Guardians of the Galaxy 49 was cover dated June 1994 and was on sale in April 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Avengers #375, Books of Magic #1, Shadow Cabinet #1, Shadowman #0, Star Wars: Droids #1 and Thor #475.
Time is the Rider that breaks us all was written by Michael Gallagher with Kevin West and Steve Montano on art and opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy giving a single page exposition dump, before trying to find out where they are and how badly Talon’s back has been hurt. Talon isn’t keen to let on how bad it is, but Vance has noticed.
Mephisto schemes to get his hands on Talon’s amulet and then we are back with the cosmic beings. Where the Protege and the Beyonder are biding their time whilst the two Starhawks arrive and are berated by the Hawkgod who decides to strip them of their power, before being reminded of his trial and how that came about. There’s then some flashbacks about the Hawkgod of Arcturus’ rampage, including the extinction of the Watchers
There was a trial, with Galactus defending the Hawkgod and the prosecutor (Ulig, last of the Watchers) bringing up the Hawkgod’s connection to Bubonicus. The Hawkgod was banished to the world of Arcturus to remain silent and unmoving until he was freed by Stakar and Aleta and then went on another rampage. To make up for this, he created the entity known as Starhawk, to do good works with his power.
Then the Beyonder notices something, but we are left wondering what fills his face with such horror. Wherever the Guardians are, they are able to follow the trail left by the Beyonder. Talon locks on and begins a spell to teleport them to wherever the Beyonder is, but as they go, Mephisto is able to grab Talon mid-teleport and when the the Guardians appear behind the Beyonder, Talon is gone.
Elsewhere Mindscan, one of the lieutenants of Rancor, has arranged for an interstellar police force known as the constabulary to acquire some evidence leading to the planetary level serial killer Ripjak. For her own amusement, Mindscan forces the constables to fight for this evidence, with one killing the other, setting up a new subplot for the future.
Next to the Beyonder, on the hand of the Celestial known as Scathan, the Guardians of the Galaxy look in awe at the cosmic beings, but notice that Talon is missing. Talon is being tortured by Mephisto and Malevolence to induce him to surrender the amulet. When Nikki of the Guardians asks the Beyonder where Talon is, but the Beyonder could not care less. He points upward and they all turn to see the Protege, who having observed the powers of Eternity, The Living Tribunal, the Beyonder, the Hawkgod and Scathan the Celestial has become the most powerful being in existence.
Notes: This is another part of the story that seems stretched to make sure the story ends at issue 50, so very little happens and much of what does is recap and flashback, this does leave the story a little thin.
While the trial of the Hawkgod does give us a nice image of many of the abstracts and other cosmic level entities, I recognised Order, Chaos and the Stranger in one panel alone and it does answer the question about why the Hawkgod was on Arcturus and how Stakar and Aleta became Starhawk in the first place.
The interlude with the Constabulary does sort of begin the next big story, the Ripjak saga and it shows Kevin West’s skills when he is in space and on planets rather than the abstract areas he’s been dealing with recently.
It’s also nice to see more of Rancor’s people, who will be returning in the next annual.
The subplot of Talon’s back starts here too and carries on for quite a while.
Overall an okay issue, but nothing more than that, it’s all building towards something and now, we are almost there.
NEXT TIME: Issue 50, the fate of Starhawk and the fate of the Protege.