Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 57

Guardians of the Galaxy 57 was cover dated February 1995 and was on sale December 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Angela #1,  Babylon 5 #1, Cyberforce Origins #1, Gargoyles #1, Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix #1 and X-Men: Alpha

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Evils draw men together was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Ripjak trying to blame the Guardians for the carnage seen in the last page of the last issue.

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The Guardians don’t want to listen and there is a brief battle before Yondu tries to make peace. Because of his empathic spiritual powers (I’m sorry What?) he can sense the truth in Ripjak’s words, but he wants to know what happened after all the martians died.

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After years of research, Ripjak determined that the plague was synthetic and searched the galaxy to try and find more instances of this plague. More and more worlds had fallen to this malady and the ethics of Mars dictated that they shouldn’t be allowed to suffer like this, when there was no hope of a cure. This is why he has been destroying whole worlds, to spare them the pain of their final days. This isn’t serial murder as much as it is euthanasia. He points out that there has been a name attached to this recently and Vance interjects with Bubonicus.

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Bubonicus was the creature battled by the Galactic Guardians back in issue 35 and afterwards a report was produced by Martinex, which it looks like only Vance read, but as Talon points out, no one else knows about. Ripjak demands this information and after some more mutinous growling from Talon, they take him aboard.

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In the far reaches of the Galaxy, Starhawk finds a brooding Hollywood on an uninhabited planetoid. After hearing a tone from Starhawk he found similar to Mainframe, Hollywood attacks Starhawk. After a brief fight, Hollywood listens to Starhawk, who still seeks his family history and directs him to Norrin Rad, the former Silver Surfer. Starhawk leaves, but in gratitude tells Hollywood that Doom has returned to Earth.

 

 

 

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In a tense conversation on Icarus, Ripjak learns more about Bubonicus and asks for more of the Guardians’ aid. As this is considered, Icarus is breached by the arrival of a new player, the High Evolutionary.

Notes:

The High Evolutionary  was a marvel universe supporting character first introduced in The Mighty Thor #133 and had a long history of popping up here and there before his starring role in the 1988 crossover Evolutionary War.

Since Stockade, Charlie-27 has had a tee-shirt under his vest, which does make more sense.

Yellowjacket has this whole attitude about Ripjak being a martian, despite the War of the Worlds not being part of her history.

More fracturing of the team as the wheels start to come off the Guardians of the Galaxy.

This is the real beginning of Starhawk’s story, which will run to the end of the series, but the who is Starhawk’s parents mystery being related to the Silver Surfer is a hell of a stretch.

A decent enough issue, but its not just the team that looks to be coming apart.

NEXT TIME: The hunt for Bubonicus.

Galactic Guardians 4 of 4

Galactic Guardians 4 was cover dated October 1994 and was on sale August 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Clandestine #1, Fate #0, Invisibles #1, Harbingers Files #1, Ultraforce #1 and Web of Spider-Man #117.

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What’s past is prologue was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inks by Steve Montano and opens with the team facing the combined forces of Ubiquitor and her goons. Almost immediately, Hollywood flies into Silverback and the two begin a no-holds-barred fight in the city.

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Appearing in several places at once is the Ubiquitor. Last of the Absolutes, she has decided to destroy galaxies as part of the contracting of the infinite universe. (Made no sense to me either.)

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Savant questions how Mainframe and Hollywood are themselves again. Mainframe explains that only a small fragment of his consciousness was in the Vision-robot, just enough to talk to Hollywood. When that robot fell, Mainframe just created another one. When the new Vision arrived on Neptune, he found Hollywood’s neural patterns in the ground, left there by Savant. With Hollywood being composed mostly of energy, the Vision was able to re-intergrate Hollywood’s mind and the two returned to Mainframe’s world to help the rest of the team. Now faced with the planet sized network enhanced mind of Mainframe, Savant doesn’t do quite so well this time.

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Hazmat tries to kill Replica, not a great idea as Replica changes into a creture capable of absorbing Hazmat’s chemicals and Martinex fires beams of hot and cold, disrupting Hazmat’s chemical composition, leaving him as a puddle.

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Ganglian tries to infect the Spirit of Vengeance, realising too late that the Spirit was planning on that. With them bound together, the Spirit pulls them both into Kauri (the Sarkan equivalent of hell) and leaves him to suffer along with the damned.

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As the battle between Hollywood and Silverback intensifies, Mainframe teleports the two to a local-ish black hole, where Hollywood fails to save Silverback from falling beyond the event horizon. Hollywood flies off, angry at the interference, determined for another millennium to pass before dealing with Mainframe again.

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Ubiquitor is alone and her response is to whisk Phoenix away and she offers him the chance to merge with her. When he refuses, she carries on with her plan to destroy the galaxy. Phoenix IX opposes is her and is able to destroy her with the aid of the last minute appearance of Woden, god of thunder.

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With Ubiquitor destroyed, Woden declines membership in the team and returns to Asgard and the Galactic Guardians rejoice in their hard won victory.

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Notes:

This is an up and down end to an up and down story.

The original name of Mainframe’s world was spelled differently in three different issues which was an odd thing to see.

The death of Silverback is used to great effect to highlight the differences between Mainframe and Hollywood, creating an even bigger chasm between them.

Ubiquitor’s motives are a little hard to understand, beyond her dealings with Phoenix IX, showing her to be lonely as much as anything else.

I liked the fate of the goons. Without splitting the team, or their element of Suprise, they really don’t stand much of a chance and they are dealt with fairly quickly.

It’s unusual for a Deus ex machina to be an actual mythological god, but for this story it seemed to work.

Like the team itself, the Galactic Guardians mini series didn’t need to be. It was one of the many spin off miniseries that came out in the 90’s and unless you really need every appearance, this is quite skip-able.

That said, it was nice to see Marty again.

NEXT TIME: We go back to the main series and ask, where’s Charlie-27?

 

Galactic Guardians 1 of 4

This post is dedicated to my long suffering wife, the Mighty Rosie, without my usual method of scanning pages in, she stepped into help. Thanks love. Now on with the silly stuff. Galactic Guardians 1 was cover dated July 1994 and was on sale in May 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman #514, Force Works #1, Legionnaires Annual #1, Quasar #60, Valor #21 and Violator #1.

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Amid the Encircling Doom, was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Martinex, Spirit of Vengeance, Firelord, Phoenix and Replica (in the shape of a butterfly-like insec, rushing towards an emergency alarm sounded by Mainframe. Mainframe warns them that he must take himself offline and asks that the team look after the planet and the people, the former inhabitants of Haven. Phoenix offers to provide the raw power to keep the planet’s systems running. He is installed into the planet’s power supply while Martinex gives the rest of the team their assignments.

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Spirit and Firelord are sent to patrol the planet, while Replica is sent into the machinery of Mainframe to see what’s stopping him from detecting this anomaly, or as Martinex puts it, the intruder.

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Then we see Hollywood return to deal with the snitch who delivered him to Overkill, but is teleported away before he can get anywhere. Inside Mainframe, Replica finds some kind of organism and is told by Martinex to get a sample. Replica really doesn’t want to, but is reminded that the Guardians are not a democracy, he is in charge.

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On Neptune, Hollywood materialises next to Mainframe, once more in the form of the Vision and there is a tense argument between them, that Hollywood quickly turns to violence. It seems that during the War of the Worlds, Vision teleported Simon away to save his life, but cost him the chance to help the rest of Earth’s heroes during their last stand. Vision sent him back immediately, but Simon arrived back on Earth days later due to the light speed limitations of the earlier version of the teleporting machinery of Mainframe’s world. Simon felt he could have made the difference and Vision not believing the same caused their 1,000 year long rift. Vision points out that the origins of the War of Worlds was a mystery, even now. The aliens who launched the attack from Mars had help, now there are leads to this mystery and Simon may be able to forgive, not the Vision, but himself.

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We end the issue on Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard, where a large blue and grey creature called Silverback is sitting on the bridge, before being challanged by Heimdall. Heimdall is knocked down, but so is Silverback straight after as Woden, son of Thor has arrived.

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Notes: This is not the great first issue it could be. Gallagher doesn’t have the same handle on this cast as he does on the main team. The dialogue as a result comes off as either corny of overly dramatic.

The art is still of a high standard, Hollywood’s new costume design and the character work on other characters is excellent. I particularly enjoyed the different forms of Replica and the organism inside Mainframe.

Martinex jumps to the conclusion of an intruder with no outward signs in this issue until Replica makes her discovery and so his using Replica seems to make no sense at all really.

The Soap Opera level disagreement between Hollywood and Mainframe is really enjoyable and fills in the gaps of their relationship well. Having a brother you don’t speak to for 1,000 years makes no sense without some inciting incident and this makes so much sense.

This Vision is very much the one used in  John Byrne’s run on West Coast Avengers and while I am a fan of that era Byrne, this more logical and cold version of Vision is not particularly very interesting. The machine with a human heart and soul was so much more engaging to me. Not every android needs to be Data from Star Trek.

Bringing in Silverback means a welcome return to Woden, son of Thor and that alone made me want to read the next issue.

NEXT TIME: Issue 2, more action more bad guys and more cool stuff to look at.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 48

Guardians of the Galaxy 48 was cover dated May 1994 and was on sale March 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix #1, Damage #1, Kindred #1, Magnus Robot Figher/Nexus #1, The Ray #1 and X-Men: The Early Years #1.

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It ain’t over till it’s Overkill, was written by Michael Gallagher with art by Kevin West and Steve Montano and opens with Overkill standing over Hollywood, who is standing up to face him. After a brief tussle, Hollywood is given Overkill’s origin, history with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the tale ends with Overkill showing that his armour has been augmented and Hollywood is pushed back with the sheer fire-power of Overkill.

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What follows is an epic fight, the armoured Stark against the Ionically powered, but unarmed Earthling. The battle is brutal and unforgiving.

Meanwhile the two Starhawks fly through the Scar of Eternity and appear in the abstract realm before the Arcturian Hawkgod, Eternity, the Celestial and the Living Tribunal. While they are distracted by this sudden arrival, the Beyonder and the Protege plan their next move, with the Protege becoming more powerful and more arrogant.

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Meanwhile in the Beyonder’s universe, Mephisto and Malevolence amuse themselves by battling the Guardians of the Galaxy. Mephisto is interested by Talon’s amulet, when Talon uses it to teleport the Guardians away, to who knows where.

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While this is going on, Hollywood and Overkill continue their fight, then Overkill mentions the War of the Worlds and Wonderman’s absence from the final days. Full of rage, Hollywood presses forward and brings Overkill to his knees. Realising he is lost, his cannons lost and his hand crushed, Overkill activates his self destruct, hoping to take Hollywood and a number of nearby planets with him. The blast is tremendous and in the end, Hollywood flies free, determined once again to find Doom.

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Notes: Most of this issue was a fight scene. To be honest it was a good fight scene, but it doesn’t leave you with many things to say. The scenes with the Guardians are a little superfluous, really just marking time till issues 49 & 50, so the main focus of the issue is Overkill and his unsuccessful attempt to kill Hollywood.

As a sometime Avenger, Wonderman hasn’t always had many great moments in the spotlight, even his solo series focused more on him being an wannabe actor and not a prominent superhero, so this issue did something, it made him a 1,000 years into the future a bad-ass.

Hollywood’s reaction to the legacy of Tony Stark was well handled and it was a fitting way to put a bit of a full stop on the Stark story.

Next time: Back to the main story, the Beyonder, the Protege and more.

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 36

Guardians of the Galaxy 36 was cover dated May 1993 and was on sale in March 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Blood Syndicate #1, Cable #1, Icon #1, Incredible Hulk #405, Supergirl/Team Luthor #1 and Web of Spider-Man #100

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Taste the Deathless Life was  written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West with Steve Montano on inks. It opens where #35 finished with Drydock being destroyed. Seconds later, Martinex uses the Icarus’ teleport system to beam the crew of Drydock aboard, bringing together the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Galactic Guardians together for the first time and reuniting Martinex with his old team for the first time since #17.

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Whilst Hollywood carries the unconscious Charlie-27, Yellowjacket follows, unsure how Hollywood even knows who she is. Aleta (all of a sudden cold and distant) teleports outside along with Firelord, Phoenix and the Spirit of Vengeance to battle Dormammu. Hollywood is ordered by Martinex to join them as he, Replica, Nikki and Vance replace him in the sick bay, with Nikki showing that she still holds contempt for Replica for her being a Skrull, brushing against Nikki’s hatred of reptilian beings of any stripe. Yellowjacket continues to question Hollywood getting her nowhere, but she is starting to work it out. Unseen Talon also makes an exit in an EVA suit hoping his mystical knowledge will be of use against such a powerful mystical entity.

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Back on Earth, Doom and Rancor are becoming friendlier towards one another, causing friction between her and her lieutenants, she viciously punishes Batwing when he brings this to her attention, going as far as to scalp him.

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On the Icarus, Charlie-27 has awoken and Hollywood has engaged Dormammu and things are looking up for the collected Guardians. But this isn’t to last, Krugarr the 31st Century’s Sorcerer Supreme has already fallen before Dormammu and the Spirit of Vengeance has his  flame extinguished.

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As all looks lost, the Ancient One, mentor to Krugarr and the man once known as Doctor Strange, arrives and using the powers of the Guardians currently in space, blasts Dormammu with enough force to destroy him.

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But the fact is that Dormammu isn’t alone, the Marvel 616 version of Dormammu escaped the Dark Dimension and merged with the 31st Century Dormammu making himself a self-symbiote and giving him far more power than Strange expected. He points this out as he absorbs the energy from the attack and redirects it at Strange, killing him, leaving the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Galactic Guardians alone against the power of the Dread Dormammu.

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Notes: The team is never this strong again with 13 members and still they need help to hold their own against this new All-Powerful Dormammu.

Nikki’s reptile-ism makes an unwelcome return, bringing her into conflict with Martinex.

Charlie-27 is back and will soon return to the team.

Talon sneaks out to help the team in space, despite how outclassed he must be, showing a strong heroic streak in this happy go lucky inhuman.

Aleta becomes cold and practical, but that might simply be the situation they’re in.

I’m glad to see Martinex back as am always a big fan of the original team.

This issue is almost all action, yet some characterisation occurs and subplots move along.

How is Doctor Strange still alive in 3018? Well at least till the end of the issue.

It’s nice to see a high powered mystical threat to showcase all the teams’ members  and powers.

Can’t wait for the next issue.

Next Time:  The Conclusion

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 20

Guardians of the Galaxy 20 was cover dated January 1992 and was on sale in November 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman #2, Daredevil #300, Elongated Man #1, New Warriors #19, Superman #63 and Wolverine 50.

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Major Victory was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with a containment-suit-less Vance Astro leaping into the tense stand off from last issue and helping the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Commandeers turn the tide on the Punishers and the Badoon.

 

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With the one of the two Badoon dead and the other running, the team give chase and ask Vance how he is free of the containment suit he needed to survive, only a day ago.

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Krugarr the Sorcerer Supreme, used Hollywood’s ionic blood and some magic to heal Vance and cure his skin so that it wouldn’t oxidise on contact with the open air. The Guardians face off against the  Punishers and cut a swath through them. Gabrielle of the Commandeers shoots Belle in cold blood for the betrayal that cost Inez’s life and to save Nikki, Yondu uses a laser weapon from his artifical hand to kill one of the Punishers, being a Habaktu, Yondu feels ashamed about this use of a technological weapon and vows never again to use it.

The Punisher General flees and along with the surviving Badoon, makes it to the Ultimate Punisher tank. Before they can drive off in it, Hollywood lifts it over his head and throws it. Krugarr catches it and teleports them to the centre of the complex.

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The scene shifts to space and the glowing form of Starhawk where Stakar tries to convince Aleta to give up her claim on their shared body by giving her a simulation of her old family. She is happy to see them and seems to forgive Stakar for his part in their apparent deaths, but then realises that since Starhawk re-inhabits his own body time and again, there is no Stakar and it’s all Starhawk and she begins fighting for her body again. At the centre of the Bronx refinery, Charlie-27 rigs his cannon to go nuclear and take the refinery out, inside the tank, the Badoon tries to call the rest of the Brotherhood, but the Punisher General kills him and leaves once he realises that the Guardians will detonate the gun. Once he exits, Gabrielle shoots him in cold blood too and the Guardians escape before the gun blows, destroying the facility and ending the threat of Realiteevee.

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There’s a brief scene with Martinex on Mainframe’s world trying to work out how his Galactic Guardians concept will work, while back on Earth, the Commandeers offer Vance’s team use of the sub-basements of Avengers Mansion. Vance takes a second to point out that he recognises Hollywood as someone called Simon, clearly Simon Williams or WonderMan, who was an Avenger as well as an actor.

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This pretty much brings the story to an end, with Talon being offered Guardians of the Galaxy membership and a nice little pin up page.  Then we’re shown what’s coming next. Rancor and the Mutants of Haven find that their search for Wolverine will lead to Earth.

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Notes: Thus ends the era of the containment suit and begins the age of Major Victory.

This was a sort of third act of the story, with the team given that last minute boost and that hero moment of Vance Astro flying into the action and changing the course of the battle. You can almost hear some kind of orchestral overture as he jumps in.

Gabrielle executes someone twice and is only brought up about it once. This highlights the difference between the Commandeers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians are more of a super hero team, changed by their experiences and choosing to show restraint and mercy. The Commandeers however, are soldiers and very much still in this war. Gabrielle does what a soldier might do, but Vance’s reaction shows that for him that feeling was a long time ago.

Rancor is back, not thrilled exactly, but there are half decent stories coming.

Talon is offered membership and stays with the team for the rest of this volume.

Did everyone get the Wonderman thing? I suspected at the time, but even when it’s revealed there’s no real mention of his name, just that he’s called Simon.

Starhawk consolidates his control over Aleta and that will be brought back in the next issue.

Next time: The Return of Rancor.

 

 

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 19

Guardians of the Galaxy 19 was cover dated December 1991 and was on sale in October 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman #1, Excalibur #45, Human Target Special #1, Iron Man #275, Robin II #1 and Sensational She-Hulk #34.

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The Gentleman’s name is Talon was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with the Punishers surveying the devastation from the previous issue and the Guardians escaping through tunnels. The huge Punisher general kills the sniper who shot Vance Astro in the previous issue and demands to know about the man with the tale, commenting that they have an inside man and finding the Guardians will not be a problem.

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In the tunnels, Charlie-27 demands to know more about this furred ally and gets knocked on his rear end for his trouble. Talon then and shoots Charlie-s hand with claws  As a fight brews, Yondu steps forward to end it, once more being the voice of reason. The fight avoided for now, Talon points out that he has left Vance in good hands.

The scene shifts to Comandeers headquarters where Hollywood is joined by Krugarr and the astral form of the Ancient One, once known as Doctor Strange, who notifies Hollywood that some of his Ionic blood is needed.

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Then we’re back off to Courg. Martinex has evaded the knife and turns the tables on the Courgan native, who informs Martinex that all the devastation he can see is his fault. The Guardians drove off the Stark, but left the dead and disease followed. The Stark returned and massacred the people who survived the illness. The Courgan (who’s name was Atur, I think) tells Martinex that the never considered the consequences of actions like this and a simple show of force does not solve the problem. Martinex is visibly shaken by this.

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Back on Earth, the Guardians are enroute to the Realitivee refinery, people sort of pair off and there is a little bit of light hearted banter, including Tarin telling Yondu of her admiration of him. Yondu only responds with pointing out that he can hear a high pitched whine, like that of a homing device, one of the Commandeers is visibly shocked by this.

Meanwhile.. Deep in the heart of the Shi’ar empire, a museum curator shows a broken piece of a familiar looking claw to Rancor and her lieutenants from issues 9-11 who quickly kill the curator. There is another scene with Aleta and Stakar, trapped in a grey void along with their children while the Hawk God changes their body.

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The Guardians arrive at the refinery, the only such  refinery on Earth, nestled in the Bronx, far from the Punisher’s turf. The Guardians find out that brains behind Realitee-vee are in fact the Brotherhood of the Badoon. They turn and see the Punishers behind them and from within the group Belle draws her gun against Charlie-27. Enemies in front of them, behind them and within them, Tarin calls for the Comandeers and Guardians of the Galaxy to surrender.

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Above the refinery, Krugarr, Hollywood and another figure in shadow watch. The shadowed man points out that it’s up to the three of them to save the rest. Hollywood points out that there’s only 3 of them and their enemies are legion.

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“Yeah, I hope they’re up to it!”

Notes: Another gripping part of this continued return to Earth story and it looks like it’s heading for an exciting conclusion.

Belle is revealed as the inside man earlier than the next to last page, but only in retrospect.

Tarin’s attraction to Yondu is brought up again, this time she tries to tell him about it.

An immediate rivalry exists between the military minded Charlie-27 and the free-wheeling Talon, which adds conflict to a team that is starting to get on a little bit too well.

Talon himself is an interesting character, secretive about his past, but a lot of fun and a lively addition to the story and eventually the team.

This issue takes us to the Shi’ar empire, the Shi’ar are bird-like aliens long associated with the X-Men and have been both friends and enemies to them, depending on who’s in charge and what threat the X-Men and other humans pose to them. The Shi’ar scene tells us that the Mutants of Haven will make a comeback soon and am glad of it.

The Badoon are back, it only took 19 issues but they’re back in their purple speedos and flying dogs.

Next Time: Major Victory.