Robot 6

Meet your 2013 Guardians of the Galaxy

guardiansAs unlikely as it may seem, the Guardians of the Galaxy are poised to be the next Marvel team to get a tent-pole movie, following The Avengers (me, I was hoping for a Champions movie, as all but Hercules have been previously introduced in movies*).

The publisher has turned to Avengers-rehabilitation expert Brian Michael Bendis to write a new Guardians of the Galaxy series, and after teasing them in the first arc of Avengers Assemble, the comic featuring the cast from the Avengers movie, the writer is all set to launch a new Guardians monthly, penciled by Civil War artist Steve McNiven.

The title kicked off Wednesday with its first issue, Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (market research apparently revealed that comics buyers are more attracted to decimal points than either the number 1 or even 0), and it isn’t a bad read at all.

It’s the origin of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, and while the story is essentially one character telling another his history, Bendis, McNiven & Co. depict it as a regular comic, rather than a long, dull conversation, as Bendis is often in the habit of doing. The last two pages reveal the cast.

And who, exactly, is this cast, and where did they come from? Based on the sales of the previous volume of Guardians of the Galaxy vs. sales of your average Bendis or McNiven comic, I imagine a lot of folks will be reading the new series without knowing much of that. And, as always, I think it’s worth keeping in mind who created these characters and how long ago (none of them are any newer than 1976, if you’re wondering).

So let’s take a look at your new Guardians of the Galaxy, shall we?

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THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Not to be confused with the Guardians of the Universe, those little blue jerks who are always giving DC’s Green Lanterns a hard time, the Guardians of the Galaxy were originally a super-hero team in the traditional Justice League/Avengers mold, hailing from the far-flung future of the Marvel Universe, created by writer Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, they first appeared in 1969′s Marvel Super-Heroes #18.

Each was an alien, and the last of his kind, save for human astronaut Major Vance Astro (with a name like that, he was practically predestined to be an astronaut), and they often crossed paths with Marvel superheroes.

Their only real connection to the current Guardians is their name, although the previous volume of Guardians of the Galaxy did feature a story in which the modern GoG encounter a plot point from the original GoG.

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STAR-LORD

Created in 1976 by artist Steven Englehart and artist Steve Gan, Star-Lord was the rather pompous superhero name taken by Peter Quill, the son of an alien father and a human mother. He first appeared in Marvel Preview #4 as a sort of space-cop character, although after Englehart left Marvel, Star-Lord was quickly revamped by writer Chris Claremont of X-Men fame, working with artists John Byrne and Terry Austin (their work on that character was soon overshadowed by a slightly more prominent assignment at Marvel).

Star-Lord returned in the Keith Giffen-written second half of the the 2004 series Thanos, and then reached something approaching prominence during Marvel’s concentrated effort to resurrect its cosmic characters in a suit of miniseries, including  the Giffen-spearheaded 2006 Annihilation  and the Dan Abnett- and Andy Lanning-led Annihilation: Conquest, during which the character earned his own tie-in miniseries Annihilation: Conquest—Star-Lord that was written by Giffen and co-starred some of the other folks on this list.

Star-Lord and the bulk of the cast from that miniseries would end up in the 25-issue 2008-2010 Guardians monthly, written again by Abnett and Lanning.

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ROCKET RACCOON

Introduced by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen in 1976′s Marvel Preview #7, Rocket Raccoon was a funny-animal character generally played straight — or at least straight-ish. He is a talking, bipedal raccoon with guns, which is generally all anyone needs to know to either love him or roll their eyes at him.

He earned his own, four-issue miniseries in 1985, which featured pencils by Mike Mignola.

The character would pop up here and there in Quasar or She-Hulk, but was rescued from footnote status by Giffen, Abnett and Lanning in the aughts during all of the Annihilation and cosmic business. He was part of Star-Lord’s crew in the Star-Lord mini. and was part of the cast of the Guardians monthly.

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GROOT

The longest-lived of the characters, Groot also has probably the most prestigious parentage, as he was created by the two guys who created the bulk of Marvel’s future movie stars: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and Dick Ayers, who inked Kirby’s art on Groot’s first appearance).

Groot was introduced way back in 1960′s Tales to Astonish #13, in one of the Lee/Kirby monster stories of the era, this one titled “I Challenged … Groot, The Monster From Planet X!” Aside from a few cameos, the tree monster was mainly absent from the Marvel Universe until 2006, when he appeared in both Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos (the all-monster version) and Annihilation: Conquest, and the various follow-ups.

He has formed a special bond with Rocket Raccoon, perhaps because raccoons like trees, or perhaps because they are the two craziest-looking characters on the team.

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DRAX THE DESTROYER

This alliterative character was another child of the ’70s, created by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin in a 1973 issue of Iron Man. He was a regular human whose family was killed by Thanos, and the cosmic entity Kronos (another Starlin creation) placed the human’s spirit into a big, bad-ass green body full of super-powers, for the express purpose of taking down Thanos.

Drax appeared a lot more often between the point of creation and the Annihilation revival, generally fighting Thanos and appearing in cosmic super-comics alongside the likes of the Silver Surfer, Adam Warlock and Captain Marvel. and in Starlin’s Infinity comics.

He received his own 2005, Giffen-written, Mitch Breitweiser and Brian Reber-drawn miniseries Drax the Destroyer, and he was rather  prominently featured in the various Annhilation comics and, of course, the previous volume of Guardians of the Galaxy.

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GAMORA

The adopted daughter of Thanos, Gamora is one more Starlin creation of the ’70s, debuting in 1975′s Strange Tales. The last of her race, the green-skinned alien has some super-strength and a healing factor, and for most of her career she’s appeared in the same sorts of cosmic comics that Drax has — generally, anything with the word “Infinity” in the title.

As with just about everyone on this list, she was featured in the various Giffen and Abnett and Lanning Annihilation comics, and a member of the cast of the Guardians ongoing.

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IRON MAN

Brilliant weapons manufacturer Tony Stark was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber and Don Heck, and first appeared — ah, you all know who Iron Man is.

As to what he’s doing in this book, well he only appears in two panels of the #0.1 issue, so I guess well have to wait until #0.2 issue to find out. Or #1, depending on how quickly Marvel decides to jump to whole numbers when it comes to numbering this somewhat promising new book.

*Yeah, yeah I know, different studios — I’m kidding.

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Comments

28 Comments

I’m still waiting for an explanation of how Star-Lord is alive following the finale of the Thanos Imperative. Bendis seemed to allude to it slightly in Avengers Assemble, but I expected him to give the full story in GOTG 0.1 and he didn’t. Do you think we’ll ever get that explanation?

I’m with Ben on that and also what happened to Nova Richard Ryder? He was trapped with Thanos and Star-Lord yet they both escaped. He also pulled all of the Nova force into him for the final fight against Thanos which disabled every other Nova Corps member. Yet somehow the new Nova Sam Alexander(lazily written by Jeph Loeb) is around with no explanation.

I actually just read that first Star-Lord story last night and the narrative explicitly states that it is completely out-of-continuity with the 616 MU. That must have gotten dropped somewhere along he way, huh?

A Champions movie would rock!!! I am less excited about the GoG movie (and comic), but considering I am not a fan of Iron Man, Thor, or Hulk and I loved those movies (Ruffalo as Hulk in Avengers), I am cautiously optimistic. As for Bendis’ GoG–I will be trade waiting to see how reviews are, make sure I don’t get lost with Marvel’s goofy numbering system, and mostly because I refuse to pay $3.99 for a mainstream super hero book.

Charles J. Baserap

February 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

Ben and Chris: Bendis and Loeb have both stated that they will be explaining the whys and wherefores of the aftermath of Thanos Imperative and how Pete and Thanos are back, but not Rich, in the first year of their new ongoings.

I really wish a huge drive for GotG is the search for Richard Rider. I feel like after everything they have been through Peter wouldn’t sleep until he found Rich.

And what of poor Bug? Can`t a micronaut catch a break?!

I’m not digging anything coming out of the new GotG, it seems like Bendis tossed out what was working.

Champions movie would rock, if you could find a woman suitable to replace Black Widow. I nominate Squirrel Girl just for the inevitable backlash.

“Bendis and Loeb have both stated that they will be explaining the whys and wherefores of the aftermath of Thanos Imperative and how Pete and Thanos are back, but not Rich, in the first year of their new ongoings.”

Why not Rich?He was with them.

And within a year? O_o

And what about the Nova force?
Would’nt that be important to explain for the Nova comic?

Loeb said the same thing when he introduced Red Hulk. I’m not holding my breath

Gamora seems really out of character so far. She’s wearing far too much clothing :)

I remember the screaming on the internet about Red Hulk 12.

I love DnA’s run on GotG as much as anyone who read the book. And I made the “Guardians of the Earth” crack when I read what Bendis and Loeb had planned. The fact is, if DnA’s books were selling well, their run would have continued. Bottom line. Was there some politics involved? I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Anyways we’ve been hearing about these books for what feels like years, and people keep making comments about them as if we’ve seen the actual books. True, there’s been so much hype and interviews and what not, that it feels like these books have been out a while. Which is why so many people are honking off about these books without having seen any of the story. But thus far have only seen one issue of each. And frankly those aren’t enough for me to tell if these are good or bad yet. Cliched origins notwithstanding (and they are most certainly cliche) I can’t make a judgment on those stories until I see more.

I think people forget that these books aren’t being made for just comic fans. Non-comic people know Iron Man (as evidenced by the movie grosses). So they put Iron Man on the team. That’s smart business. No different than the 50+ Wolverine books we had in the 80′s up through today.

Really want to know how they’re gonna explain Rich not being back with Thanos/Pete in story. I already know the answer to that question in our reality.

Bendis should have included Bug instead of Iron man

Michael Buzzelli

February 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm

How about the fact that Drax was disintegrated?!? Also, what happened to Mantis and Moondrago? They were part of Abnett and Lanning’s run. I loved them. The team could use a few more women. DnA did such a great job on this. I think Bendis is doing a fine job on X-Men but I don’t think he’s up for it on GotG.

So what happened to Bug? Where is he and why isn’t he part of the team? Have they explained this anywhere yet?

i wish the original GOG would be brought back. I have every issue including their first appearance that was several decades back

look at Marvel Comics these days – nothing but fodder for their movies now. And all you poor people still expecting Marvel to adhere to their own continuity, when are you going to learn? I know its hard, it took me 20 years and 1000′s of $ before I realised I was getting screwed. But if a book has links to a movie then continuity and numbering and integrity are all out the window. And they all have links to movies now…

Ok going to be honest never consider the champions for a movie slot I was kinda hung up on Thunderbolts being the next team movie.

I’m interested in what changes they would make to Rocket Raccoon to make him more acceptable to the audiences that enjoyed the other movies of the net they cast. As many of the fans never really experienced the zaniness that the Marvel U has behind the fore running titles.

Won’t be picking this up until they get rid of Tony and add a character who makes sense in this sort of book, such as Abigail Brand or Carol Danvers, not to mention bringing back the members of the team who got dropped.

I miss Mantis and Cosmo already…

I think I’ll miss Cosmo most of all…

Was Bendis turned off by putting Moondragon in this? 10 pages into the first issue before an Avenger will magically appears in the lineup. The Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy! Be Shocked SHOCKED

Anyone else really bothered by the quote-unquote “Guardians of the Galaxy” appearance in New Nova #1? Loeb would have us believe that the current iteration of the GotG – Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, et al. – functioned as a team SEVENTEEN years ago. I’m pretty sure Gamora hadn’t even heard of Rocket 17 years ago… no matter how you choose to look at Marvel continuity. So much for continuity.

is this Starlord the same one that appeared in the Jim Valentino future Guardians series (which I loved when he wrote it)

@Rick… that was Starhawk. But that was a cool series back in the day.

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