Thursday, May 4, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Original Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is coming out tomorrow (technically), so what better time to celebrate one of the two comics I had a subscription for back in the early 90's? The first was, of course, Uncanny X-Men, but the second was Guardians of the Galaxy. Back then there was no Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax were part of the Infinity Watch alongside Adam Warlock and Groot was just a cast aside Thor villain.

The Guardians I fell in love with? This band of misfits:

You might recognize Yondu, the blue dude with the red mohawk from the first movie, but everyone else? 

The big guy is Charlie-V, hailing from Jupiter, and he's the muscle. Fire hair girl is Nikki and she's from Mercury. The flying woman not wearing a bra is Aleta, she can make light constructs and is "married" to Starhawk, a creation of Jack Kirby as evidenced by the costume that screams "COMIC BOOK". Ice dude? Martinex, he's from Pluto. Black and white suit guy? That's Major Victory, who happens to be a time displaced Vance Astro aka Justice from the New Warriors/Avengers. 

These Guardians live in the 31st century of the Marvel Universe which split off from the main timeline. Some characters, like the Silver Surfer, Wonder Man, Vision and Thor are still kicking around in the far, far future. Others? Not so much. Spider-Man died battling Martian invaders, most of the Avengers were killed by the Badoon, Dr. Strange sacrificed himself in combat with Shuma-Gorath, etc. Despite the dark backgrounds of every character overcoming massive personal tragedies and heartbreak, the book had an upbeat tone to it. 

The Guardians had space-faring adventures each month taking them to distant galaxies each with their own problems that the Guardians would solve before moving on to the next planet. There was always some sort of organization coming after them, giving the first 30 issues a real Firefly vibe. The first big arc was even all about recovering Captain America's shield! It wasn't exactly high-stakes drama. 

Oh! The cat guy in between Vance's legs? That's Talon, he ends up becoming Sorcerer Supreme. As further proof that this was one of the greatest comics of the early 90's, I present their first villain, Overkill: 

Overkill. That's the most COBRA sounding supervillain name a genocidal alien can possibly have, and the design that's straight out of my 5th-grade notebook doesn't help much. In fact, the most memorable villain of the original Guardians is probably Rancor, Vampire Queen of the planet of the Mutants and a distant descendant of Wolverine:

In the 31st century, everyone is wearing only power armor or spandex. 

Despite the lack of decent villains, I LOVED this book. Nikki's carefree attitude that she put on as a way to mask the depression and dread she had over surviving the death of her family, Charlie-V trying to learn to love again after his wife was murdered by the Badoon, Vance Astro struggling to live up to the legend of Steve Rogers, Aleta and Starhawk dealing with the challenges of being pre-destined to be together by Cosmic Space Gods and Talon trying to find a mystical inner-peace that will lead him to the meaning of the universe. 

Every character grows and changes, becoming more comfortable in their situation and then less comfortable as new, horrible events happen to them. Considering what a wasteland of storytelling Marvel was during this time period (X-Cutioner's Song anyone?), Guardians of the Galaxy was an incredible breath of fresh air. 

So when you go to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this weekend, just remember, as insane as the movie may seem, it will never top the Great-Great-Great Grandudaghter of Wolverine battling the adamantium skeleton of Wolverine as it is possessed by Dr. Doom:

No comments:

Post a Comment