Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1 was on sale May 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Animal Man #37, Iron Man #270, Legion of Superheroes #20, Quasar #24, Superman: Man of Steel #1 and Uncanny X-Men #278.

There are three stories in this issue. The origin of the Guardians, which we’ve already covered so I won’t waste everyone’s time with, part 4 of the Korvac Quest and a tale of the early days of the Guardians all done by Jim Valentino.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (01)   Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (54)

The final part of the Korvac Quests opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy, aboard the Drydock, arriving at the tail end of the 30th Century in orbit of Earth’s moon. On the moon’s surface in the Lunar colony, Michael Korvac’s father awaits the birth of his son and senses the Guardian’s presence. He lends part of his power to protect his wife as he goes through labour and flies into the sky to attack the Guardians, whom he believes are here to kill his family. There is a fierce battle, with the Guardians holding their own against Korvac Snr.

   Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (10)

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (10)b Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (11)

 

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (15)   Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (18)

 

After stopping by the Watcher’s house and being observed by the moon’s leaders, the team face Korvac Snr as his son is being born. He tells the Guardians that he would gladly give his life to his son. A statement his son takes quick advantage of, draining the power off his father and becoming Michael: The Enemy decades earlier than he should.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (20)  Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (21)

The Guardians face off against the infant Korvac, fully knowing that they stand almost no chance against him. Fortunately, the team’s resident pre-cog has already seen this coming and summoned an ally, Krugarr the Sorcerer Supreme. Krugarr appears alongside his teacher, the ancient one. Vance Astro recognises him immediately as Doctor Steven Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme when Vance was a child.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (22)    Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (24)

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Contained in this magic bubble, the baby Korvac is taken back through time to the point where all this started, the end of the original Korvac Saga. They appear on the world ship of Galactus who drains the infant of all the stolen power, but leaves the child unharmed. Now the Guardians are left again with that debate. What do they do with this baby that they know will become a monster. Being the good guys they are, they return the baby to his mother, who they tells the baby to wreak vengeance upon the Guardians after they leave. The Guardians were always destined to create Korvac.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (28)Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (29)

 

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (32)

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (33)

The team then make Aleta an official member of the team and Yondu finds the book of Antag, starting off the Guardians’ quest to find the shield of Captain America. This leads directly into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 issue 1.

The next story takes place shortly after the Guardians meet up for the first time and the team only consists of Vance Astro, Yondu, Charlie-27 and Martinex. They are holed up in some abandoned building, in the ruins of New York City (I’m only assuming that, NYC is always Marvel’s go to location) There is some silver age bickering until Martinex comes up with the idea of finding a new location and means of transport. The team wander through the streets until they find the matter transporter. They remove the guards, punch in co-ordinates and are teleported to Jupiter.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (43) Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (44)Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (45)        Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (46)

 

They soon are surrounded by Badoon and realise that whenever they use the matter transporter, the Badoon can work out where they will materialise and can be ready for them. The team then steal a shuttle and after some fancy flying and dog-fighting, they leave Jupiter and crash land on the ice/ocean moon of Europa.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (47)Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (50)

The shuttle is destroyed with an escape pod fleeing unseen and finding a huge metallic structure under the surface of Europa. Nothing should be here, not even any government facilities. The team fly inside the structure to look around.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (51)

 

The whole place runs on magnetism and with the huge M on the front, it does lend itself to you working out who built the place. The team go on board and find all sorts of things, from food, to costume-making facilities and then a large two nascelled spaceship, almost completed in a drydock.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (52)  Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (53)aKorvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (53)b

The team decide to stay, to load up on provisions, clothes and tools to repair the ship and then they leave, piloting the USS Captain America out of Europa’s orbit and into their battle against the Badoon.

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (54)

 

Notes: Korvac Quest Part 4

Finally, with part 4 everyone looks consistent, with costumes and art matching the more familiar Guardians look.

The story has a nice conclusion, with time sorting itself out and the power of Galactus being returned to Galactus with the baby surviving.

At this point in the 30th Century, the inhumans are in a reservation on the moon, which has interesting (if heavy-handed) parallels to Native Americans in the past.

In the Watcher’s house, the Guardians see alternate versions of their reality before being shown the door by Uatu, the Watcher. An irrelevant bit, but a nice addition to this issue.

The Guardians become the inspiration for their own worst enemy, a bit trite, but you need to have something like that with time travel stories.

An up and down story with a nice finish.

Notes: Encounter on Europa

This is a nice little story, filling the gaps between Marvel Superheroes #18 and Marvel Team Up #5, this shows both where the Mutants of Haven started from and where the USS Captain America came from as well, tying them up in a well written story.

I like how none of Vance’s jokes are got by anyone else, a nice little Buck Rogers-ish moment and fleshes out Vance’s man out of time sort of thing.

Over all a great little annual, full of bits and pieces that are worth looking at for even a passing Guardians of the Galaxy fan.

 

Next Time: On an all new post, we return to the Guardians’ main series.

Avengers 177

Avengers 177 was cover dated November 1978 and was on sale August 1978, sharing the spinner racks with Adventure Comics #460, Captain Marvel #59, Green Lantern #110, Machine Man #8, Superman Family #192 and X-Men #115.

Avengers 177-00 Avengers 177-01

The Hope and the Slaughter was written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Dave Wenzel and opens with the Avengers standing in front of Michael Korvac. Above the opening page is a brief summing up of the saga so far. Korvac re-iterates how the Avengers by finding him have put at risk both his plans for the universe and the universe itself.

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There then follows a fierce and vicious fight between Korvac and the Avengers, during which Moondragon telepathically summons the Guardians of the Galaxy who join the fray.

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It doesn’t go well, before anyone can react, Michael, with a wave of his hand destroys Drydock, killing Vance Astro. An incensed Nikki attacks and is killed instantly, Quicksilver also falls.

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The battle goes on and whilst the Avengers battle valiantly, they have no chance against Michael. Carina walks into the room and the Avengers try to use her as Michael’s weak point. Carina doesn’t defend herself and in her defence Michael becomes enraged and battles on, the Avengers and Guardians alike, falling to his power.

Avengers 177-08

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At one point only Captain America is standing and he doesn’t give up, pointing out that he is only a man and yet he will not allow Michael to get away with all he’s done. Cap is the only one in the issue that actually hurts Michael, but was thrown through a door for his trouble. Wonderman then revives and charges Michael, no longer held back by his fears and manages to stagger Michael as well. Starhawk, Vision, Iron Man and Thor are also back on their feet and all fire on Michael at once.

Avengers 177-13Avengers 177-14

 

Michael finally falls, but through his own choice and not anything the Avengers do. Iron Man runs over and finds that Michael Korvac is dead. Carina starts glowing and then attacks the Avengers in Korvac’s name.

 

 

 

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Carina too falls and the  two of them lie on the floor of their home and this would normally be the point where the  Avengers would consider it a victory. But watching all this was Moondragon who realises the paradise that Korvac would have made and knows that in his last instant, he restored Drydock and all the lives lost. Thor becomes Donald Blake and works to save the injured Avengers, whilst Moondragon, realising the Avengers were the villains and not the heroes, alters everyone’s memories and walks away in sorrow.

Avengers 177-17 Avengers 177-20 Avengers 177-20b

 

There are no notes her, such a great 70’s comic story with a bittersweet ending, what’s not to love.

 

 

 

Avengers 175

Avengers 175 was cover dated September 1978 and was on sale June 1978, sharing the spinner racks with All Star Comics #74, Black Panther #11, Flash #265, Iron Man #114,  Justice League of America #158 and X-Men #113.

Avengers_175_00 Avengers_175_01

The End and Beginning? Was written by James Shooter and David Michelinie and pencilled by Dave Wenzel. It opens with the Avengers (a full roster of Captain America, Thor, Hercules, Quicksilver, Jocasta, Iron Man, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Moondragon, Wonderman, Wasp, Yellowjacket, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Two Gun Kid and Captain Mar-Vell) standing over the  dust pile that used to be the Collector. Iron Man looks around the Collector’s ship and finds a time machine. There is then some exposition about Thor’s recent jumps around time, explaining his not remembering the events he witnessed. Iron Man sends Two Gun Kid back to his own time and the once the Vision finds the teleporter, the Avengers back to present day Earth. The team head back to Avengers Mansion from the various points that they were teleported to.

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Back at Michael’s house, Michael and Carina merge together and their histories are revealed to one another and the reader. Carina reveals being sent to Earth by her father, the Collector  to find, seduce and destroy Michael, but she soon fell in love with him and instead of betraying Michael, she betrayed her father instead. Michael too reveals his history and we learn that the Collector and the Guardians of the Galaxy are seeking the same person. Michael the Enemy is Korvac. We learn that after his defeat at the hands of Thor and the Guardians, Korvac teleported to Galactus’ World-ship and when he tried to interface his computer systems with the world-ship, he became imbued with power and knowledge far beyond anything ever expected and he became the being called Michael. He refashioned his body to appear human once more and left for 20th Century Earth to live out a normal life whilst he waited for his chance to take proprietorship of the universe. Not for power or glory, but to fix the universe, freeing it from chaos and injustice.

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Back at Avengers Mansion, the Avengers bicker and there are several vignettes showing the  Avengers not doing the super-hero thing. Wonderman shows Ms Marvel, who shows up citing her 7th sense, around the gym. Quicksilver slags off Jocasta and Vision before leaving. Iron Man broods, fearing he can’t do all he needs to do, before swallowing it all and pressing on. He decides to contact the Guardians of the Galaxy. Starhawk neither realising he has found Michael already, or that Michael is Korvac declines, saying that he must wait for Korvac to appear. Martinex suggests that Starhawk helps the Avengers, so Starhawk leaves. Michael Korvac sees all this and hopes that the Avengers listen to Starhawk and are led away from them. because Korvac has no emnity towards the Avengers and it would be a pity to have to destroy them.

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Notes: The stage is set, the players are in place. The final act of the Korvac Saga is about to begin.