Guardians of the Galaxy #53 was cover dated October 1994 and was on sale on August 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman #0, Ectokid Unleashed #1, Fate #0, Flash #0, Oh My Goddess #1, and Zero Hour #0.
Into the Belly of the Beast was written by Michael Gallagher and inked by Steve Montano, guest pencils were from Scott Eaton who opens the story with Drax the Destroyer running into the Warden’s office to battle Cuchulain: the Irish Wolfhound over his TV programmes. This starts a massive brawl across the inside of Stockade, which takes up I’d say about 2/3 of this issue.
The rest of the issue is the remainder of the team tracking Charlie-27 and any information about the serial killer Ripjak. Vance wanders through the cell-blocks looking for Charlie, while Tork finds him in his cell and looks to give him another thorough kicking. Rejuvenated by Diablo, Charlie is back at full strength and fights back, hard. Tork calls for his goons, who have fallen before Vance Astro, who tells Charlie to take a few minutes. “It’ll only take one.”
The rest of the team then board the station and hold the Warden hostage while the fight below causes a massive explosion. Vance has the team and the warden teleported to Icarus, leaving Chuchulain with Drax.
Back aboard the Icarus, Vance, Aleta, Nikki and Charlie talk to the Warden and point out that image used to incriminate was a set up as it didn’t display Charlie-27’s scar which runs the length of his cheek, courtesy of the Spirit of Vengeance. Vance calls the Warden out on his glory-hound tactics and declares that the Guardians will pick up the search for Ripjak now. Before they leave, Yondu and Talon retrieve Cuchulain who thoroughly enjoyed his fight with Drax, despite the damage caused. Yondu asks if Drax mentioned Thanos, but Cuchulain confirms he didn’t. Yondu is visibly upset. They all return to the ship, leaving Drax to climb out of the rubble and begin to watch it as if it were television, once again becoming calm and child-like.
After returning the Warden, the Icarus returns to the solar system and Yellowjacket and Cuchulain take a shuttle to Earth. Following a lead from the information taken from Stockade, the Guardians find a new place to start looking for Rijack. The quarantined planet of Mars.
We have about 6 pages of plot with about 14 pages of punching and it’s all fun.
The fight between Drax and Cuchulain takes up most of the issue and is very enjoyable and mayhem filled.
Vance is great here too, very much in command in getting to Charlie, but understanding enough to give Charlie a few minutes to pay Tork back.
Yellowjacket’s use tactical use of Talon is pretty good.
We return to the sub-plot of Thanos being the spirit god of the Centaurians, Anthos and it’s effects on Yondu.
The scar scene was a good bit of police procedural and relates to Guardians of the Galaxy issue 14 and their encounter with the Spirit of Vengeance. (Under November 2014 archives)
Yellowjacket takes Cuchulain to the shuttle and it’s implied that some non-comics code approved stuff goes on.
NEXT TIME: The rest of the team head to the planet used as the staging ground for the War of the Worlds, the forbidden planet of Mars.