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)

Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (26)    Korvac Quest - part 04 - Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 01 (27)

 

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.

Silver Surfer Annual 4

Silver Surfer Annual 4, the Korvac Quest part 3 was on sale May 1991, sharing the spinner rack with Batman: Full Circle #1, Double Dragon #1, Flash TV Special #1, Infinity Gauntlet #1, Legend of the Shield #1 and Transformers #80

.Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (01)               Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (06)

Price of Paradise was written and drawn by the two Rons, Marz & Lim and opens with Silver Surfer flying towards a planet, soon revealed to be  Zenn-La. He meets up with Shalla Ball, the love of his life when he was Norrin Radd. They have a tender moment, she pulls his silver skin-sheath off, revealing his original appearance. They kiss and then she ages do death in seconds.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (07)Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (10)Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (11)

It’s revealed to be a dream, it is in fact now 5 or 6 centuries later, Silver Surfer is on another world talking to a being called Marshach. He is taking rest on Marshach’s world and you can see he’s wearing Quasar’s quantum bands.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (12)   Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (13)

 

Marshach tells the Surfer than although no outsiders are welcome apart from him, there are strangers looking for this world and he fears what will happen. The Surfer promises to lead whoever this is away and flies off. Marsharch watches him leave and then beings to reflect on his origin. It transpires that at some point, this world was a colony from Earth and after some harsh years, Marshach received the power of Korvac and used it to make this colony a paradise. The people made him their leader and for a long time afterwards, he did what he could to benefit their lives and now he sees this time coming to an end. He share his fear and trepidation with his wife Kareela.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (14)    Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (15)

 

At this point, the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive in this time in Drydock and begin to search for the power of Korvac. Silver Surfer appears out of nowhere and races away from Marshach’s world. The Guardians, less Nikki and Starhawk follow. Nikki and Starhawk arrive on the planet and Marshach summons the Surfer back to defend him and the Guardians follow Surfer back and everyone ends up on Marshach’s world.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (17)      Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (19)

 

Nikk and Starhawk try to convince Marshach to voluntarily relinquish the power of Korvac and when he refuses, they threaten to just take it. That’s when the Surfer returns, shortly after that the Guardians return and the battle truly begins.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (21)         Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (23) Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (24)

The fight against the Surfer is brief, but spectacular. The Guardians cannot hold back due to the awesome power of the Silver Surfer. Some civilians are caught in the battle and killed and Marshach realises high cost of this battle. Kareela convinces Marshach to surrender the power and allow the Guardians to take it.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (27) Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (28)

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (30)    Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (31)

The power gone, both Kareela and Marshach die, Marshach waiting long enough to ask the Surfer to keep an eye on his world and telling him that he fears for the future and is glad he won’t see it. This halts the Guardians enough for the power of Korvac to flee to the 30th Century and the birth of Michael Korvac.

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (32)      Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (33)

Korvac Quest - part 03 - Silver Surfer Annual 04 (34)

 

Notes:

 

While not a spectacular comic, it’s an improvement on the previous two. Although it’s the Guardians’ arc and the Surfer’s annual, this very clearly Marshach’s story as he is clearly the hero. He feels that the intruders will take damage this paradise and that’s very true and he fears not for himself, but for his people and the future they’ll live in.

 

Notes: This is the strongest so far in both story and art. Ron Lim has had a long history with Silver Surfer and is perfectly suited and the energy packed battle is well rendered. The other Ron, Ron Marz doesn’t have much of a story to work with, but he does well with it. In a handful of pages he fleshes out Marshach and Kareela and when it’s over, you do feel for them. Their sacrifice is heartfelt and full of awareness making these two the heroes of this tale.

Their sacrifice is also pointless, the Guardians miss the power of Korvac and have to go on again.

Outside of  their own title, the Guardians lack any kind of depth and are just cyphers for the story, but at least it ends in their own, which makes me a little more optimistic.

Next time: Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1