The Guardians Of The Galaxy


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.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 29

Guardians of the Galaxy 29 was cover dated October 1992 and was on sale in August 1992, sharing the  spinner racks with Batman: Sword of Azrael #1, Cable: Blood & Metal #1, Cyberforce #1, Eternal Warrior#1, Shadowhawk #1 and Youngblood #0.

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Let lose the Dogs of War was plotted by Jim Valentino, scripted by Michael Gallagher, guest pencilled by JJ Birch and inked as always by Steve Montano and opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy facing off against the 2nd set of Masters of Evil from the last page of issue 28.

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Holding onto Nikki and Yellowjacket, Dr Octopus’ team seems to have an advantage. The Guardians hold their own, but make no headway until Nikki and Yellowjacket wake and start to turn the tide.

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Then dopplegangers arrive (this is an Infinity War tie in after all)  and reluctantly the two teams start to join forces and elsewhere in the building Starhawk and Aleta do the same whilst struggling with Starhawk’s doppleganger.

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Even after a second group of dopplegangers attack, the team triumph and Dr Octopus tries to have his team take out the tired Guardians. This doesn’t go well with the grateful Masters of Evil, who decide to turn on Doctor Octopus rather than start another fight with their one time allies.

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Yellowjacket stays behind and whilst everyone is congratulating themselves, Jarvis returns and points out how much of a mess is left and tells the Guardians to pitch in as they “Can’t leave the mansion looking like this”. So after travelling over 1,000 years into the past, crossing timelines, meeting the Inhumans, beating the Masters of Evil and the dopplegangers, the Guardians are then left cleaning up. And an era ends.

Notes: This was the last plot submitted by Jim Valentino before leaving the title for good. Shortly after this he left Marvel altogether and devoted his time to Image Comics which he co-founded with Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larson, Todd McFarlane and others.

While still not a fan of the art (with Vance’s vanishing jacket vest) it’s still a better fit than Herb Trimpe.

One of my favourite moments in the comic is Vance vs Puff Adder “the name is Major Victory. Remember it when they’re filling out your report in the Emergency Room.”

This is the end of an era and Valentino’s absence will be missed, but there are still adventures to be had.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 28

Guardians of the Galaxy 28 was cover dated September 1992 and was on  sale in July 1992 and shared the spinner racks with Deathstroke the Terminator Annual #1, The Heckler #1, Justice Society of America #1, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #1, Team Titans #1 and WildC.A.T.S. #1

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Villains, villains everywhere was as always written by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano, but the pencilling was by Herb Trimpe, more on that story later. The story opens with Doctor Octopus gathering a new iteration of the Masters of Evil and planning to attack the at this moment vacant Avengers Mansion. This team of Oddball, Powderkeg, Jackhammer, Titania (and when you get Titania you also get) Absorbing Man and the second Yellowjacket, Rita DeMara is a very D-List ensemble, which Doctor Octopus thinks will be easier to control than the Sinister Six.



As they move to attack, the Guardians teleport to Earth from the moon, since they Guardians were living the the Avengers Mansions basement in the 31st Century, the Guardian star badges are already calibrated for that location. They arrive and are immediately attacked by Jarvis and the Avengers’ support staff, before they are recognised as the Guardians of the Galaxy.  It’s at that moment that Doctor Octopus’ team attacks and the Guardians face off against them.

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In the midst of this fight Starhawk is attacked by another duplicate and calls for Aleta’s help. The Guardians make short work of these bad guys, mid fight though Nikki is saved from Absorbing Man by Yellowjacket before they both head into the Mansion.

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Once they get inside they find Doctor Octopus along with Shocker, Puff Adder and Gargantua with Nikki and YellowJacket held in the Doctor’s coils. To be concluded.

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Notes: Lets just get this out of the way, I don’t enjoy the art here. Herb Trimpe was one of THE Incredible Hulk artists and along with Sal Buscema defined the post silver age look of the character. He was a great fit for that, but his style evolved into a more cartoony style which doesn’t suit the Guardians of the Galaxy as a title, nor the character designs.

I like the set up of the issue and with Valentino still scripting, everyone’s voice is consistent and there is a nice bit where Jarvis thinks about the difference between 1,000 + year old Vance Astro as Major Victory and the 90’s version Vance Astrovik as Marvel Boy.

There’s a nice look at the difference between the Guardians and the Avengers in their approaches. The Avengers are heroes first and will always try to do things more peacefully than not. The Guardians of the Galaxy were freedom fighters and soliders. When Absorbing Man absorbs the properties of soil instead of concrete, Charlie-27 just pulls his side-arm and blows his head off. Although he comments that he’ll survive, that seems almost an after thought. It’s not a big moment, but it reminds you that Charlie is a soldier above all.

The last scene with the second team of bad guys leave you with the thought, why use these guys as a back up? Shocker is a solid bank robber type and Puff Adder is one of the Serpent Society and Gargantua looks huge, isn’t this better than Oddball and a YellowJacket with a lousier reputation at this point than Hank Pym.

Next Time: More Masters of Evil, more duplicates and we say goodbye to Jim Valentino.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 27

Guardians of the Galaxy 27 was cover dated August 1992 and was on sale June 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #679, Amazing Spider-Man #365, Demon Annual #1, Mighty Thor #450, Savage Dragon #1 and Giant Size Yogi Bear #1.

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Back from the Future is written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Drydock travelling back through time and Vance (Major Victory) Astro finding out about it. He berates Starhawk, Nikki and Charlie-27 in order before seeing Talon collapse in front of them. Before he passes out, he mentions that he is an Inhuman, has Graal’s disease and needs to go to Atilan, the lunar home of the Inhumans.

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They arrive in the present Marvel Universe, just at the beginning of the Infinity War. The Royal Family of the Inhumans are discussing the situation. The amphibious Triton, the hoof-footed Gorgan, the uncannily accurate Karnak, Madame Medusa with her living hair and the silent king Black Bolt. Being marvel characters, they don’t agree and leave the decision to BlackBolt, but before he can make any gesture, the family are called to Rynda Square by a flying Inhuman , who tells them of an orbiting space ship and aliens teleporting amongst them.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy appear and seek medical help for Talon, again this is a Marvel title and there is a brief, unnecessary fight. Vance ends the fight and then cooler heads prevail. Just as things look like they’re all sorted out, distorted duplicates of the Inhuman Royals and the Guardians appear.

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Once again a battle, once again it’s quick and easily resolved and serves only to tie this in to Infinity War, which had a lot of evil twin stuff in it, if I remember correctly. Gorgon and Nikki treat Talon and head back into the fight and when Talon recovers he is met with LockJaw, the Inhuman’s dog/transport system.

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He then greets the Inhuman  Royals with a degree of reverence and points out that the Inhumans live on a reservation almost slaves and this was due to a betrayal of an Inhuman Royal, but not actually an Inhuman. Medusa believes it to be her neice Luna (Daughter of Crystal and Quicksilver, but has neither mutant or Inhuman characteristics). The groups part as friends and the Guardians of the Galaxy teleport to Earth to the last grounded location they used, Avengers Mansion.

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This is bittersweet, although he is part of the writing team for the next two issues, this is the last pencils by Jim Valentino.

The idea of pre-emptive strike has become almost genocide and most of the team are okay with that, which is understandable seeing as half the team suffered under the Badoon, although Starhawk’s motives are unclear.

This is where we learn Talon was an Inhuman, which given his non human appearance, is quite understandable.

The idea of the Inhumans ending up in reservations was pointed out in Guardians of the Galaxy annual 1 as a side comment and remains consistent with published history.

None of the fights make sense either narratively or visually and look very forced and tacked on.

I loved seeing the Inhumans and will always have time for LockJaw, the bulldog the size of a pony.

The next few issues show a severe drop in art quality, which is a shame.

NEXT TIME: The Masters of Evil

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 26

Guardians of the Galaxy #26 was cover dated July 1992 and like the last one I covered (annual 2) it was on sale in May 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Armageddon: Inferno #4, Avengers West Coast #84, Batman: Shadow of the  Bat #1, Hells Angel #1, Robocop Vs Terminator #1 and Spawn #1.

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The (Secret) Origin of the Guardians of the Galaxy was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino with inks by Steve Montano, but the credits aren’t really easy to find.

The story opens with Captain Charlie -27 finally getting home to the planet Jupiter after a solitary patrol of the solar system. He finds the Jovian captial deserted except for two Badoon called Maz and Maul who declare him the last Jovian and start firing at him. Charlie is quick to take the two of them out and heads to the local command centre, on the way there, there are more Badoon, they call after him, confirming he is the last of his kind.

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Seeking reinforcements, he makes it to the nearest teleport station and makes it to Pluto, there he finds more deserted streets and patrolling Badoon, this time with Saturnian Hawkhounds with them. He finds himself cornered and finds a Pluvian local called Martinex T’Naga who tells him that he is also the last of his kind and was trying to escape before Charlie arrived. Using Robotic servants as a distraction, they both make it to the teleport station to get to Earth, hopefully a free Earth.

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It isn’t, Drang of the Badoon has taken over Earth and has had two prisoners brought before him. One is the last known Centaurian, Yondu Udonta and the other is the famous 1,000 year old astronaut Major Vance Astro. Drang is amused and seeks Vance’s co-operation and his story. Vance was born in the present and his internal organs were physically altered to survive a thousand year journey to Alpha Centauri. To preserve his skin, he was coated in a foil suit and sent off. Waking up routinely to keep the ship maintained, Vance went mad and when he arrived on Centauri IV, he found humans waiting for him. Harkovian physics were discovered two centuries after he left allowing for faster than light travel. The long journey, his loneliness, the isolation of his suit and he madness of slow travel in space, all was worthless.

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He travelled Centauri IV and met Yondu, who attacked him for interrupting a ritual, the two made peace and became friends, but Vance comments that he has no loyalty for anyone, all his people are long gone and he offers to shoot Yondu with his own bow to prove his allegiance to the Badoon. Yondu then whistles loudly and the arrow changes direction, frightening the Badoon and giving their two prisoners time to escape.

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As they make it to the nearest transport station, Charlie and Martinex arrive from Pluto and after a patented Marvel ‘misunderstanding fight’, they team up. They take out the chasing Badoon soldiers and escape through an old sewer line, all free they decide to team up permanently and the Guardians of the Galaxy are born.

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I know what you’re thinking, this all sounds very similar to Marvel Super Heroes #18 and in some ways it very much is, but there is a bit of difference. Every now and again, there is a almost off panel appearance by Starhawk, who seems to be moving people and orchestrating events to get the Guardians to form, he sets Charlie’s escape to Jupiter and keeps the Badoon away from Martinex, he helps guide Vance to Centauri IV and helps him and Yondu fly towards the transport station. He’s even the light that leads them through the sewer. He does all this unseen and the team have never known this.

After the story ends, Starhawk points out that they can travel in time to perform a pre-emptive strike against the Badoon and Vance needn’t know, till it was too late.

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Notes: This is almost a shot for shot remake of Marvel Super Heroes #18, with some more fleshed out scenes. The idea of Starhawk making sure that the team comes together is completely consistent with his origin, but the way he does it is consistent with the aloof characterisation from before his split from Aleta.

It was nice to see the team as it was, now half of the original group is gone, it’s a pleasant change to see them all again, battling the Badoon.

This story seems to take place just before the second story in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1

The Guardians are about to travel back in time, some stuff is not going to go well and we are soon to say goodbye to Jim Valentino as penciller and as writer. But first, the secret of Talon.


Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #2

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 2 was cover dated 1992 and was on sale May 1992 sharing the spinner racks with Arion: The Immortal #1, Avengers #349, Eclipso: The Darkness Within #1, Excalibur: XX Crossing #1, Guy Gardner Reborn #1 and Terror Inc #1.

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There are 4 stories in this, one main story carrying the theme of System Bites, two little mini stories and a list story, I’ll go through them one by one:

Riders of the Storm was written by Jim Valentino inked by Steve Montano, with pencils by Herb Trimpe. It opens with the 31st Century’s Spirit of Vengeance flying towards Mainframe’s world to follow a summons by Martinex to all Guardians stars, including the ones taken from the team in issue 13. The Spirit finds Martinex who tells him that Mainframe, the machine that runs the whole planet has gone insane.


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We then move to nearby space where Firelord (fresh from GOTG 25) finds a ship being chased by the Universal Church of Truth. In this ship is Replica another former Guardian who is heading to Mainframe’s world too. The team gathers together on Mainframe’s world and Mainframe relates the tale of this virus he’s infected with.


It appeared in three previous annuals Punisher, Deathlok and Wonderman Annuals before infecting Mainframe. Just as this happened, there is a massive power drain caused by Brahl, Mr Teju, Groot the Manslayer, Tork and Dumog now calling themselves the Intimidators, who are trying to resurrect  Michael Korvac. Martinex’s team, now including Hollywood find them and there is a brief melee.


To be honest, the Intimidators don’t do too well against the team, but they manage to resurrect an amalgam of Michael the Enemy, Korvac and Mainframe. In a side scene, Krugaar the Sorceror Supreme comments on how he can’t be in this adventure. There’s no real reason for this, but it does explain why he isn’t in this story.

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Korvac 2.0 attacks everyone around him, while his mind struggles to contain itself. The Guardians come up with the idea of just overloading him until he can’t take anymore. The problem is that while Korvac 2.0 is connected to Mainframe, when his mind snaps,some of the stuff that Mainframe was keeping under control is stopped. The bad side of that is one of those things was Giraud of Haven, the new host of the Phoenix force.


The Phoenix escapes and launches himself at Korvac and consumes him in the raptor of fire effect, removing him from this reality.

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With Korvac defeated, the team solidifies as the Galactic Guardians, ready for whatever comes next.

Notes: I cannot adequately explain how much I dislike this story. The idea of a spin off team isn’t really needed unless you actually do the large Galactic size team mentioned in issue 17.

That said, that’s not what I dislike this comic. That reason is Herb Trimpe. Herb Trimpe is one of the artists that made the Hulk into a quality mainstay comic  in the 70’s. His work was iconic and in many places brilliant. This period didn’t give us a great Herb Trimpe and it does hurt this issue.

Story 2: Replica: Faith no more

Words by Jim Valentino and art by Kirkwood Studios

Replica faces the Protege to answer why she called off the search for Starhawk, Malevolence tries to stir the pot between the two of them as Replica gets the summons from Martinex, she escapes Homeworld by disguising herself as Jiltrin and comandeering a starship. Malevolence tries to get her shot down and is called off by Protege, who sees Replica leave and cries.

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Notes: This fills in the gap between issue 22 and the first story in the annual, it’s not needed, but not bad.

Story 3: A time for farewells written by Jim Valentino with art by Matthew Jorgensen and Andrew Pepoy and tells the story of Yondu leaving the Guardians of the Galaxy to take his place as Habaktu (Priest) of this newly discovered tribe of Centauri.

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The Guardians arrive and visit the cave where Yondu’s new tribe live. They see that the Yaka/Trillite hid the tribe from the Badoon invasion. The Centaurian tribe are amazed and frightened by the strangers in equal measure.

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The Guardians help Yondu regenerate his lost hand and he and Vance have a last moment bringing closure to their long friendship, Vance points out his shame at his high handed and arrogant treatment of Yondu, the two hug and part as how they’ve always been, best friends. Drydock leaves Centauri IV’s orbit and Nikki walks away in tears to look at some holo-chips and try to forget the day.

Notes: This is a brief goodbye to founding member Yondu Udonta, weapon master of the Guardians as well as the team’s spiritual conscience. He was an integral part of the team and his leaving should be noted, but I don’t know if this is how they should do it.

Story 4: Guardians of the Galaxy Top Ten Thugs was a three page story written and drawn by Jim Valentino with inks by Michael Bair which gives you pics and  a bio of the Guardians enemies both from this series and from their older appearances.

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Notes: This is a bit of fluff to show some of the characters that have been in the title and link the annual to issue 26’s secret origin. It’s skippable, but a bit of fun if you’re not completely versed in Guardians lore.

Overall notes:  I really don’t like this annual, but there’s something to like if you REALLY look at it.

Next Time: Guardians of the Galaxy #26 the secret origin of the team.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 25

Guardians of the Galaxy 25 was cover dated June 1992 and was on sale April 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Black Condor #1, Daredevil #305, Detective Comics #644, Epic #1, Green Lantern Mosaic #1 and Infinity War #1.

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And Now Galactus was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with the Silver Surfer, known now as the Keeper leading the Guardians of the Galaxy in their Drydock Station to Alpha Centauri and a rendezvous with the planet devourering Galactus.

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The Keeper continues his tale from last issue,  after Zenn-La’s destruction, he attacked Galactus. As you can imagine, that really didn’t go too well. His board destroyed and the power cosmic stripped from him along with his silver skin sheath, he was flung towards the edge of the universe.

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Found by one of the Watchers, he was taken from the universe to hide and heal. Over time this Watcher, Aron, taught the Surfer to use the bands more effectively and to reawaken the power cosmic within him. Thus the Silver Surfer became the Keeper and he save populations and worlds from Galactus wherever he could. One of the worlds he saved was Mainframe’s world, where Martinex is currently staying. He talks to the Guardians over the com-link, mainly to set up the story in GOTG annual 2. The plan is set, the newly arrived Firelord and the Guardians of the Galaxy will keep Galactus at bay, whilst the Keeper saves the population of the oceanic world that Galactus is trying to feed on.

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Firelord is quickly brought down and Charlie-27, Starhawk/Aleta and Talon take the fight outside to Galactus. Talon even uses magic to hold Galactus, which only gets him a telling off from a disembodied Dr Strange head. On the ship, Nikki seeks to warm Firelord up for aid healing, while Vance speaks to Yondu, who informs Vance that his spirit god Anthos had told him that there are Centaurians on the planet below.

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The Keeper teleports the Alphan underwater city to Centauri IV, just as Yondu arrives by teleport. An Alphan carries the drowning Yondu to the surface.

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Meanwhile Galactus wastes no time bringing the Guardians down, only to face a Keeper, as tall as him. This Galactus sized Keeper attacks Galactus who, having gone without sustenance for so long, is debilitated. The  Keeper is about to deliver the killing blow till Eon arrives and talks him down.

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With the Alpha city on Centauri IV, Galactus feasts on the planet Arima. An agreement is reached. Firelord will remain the interim protector of the universe and the Keeper will join Galactus to help him feed, while  saving lives. Then the Keeper reforms his board and Yondu finds the lost Centauri tribe. The Guardian who has lost the most, is home again.

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Notes: Where was Drydock throughout this whole run? This is the first time we’ve seen it since Annual 1, but it’s never said what happened to it.

This story seems a bit padded and seems to be just the chance for Valentino to do something with Galactus.

The Keeper assisting Galactus to feed him and save lives at the same time, seems to be such a simple idea, that it’s strange it’s not come up before now.

It was nice to see Firelord again, but his part in the story, much like Nikki was very minimal.

A fight scene including Galactus is always worth seeing.

Ok, the Guardians’ teleport system put Yondu in the middle of the ocean. Really?

Although it may lead to his leaving the team, Yondu finding his people is one of the high points of this issue.

Next Time: The Secret Origin of the Guardians of the Galaxy.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 23

Guardians of the Galaxy #23 was cover dated April 1992 and was on sale February 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Armageddon: Inferno #1, Cage #1, Justice League Spectacular #1, What If #36, X-O Manowar #1 and Youngblood #1.

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War of the Guards was written by Jim Valentino, but the art was by the first guest artist on this volume, Mark Texeira and opens with the last scene from issue 22. Starhawk  blasts the ground in front of the Guardians of the Galaxy, giving Rancor and her mutants time to escape into the house of Madripoor’s leader. Starhawk battles internally with Aleta while Major Victory and the rest of the team use their star badges to teleport to Rancor’s location where the two teams battle once more, Talon taking on Rancor directly.

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There’s another scene with an alien being recruited, this time the diminutive Grott the Manslayer. Now we learn that the person collecting these aliens is Brahl of Force. This brings all of Korvac’s Minions of Menace back together, last time these guys were together was Thor Annual 6 (covered on this here Blog) and there’s also a scene with Hollywood deciding to leave Earth to visit Mainframe. Both of these threads will get picked up in the next annual.

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The battle between Rancor’s team and the Guardians of the Galaxy is brief and brutal with Talon in particular acquitting himself very well against  Rancor. Before the fight is decided for good. Rancor’s mutants are teleported away, by someone with a familiar looking faceplate.

The Guardians then chase after a fleeing Starhawk and somewhere, the Silver Surfer, now known as the Keeper is heading towards Earth, following the course of Galactus.

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Notes: This is the first of the art fill in issues and sadly one of the best. Mark Texeira has a distinct style that doesn’t fit as well with Valentino’s Guardians. But taken against issues 28-29 and Annual 2, this is lovely stuff.

Not much happens outside of the action, but the action is fast and intense and Texeira’s panels flow well one into the other and it has a fantastic visceral quality that suits Rancor better than Valentino/Montano’s art.

Talon has a great hero moment, embarassing and disarming Rancor with aplomb and enjoys this hard won victory as most people would.

The set up for Annual 2 is now done and we leave the issue continuing the idea of Galactus coming to Earth to devour it, pursued by the Silver Surfer, bearer of the Quantum Bands.

Next Time: Valentino and Montano return to the art team for the Coming of the Keeper.



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.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 16

Guardians of the Galaxy 16 was cover dated September 1991 and was on sale in July 1991, sharing the spinner racks with The Fly #1, Mighty Thor #436, New Gods #38,  Sensational She-Hulk #31, Superman #59 and Wonderman #1.

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Should one of us Fall was written and drawn by Jim Valentino, inked by Steve Montano and inspired by Jim Starlin. It opens with  a tense stand-off between Yondu Udonta and Photon, the last known Centaurians in the galaxy. After an exposition filled staring competition, Yondu swipes at Photon and opens her jugular. And that is how this issue starts!

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All the other fights brewing from the last issue pause as Interface rushes over to save her adopted daughter. She puts a cast over Photon’s neck and as Yondu tries to help, shocked and ashamed of what he has done, Interface reduces his hand to vapour. Martinex arrives and guides the three of them to the Captain America II’s sickbay. As this happens, Starhawk calms Eighty-Five and Replica, suggesting that they have to end the cycle of hate between the Kree and the Skrull.

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There is a truce on the ship and on Homeworld, Aleta and Malevolence battle for the right to tutor and guide the Protege. The Protege demands to know who Aleta is and the two of them bond quickly. In sick bay, Photon is stablilised and Yondu’s missing hand is replaced with a golden stump, with hidden weapons. Things are getting tense, so Martinex and Interface talk about the Protege, his power and his origins. He was genetically engineered to be the new Magus and he has the power to absorb skills and powers on sight, meaning that the more powers and powerful he sees, the more powerful he becomes. If he should meet someone like.. Galactus.

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The two teams work decide to work together and stop the Protege, but due to the Protege’s powers, they shouldn’t use their own superhuman abilities.  As this is discussed, Aleta continues to bond with the Protege, teaching him how benevolence and love are important to all, gods and mortals alike. As she starts to get through to him, Malevolence points out that the Guardians of the Galaxy, mostly non-believers are on their way to attack him, calling Aleta a traitor. By the time the Guardians and Force teleport down to the planet (minus Yondu and Photon) the Protege’s guards are ready for them and a battle quickly ensues.

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Upon seeing the Protege in front of her, Replica bows in supplication in mid-battle. Martinex covers her in an ice dome, allowing everyone else to use their powers and the Protege observes and absorbs all the powers and skills of the attackers. By this point, Aleta loses it and attacks Mavelonce with ferocity. Seeing Aleta lose control and asserting that the child is her’s Vance becomes very concerned about her state of mind and rushes to help her see reason before she does something she’ll regret. He does get far, Aleta blasts him back and he’s left in slack-jawed amazement. Just as Aleta is about to finish Malevolence, Starhawk appears behind  Aleta and re-absorbs her. Begging forgiveness, he leaves, feeling that the re-absorbtion hasn’t gone as planned and something is wrong.

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Facing the Guardians and Force, the Protege demands that Aleta be brought before him, wanting Starhawk’s location, since no one knows, he prepares to kill the Guardians until Replica begs for their lives. Offering to stay and be his friend to save them, Replica takes her leave of the Guardians of the Galaxy, saying her goodbyes to everyone, including Vance who has just lost the love of his life and the first happiness he had known in over a thousand years.

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The Protege banishes the Guardians and Force and declares Malevolence as his matricarch. The Guardians and Force say their goodbyes, with Broadside and Charlie-27 having a sweet moment. Force departs and in a very Fantastic Four moment, Vance Astro requests that he be taken back to Earth as he quits the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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There’s little epilogue featuring the personification of Eternity and a mainstay of the Marvel Universe, the Living Tribunal, who discuss the threat posed by the Protege, but neither actually do anything, assuming it’s either not their problem, or there’s no problem as yet.


Notes: I loved this issue when I first read it over 20 years ago and I still love it now, so much happens, lots of action and drama.

This is one of Jim Valentino’s best issues, the team looks great and everyone has something to do, leaving nothing wasted.

This issue is a strange comment on religion, with the Universalites searching for their god for so long, they just make one. It’s less in your face than Jim Starlin’s take on the dark side of organised religions, but worth noting nonetheless.

Despite Vance’s concerns, I don’t see how Aleta lost it as  badly as he does. She was raised on a warrior’s world and is clearly quite a passionate person. She has also lost children in the past and feels understandably worried about the risks to this child she clearly cares for, being exposed to lets be honest Satan’s daughter.

One thing that bothers me about the issue is that the teams go to Homeworld to stop the Protege and then without much protest just leave and everyone seems ok with this. Really?

I don’t have anything to say here beyond just gushing about how great this issue was, but I can say that this is a real status change for the team for quite some time.

Next Time: For the first time since Marvel Presents #3: Earth