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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.