Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 58

Guardians of the Galaxy 58 was cover dated March 1995 and was on sale January 1995, sharing the spinner racks with Absolute Vertigo #1,Lobo/ Deadman: Brave and Bold #1, Power of Shazam #1, Superman: Kal #1, Astonishing X-Men #1, Factor-X #1 and X-Man #1.

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The Final Solution was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Talon recapping the recent events in a very clunky manner before jumping at the High Evolutionary. This doesn’t do too well and it’s leads to the rest of the team attacking, until the intervention of a giant sized Yellowjacket.

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Yellowjacket points out that the High Evolutionary was once a human being and petitions for reason. High Evolutionary, Ripjak and Vance Astro talk about finding and stopping Bubonicus and the three of them tele-port over to Ripjak’s ship (currently held in a tractor beam) to pool resources. After some technobabble, the next destination of Bubonicus is the pilgrim planet Sanctuary. With the risk to the other Guardians, Vance agrees to accompany the other two alone.

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To say the team takes this badly is an understatement. Charlie-27, Yellowjacket and Talon all voice their objections and as Vance leaves, Talon uses this chance to sow more discontent amongst the team over Vance’s leadership.

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On Sanctuary, Vance and Rijak engage Bubonicus, whilst the High Evolutionary attends to diseased pilgrims. Vance is knocked out and when he awakens, he learns that Bubonicus has gone and that Ripjak has followed him and the High Evolutionary is about to follow, but Vance is to be left behind. Dejected, Vance contacts Icarus, but there’s no one there.

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Once back on the Icarus, Vace learns that the team has been temporarily disbanded, before an election can be called for a new leader upon the team members’ return. Everyone except Yondu agreed to this, but he also left. The only person left on board with Vance is Aleta who wants to renew her relationship with Vance, reminding him that they are still engaged.

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As the two reunite, Starhawk flies past on his search for the former Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd, whom he finds floating in space, beaten and left for dead.

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Now for some reasons we have the High Evolutionary?

Talon’s recap before his attack is just plain awkward.

Yellowjacket growing to giant size to prevent the fight, despite the very real risk of heart failure is a reminder of how criminally under-used she has been in this series.

The High Evolutionary invites Vance along because of his black body suit, then he’s considered a liability for the EXACT SAME REASON….Wtf?

It was nice seeing Vance in action.

This issue brings to an end the period of Vance being the leader, which started in #17.

This is also the end of the saga of Ripjak/Bubonicus and this starts the last phase of the series.

NEXT TIME: Starhawk’s quest and a back up feature.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol1) 50

Guardians of the Galaxy 50 was cover dated July 1994 and was on sale in May 1994, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #700, Disney’s the Lion King #1, Flash #92, Star Slammers #1, Steel Annual #1 and Warstrike #1.

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Coldly sublime, intolerably just was written by Michael Gallagher, with art by Kevin West and Steve Montano and opens with Talon being tortured by Mephisto and Malevolence, with specific attention being paid to his lower back in an effort to force him to surrender the amulet he wears around his neck.

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After a momentary gap in blasts, Talon is able to free himself and strike back against the two, he also magics himself up a brace to support his back.

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The scene shifts to Yondu in prayer, having a vision of his people’s god Anthos. The vision is vivid, but confusing, leaving Yondu with questions, the only reply from Anthos is “Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you who you are. The answers lie within the sacred flames.” He wakes from this vision to find himself with the Guardians of the Galaxy who are all transfixed, as is the Beyonder, by the Protege who has become so powerful as to be a threat to the multiverse itself.

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The Protege seeks to gain the support of the Hawkgod, knowing how he rankles as the way the abstract entities treat him, but the Hawkgod rejects this and blasts the Protege for the greater good, but not before stripping the powers from Stakar and Aleta, this ending their joint existence as Starhawk.



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Somewhere else, Sidestep and Blockade return to Rancor, telling her that all is in place. Rancor reveals a clone of Charlie-27, a key part of her plan, which doesn’t stop her from butchering him in front of her lieutenants.

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We are then back with the Protege who brings Mephisto and Malevolence to his side, inadvertently bringing Talon as well. The Guardians see this and with the Beyonder’s help attack the trio to stop the Protege and free Talon.

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The fight is quick, with Charlie-27 and Yondu going straight for Mephisto, who fights back using mystical fire. Seeing the flames, Yondu knows who he is and where he stands and fires an arrow into Mephisto’s chest.

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Angry with the poor showing from his allies and fully aware of their intended betrayal, the Protege banishes the two to some unnamed place where they can atone. As the Protege prepares for his final attack, Scathan the Celestial responds, he does not approve and contains the Protege in an opaque muzzle so that judgement can be made.

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The first thing to deal with is Starhawk, the Hawkgod decides that there should only be one of them and Aleta withdraws from contention, retaining only her light powers. Stakar becomes Starhawk alone and is taken back to the stars, only to be told by the Hawkgod that those he thinks of as his parents were just going to eat him and he still doesn’t know who his mother and father were. Aleta is elated at being free from being Starhawk, but is heartbroken to see Vance, once again cut off from her inside a containment suit.  The Beyonder is also judged and is sent back to his own universe, the rift between the two universes sealed. The Beyonder laments that this will lead to his earlier ennui, but remembers that he left Vance’s new containment suit in the other universe and he can monitor it from where he is.

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The Protege is also judged and is entombed within the hourglass within the chest of the Living Tribunal.

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Talon, on the Guardians’ behalf objects, but the team find themselves back on the Icarus. The only thing left is to answer the question of Yondu. Yondu is glad to count himself a Guardian of the Galaxy and so a new era dawns.

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There is also a back up strip regarding the history of the Guardians’ timeline, but much of this has already been written about and to be honest you miss nothing by skipping it.

Notes: This brings to an end the saga of the Protege and Malevolence and the end of the Beyonder’s story also and it does so in an interesting, if not exciting manner.

The Guardians are for the most part sidelined, with the introduction of Mephisto and Malevolence to the Protege’s side being the only thing they have to do, so it feels very little like a Guardians’ story, which is shame for a milestone issue. Although after Galactus in #25, you can really only go to the universe itself to top that.

I did like Charlie-27 and Yondu punching out Marvel’s equivalent of Satan and Yondu rejoining the team by shooting an arrow through him, but that’s really their main contribution.

Rancor makes an appearance, looking very cat-like and her murder of the Charlie-27 clone is a nice reminder of not only her savagery, but her cold cruel demeanour as well.

Finally we have an end to the Starhawks story as well, with Stakar as the sole Starhawk and Aleta free of both her ex-husband and the burden of being one who knows. Neither of them have anything like a happy ending. So I suppose it’s back to Vance and Aleta’s forbidden love.

Apart from Martinex, the entire team is back together again and we’ve another year of adventures to look forward to.

NEXT TIME: Rancor is back and she wants revenge amongst other things.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 41

Guardians of the Galaxy 41 was cover dated October 1993 and was on sale August 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Adventures of Superman #505, Dark Guard #1, Golden Age #1, Prototype #1, Superman #82 and Thunderstrike #1.

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To Err is Inhuman was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Composite, the amalgam inhuman from last issue being followed by Talon, who is spotted and attacked by Composite. Meanwhile the Guardians of the Galaxy, fearing for Talon teleport to his signal and find only his badge.

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Aleta as Starhawk has abandoned the team and is in battle with Loki and while she is powerful enough to give him trouble, he is sneakier and tricks her into a trap. After a search, the Guardians find Talon who is under the power of Phobia, one of the new Inhumans from earlier issues. Talon is screaming at the hallucinations Phobia can cause. The rest of the team is attacked by each of the inhumans. Charlie-27 has his mind fogged by Stupor, Imprint nearly burns his hand off trying to burn through Nikki’s skin and Wormhole appears to teleport Yellowjacket away. Charlie is his almost drunk-like state even punches Vance Astro halfway across the tunnel. It’s only by Nikki using her hair to put a wall of flame between the two groups that anyone gets out of there.

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Aleta wakes up on Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to Asgard and is woken by Heimdall, she stands and notices Stakar as Starhawk standing before her, in blinding rage, she blasts him with all her might, succeeding only in smashing open the gates of Asgard. Wormhole teleports to Bifrost along with the rest of the Inhuman attack force and Stakar reveals himself to be Loki. Aleta has just unwittingly started the invasion of Asgard.

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There is a continued subplot of Mephisto searching for Malevolence and the Protege, but that will become more important in subsequent issues.  Asgard, at peace without Loki’s interference has seemed to become lax in security and pose little resistance to Loki’s attack, but all Loki cares about is the appearance of his greatest rival and enemy, the mighty Thor. You can see shock in his face, when he sees what has happened to the former Avenger.

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Notes: This issue wastes no time getting to the action and doesn’t let up till the surprise ending.

I would question how good a plan invading a world of gods with 5 guys and a sorcerer is, but am sure Loki knows what he is doing.

I want to see drunk Charlie-27 again.

Once again we have good use of subplots to set up future stories, which is great for a serialised fiction.

One last thought, Thor with middle age spread, not what I was expecting.


Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 40

Guardians of the Galaxy #50 was cover dated September 1993 and was on sale July 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Black Orchid #1, Bloodseed #1, Catwoman #1, Dances with Demons #1, Hawkman #1 and New Warriors #39.

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Bang! Zoom! To the Moon! was written by Michael Gallagher with Kevin West and Steve Montano on art and opens with Charlie-27 being checked out medically after all his recent injuries. Thanks to the Trans-Molecular Reconstitutor , his health is back to what it should be and his strength has increased by 34%. Nikki also shows off her head’s ability to project flame upwards which she used on Charlie-27 back during the Badoon story.

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On the bridge, Talon is looking through the data taken from Dr Doom’s base on Earth. He finds reference to the Inhumans and their lunar city of Atilan. This brings up a lot of feeling from Talon and he gathers the Guardians together. After Vance Astro, Nikki and Charlie-27 change into their work clothes and more time to wait for Aleta/Starhawk to show up after some mysterious errand, Talon gives what is essentially his origin. In the early part of the 21st Century, the Inhumans of Atilan were betrayed and then sold into slavery and experimentation. Atilan was rebuilt by humans (as seen in Annual 1) and the Inhumans themselves worked in the mines. Talon was born into that. The unseen ruler of the Inhumans worked them hard, but to avoid rebellion offered them days of debauchery where they got drunk and got amorous. This meant that they didn’t get riled up enough to fight back and also the population continued to grow.

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Talon wanted more and was isolated by this curiousity and sobriety. He was contacted in his cell by Krugarr who offered him a new life. While his apprenticeship was difficult, he embraced his new freedom and live in Manhatten till meeting the Guardians in issue 18. After hearing that this was still going on, the Guardians unanimously decide to go to the moon and liberate the Inhumans.

Meanwhile on the Moon we are again shown Loki ruling the Inhumans and sending Composite to kill the Intruders when the Guardians teleport down to the mines under the moon’s surface. Composite, the biologically engineered Inhuman with the skin of Triton, the hair of Medusa, the brain of Karnak, the legs of Gorgon and the voice of Blackbolt finds the Guardians and attacks them as Starhawk meets with Loki.

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The Guardians are soon buried in the ground by Composites feet and are only not crushed by the power of Vance Astro. Charlie-27 at Talons suggestion punches through the wall until he breaks through and the Guardians escape. Charlie vows to show Composite what it means to take on the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Notes: Bang, zoom, to the moon was a reference to the Honeymooners, the US sit com that was the direct inspiration for the Flintstones.

The subplot of the Inhumans has run on for quite a while now, making me wonder if not for Doom looking into them, would Talon  have asked for the Guardians to do something about it?

It was good to see Charlie back to full strength and his being a bit flirty with Nikki again.

Yellowjacket really hasn’t got much to do this issue at all in fact after page 10 of the story she’s seen in one panel and does absolutely nothing, might’ve been better to leave her on the Icarus.

Composite has all the powers of the original Inhumans, but Maximus, Crystal and Lockjaw aren’t mentioned, even though Maximus and Crystal were members of the Royal family.

While an interesting direction, this cold and dispassionate Starhawk version of Aleta is getting a bit tiring now. Her refusal of orders just makes her a Starhawk with boobs, nothing more than that and only serves to be another cross for Vance to bear.

Both Nikki and Charlie-27 are at their best here, both getting moments to shine and Vance shows off his enhanced powers, still not mentioning to the team where they and the black undershirt came from.

It’s an interesting cliffhanger, Charlie-27 standing there with a look that says Charlie’s had enough of your s**t. You want to see what happens next, you don’t want to be the next guy to cross him. This was a good issue and the last third of the series is off to a good start.

Next Time: Asgard.

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) 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.