Guardians of the Galaxy 51 was cover dated August 1994 and was on sale June 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Archie Meets Punisher #1, Blaze #1, Lobo: The Chair #1, Vamps #1, Will to Power #1 and Worlds Collide #1.
He who loses hope may then part with anything was written by Michael Gallagher, with art by Kevin West and Steve Montano and opens with Molly Fitzgerald, the 20th super-hero called Shamrock helping out in a town somewhere in Europe, trying to rebuild civilisation there. The people are startled to see a star ship appear over the town and call for Shamrock’s aid.
It’s the Icarus and Vance Astro tele-ports down and is immediately attacked by Cuchulain, the Irish Wolfhound, last seen in Annual 3 http://wp.me/p4jGd8-rg
There is a bit of a scuffle, until the rest of the Guardians arrive to defend Vance. Cuchulain recognises Talon, as he leaps at him and is glad to see them. It turns out that the Guardians are there to recruit Cuchulain for a mission, to find and rescue Charlie-27.
After being seperated from the rest of the team on Haven II (see Annual 4 http://wp.me/p4jGd8-v3 ) Charlie-27 has been taken by the constabulary to the interplanetary prison Stockade, mentioned in Galactic Guardians 4. Nikki is visibly upset by this news and the team vow to free him, but they need muscle hence their need to recruit the Irish Wolfhound.
On Stockade, Charlie-27 is being tortured to get him get to confess to the crimes of RipJak. Since he is innocent, he refuses and he is sent back to maximum security. There he meets his cell-mate, the ancient Fantastic Four villain Diablo and the man running the cell-block is Tork, one of Korvac’s old minions, sent to Stockade by the Guardians.
Culchulain says a heartfelt goodbye to Shamrock and is tele-ported to the Icarus, a shock to the system for a medieval warrior. As Nikki, Aleta and Yellowjacket try to acclimate Cuchulain, Vance takes Talon aside to talk to him about his recent behaviour, the damage to his back and whatever happened between him and Rancor. Talon becomes angry and walks away and when Vance tries to bring him back a fight breaks out. Before anything interesting can happen, the internal alarm goes off and it looks like Cuchulain is having more problems adjusting.
After the clean up, Vance and Aleta have some alone time and Aleta tries to kiss Vance, but the body suit he’s wearing reaches out to her and causes her to pull away in revulsion. Once again, something comes between Vance and Aleta.
At the end of the issue Talon is trying to use the Trans-Molecular Reconstitutor to repair his back, remembering how well it helped Charlie after his battle with the Badoon. He needs someone to operate it, but knows that anyone he asks will bring Vance in on it. Then as luck would have it, Cuchulain walks in, curious about some of the technology and Talon convinces him to turn it on, telling him it’s a tanning bed for furry creatures. Although reluctant, Cuchulain does as asked and Talon emerges from the machine more cat-like than ever. He’s now less of a jovial mystic and more of a feral lion-man. This is where the issue ends, but there’s a lot more to come.
Notes: This is a bit of a padded story, used mainly to move the sub-plots along and move the Ripjak story to the main arc. Charlie-27 in prison is an interesting idea, which the issue tries to make the best of and Tork being a head of a prison gang makes a lot of sense.
Cuchulain isn’t the most compelling character, but it was an excuse to use him again and he gets a lot more to do with the story when they get to Stockade.
More forbidden love stuff with Vance and Aleta (Yawn) I’m at the point now where I’m no longer rooting for them.
This marks the start of the internal struggle between Talon and Vance over Vance’s leadership of the team. The last year of the Guardians makes quite a lot of this idea and the team is starting to fracture.
I like this issue, but it’s an issue after a good one and an issue before the next good one, so I’m more looking forward to 52 and onwards.
Next time: Action. Mayhem. Broken stuff.