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

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) 16

Guardians of the Galaxy 16 was cover dated September 1991 and was on sale in July 1991, sharing the spinner racks with The Fly #1, Mighty Thor #436, New Gods #38,  Sensational She-Hulk #31, Superman #59 and Wonderman #1.

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Should one of us Fall was written and drawn by Jim Valentino, inked by Steve Montano and inspired by Jim Starlin. It opens with  a tense stand-off between Yondu Udonta and Photon, the last known Centaurians in the galaxy. After an exposition filled staring competition, Yondu swipes at Photon and opens her jugular. And that is how this issue starts!

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All the other fights brewing from the last issue pause as Interface rushes over to save her adopted daughter. She puts a cast over Photon’s neck and as Yondu tries to help, shocked and ashamed of what he has done, Interface reduces his hand to vapour. Martinex arrives and guides the three of them to the Captain America II’s sickbay. As this happens, Starhawk calms Eighty-Five and Replica, suggesting that they have to end the cycle of hate between the Kree and the Skrull.

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There is a truce on the ship and on Homeworld, Aleta and Malevolence battle for the right to tutor and guide the Protege. The Protege demands to know who Aleta is and the two of them bond quickly. In sick bay, Photon is stablilised and Yondu’s missing hand is replaced with a golden stump, with hidden weapons. Things are getting tense, so Martinex and Interface talk about the Protege, his power and his origins. He was genetically engineered to be the new Magus and he has the power to absorb skills and powers on sight, meaning that the more powers and powerful he sees, the more powerful he becomes. If he should meet someone like.. Galactus.

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The two teams work decide to work together and stop the Protege, but due to the Protege’s powers, they shouldn’t use their own superhuman abilities.  As this is discussed, Aleta continues to bond with the Protege, teaching him how benevolence and love are important to all, gods and mortals alike. As she starts to get through to him, Malevolence points out that the Guardians of the Galaxy, mostly non-believers are on their way to attack him, calling Aleta a traitor. By the time the Guardians and Force teleport down to the planet (minus Yondu and Photon) the Protege’s guards are ready for them and a battle quickly ensues.

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Upon seeing the Protege in front of her, Replica bows in supplication in mid-battle. Martinex covers her in an ice dome, allowing everyone else to use their powers and the Protege observes and absorbs all the powers and skills of the attackers. By this point, Aleta loses it and attacks Mavelonce with ferocity. Seeing Aleta lose control and asserting that the child is her’s Vance becomes very concerned about her state of mind and rushes to help her see reason before she does something she’ll regret. He does get far, Aleta blasts him back and he’s left in slack-jawed amazement. Just as Aleta is about to finish Malevolence, Starhawk appears behind  Aleta and re-absorbs her. Begging forgiveness, he leaves, feeling that the re-absorbtion hasn’t gone as planned and something is wrong.

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Facing the Guardians and Force, the Protege demands that Aleta be brought before him, wanting Starhawk’s location, since no one knows, he prepares to kill the Guardians until Replica begs for their lives. Offering to stay and be his friend to save them, Replica takes her leave of the Guardians of the Galaxy, saying her goodbyes to everyone, including Vance who has just lost the love of his life and the first happiness he had known in over a thousand years.

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The Protege banishes the Guardians and Force and declares Malevolence as his matricarch. The Guardians and Force say their goodbyes, with Broadside and Charlie-27 having a sweet moment. Force departs and in a very Fantastic Four moment, Vance Astro requests that he be taken back to Earth as he quits the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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There’s little epilogue featuring the personification of Eternity and a mainstay of the Marvel Universe, the Living Tribunal, who discuss the threat posed by the Protege, but neither actually do anything, assuming it’s either not their problem, or there’s no problem as yet.


Notes: I loved this issue when I first read it over 20 years ago and I still love it now, so much happens, lots of action and drama.

This is one of Jim Valentino’s best issues, the team looks great and everyone has something to do, leaving nothing wasted.

This issue is a strange comment on religion, with the Universalites searching for their god for so long, they just make one. It’s less in your face than Jim Starlin’s take on the dark side of organised religions, but worth noting nonetheless.

Despite Vance’s concerns, I don’t see how Aleta lost it as  badly as he does. She was raised on a warrior’s world and is clearly quite a passionate person. She has also lost children in the past and feels understandably worried about the risks to this child she clearly cares for, being exposed to lets be honest Satan’s daughter.

One thing that bothers me about the issue is that the teams go to Homeworld to stop the Protege and then without much protest just leave and everyone seems ok with this. Really?

I don’t have anything to say here beyond just gushing about how great this issue was, but I can say that this is a real status change for the team for quite some time.

Next Time: For the first time since Marvel Presents #3: Earth