex uses the Icarus’ teleport system to beam the crew of Drydock aboard, bringing together the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Galactic Guardians together for the first time and reuniting Martinex with his old team for the first time since #17.

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Whilst Hollywood carries the unconscious Charlie-27, Yellowjacket follows, unsure how Hollywood even knows who she is. Aleta (all of a sudden cold and distant) teleports outside along with Firelord, Phoenix and the Spirit of Vengeance to battle Dormammu. Hollywood is ordered by Martinex to join them as he, Replica, Nikki and Vance replace him in the sick bay, with Nikki showing that she still holds contempt for Replica for her being a Skrull, brushing against Nikki’s hatred of reptilian beings of any stripe. Yellowjacket continues to question Hollywood getting her nowhere, but she is starting to work it out. Unseen Talon also makes an exit in an EVA suit hoping his mystical knowledge will be of use against such a powerful mystical entity.

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Back on Earth, Doom and Rancor are becoming friendlier towards one another, causing friction between her and her lieutenants, she viciously punishes Batwing when he brings this to her attention, going as far as to scalp him.

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On the Icarus, Charlie-27 has awoken and Hollywood has engaged Dormammu and things are looking up for the collected Guardians. But this isn’t to last, Krugarr the 31st Century’s Sorcerer Supreme has already fallen before Dormammu and the Spirit of Vengeance has his  flame extinguished.

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As all looks lost, the Ancient One, mentor to Krugarr and the man once known as Doctor Strange, arrives and using the powers of the Guardians currently in space, blasts Dormammu with enough force to destroy him.

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But the fact is that Dormammu isn’t alone, the Marvel 616 version of Dormammu escaped the Dark Dimension and merged with the 31st Century Dormammu making himself a self-symbiote and giving him far more power than Strange expected. He points this out as he absorbs the energy from the attack and redirects it at Strange, killing him, leaving the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Galactic Guardians alone against the power of the Dread Dormammu.

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Notes: The team is never this strong again with 13 members and still they need help to hold their own against this new All-Powerful Dormammu.

Nikki’s reptile-ism makes an unwelcome return, bringing her into conflict with Martinex.

Charlie-27 is back and will soon return to the team.

Talon sneaks out to help the team in space, despite how outclassed he must be, showing a strong heroic streak in this happy go lucky inhuman.

Aleta becomes cold and practical, but that might simply be the situation they’re in.

I’m glad to see Martinex back as am always a big fan of the original team.

This issue is almost all action, yet some characterisation occurs and subplots move along.

How is Doctor Strange still alive in 3018? Well at least till the end of the issue.

It’s nice to see a high powered mystical threat to showcase all the teams’ members  and powers.

Can’t wait for the next issue.

Next Time:  The Conclusion