Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 4

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 4 was on sale June 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman Annual #6, Incredible Hulk Annual #20, Robin Annual #3, Tom & Jerry Annual #1 and World’s Collide #1

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Wrath of a Woman scorned was written by Michael Gallagher. The pencils were split between Jim Hall, Kevin West and Ed Lazellari. The inks were done by Tom Christopher, Mark McKenna, Jim Amash, Micky Ritter, Bob Almond and Rodney Ramos. This is one of the few Guardians comics that has no inks by Steve Montano, but he does pencil a pin-up later in the issue. The story opens with Rancor and her lieutenants conquering the Inhumans on the moon.

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Then comes the second part of Rancor’s plan.  She has SideStep teleport to the Icarus whilst the Guardians aren’t there (they have yet to return from their adventure with the Beyonder) and rig some sabotage with MindScan’s astral assistance. When the Guardians do arrive, they are sedated and the Icarus moved towards it’s new destination. While this is happening, Rancor and her lieutenants take the entire Inhuman population and transport them to a new, uninhabited world which she calls Haven II. By the time The Guardians are awake, they are on the planet, without their stars, facing one of the mutants.

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Talon awakes in some sort of sick bay, strapped to a table with Rancor taunting him. His amulet is gone, but he uses his projectile claws to hurt Rancor so he can free himself. There is then a brief battle, which  does not go well for Talon. Rancor enjoys herself, but muses that it’s time for the examination.

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On another part of Haven 2, Blockade faces Yellowjacket and it seems like an unfair match, until Yellowjacket uses her pym particles to match Blockades giant size and to shrink him down, but it doesn’t end well for her as her heart suffers for the stress of changing size.

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Batwing is searching for Vance Astro, who is being held by some of the Inhumans, including Exemplar, the father of Composite, who possesses the powers of all the Inhuman royals, save for Blackbolt. Exemplar points out what Rancor has done and that they wish to rebel. Batwing sees this and takes an Inhuman child hostage. All this does is give more reason for Vance to knock him down. Only to be faced with his Inhuman captors.

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Somewhere else, Yondu faces Mindscan, who rather than fight simply plays with his mind. She shows him his deity Anthos as a statue with his name under it, then forces him to demolish it and it is rebuilt, the th from the middle is moved to the front and the statue of Anthos is now a statue of Thanos. Yondu is outraged, but this plagues him, making him question and doubt until finally his faith is broken. In a rage he punches Mindscan and takes his dagger hoping to kill himself to retain his honour. But he can’t, he can’t pray for the strength to do it either, because he no longer believes.

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Next we have Rancor explaining what she wants from Talon, a baby. Talon is not interested, but a brief recap of Rancor’s history underlines what she says about herself, what she wants, she takes.

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Sidestep takes on Aleta, there’s a brief jaunt to the realm of the mystical villain Nightmare, before Aleta simply loses her temper and blasts Sidestep in the face. Then we have one of the bigger parts of Rancor’s plan as Charlie-27 is arrested by the constabulary for being the planetary serial killer Ripjak. Using tranquilising gas, Charlie is dropped after punching out several of their troops.

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Nikki is left to Shaddo, who underestimates Nikki’s unarmed skills. Shaddo leaves her an unloaded gun and when it doesn’t fire, Shaddo drops her shadow cloak tendrils inside Nikki’s mouth. As imprint learned several issues ago, there’s a reason that Mercurians’ heads are on fire. Their internal temperature would burn most other life forms, including Shaddo’s cape. Nikki burns the cape and bows her head, projecting the fire towards Shaddo, almost killing her. Vance shows up and berates Nikki for her lack of restraint and then the two of them are teleported somewhere.

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Back on the Icarus, Talon  appears, followed by all of the team, except Charlie-27 and tells them that they are leaving. Vance objects, but Talon (now in possession of his amulet) teleports the whole ship to Lunar orbit.

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On Haven 2, Rancor is content, ruler of all she surveys and now, mother to be.

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There’s also another future history chapter, all covering stuff we have already covered and a pin up of Aleta, drawn in this case by Steve Montano, showing that he’s as good a penciller as an inker.

Notes:

This isn’t a great issue, offering nothing new or interesting to the Guardians of the Galaxy lore. It seems to serve only to give Rancor a happy ending and set up the Ripjak arc. The splitting the team to set up several fights is a retread of issue 6 and isn’t as good as that issue, which makes it a negative comparison.

The art is somewhat inconsistent and lacks the smooth quality of other issues, the colours are a bit too thick and the inks are heavier in places than they need to be.

It was good to see Charlie-27 get to kick some @$$. The constables having to sacrifice some of there number just to slow him down.

Rancor’s motivations start making more sense and the scenes between her and Talon are packed with tension and unease. She ends up getting what she wants out of it all and no one knows the price Talon pays for it.

This is the start of Vance Astro and Talon’s rivalry and how is fractures the team, Vance’s command of the Guardians is shaking and it’s only going to get worse.

In the end, it’s not a great issue, but it is important to set up the next stage of the Guardians of the Galaxy as they entire their final year.

NEXT TIME: We’re taking a break from the Guardians of the Galaxy and are taking a look at the 4 issue series of Galactic Guardians, to see what Martinex’s team has been upto.

 

 

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