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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Notes:

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 (Vol 1) 46

Guardians of the Galaxy 46 was cover dated March 1994 and was on sale January 1994, sharing the spinner racks with The Breed #1, Excalibur #75, Legends of the World’s Finest #1, Rune #1, Under a Yellow Sun #1 and X-Factor #100.

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There’s a Divinity  that Shapes our Ends was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens with the Arcturian Hawkgod berating the two Starhawks and telling them that they are now physically linked for humiliating him by their behaviour. The two agree to travel back in time and undo the Time Jolt’s effects.

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The Hawkgod returns to Eternity and the Living Tribunal and is told that the Approver’s arrival is imminent. As this happens, the Guardians are also transported away, this time to the Beyonder’s universe to help him with the Protege, Malevolence and Mephisto after the Protege runs him off. The Guardians arrive to face Mephisto and Malevolence, Mephisto see’s both the Beyonder’s gift of a black undershirt and the preservation spell on Vance Astro and strips the spell away, causing Vance to age and wither. As this happens, the Starhawks arrive on the Badoon homeworld of Moord and disintergrate Yondu’s dagger, thus restoring the true timeline.

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Vance falls in front of Charlie-27 and Charlie watches the undershirt rip through Vance’s uniform and cover his body as a new containment suit. Freed of the pain and fear, Vance stands and blasts Malevolence and her father with a surge of power that none expected, except for the Beyonder.

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The Beyonder appears, gigantic in size, but is then dwarfed by the Protege. The Beyonder tells Vance that he should have listened and not brought the Protege, but will now teach the Protege a lesson in respect. Before that can happen, they are both teleported away.

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The Living Tribunal berates both the Beyonder and the Protege for their behaviour and tells them that another will bear witness. Protege asks who this other is and the Beyonder tells him, “We Stand before a Celestial”

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Notes: This was a pretty fast paced issue which furthers the Protege story and ends the over long Badoon time jolt story.

Having two Starhawks does give both of them something to do, sadly it’s only really bickering.

The Beyonder having the appearance he does without Secret Wars II being in continuity is still something of an issue to me, but it’s hardly the most ridiculous story element in here and it does lead to the striking visual of Vance’s suit spreading over his entire body as another containment suit. (His 4th I believe?)

Speaking of the new suit, I doubt I’m alone in the realisation that this is a Venom-like symbiote. the black and white with appropriate logo and that Vance tells Charlie it’s alive, are a very Spider-Man Alien Costume Saga sort of thing. (By the way, Hey Kids Comics, the excellent podcast by Andy Leyland and his son Michael are covering that saga this week, http://www.twotruefreaks.com)

There’s a back up feature where fan art is used by Kevin West to showcase potential looks for Talon, who will in the near future get a new look, albeit not one of those. It’s filler, but fun nonetheless.

There’s also a sub-plot linked to Hollywood’s Doom Quest, but that’s more for another issue.

The last page reveal of a Celestial is a positive. Introduced in the Eternals series in the mid 70’s (Check http://www.dcindexes.com for more precision there), the Celestials were one of the great 70’s ideas by Jack ‘The King’ Kirby and have such a strong presence in the Marvel Universe. This may be the first appearance of a Celestial in the Guardians’ timeline, but they are a welcome addition.

Next Time:  It all kicks off and there’s hell to pay.

 

 

 

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) 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) 38

Guardians of the Galaxy 38 was cover dated July 1993 and was on sale May 1993, sharing the spinner racks with Batman #497, Incredible Hulk #407, Static #1, Stormwatch #0, Wild.C.A.T.S. Trilogy #1 and X-Factor #92.

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Beyond the Pale was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano, the story opens with the Guardians of the Galaxy ready to head back to Earth. Vance Astro tries to engage the ever increasingly distant Aleta (who now only wishes to be known as Starhawk) in conversation and when she abruptly leaves, he is distressed by his actions since issue 30. As he wonders what kind of man he is, he is approached by the Beyonder who wishes to speak  to him.

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He points out his interest in this new universe, discovering it after Bubonicus’ attack on Eternity in issue 35, and tells Vance that he has captured Malevolence and the Protege. When Vance points out how dangerous they are, the Beyonder gets angry and blasts Vance, this only seems to leave him with a black under shirt. The Beyonder tells him that the power within is his to discover, and not to waste it on self pity and guilt. He is gone and Vance is called to the bridge. On the bridge, Charlie-27 and Talon check in on Nikki and Yellowjacket who are getting changed and there’s a little bit of perving from the pair. They Vance and Yellowjacket show off their new looks as they enter Earth’s orbit.

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The Guardians arrive at the Commandeers base and see the damage left by Retox. They then look at a video log, bringing them all up to date. Talon cries out for vengeance and the team head to the Saltex compound to bring the fight to Retox and to destroy the complex.

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In the tunnels by the bronx, the Guardians encounter Batwing and Blockade. Batwing is quickly defeating by Talon’s new mystical prowess and Vance, using more power than ever before launches a growing Blockade into the complex, through a wall.

They arrive and see the scene from last issue, Rancor stabbing Dr Doom. It’s not long though, before Doom turns the tables telling Rancor that she can have the broken claw of Wolverine back, he has the other five.

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There’s a great two or three pages of Doom divesting himself of his armour and showing that under it, he is only a brain inside a motorised skeleton, the motorised skeleton of Wolverine.  Just as the fight that we all want see can start, we are hit with the words that annoy and enthrall in equal measure… to be concluded next issue.

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Notes: This is the first appearance in the Guardians timeline of the Beyonder. The Beyonder was introduced in 1985’s Secret Wars. In that his was merely a voice “I am from beyond, slay your enemies and all you desire shall be yours.” His appearance here is from his appearance in Secret Wars II a year or so later. Since both of those things happened after Marvel Two-in-One 86, neither of them is assumed to have happened in the timeline lived in by the Guardians of the Galaxy. So this is the Beyonder from that series, but as if that series hadn’t happened. Where his appearance comes from isn’t explained and we’re all going to pretend that the question doesn’t need asking.

The Beyonder gives a black undershirt to Vance which will pay off several issues later. This scene also puts another obstacle in the love life of Vance and Aleta (I almost wrote Valeta there, I feel dirty just mentioning that) and while unrequited love is a staple of Marvel, by this point, I’m getting a little tired of it all.

Yellowjacket gets a new costume too and there’s a weirdly inappropriate scene where Charlie-27 catches Nikki and Yellowjacket getting changed.

Batwing and Blockade get their backsides handed to them so very badly here, it’s even funny how Batwing is taken out off panel by Talon while still mocking Talon’s claw attack.

The A and B plots are back together again and the Dr Doom, Rancor and RealiTeeVee storyline is about to come to an end.

There is some clunky and over expositional dialogue here and it does detract from how good this comic can be, but it sets up the next issue very well and made me look forward to re-reading it, so it did it’s job.

Next Time: Wolverine’s corpse Vs Wolverine’s great great great grandaughter in a non X-Men extravaganza.

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 33

Guardians of the Galaxy 33 was cover dated February 1993 and was on sale December 1992, sharing the spinner racks with Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, Captain America #412, Green Arrow: The Wonder Year #1, Hulk: Future Imperfect #1, Stanley & His Monster #1 and Venom: Lethal Protector #1.

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Cut Bait & Run was written by Michael Gallagher, pencilled by Kevin West and inked by Steve Montano and opens were issue 32 ended with L’Matto, the Badoon Captain Universe about to kill Charlie-27. Vance Astro and Dr Strange arrive and fight back and even when Nikki and Talon arrive, the battle is still going the Badoon’s way.

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Back in the 31st Century, the Retox gang take the last surviving Commandeers, Old Redd and Tarin, to the Saltex compound in the Bronx and run into those running the Realitee-Vee complex, Rancor and her lieutenants, bringing the Doctor Doom and Retox subplots back into the main plot after a few months.

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In the 20th Century, the battle for control of the body of Starhawk is over, the two have split and a now corporeal Aleta and an infant Stakar are revealed. Stakar will be placed in the path of the Reavers to begin his life again as was forseen in issue 8. Aleta then flies to Moord to rejoin the Guardians and when she arrives battles Captain Universe and between her and Doctor Strange are able to defeat him and remove the Uni-Power, leaving everything as before, but leaving the Yaka dagger given to Charlie-27 by Yondu.

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On Drydock, the stowaway is becoming familiar with all the ship’s systems, but is surprised by readings from the ship, more on those stories in later issues. Charlie-27 is badly beaten and has a multitude of sever injuries, Vance decides to return the 31st Century to find Martinex and there’s a brief rundown of who Martinex is for the benefit of Talon or new readers.  Before they leave for their own timeline (including a brief explanation of how they are in the 616 universe and not the Guardian’s past) Aleta teleports aboard and there is a reunion between Vance and Aleta.

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In sickbay, Charlie is getting worse and is choking. The stowaway introduces herself and tells Nikki to stand aside and let her help.

Notes: The Badoon story for now is over, but it will come back.

I like this issue, it brought the 20th Century story to an end as puts the Guardians where they need to be the 31st Century.

It’s nice to see a happy ending for Vance and Aleta, but even now you know that isn’t going to last.

Charlie-27 takes an absolute pounding from L’Matto, reminding you how strong he is. Very few beings can take that kind of a kicking and Captain Universe is a cosmic level threat.

We start with friction between the earnest, but cheesy Vance Astro and the cynical Talon as Vance tries to rally the team a la Captain America and it doesn’t go well. There’s more use of magic from Talon, with the usual result. The team seems to be coming together, but slowly a change in style from Valentino’s run.

The Infinity War is blamed for the Guardians of the Galaxy ending up in the 616 and not the past of their timeline 691. To be honest it’s a flimsy excuse to have the Guardians title part of the Infinity War cross-over, but it was nice to see the team encounter their own pasts.

The Realitee-Vee stuff will come to a head in about 6 issues or so, but first we have the story of whatever is on the starboard hull and who the bottom on the final page belongs to.

Next time: A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol 1) 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://liverpoolmunky76.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/guardians-of-the-galaxy-annual-1/

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

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (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) 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) 21

Guardians of the Galaxy #21 was cover dated February 1992 and was on sale December 1991, sharing the spinner racks with Agent Libery Special #1, Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness #1, The Ray #1, Star Wars: Dark Empire #1, Warlord #1 and X-Factor #75.

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The Return of Rancor was written and pencilled by Jim Valentino and inked by Steve Montano and opens with Rancor butchering people on the isle of Madripoor looking for her ancestor Wolverine. No one on Madripoor has any idea what she is talking about. The leaders of the island, an un-named man and his assistant Rinquist evacuate and all of this is observed by a shadowy figure who does not warn Rancor to disrupt his balance of power, so he anonymously contacts Avengers Mansion to warn those there of Rancor’s presence.

 

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In Avengers Mansion, along with the Comandeers are the Guardians of the Galaxy who are enjoying a little bit of downtime. Nikki tries to flirt with Talon, who backs away from the idea as soon as he can, this is overseen by Charlie-27 who decides the best thing to do is do nothing, lest the wrong idea be gotten. Tarin of the Comandeers tries a more formal declaration of love with Yondu, who being a very strictly religious Centaurian explains that he cannot return these feelings, he is pledged. He does however try to comfort her as best he can. Vance Astro (Major Victory) trains with Simon Williams (Hollywood) and both sort of bitch about being long lived and cut off from their loved ones.

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The Guardians learn of Rancor’s return and rush to Madripoor to face Rancor, who is ready for them. Then we swap back to Aleta trying to free herself from the grip of Stakar and the Hawkgod. She rails against this new absorption, but to no avail. Now draped in shadows and stars instead of sunlight Starhawk has returned.

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Notes: This issue takes some time to get the Guardians and Rancor’s people together, giving the character moments room to breath and it’s a less exciting, but more interesting story as a result.

There is a scene where a lizard like alien called Teju is freed from Stockade, a prison planet. Both Stockade and Teju will come back soon.

The romantic subplots are more of a Legion of Super-Heroes and X-Men trope, but fit nicely into this story, threading together to create a larger narrative.

I’m not a fan of Rancor, but was intrigued by the enemy of Madripoor and how he will factor into the future.

I’ve no idea who Rinquist or his ‘Grace’ is and I don’t think we ever find out, nor do we know what happened to Vance’s sleeveless coat, which shrinks along the way to Madripoor.

Next time: Re-Enter StarHawk.