Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol) 1 43

Guardians of the Galaxy 43 was cover dated December 1993 and was on sale October 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Children’s Crusade #1, Cyberforce #1, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #1, Josie & the Pussycats #1, Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi #1 and Vanguard #1.

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How far the Mighty have Fallen was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Dale Eaglesham and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Sif and the Guardians of the Galaxy watched Woden, son of Thor battle his uncle Loki. As the two gods battle above Asgard, the Guardians deal with the remaining Inhumans, with Charlie-27 taking Stupor apart and Yellowjacket blasting Imprint whilst Nikki chases Phobia.

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Far from there, Heimdall and Aleta are trapped on Remora’s world and are slowly regaining their strength after losing many memories. The two are clearly becoming closer, as Starhawk, Aleta is closer to what Heimdall is, that she is to Vance Astro and the attraction is clear and mutual. Remora enters and tries to take memories again, Aleta then forces memories into him, the memory of watching her children die, whilst Stakar could do nothing and him being in control of the Starhawk body, her being in limbo at the time. Remora screams in pain. Aleta frees herself and Heimdall and she mentions that she wishes she had more time with him.

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Back in Asgard, Phobia is torturing Nikki with the horrors she witnessed as a child until the Guardians rescue her and put all of the beaten Inhumans, including Composite and Wormhole in an energy dome created by Talon’s amulet. Loki and Woden are still fighting, Woden lacking the skill and experience to beat Loki. Loki makes the mistake of insulting Thor, which enrages Woden, who tells Loki that Thor possesses that which all gods need, humanity. Thor looks on, filled with a father’s pride, when his father Odin comes to talk to him about forgiveness.

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There is an interlude with Malevolence and the Protege, trapped by the Beyonder, they bicker, but Malevolence can sense the approach of her father Mephisto. Starhawk and Heimdall leave Remora’s world after destroying the tower that held the prisoners and transmitted the memories and they return to Asgard. They arrive at Asgard in time to prevent Loki from freeing the Inhumans from Talon’s energy dome after he teleports to his allies. Before he can succeed he faces the three men of the house of Odin, Odin himself, this son Thor and Thor’s son Woden. All three have their hand on Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor and they use it to send the Inhumans and Loki to the Black Canyon, caught halfway between the deathly cold of Niflheim and the fiery torment of Muspelheim.

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Thor, his father and his son are reunited once more, with Loki gone and Heimdall returned, all is well in the kingdom of Asgard, Talon jokes about the team being designated Asgardians of the Galaxy before they are led to Bifrost by Heimdall. There is another moment between Starhawk and Heimdall, which upsets Vance to the point where he simply wants to get back to the ship. Starhawk demands they stop and when Vance objects, she ignores him and takes him and the rest of the team Beyond!

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Notes: This is a somewhat lacklustre ending in regards to action. The battle between Woden and Loki happens mostly off panel and Eaglesham struggles to put the power into the battle for Asgard that an artist more familiar with Thor would.

I got very tired of the Remora story before this issue started and taking nearly half the book up with it really didn’t help. Also the budding romance between Heimdall and Aleta/Starhawk is laid on so very thick that it feels forced and uninteresting. It’s there to create more tension and conflict between Vance and Aleta and it does that, but in a ham-fisted way.

The Inhumans are dealt with really quickly and it’s nice to see the Guardians win one, in particular Charlie-27 has a great issue, paying Stupor back for his earlier defeat.

The one thing about this issue I really did like was the reunited house of Odin. Seeing Odin, the fallen, but still noble Thor and the heroic Woden was a great scene and watching their judgement of Loki gives the story a satisfying emotional ending.

NEXT TIME: Now we’re finished with that story, next time we go beyond and there is a welcome return from an old friend.

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 42

Guardians of the Galaxy 42 was cover dated November 1993 and was on sale September 1993, sharing the spinner racks with 1963 #6, Avengers West Coast #100, Demon Annual #2, Outsiders Alpha #1, Outsiders Omega #1, Prophet #1 and Transformers Generation 2 #1.

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The Sins of the Father was written by Michael Gallagher, inked as always by Steve Montano and guest pencilled by Dale Eaglesham and it opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy, well everyone but Starhawk teleporting to Asgard to see the Inhuman taskforce demolishing Asgard piece by piece. Yellowjacket and Charlie-27 advance on the Inhumans while Vance Astro and Nikki follow Talon after their leader.

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Loki is actually face to face with Thor, now aged and out of shape. Loki is enraged and blasts Thor to the ground and walks away. Now aware of Loki’s involvement, the Guardians help this wounded Thor to his feet. Talon picks up the hammer and throws it to Vance, who is astounded until Sif arrives and points out that it is not the true hammer Mjolnir, but a copy and she then tells them of the last thousand years or so.

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After centuries more of adventure and glory and a long and loving courtship, Thor married Sif and Sif settled down to be a wife and mother. She gave birth to a boy whom they named Woden and waited for Thor to also settle down. He didnt’. Woden became sullen and belligerent and in desperation Sif asked Woden’s grandfather Odin to get Thor to be at home and be part of their family. As a father with a difficult son himself, Odin commanded Thor to stay at home and commit to family life. For a while it all worked, Woden became better behaved and a proud part of the family. Sadly Thor was still unhappy, instead of spending too much time on adventures, he simply spent too much time reliving them at the mead hall. Woden dispairing of this lack luster father moved out and when Sif took him to task for it, he tried to hit her. She mentions that he still bears the scar from that day. Humbled, disgraced and for the most part broken, the final rejection came from Mjolnir, which Thor could no longer wield, since he was for obvious reasons, no longer worthy.

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Charlie-27 finds the Inhumans and along with Yellowjacket proceeds to demolish them. With Yellowjacket keeping Phobia at bay, Charlie takes out Wormhole, Imprint and Stupor, with Composite unable to do more that throw a strand of hair at him. Observing this is Mephisto, who from his realm sees Vance Astro’s new black undershirt and recognises it as the Beyonder’s work. Swearing vengeance on Vance, Mephisto leaves for the Beyonder’s universe to go get his daughter back.

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On a far away world Heimdall and Starhawk awaken in the clutches of Remora, a tentacled creature who strips them of memories, Heimdall of a great victory and Starhawk of her reunion with Vance, an act which further removes her from her feelings for Vance. Remora intends to strip them of all their memories, so they can join his followers, a race who became so uninterested in their way of live began to live it vicariously through the feelings and memories of others.

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We’ll get back to that in a little while (or next issue) but we’re back with Loki who has joined his taskforce and is about to open up the muzzle keeping Composite from using the vocal power of Blackbolt. This will allow the entire city to be destroyed at once, before this can be done lightning fills the sky. Loki is shocked by this and looks towards the source  of this new attack and sees a full grown Mjolnir wielding Woden, son of Thor.

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Do we need to say to be concluded?

Notes:

The knowledge that Loki is behind the Inhuman slavery is almost completely ignored here, focusing instead on Loki’s endgame which seems to be just breaking stuff at his dad’s place.

The Guardians teleport to the gates of Asgard? I thought the only way to get there was Bifrost, except for that time when it was in the negative zone and when it was on Earth.

Vance orders Charlie-27 not to engage and enemy, this enemy put him to the floor and used him to hurt his team, how likely is Charlie to obey this order?

It is great to see Charlie-27 just take the Inhumans to pieces. Vance has the shield and Nikki has her guns, but the fighter of the team is certainly Charlie.

The Remora is an interesting idea for a villain, but he seems oddly out of place in this story and it serves only to keep Vance and Aleta apart by pushing her more into the Starhawk role.

Thor’s fall from grace happens over an indeterminate amount of time, but it is good to see that even heroes fall. This issue glosses over the domestic violence, but it is good to hear the “He still bears the scar from the attempt.”

Ok, Woden sort of came out of nowhere, but I want to see what happens next all the more.

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 41

Guardians of the Galaxy 41 was cover dated October 1993 and was on sale August 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman #505, Dark Guard #1, Golden Age #1, Prototype #1, Superman #82 and Thunderstrike #1.

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To Err is Inhuman was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Composite, the amalgam inhuman from last issue being followed by Talon, who is spotted and attacked by Composite. Meanwhile the Guardians of the Galaxy, fearing for Talon teleport to his signal and find only his badge.

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Aleta as Starhawk has abandoned the team and is in battle with Loki and while she is powerful enough to give him trouble, he is sneakier and tricks her into a trap. After a search, the Guardians find Talon who is under the power of Phobia, one of the new Inhumans from earlier issues. Talon is screaming at the hallucinations Phobia can cause. The rest of the team is attacked by each of the inhumans. Charlie-27 has his mind fogged by Stupor, Imprint nearly burns his hand off trying to burn through Nikki’s skin and Wormhole appears to teleport Yellowjacket away. Charlie is his almost drunk-like state even punches Vance Astro halfway across the tunnel. It’s only by Nikki using her hair to put a wall of flame between the two groups that anyone gets out of there.

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Aleta wakes up on Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard and is woken by Heimdall, she stands and notices Stakar as Starhawk standing before her, in blinding rage, she blasts him with all her might, succeeding only in smashing open the gates of Asgard. Wormhole teleports to Bifrost along with the rest of the Inhuman attack force and Stakar reveals himself to be Loki. Aleta has just unwittingly started the invasion of Asgard.

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There is a continued subplot of Mephisto searching for Malevolence and the Protege, but that will become more important in subsequent issues.  Asgard, at peace without Loki’s interference has seemed to become lax in security and pose little resistance to Loki’s attack, but all Loki cares about is the appearance of his greatest rival and enemy, the mighty Thor. You can see shock in his face, when he sees what has happened to the former Avenger.

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Notes: This issue wastes no time getting to the action and doesn’t let up till the surprise ending.

I would question how good a plan invading a world of gods with 5 guys and a sorcerer is, but am sure Loki knows what he is doing.

I want to see drunk Charlie-27 again.

Once again we have good use of subplots to set up future stories, which is great for a serialised fiction.

One last thought, Thor with middle age spread, not what I was expecting.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 40

Guardians of the Galaxy #50 was cover dated September 1993 and was on sale July 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Black Orchid #1, Bloodseed #1, Catwoman #1, Dances with Demons #1, Hawkman #1 and New Warriors #39.

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Bang! Zoom! To the Moon! was written by Michael Gallagher with Kevin West and Steve Montano on art and opens with Charlie-27 being checked out medically after all his recent injuries. Thanks to the Trans-Molecular Reconstitutor , his health is back to what it should be and his strength has increased by 34%. Nikki also shows off her head’s ability to project flame upwards which she used on Charlie-27 back during the Badoon story.

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On the bridge, Talon is looking through the data taken from Dr Doom’s base on Earth. He finds reference to the Inhumans and their lunar city of Atilan. This brings up a lot of feeling from Talon and he gathers the Guardians together. After Vance Astro, Nikki and Charlie-27 change into their work clothes and more time to wait for Aleta/Starhawk to show up after some mysterious errand, Talon gives what is essentially his origin. In the early part of the 21st Century, the Inhumans of Atilan were betrayed and then sold into slavery and experimentation. Atilan was rebuilt by humans (as seen in Annual 1) and the Inhumans themselves worked in the mines. Talon was born into that. The unseen ruler of the Inhumans worked them hard, but to avoid rebellion offered them days of debauchery where they got drunk and got amorous. This meant that they didn’t get riled up enough to fight back and also the population continued to grow.

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Talon wanted more and was isolated by this curiousity and sobriety. He was contacted in his cell by Krugarr who offered him a new life. While his apprenticeship was difficult, he embraced his new freedom and live in Manhatten till meeting the Guardians in issue 18. After hearing that this was still going on, the Guardians unanimously decide to go to the moon and liberate the Inhumans.

Meanwhile on the Moon we are again shown Loki ruling the Inhumans and sending Composite to kill the Intruders when the Guardians teleport down to the mines under the moon’s surface. Composite, the biologically engineered Inhuman with the skin of Triton, the hair of Medusa, the brain of Karnak, the legs of Gorgon and the voice of Blackbolt finds the Guardians and attacks them as Starhawk meets with Loki.

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The Guardians are soon buried in the ground by Composites feet and are only not crushed by the power of Vance Astro. Charlie-27 at Talons suggestion punches through the wall until he breaks through and the Guardians escape. Charlie vows to show Composite what it means to take on the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Notes: Bang, zoom, to the moon was a reference to the Honeymooners, the US sit com that was the direct inspiration for the Flintstones.

The subplot of the Inhumans has run on for quite a while now, making me wonder if not for Doom looking into them, would Talon  have asked for the Guardians to do something about it?

It was good to see Charlie back to full strength and his being a bit flirty with Nikki again.

Yellowjacket really hasn’t got much to do this issue at all in fact after page 10 of the story she’s seen in one panel and does absolutely nothing, might’ve been better to leave her on the Icarus.

Composite has all the powers of the original Inhumans, but Maximus, Crystal and Lockjaw aren’t mentioned, even though Maximus and Crystal were members of the Royal family.

While an interesting direction, this cold and dispassionate Starhawk version of Aleta is getting a bit tiring now. Her refusal of orders just makes her a Starhawk with boobs, nothing more than that and only serves to be another cross for Vance to bear.

Both Nikki and Charlie-27 are at their best here, both getting moments to shine and Vance shows off his enhanced powers, still not mentioning to the team where they and the black undershirt came from.

It’s an interesting cliffhanger, Charlie-27 standing there with a look that says Charlie’s had enough of your s**t. You want to see what happens next, you don’t want to be the next guy to cross him. This was a good issue and the last third of the series is off to a good start.

Next Time: Asgard.

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 3 was cover dated 1993 and was on sale in July 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Deathmate Prologue, Metamorpho #1, Night Thrasher #1, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #1, Savage Dragon #1 and X-Force #25.

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The Old Sod Beckons was written by Michael Gallagher and inked by Steve Montano with Colleen Doran guest pencilling for the annual and opens with Major Victory receiving a message from President Tarin that Earth has a 90% illiteracy rate and with no books and little computer records they are great need of any books, one book with a mystical heritage is the Irish Book of Kells.

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The team head to Ireland to find the book, but are battled by an ancient Celtic warrior called Cuchulain, the Irish Wolfhound. The fight is fierce, the Guardians have numbers and powers, but very little to match the strength of Cuchulain.

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Just as it looks like the Guardians might be holding there own, a freak accident takes out all the Guardians at one when Vance uses a psychokinetic blast on a rock and each fragment hits square on a Guardian’s head. Vance quickly deduces the presence of Shamrock. Shamrock was an obscure hero with probability altering powers from Vance’s time, who appeared during the Contest of Champions and faded into the background not too long after it, but not before finding out that her power was due to the souls of victims of torture and war that were inside her. Just as the fight looks ready to kick off again, a blur appears before them and delivers a bone shuddering upper cut to Cuchulain, knocking him out. The blur is revealed to be Simon (Hollywood) Williams, this leads to a bit of background, with Simon telling them about Shamrock fighting during the War of the Worlds and Shamrock telling them that Dr Druid and three Celtic goddesses charged her with protecting the Book of Kells for the last thousand years and to aid her, the Celtic goddesses restored Cuchulain, a figure of Irish legend to flesh and blood to act as companion and as protector.

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Since for there to be a story, there must be a villain, we are then introduced to Samhain, Celtic spirit of death, with an army of blue banshees. After making light work of the Guardians, she corners Shamrock and the Book of Kells and prepares to simply take the book to destroy it for in all honesty spurious reasons. Samhain points out that Shamrock’s souls are simply borrowed and Samhain should have them. Shamrock agrees and lets them out. All of them.

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Samhain flees and when the sun rises, the Book of Kells is revealed to the Guardians and Shamrock hands it over, knowing that this is the book’s destiny.

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Back in America, Tarin and Old Redd look at the book and it’s remarked that Old Redd and Old Skull from the Killraven stories set during the aftermath of the War of the Worlds look almost exactly alike. In Ireland, Shamrock and Cuchulain, now freed of the 1,000 year task embark on a quest to bring Europe back to a more civilised way, just as Tarin is trying to do for North America.

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When alone with Hollywood, Tarin describes the fall of the Commandeers and Dr Doom’s role in it. Incensed, Hollywood flies off to get revenge on Doom and I’m sure that this isn’t the end of that little story. Before they leave, Vance takes a second with his former shield while the rest of the team school Talon on it’s importance to Vance, to the team and the a humanity trying to rebuild.

Notes: To be honest, this is a weird little story, which is only worth reading because of the Doomquest subplot and the eventual return of Cuchulain. The whole getting an ancient book to help people read McGuffin really doesn’t sit well, but the story is entertaining.

Colleen Doran’s pencils are different from Kevin West’s, but it’s a pleasant change which suits this story well and it’s a shame we don’t see more of her work.

Talon makes the exclamation “For Crystal’s sake” which makes a lot of sense, history making the Inhuman royal family into figures of legend and worship by the enslaved Inhumans.

Hollywood starts a quest that will be followed up in  a later issue.

We also get some Kevin West art, with the mention of a returning Yondu and a War of the Worlds double page splash.

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Overall an ok issue, but one that leads in to other stories.

Next time: Inhumans and Asgardians.