Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 61

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Notes:

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.

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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.

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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.

Notes:

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 (Vol 1) 59

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Notes:

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:

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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.

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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.

Notes:

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.

 

 

 

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.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 42

Guardians of the Galaxy 42 was cover dated November 1993 and was on sale September 1993, sharing the spinner racks with 1963 #6, Avengers West Coast #100, Demon Annual #2, Outsiders Alpha #1, Outsiders Omega #1, Prophet #1 and Transformers Generation 2 #1.

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The Sins of the Father was written by Michael Gallagher, inked as always by Steve Montano and guest pencilled by Dale Eaglesham and it opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy, well everyone but Starhawk teleporting to Asgard to see the Inhuman taskforce demolishing Asgard piece by piece. Yellowjacket and Charlie-27 advance on the Inhumans while Vance Astro and Nikki follow Talon after their leader.

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Loki is actually face to face with Thor, now aged and out of shape. Loki is enraged and blasts Thor to the ground and walks away. Now aware of Loki’s involvement, the Guardians help this wounded Thor to his feet. Talon picks up the hammer and throws it to Vance, who is astounded until Sif arrives and points out that it is not the true hammer Mjolnir, but a copy and she then tells them of the last thousand years or so.

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After centuries more of adventure and glory and a long and loving courtship, Thor married Sif and Sif settled down to be a wife and mother. She gave birth to a boy whom they named Woden and waited for Thor to also settle down. He didnt’. Woden became sullen and belligerent and in desperation Sif asked Woden’s grandfather Odin to get Thor to be at home and be part of their family. As a father with a difficult son himself, Odin commanded Thor to stay at home and commit to family life. For a while it all worked, Woden became better behaved and a proud part of the family. Sadly Thor was still unhappy, instead of spending too much time on adventures, he simply spent too much time reliving them at the mead hall. Woden dispairing of this lack luster father moved out and when Sif took him to task for it, he tried to hit her. She mentions that he still bears the scar from that day. Humbled, disgraced and for the most part broken, the final rejection came from Mjolnir, which Thor could no longer wield, since he was for obvious reasons, no longer worthy.

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Charlie-27 finds the Inhumans and along with Yellowjacket proceeds to demolish them. With Yellowjacket keeping Phobia at bay, Charlie takes out Wormhole, Imprint and Stupor, with Composite unable to do more that throw a strand of hair at him. Observing this is Mephisto, who from his realm sees Vance Astro’s new black undershirt and recognises it as the Beyonder’s work. Swearing vengeance on Vance, Mephisto leaves for the Beyonder’s universe to go get his daughter back.

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On a far away world Heimdall and Starhawk awaken in the clutches of Remora, a tentacled creature who strips them of memories, Heimdall of a great victory and Starhawk of her reunion with Vance, an act which further removes her from her feelings for Vance. Remora intends to strip them of all their memories, so they can join his followers, a race who became so uninterested in their way of live began to live it vicariously through the feelings and memories of others.

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We’ll get back to that in a little while (or next issue) but we’re back with Loki who has joined his taskforce and is about to open up the muzzle keeping Composite from using the vocal power of Blackbolt. This will allow the entire city to be destroyed at once, before this can be done lightning fills the sky. Loki is shocked by this and looks towards the source  of this new attack and sees a full grown Mjolnir wielding Woden, son of Thor.

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Do we need to say to be concluded?

Notes:

The knowledge that Loki is behind the Inhuman slavery is almost completely ignored here, focusing instead on Loki’s endgame which seems to be just breaking stuff at his dad’s place.

The Guardians teleport to the gates of Asgard? I thought the only way to get there was Bifrost, except for that time when it was in the negative zone and when it was on Earth.

Vance orders Charlie-27 not to engage and enemy, this enemy put him to the floor and used him to hurt his team, how likely is Charlie to obey this order?

It is great to see Charlie-27 just take the Inhumans to pieces. Vance has the shield and Nikki has her guns, but the fighter of the team is certainly Charlie.

The Remora is an interesting idea for a villain, but he seems oddly out of place in this story and it serves only to keep Vance and Aleta apart by pushing her more into the Starhawk role.

Thor’s fall from grace happens over an indeterminate amount of time, but it is good to see that even heroes fall. This issue glosses over the domestic violence, but it is good to hear the “He still bears the scar from the attempt.”

Ok, Woden sort of came out of nowhere, but I want to see what happens next all the more.

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 24

Guardians of the Galaxy #24 had a cover date of May 1992 and was on sale in March 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Aquaman #6, Captain America: The Movie #1, Cool World #1, Excalibur #50, Lobo’s Back #1 and Nomad #1.

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The Coming of the Keeper was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino with Steve Montano on inks and opens with Aleta (Now trapped in the body of Dark Starhawk) trying to have a conversation with her fiancée Vance Astro (Major Victory), who is having an understandably difficult time being with a girl who is now trapped in the body of the b@$+@£d who stole her away from you. The fact that the b@$+@£d in question is a man doesn’t help. There are a couple of person to person scenes fleshing out the relationships and how they stand. Talon and Yondu get to know one another better, Nikki and Charlie-27 reaffirm their platonic friendship, Tarin and Gabrielle wonder if there is even a Comandeers team left after all that has recently happened and then there is an alarm.

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The Silver Surfer/Keeper has arrived. He races towards Earth to beat Galactus there and there is a brief recap of his origin and some of the past that took place after the 20th century.  As he arrives in Earth’s atmosphere, his is immediately attacked by the Guardians of the Galaxy, still seeing the Surfer as an enemy from their battle with him in Silver Surfer Annual 4. (Follow this link https://liverpoolmunky76.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1034&action=edit)

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Taking none of it, the Keeper halts the battle and then meets with the Guardians to make peace. There is then a bit of filling in of the blanks, where Galactus returned to feast on Earth and along with Firelord and Dargo, the Future Thor, they held him back. This cost the Herald Nova her life and the chance for the Silver Surfer to save his homeworld Zenn-La.

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The Eon, a mentor figure and the entity who chooses the protector of the universe arrives and tells the Guardians and the Keeper that Galactus is not heading to Earth at all, but to the three inhabited worlds orbiting the star Centauri. Yondu gasps as he is from Centauri IV. The team decide in an instant to go and stop Galactus, no matter what.

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Notes: A welcome return to Jim Valentino on art, though a lot of it seems rushed. The story is another soap-opera before action, like 21 before it, but this sets up a more epic story.

There’s more of Vance being freaked out by Aleta being a man, showing the difference between the Earthborn Vance and the Acturan Aleta, only Starhawk is unsurprised by his reaction.

This is the last issue showing Vance’s coat, which shrunk and is now just gone. It shows up again in issue 28, but not again after that.

There’s mention of Martinex and his plans of a new group and Nikki reflects on her treatment of Replica, seeds that grow into something else down the road. Talon also shows that he has some mystical abilities, something else that will be explored later.

Yondu’s crest or as he calls it a Tahlei, is stated as being compressed hair follicles and it is hinted that it is connected to attracting a mate, like bird plumage.

This sets up the double sized 25th issue and it does so well and has me excited for the next issue.

Next Time:  And now: Galactus.

 

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) 22

Guardians of the Galaxy 22 was cover dated March 1992 and was on sale January 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #674, Alpha Flight #106, Harbinger #1, John Byrne’s Next Men #1, New Titans #84 and Punisher Warzone #1.

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Re-Enter Starhawk was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with a quick recap of last issue and then a splash page introduction to the new Starhawk. Unlike the previous iteration, this time Starhawk and Aleta share the body equally, with Aleta being able to perceive both the outside world and also Starhawk’s mind. Despite his no longer being ‘One Who Knows’ they head straight for Madripoor to aid the Guardians.

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Starhawk watches as Charlie-27 fights Blockade, Nikki shoots Batwing, Talon flirts with MindScan and SideStep, Yondu savagely battles Shaddo and Vance Astro, free of his containment suit battles Rancor.

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There are then five little side scenes, one is two aliens Tork and Dumog fleeing capture, until like Teju last issue meet with an unseen ally. The second is Rinquist and his master confirming that the  cloaked figure who summoned the Guardians did not send Rancor and her lieutenants to him, then we see Replica posing at the Protege calling off the search for Starhawk under to watchful eye of Malevolence, Simon (Hollywood) Williams calls Vision (Mainframe) to try and reconnect with the only family his has left and finally there’s an external view of Galactus’ world ship where Galactus feels that his hunger is more important that a long ago made promise, which is full of ill portent.

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Back to Madripoor we go as Starhawk enters the fray, taking Rancor out after saving Nikki, before introducing him/herself. She/he is reuinited with a lets be honest justifiably freaked out Vance Astro. Rancor and MindScan try to convince Starhawk that he should join them as there is clearly tension between him and the Guardians. Charlie-27 states that Starhawk has never been a traitor, but Starhawk counters that he plays only by his own rules.

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Notes: Although a lot happens in this issue, very little of it moves the Rancor in Madripoor story along and a lot of time is dedicated to dangling plotlines and upcoming stories. That said it’s a great little issue and the time taken to reintroduce Starhawk fleshes out the changes within him/her.

Aleta and Stakar as back to bickering with each other which Aleta needling Stakar that he is no longer one who knows more than once. Then again, he does pay attention and isn’t stupid.

Rather than light powers, Starhawk’s new gifts are dark related, hence his new colour scheme. It does raise the question of whether Starhawk knew this was going to happen, or whether he is adapting to this new form.

Despite them once ruling an entire world, Rancor’s lieutenants do very poorly against a rather under-powered Guardians team, with only  Rancor herself seeming like any real threat.

The scene between Talon and SideStep is quite amusing, two people who would likely get on, but fate has put them on different sides. SideStep seems less cruel and violent than the rest and just seems to be working for Rancor because it’s easier.

After being apart for so long, Aleta and Vance are reunited, he’s out of his suit and she is now no longer a she. This is awkward and not played for laughs, which a nice touch.

Starhawk is clearly not loyal to the team and it’s left very much in the air what he will do next.

Next time: War of the Guards and a guest artist.

 

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) 15

Guardians of the Galaxy 15 was cover dated August 1991 and was on sale in June 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Deathstroke: the Terminator #1, Fantastic Four #355, Jaguar #1, Solar Man of the Atom #1, Wonder Woman #57 and X-Force #1.

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The Power of the Protege was written and drawn by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Aleta and Vance getting engaged under the watchful eye of Mephisto. Mephisto, in his hell-like home monologues about the recent past, a nice bit of exposition and re-capping, with the added bonus of the little known fact that he assisted the Spirit of Vengeance in removing Starhawk’s memories.

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The scene shifts to the homeworld of the Universal Church of Truth and the presentation of the Protege, he who will be the new Magus. The Protege is overseeing a process to choose a matriarch, a woman who can guide him in the use of his growing powers and his leadership of his chuch. This process seems to be a last man standing combat competition, with females from across the known worlds, battling for the right to stand at the Protege’s side, including a Stark and the demonic Malevolence.

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While the Protege learns how to use the fire that Malevolence wields, Interface tells the rest of Force some of her history. She was born on Uloc, a peaceful world of intellectuals. The Universal Church arrived and forcibly converted the planet and enslaved it’s population.  Interface was approached by the energy being Tachyon, who awoke in her the power of matter transmutation. They both left Uloc and she founded Force. As Eighty-Five questions her choices, Brahl returns and commands the rest of Force to prepare to attack the Guardians, whose ship is approaching.

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On the ship the team is getting ready to get to the Church’s homeworld and Replica, in fear for her mortal soul, cowers on the bridge. Vance arrives to see Nikki carrying pistols again and they wait for Aleta and Starhawk to arrive. Starhawk gives Aleta his blessing over her engagement and just for a second, things for the majority of the team look good. Well it’s a Marvel title, so we know that won’t last. The ship arrives at Homeworld and Martinex is looking for answers from an amnesiac Starhawk and a cowering Replica, when Force attack.

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Once again the teams pair off, most of the pairings matching the ones from Guardians of the Galaxy #6. Scanner goes for Nikki, Broadside grapples with Charlie-27 and Photon seeks out Yondu, who has yet to show up this issue. Photon finds Yondu, this time he is willing to fight. Photon tells of her life, how her eye-blast powers caused fear in the superstitious Centaurians and she was cast out, losing her mother and father to starvation and a mob respectively. Photon was found by Interface and Tachyon, who raised her and she rejoiced at the devastation caused by the Badoon and forever abandoned the spiritual side of her nature. Yondu is understandingly taken aback. Tachyon stands before Vance and Aleta, Aleta teleports down to Homeworld. Brahl reacts badly, as he was there to prevent Aleta leaving. Unaware, Brahl is struck down by an almost immaterial Starhawk, who is as incorporeal as Brahl.

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Eighty-Five finds Replica and decides not to fight, uttering the words. “Take my soul if you will Malevolence, the Kree do not war on children.” Which is how we find out where Replica is from. She’s a Skrull. Skrulls and Kree have warred for millenia and in a fit of rage, attacks Eighty-Five. Aleta now arrives on Homeworld and challenges Malevolence, putting her life on the line to protect the Protege from her evil. Eighty-Five vs Replica, Scanner Vs Nikki, Aleta vs Malevolence and Photon vs Yondu. The Players are in place and the fight has just begun.

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Notes: I love this issue as the stories interweave well and the action is on a knife edge. With the exception of Malevolence and Brahl, even the bad guys have an understandable point of view.

On the first page, it looks like Vance and Aleta are getting dressed, hinting at their relationship is getting more and more intimate, then Vance proposes.

Charlie-27 and Broadside make peace in a charming two panel scene, it’s a shame nothing ever really comes of it.

The Protege is the next Magus and is seeking a tutor, but only one good in a fight? He also seems to be able to aquire powers and abilities upon seeing them in action.

It has all come to a head, now what?

Next time: Double length issue 16.

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 13

Guardians of the Galaxy #13 was cover dated June 1991 and was on sale April 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #666, Avengers #333, Captain Atom #53, Damage Control #1, Flash #51 and The Mighty Thor #433.

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Spirit of Vengeance is written and drawn by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Vance Astro training himself with Captain America’s shield, whilst giving a bit of recap of recent events. First time I read this, I hadn’t yet read issues 4-11 and found this particularly helpful in that way that comics used to do very well, a bit of recap in case this was your first ever issue of the title.

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On the bridge, Charlie-27 is scanning the ship for a suspected bomb, left by the Stark in the previous issue while arguing with Nikki over the fire rose (also from last issue) they find that the bomb is in the gym, where Vance is. There is a scene running at the same time with Aleta trying to make peace with her ex-husband Starhawk. Who seems to give her relationship with Vance his blessing, while internally plotting to get his wife back.

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Aleta wanders in to see Vance in the gym and she asks to go back to his room and then the room explodes.

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On the nearby planet, Autolycus, the alien from last issue sees that there is a ship in orbit and his head turns into a burning alien skull and a fiery bike appears before him. He calls himself the Spirit of Vengeance, the Ghost Rider of Sarka. He launches himself into orbit to teach the blasphemers the true meaning of vengeance. There are also a couple of character scenes, where Replica puts forward her case to become one of the Guardians, which Martinex is wary of. There is also a scene with Yondu praying to his god Anthos, praying for guidance over his encounter with Photon. In the final cut away we see that an unseen figure, who is clearly Malevolence, recruiting Force by defeating them and negotiating with Brahl, who wants only one thing, revenge on the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Back on the Captain America II, the team fear for Vance who has been saved by Aleta. Then the problem is repairs. Martinex notes that there is planet nearby and they begin to get closer, when the Ghost Rider flies towards them. Starhawk. Starhawk seeks peace, but is attacked and burned by this Spirit of Vengeance. The fire burns him body and soul and severs him from his memores, he is no longer ‘One who Knows’. Charlie-27 fires on the Ghost Rider, despite Vance’s warning. It has little to no effect. Aleta flies outside to talk with him peacefully, while Nikki tries to contact Sarka to effect repairs.

The Sarkan authorities ask if they are universalites and when Nikki asks they are unco-operative. They then contact the Guardians and offer repairs, if they kill the Ghost Rider. Aleta convinces the Rider to come aboard the ship and see that they are not universalites, but warriors against oppression. Sensing no deception, the Rider accompanies Aleta and appears on the bridge of the Captain America II.

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Things seem to have calmed down when Replica shows up and declares that the Ghost Rider is a demon and a slayer of priests, he must be killed. Seeing the Ankh-like symbol on her chest the Ghost Rider believes he has been lied to and declares that the Guardians will all die.

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Notes: A nice issue, setting up new stories, while clearing away some of the older ones. Vance, Aleta and Starhawk’s love triangle heats up, which adds character to the first half of the comic.

The Universal Church of Truth, the Magus and the Ankh symbol are all hold overs from Jim Starlin’s work on Warlock in the 70’s and are leading towards the title’s next major arc.

Ghost Rider was inexplicably popular at this point in Marvel and so this character isn’t so much of a surprise really, just like Rancor in the world of mutants story. The Guardians are always going to be linked to the present day Marvel Universe and this is just another element of that.

Vance using Captain America’s shield has forced him to move beyond his self pity and stand up as a hero in his own right and not just some survivor of a bygone age.

All of the threads of the last dozen issues are  starting to weave together and I’m remembering why I loved this title so much when it first came out.

Next Time: Destroyed by the Spirit of Vengeance.