Haven’t decided one way or another so far, so wondering what other’s may think.
In the interests of saving space on here, am going to be removing any non-Guardians of the Galaxy posts from Standing Guard. What I’ve been doing recently is sharing stuff from my other blogs to here, rather than add new content, which doubles the space I am using.
If you are following this blog for new content, the two blogs I am using here are Munky on Merseyside ( http://misfitmunky.wordress.com,) for personal stuff and general geekiness and ( https://marvelmunky76.wordpress.com ) for My Marvel Life related stuff.
There will be new content here from time to time, but if you’re following this blog, please follow the others for the stuff I have been posting here in the past year.
While shopping this afternoon, I saw something at a supermarket and just had to get it.
It was a toy, but before you roll your eyes, I get it, late thirties, shouldn’t be buying toys. Like many comic fans I have bought actions figures, as decoration. One by one, they fell into disinterest until my son was born, at which point, I knew where they’d end up. So any toys have been his, but I have my weakness, the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
Lets be honest, have one of the team tattooed on my right arm, so when I saw this.
One of the original Guardians of the Galaxy has his own figure, living in a geeky golden age.
That was it, just wanted to brag about my swag.
In an attempt to move foward, to move past some mistakes in my past, am covering a tattoo on my right arm, yesterday was the first of what I hope to be just two sittings.
Being a life-long comic reader and an old school Guardians of the Galaxy, the best choice for me was Vance Astro, sometime leader of the Guardians, at the time when he first started to wield the Shield of Captain America.
That decided, I needed three things, the time (hard with a little one) an artist and the desire to be in pain for a minimum of two hours at a time.
This weekend I had all three and visited Design for Life Tattoo parlour in Liverpool City Centre http://www.design4lifetattoo.co.uk/
The talented Simon K Bell, who can be found on instagram https://www.instagram.com/simonkbell/ , did a fantastic job and turned the shower of s**t you see here with the stencil.
And then after another painful hour….
There is still reds, silvers and some background oranges and yellows, but so far I think it’s going really nicely. My thanks to Simon Bell for the work and my wife, the always awsome Rosie, who was with me distracting me, while someone was tatooing over scar tissue.
Getting it finished in March.
Ta Ta For Now internet people.
From 1969 to 1996, they guarded the galaxy. During that time, they did it all, time travel, evil twins, epic losses and victories and high adventure. They travelled to the past, lived in the far future and kicked ass in both. They met everyone from Spider-Man to Adam Warlock, from Quasar to the Thing. They helped the Fantastic Four, worked with the Defenders and at one point joined the Avengers. Their enemies ranged from the Stark to the Badoon, from Dr Doom to Galactus and at one point, the devil himself. They were the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The great advantage they had, by not having their own title for much of their early years, was that they were passed around from creative team to creative team and were worked on by some of the best around.
They were written first by Arnold Drake, but were also written by Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, Tom DeFalco, Michael Gallagher, Steve Gerber, Mark Gruenwald, Len Kaminski, Ralph Macchio, Ron Marx, David Michelinie, Jim Shooter and Jim Valentino.
Drawn first by the excellent Gene Colan, but he was followed by pencillers Jerry Bingham, Sal Buscema, John Byrne, Howard Chaykin, Colleen Doran, Dale Eaglesham, Don Heck, Ron Lim, Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, the legend that is George Perez, Mark Texeira, Herb Trimpe, Jim Valentino, Mike Vosburg and Kevin West.
There were from where I sit 5 distinct eras for the Guardians.
1969-1975: The guest star years, their first appearance, the war with the Badoon and adventures with the Defenders.
1976:-1977: The solo adventures, their post war years with strange adventures and a new member or two.
1977-1980: The second guest era, including both the Korvac Saga and and the point where the Guardians’ timeline diverged from the 616 timeline.
1990-1992: The Valentino years, where the team came into their own and had their own adventures in their own really entertaining title.
1992-1995: The post Valentino years, where Michael Gallagher and Kevin West blazed their own trail taking the series to it’s conclusion.
My favourite will always be the Jim Valentino era, he brought me into the series and it stills hold up. The other eras have their high points and all of them are worth having a look. In a time when the only Guardians of the Galaxy anyone remembers include a talking tree and a ill tempered raccoon, I wanted to fly the flag for the first team:
Captain Charlie-27: Last of the soldiers of Jupiter.
Martinex T’Naga: Last of the scientists of Pluto
Nicolette Gold: Young survivor of Mercury.
Yondu Udonta: Last warrior of Alpha Centauri
Aleta Ogord: Lady of Light
Starhawk: One who knows
Vance Astro: Survivor of the 20th Century.
These guys guarded the galaxy and they did it with style.
They guarded the galaxy. They entertained and inspired me, check them out, back issues or the recent reboot Guardians 3000.
Now, in case it wasn’t apparent, the Guardians of the Galaxy and all associated characters are trademarks of Marvel Entertainment and all rights are reserved to them. No infringement is meant and this blog is simply my way of thanking Marvel for all the entertainment they have given me and so many others.
Before I go I want to say a thankyou to Al Sedano, who’s podcast about Adam Warlock, (which I mentioned in an earlier post about Podcasts, the link’ll be there) inspired me to start doing this. He deserves plenty of credit, or blame, maybe it’s blame. The person I have to thank most is my most excellent wife Rosie, without her support and encouragement, many things, including this blog, would not happen. She is my north star, when I see her, I always know where home is. Also a bit of shout out to my son Sam, for being awesome and the greater online fan/podcasting communities, keeping the flame alive for so many things we loved once and loved still.
New Warriors 68 was cover dated February 1996 and was on sale December 1995, sharing the spinner racks with Askani’son #1, DC vs Marvel #1, Firebrand #1, Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis #1, Storm #1 and Vamps: Hollywood & Vein #1.
Future Shock 1: Just Yesterday was written by Evan Skolnick, pencilled by Patrick Zircher and inked by Andrew Pepoy and opens with someone falling through time in a very painful manner, landing in 1947. The scene then shifts to a wharehouse in New York in 1995, where the New Warriors are having a games night together playing risk. Team members Robbie (Speedball) Baldwin, Mickey (Turbo) Mushashi, Rina (Timeslip) Patel, Alex (Powerhouse) Power, Angelica (Firestar) Jones and Carlton (Hindsight) LaFroyge are joined by former members Mike Jeffries and Richie Rider, the former Turbo and Nova, also present is Laura Dunham, Richie’s girlfriend. Rounding off this group is Justice, the team leader, there in his civilian identity of Vance Astrovik (Wow, that’s a familiar name isn’t it?) enjoying the game, which Carlton has taken very seriously.
Also in attendence is Helix, who the team have taken in, who is unable to speak a word of english and the team having no spanish speakers on it, are unable to determine his identity and as a result. he’s just been hanging out with the team. There is a blackout, then a flash of light and seven beings appear inside the Warriors’ headquarters.
They are Vance (Major Victory) Astro, Yondu Udonta, Aleta Ogord, Captain Charlie-27, Nicholette Gold, Martinex T’Naga and Simon (Hollywood) Williams, the Guardians of the Galaxy. They are looking for some kind of temporal anomaly that is in the room with them. Vance talks to younger Vance while the rest of the team start scanning and then everyone starts looking at Timeslip.
Convinced the anomaly is her, the Guardians try to take her out, then the readings change and we learn that the actual anomaly is Speedball. The Guardians attempt to take Speedball and that’s when things kick off.
There is a fight, with Helix joining in and the Warriors seem to be doing well against the Guardians. Timeslip feels she isn’t contributing enough and concentrates and in so doing, finds herself transported back in time, to before the Guardians arrived and only she has notice this.
She tries to tell them about what happened, but time seems somehow reset. The blackout and flash of light happens again and we expect this to be the arrival of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But it isn’t, it’s one of Nova and the New Warriors’ greatest threats, the Sphinx.
The Guardians of the Galaxy:
This was the last appearance of the Guardians as we know them. Any future appearances were alternate versions, where Vance was called Major Victory before being freed from his protective suit and other minor variations.
For the first time is so many posts, this is not a Guardians centric story, they are guest characters in this book and actually act and are treated like the villains, until their appearance is retconned away and the Sphinx returns.
This was an action heavy issue and was quite enjoyable.
The New Warriors:
The New Warriors first appeared in The Mighty Thor #412 back in October 1989 and got their own title in May 1990: The original line up was Dwayne (Night Thrasher) Taylor, Angelica (Firestar) Jones, Vance (Marvel Boy) Astrovik, Robbie (Speedball) Baldwin and Namorita Prentiss, Night Thrasher left the team and Namorita was MIA at this point and the series by Fabian Nicieza was a decent enough series with some excellent early work by Mark Bagley and Darick Robertson.
The team and the title had several ups and downs with members including Avengers Rage and Darkhawk and even the original Scarlet Spider at one point. This was a fun title that I loved when it was coming out and if not for the Guardians getting to me first, this maybe would’ve been a New Warriors blog.
The Sphinx first appeared in The Man Called Nova #6 in November 1976 (Ironically, November 1976 is my first appearance too) and was an enemy to Nova and the Fantastic Four before settling as a New Warriors villain several times. His most recent appearance was in the 4th volume of Nova in 2010.
NEXT TIME: … We say goodbye to this era of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy 62 was cover dated July 1995 and was on sale in May 1995, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman Annual #1, Grifter #1, Nocturne #1, Operation Knightstrike #1, Sovereign Seven #1 and X-Men: Prime.
We have two stories here of about equal length and import, so we’ll start with Starhawk’s story.
Endgame was by the usual people with Michael Gallagher on words and Kevin West and Steve Montano on pictures and continues the previous story with Pathbreaker (now suddenly differently coloured) trying to prevent Starhawk’s descent to Vesper. That doesn’t go well, with Starhawk quickly dispatching this machine.
On Vesper he finds Kismet and convinces her to come with him to visit the grave of Wendell (Quasar) Vaughn. He tells her of his encounter in the White Room and how this occurred, with Eon’s help. Hearing Eon’s name enrages Kismet, who blames Eon for taking her baby away, crying that she never learned if it was a boy or a girl. Starhawk assures her that it was a boy and that the boy’s name, his name was Stakar. This joyous reunion is halted by Eon’s arrival. We are then told that this in actuality Era, son of Eon. Since they know of this, Era intends to destroy them.
The pair team up and are able to hold him off and Era decides to leave. Then up pops the Hawkgod who points out that Era is planning a war of cosmic beings, leading to some unltimate calamity. This was the reason for the quest, when Starhawk found Quasar and met with Kismet, the Hawkgod knew that this would flush Era out and force Kismet and Starhawk to join forces to stop Era’s plans.
This brings to an end the story of Starhawk as he was in this title. Despite the ongoing threat that Era poses, it is something of a happy ending. Stakar is reunited with his mother and avenging the mentor of his father after freeing himself of his obligation to the Hawkgod.
I was under the impression Eon was a male, not much of an issue, but last post did mention him as a male.
Era’s long term plans are a mystery and since this title was cancelled it remains one to this day.
I did enjoy this story, but ultimately had no real investment in the story of Starhawk.
Time to Go was written by Michael Gallagher, with art by Sandy Floreau and opens with Charlie-27 and Nikki retrieving Yondu from his spiritual retreat.
Back on the Icarus, Vance Astro’s new black body-suit is being analysed by Aleta and a returning Martinex to learn everything about it. Vance and Martinex briefly butt heads over Martinex’s interference and surveillance, shortly before the rest of the crew return in shuttles. Martinex explains the absence of Yellowjacket and Talon while an unseen enemy plots.
Now gathered together again, Martinex shows the results of Vance’s scan, revealing the body-suit to be a sympathetic bio-armour and not a symbiotic being as was first thought. The increased power he has displayed since he got it is simply a side effect of his transfusion by Hollywood, who arrives in time to point that out.
Now that is resolved, Mainframe appears on one of the Icarus’ view screens and tells the team that they have the opportunity to prevent the war of the worlds. Considering this was a huge event in history for the entire team, everyone is on ready to take on the mission, under the new leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Charlie-27.
The dawn of the 20th century and the martians are planning their attack on Earth, when they become aware of a massive temporal displacement. Then they are shocked by the arrival of the Icarus, then amused by Charlie’s warning. So they open fire, despite the size and power of this unknown ship.
The Guardians fire back, cripple the flagship, to make their point. The martian overlord is not put off and orders the attack. While the Icarus’ weapons are being made ready, Charlie deploys Hollywood, who with over a thousand years worth of rage built up smashes into the martian fleet and just lays waste to ship after ship.
Charlie offers one more chance, is refused and fires a concentric energy tsunami which added to Hollywood’s kill total leaves 62% of the fleet destroyed and the rest of the martian fleet retreating back to their homeworld. As they head back to their own time, the hidden bad guy is revealed to be Wormhole, one of Loki’s Inhuman warriors who in revenge for their defeat of Loki’s plan in issue 43. He creates an escape portal before opening a much larger one in and around the Icarus.
Their passage is quite jarring, the ship rocked this way and that and then they crash land, not knowing where or when they are in a crippled ship on an unknown planet. And it’s there that this tale has come to an end.
This is not the send off that the Guardians of the Galaxy deserved in some respects, but in others it makes a lot of sense. There has been an obvious link between the present day marvel universe and this one, with the War of the Worlds being an odd speed bump between the two, so this story tying up that story idea is sort of fitting.
Sandy Florea is a decent enough artist, but this was very much Kevin West’s book visually and his absence is felt.
Charlie-27 as team leader is such a good idea, with his military history and his good standing with the whole team most of the time makes him a more obvious choice than previous leaders like Martinex and Vance.
A better ending would’ve been a Guardians/War of the Worlds mini series and fleshed out the events that took place here, but that wasn’t to be and as result, this feels like a last minute rush of a series climax.
Wormhole being the villain who gets his revenge is kind of fun, considering the level of villains that this team has beaten, including this issue’s entire martian fleet.
There is a lovely little moment, where Charlie calls Nikki smouldylocks and she whispers “I love it when you call me that.” Just a lovely little moment between them, just as the series ends.
NEXT TIME: One more hurrah as guest stars for the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy 61 was cover dated June 1995 and was on sale in April 1995, sharing the spinner racks with Fantastic Four: Atlantis Rising #1, Gunsmith Cats #1, Kill your Boyfriend #1, Loose Cannon #1, Mantra: Spear of Destiny #1 and X-Men: Omega
Father, why have you forsaken me? Was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Starhawk being consumed by the Abrogate. He awakens in a white room, surrounded by unfamiliar beings. This is the White Room, last stop for all the wearers of the Quantum Bands. There he encounters Quasar, his father.
He tells Quasar he is leaving and asks if there is anything Quasar wants said to anyone, including any offspring. Quasar, angry for this being brought up, tells Starhawk about his offspring.
In the dying days of the War of the Worlds, Quasar and his girlfriend Kismet are trying to save as many civilians as possible, but Kismet is fatigued. Quasar’s family is gone and all that is left is Kismet, who is pregnant. Quasar decides to get Kismet to safety on the planet Vesper. The Sisters of Mercy there welcome Kismet and agree to care for her in her pregnancy, but urge Quasar to rest, he too is fatigued. He disagrees and flies off, only to fall victim to the Abrogate. He didn’t make it back to Earth, which fell to the martians and as a result be blames himself for the millions of deaths that followed. He doesn’t want to know about his child as it would make it all worse.
Starhawk holds his tongue, instead decides to blast out of the White Room and escape. He does this, leaving the former Quantum Band wearers alone with the plant in the middle of the table. The plant grows and shows itself to be Eon, who points out that his own son’s agenda begins to concern him.
Now aware of his parentage and having met his father, Starhawk decides to go after Kismet his mother and bring this quest to an end. He arrives at Vesper, to learn Kismet’s fate and is confronted by a robot called Pathbreaker, who is there to prevent trespassers, by destroying them.
This brings to an end the search for Quasar and it’s a bit of a damp squib of a story.
Kevin West’s art is not as great in some panels and it’s only the revelation that the Eon we met earlier was in fact the son of Eon that makes this issue of any real interest beyond the flashbacks.
This is the next to last issue and I’ll be honest, my interest has all but expired.
Back Up Feature:
The Me Nobody Knows was written by Michael Gallagher, with art by Michael Bair and opens in the planet Lem, where Talon of the Guardians of the Galaxy seeks his former mentor Krugarr, the Sorceror Supreme.
Talon is there to get the amulet Krugarr took from him, to solidify his position within the Guardians. Krugarr points out that by devaluing his mind and enhancing his body, he is no longer worthy to wield it’s power. Talon disagrees until he comes face to face with his older self. The more jovial and mystically minded Talon is quickly gutted by the newer model, who still can’t use the amulet.
Shown the futility of his quest, Talon humbles himself before Krugarr, who to further bring Talon back to his former self shows him the birth of his son to Rancor. The child Talogan is born on Haven II and Talon’s rage at this leads him to try and restore the spiritual balance he once had and earn what he feels is his. Krugarr contacts the Icarus to tell Vance Astro that Talon is undertaking a grand and glorious journey and will be gone for quite some time.
I’ll be honest I wasn’t a fan of the new and improved Talon and am glad to see both the end of his involvement in this title and the start of his journey towards redemption.
I found the art scratchy and a little inconsistent, but enjoyed it more when I saw it as a reflection of the state of mind of the characters.
Overall not a great issue, but it was nice to see something of a happy ending for Talon.
NEXT TIME: Time to go and Endgame. The Guardians of the Galaxy’s title comes to an end.
Guardians of the Galaxy 60 was cover dated May 1995 and was on sale in March 1995, sharing the spinner racks with Captain Johner & the Aliens #1, Gen-13 #1, Ripclaw #1, Superman #100, Tank Girl: the Movie #1 and X-Universe #1.
What child is this was written by Michael Gallagher, with pencils and inks by Kevin West and Steve Montano and opens with the Quantum Bands confirming Eon’s proclamation that Starhawk is the son of Quasar.
He uses the Bands to find his fathers grave and prepares to leave, but Eon points out that he was only supposed to borrow the Bands, he does have to give them back. Starhawk refuses and is confronted by the Keeper, who wants the Bands back. There is a fierce battle between the two before the Keeper manages to pull the Quantum Bands back to him, sending Starhawk through hyperspace to the Abrogate, the creature that killed Quasar.
On his way there he encounters the Arcturian Hawkgod who takes great pleasure in torturing him before he appears before the Abrogate, who proceeds to drain the life from him and pull him in to the void within.
Notes: A quick little story, furthering the search for Starhawk’s parents, very much a middle chapter.
The Keeper makes short work of Starhawk who behaves even more out of character this issue, mostly due to the Quantum Bands.
Eon seems a little more sinister than when he was in the Quasar title.
It’s unclear whether the Hawkgod is there, or whether Starhawk is hallucinating.
Wherever Quasar went, Starhawk is there now, following in his father’s footsteps.
Back Up Feature: Homeward Bound starring Yellowjacket.
Homeward bound was written and drawn by Gallagher and Isherwood and opens with a drunk Yellowjacket passed out on a bar on some remote planet. She is captured and brought before Slagg, whom we last saw being beaten up by Hollywood, seems he holds a grudge and wants to take it out on the nearest person in a g-star. He straps Yellowjacket to a chair and removes her Pym Particle launchers expecting this to leave her helpless.
She has a spare growth pill from her time working with Dr Hank Pym and grows to enormous size and also beats Slagg up. She beats him to a pulp and promises to shrink him to gnat’s size if he doesn’t do him a favour. She wants him to send her to someone who can send her back in time.
Using this group of time travel specialists, Yellowjacket returns to the 1990’s of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s timeline, so she can be with Hank Pym during the War of the Worlds.
Notes: It was nice to give Yellowjacket a bit of spotlight time, and her facing off against Slagg was one of her better moments.
The fear of heart problems when you grow is getting a bit over done now, but does answer the why not go giant every time question.
In the end she goes back to her own time, if not her own timeline, which raises a question, was Michael Gallagher done with her? Or did he not get to do the things he was trying to do?
Over-all a bit of a lack lustre issue, the title is coming to the end at it’s sad that it’s not more upsetting.
Guardians of the Galaxy 59 was cover dated April 1994 and was on sale February 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Amazing Spider-Man #400, Flash #100, Impulse #1, Preacher #1, Visitor #1 and Web of Spider-Man #123.
Orphan in the storm was written by Michael Gallagher, with art by Kevin West and Steve Montano and opens with Starhawk finding the Keeper near death and about to be eaten alive by a pack of Saturnian Hound-hawks. Starhawk zaps one of them to distract the pact, only to attract a larger group in a feeding frenzy, some feed on the wounded Hawk-hound and the rest chase Starhawk, who flies off, shortly followed by the Keeper’s reformed surfboard.
Starhawk flies off at lightspeed and lands with the Keeper on a nearby uninhabited planetoid, then uses his light to heal him. The Keeper awakens and tells Starhawk of the events that occurred since Guardians of the Galaxy #25.
Basically Galactus got sick of eating the planets without people and wanted to eat planets with people, when the Keeper (probably having had this conversation several times already) was a bit snotty in reply and Galactus just attacked him, viscously wounding him and leaving him where Starhawk found him. Starhawk tells him to rest and heal and then help Starhawk with his problem and then go after a rogue Galactus, before looking at the Quantum Bands on the Keeper’s wrists and wondering if maybe he could use them himself.
As soon as he touches them, the cosmic entity Eon appears and admonishes Starhawk for his greed. He reduces him in age, until Starhawk reverses this.
Supposedly impressed by Starhawk’s resolve, Eon grantes custody of the Quantum Bands to Starhawk, which is fitting, since they also belonged to Wendell Vaughn (Quasar of Earth) who just happens to be Starhawk’s true father.
None of this story makes any sense.
The Keeper is lying somewhere in space and I will concede that Starhawk will be able to find the Keeper, but the Hawk-Hounds (Last seen in #26) just happening to be there in some random solar system?
Both the Keeper and Galactus seem quite out of character, arguing like a married couple or a parent and teenager before getting into a fight, I found this a little difficult to go along with.
The Keeper being able to help Starhawk research his past is a stretch, the Quantum Bands being able to help him falls under the grasping at straws catergory.
Starhawk seems unaware that the Quantum Bands cannot be forcibly removed from their wielder, so he would have to cut the Keeper’s hands off just to get at them.
The fact that Quasar is Starhawk’s father does remind us that Starhawk is over a thousand years old and could have ties to the modern era of heroes.
Back Up Feature:
The Fire Down Below was written by Michael Gallagher and pencilled by Jeff Moore with Steve Montano on inks and shows us Nikki on her sabbatical from the Icarus on a remote planet. She is cornered by three alien creatures who are like the song goes, up to no good. They grab her and she fights back using her hair to burn them. Doesn’t really go well since they’re lava miners and so she tries to blind them with a solar flash. While their eyes recover, a new player enters, Captain Charlie-27. Charlie wastes no time in expressing himself, the aliens recognises him as a Jovian before trying to escape. One of them finds himself face to face with Nikki’s pistol when he tries and she asks him how so far from our solar system, 12 years after the species was known to be wiped out, how he can recognise a jovian at all.
It turns out that there may be an enslaved colony of Jovians and Charlie-27 wants to check it out, he tells Vance who tells him that he shouldn’t do it alone, but as we see in his bedroom, he isn’t. Their G-stars are left outside the room, so another adventure can begin.
This was a nice little story with Nikki and Charlie-27 getting a bit of spotlight.
Charlie’s one liners and he general bad-assery is very entertaining.
I don’t know how much of this Jovian mystery is resolved if any of it, but this story does serve to put Nikki and Charlie back together. If nothing else, these two deserve a happy ending.
NEXT TIME: More searching for answers by Starhawk and Yellowjacket too.