With the continued success of the film franchise with Avengers: Infinity War, the big screen versions of the team are now household names. Comic fans have known the names Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot for decades, and now, mainstream fans have learned the sheer coolness of this space fairing fivesome as well. But these five aren’t the only heroes who have had the honor of calling themselves Guardians of the Galaxy.
The story of the Guardians was originally set one thousand years in the future and for many solar cycles, they were the protectors of the future of the Marvel Universe. Creators like Arnold Drake, Gene Colan, Steve Gerber, and Jim Valentino guided the adventures of the future heroes until Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning launched their own team of Guardians in the present…a team that included a sentient tree, a take no prisoners space raccoon, two emerald skinned maniacs, and a brave and well meaning space outlaw. It’s time to take a look at all the monsters, gods, swashbucklers, aliens, and heroes that have made up the history of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Tomorrow’s Heroes Today…the Original Guardians of the Galaxy
Major Vance Astro, aka, Major Victory
For a long time, Vance Astro served as the heart of the Guardians. To truly understand the legacy of the team, one must first understand this time lost hero. Astro is a mutant gifted with powers of telekinesis and, in the future, he will be the first man to try and reach Alpha Centurai. As an Earth man from the past, Astro proudly serves the Guardians of the Galaxy in their battle against the Badoon.
Oh, but things don’t end there.
In the present day Marvel timeline, Astro becomes an Avenger known as Justice and set a heroic precedent that many will look to in the future for inspiration. In the future, Astro will change his name to Major Victory and will be the proud wielder of the shield of Captain America, keeping the legacy of Steve Rogers alive. He will also become bonded to the Venom symbiote bringing the legacy of one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes into the future. Astro played a part in the late and lamented Guardians 3000 comic series and has served side by side with Star-Lord’s present day Guardians.
Every proper team of super-heroes needs some muscle, and before Drax and Groot, the Guardians’ heavy was Charlie 27. The original concept of the Guardians was a group of heroes from different planets that had to defend the Milky Way from the despotic Badoon. Charlie 27 was the team’s representative from Jupiter. He was genetically engineered to withstand Jupiter’s crushing gravity, so he was really freakin’ big…like Ben Grimm big.
Where Vance Astro was the heart of the Guardians, Charlie was their strength, but he wasn’t just muscle. Charlie 27 had a keen military mind and for years, wherever the original Guardians appeared, readers could count on Charlie 27 to bust some heads. Charlie was an integral part of the Guardians from the ’70s to the ’90s and will also be returning in Guardians 3000 later this year.
We covered heart and strength, now we have the Guardians’ brains, Martinex of Pluto. Now, we aren’t sure how the crystalline Martinex feels about his native Pluto no longer being considered a planet, but Martinex has long been the tech and science expert of the original Guardians and probably the most visually stunning character on the original team. His crystal body helps protect him from the freezing atmosphere of Pluto but it also helps him stand out even in the biggest George Perez rendered gathering of multiple heroes.
Martinex proudly served the original Guardians as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy offshoot squad, the Galactic Guardians. He might be the hero most often mistaken for Bobby Drake, but Martinex was a great hero and a classic character in his own right. He brought a little Spock to the party with his scientific acumen but his energy blasts and impenetrable skin also made him a force to be reckoned with for the Badoon.
The spirit of the original Guardians, Yondu is the only initial member of the team who was not from the Milky Way. Yondu was originally from Centurai 4, the first planet colonized by humans. He is a skilled tracker, hunter, and archer and has the visually awesome ability to guide the flight of his arrows by whistling. The most alien of the Guardians was in many ways the most human as he spent the early parts of the series trying to find his place in the universe.
Yondu served with the Guardians for a long time and, like his fellow three original members fought the Badoon in the future, came to the present to fight Korvac alongside Thor, teamed with the Defenders, and, like the rest of his team, even joined the modern day Avengers for a short period of time.
Things Get Strange…the Steve Gerber Era
Ok, this is where things getting confusing. We know Starhawk is awesome. We know Starhawk is a being whose form is shared by both the male Stakar of the House of Ogord and his wife Aleta Ogord. We know Aleta blamed Stakar for the death of their children and despises the estranged husband she must share a form with. We know that Starhawk is enigmatic and a classic anti-hero. It’s all very muddled, but in a cool Bronze Agey sort of way.
After his debut, other than Vance Astro, Starhawk was pretty much the central Guardians character until the turnover to the modern day. By the way, somehow, somewhere it was revealed that Starhawk was the son of Quasar which gives him another deep connection to Marvel’s cosmic legacy. On a related note, we really miss Quasar.
Nikki was the second new member of the team introduced by Gerber, and in this flame headed native of Mercury, Gerber found a way to ground the cosmic entities of the Guardians. Nikki was the precocious young female character before Kitty Pryde made it cool. She contrasted the often dead serious other members of the team with a hot tempered, wise cracking sharp shooter that popped off the page both visually and because of her happy-go-lucky attitude.
The early Guardians of the Galaxy stories were always high concept but at times, they could be a bit dry. That all ended with the introduction of Nikki, the team’s first female member. Nikki had romantic entanglements with Charlie 27 and she gave a whole new meaning to the term hot blooded. Gamora might be the kick ass female most associated with the Guardians now, but that tradition began with the fiery Nikki.
An Image of the Future…the Jim Valentino Era
She is best known as the female half of the usually male Starhawk, but Aleta Ogord was a member of the Guardians as well. Aleta had more passion and zest for life than her often cold and clinical husband did. When she was finally freed from her husband, Aleta gained the power to manipulate light and began a romantic relationship with Vance Astro which created all sorts of friction between teammates. Aleta was the more human (even for an Arcturian) half of one of the strangest unions in cosmic comic history.
Fifteen years after Steve Gerber took the Guardians to places undreamed of, Marvel launched the Guardians into their own title in 1990. Jim Valentino, one of the original Image Comics seven, took the helm of their adventures and introduced some power to the team early in the series’ run with the former herald of Galactus, Firelord.
Firelord is powerful…like Silver Surfer level powerful…like able to go toe-to-toe with Thor powerful. In the present day Marvel universe, Firelord was a figure of ambiguous morality: he had honor but still once served the planet eating Galactus. In the 31st century timeline, Firelord was the Protector of the Universe, a position once held by the heroic Captain Mar-Vell and Quasar. Firelord is more historically associated with Galactus, but for a time, he was the most powerful member of the Guardians.
Replica is linked to two majorly infamous cosmic villainous groups. She was a Skrull, those dastardly shape shifters that might be the most reviled race in the Marvel cosmos and a member of the Church of Universal Truth, a hyper orthodox and heavily armed cosmic religion that has bedeviled Adam Warlock, Captain Mar-Vell, and the Avengers many times in the past.
Replica was a rare and shining example of goodness in unexpected places. She had all the shape changing powers of her native race but none of their murderous tendencies. She had the devout faith of her beliefs, but didn’t force it on others. She turned her back on both her Church and her race by joining the heroic Guardians. She helped take out the Grand Inquisitor of her Church and assisted the Guardians in bringing down the Stark, a race of aliens who worship Tony Stark and use Iron Man armor to subjugate planets. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Can someone make sure Kevin Feige and James Gunn are aware of the Stark, please?
Legend has it that Jim Valentino wanted to have Wolverine join the Guardians but then editor-in-chief Bob Harras balked at the idea of establishing that Wolverine survives 1000 years into the future, so Valentino created Talon. Now, there really hasn’t been a greater example of ’90s excess than ol’ Talon. Talon was a member of the Inhumans, which was kind of cool because it tied another long standing cosmic Marvel property to the Guardians but that’s pretty much where the coolness stopped in regards to this orange furred feline Guardian.
As a Wolverine cipher, Talon had the razor sharp claws and bad attitude, but he was more of a party boy, which made him more annoying than badass. In 1991, Talon was way more host of MTV’s Headbangers Ball Riki Rachtman than he was Wolverine.
Other than great strength and agility, Talon had the ability to launch his finger and toe nails. Now that’s just freakin’ gross. Valentino upped the power quotient of the character later in his run by making the fungus shooting fur ball the new Sorcerer Supreme, but it wasn’t enough. Talon was just excessive, gross, derivative, annoying, and eventually turned into a semi-villain after being nearly crippled.
Space Raccoons yes, toenail shooting orange cat wizard people, no.
Rita DeMara was one of the most fascinating members in Guardians history. She was a tether to the past for the futuristic team, a former member of Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil trying to make up for her past misdeeds in the far flung future. After she abandoned Zemo in the present, the former thief who stole one of Hank Pym’s Yellowjacket costumes found herself trapped one thousand years in the future where she went on a fantastic voyage into Charlie 27’s brain and saved the life of the team’s resident powerhouse. From there, Yellowjacket was accepted into the fold and became one of their most loyal members, even forging a close friendship with Nikki. Finally, after growing homesick, Yellowjacket decided to return home.
She could have been quite the story engine for Marvel, the former villain turned hero who touched the future, but poor Rita was murdered at the beginning of the legendarily awful Avengers story arc, The Crossing. If you never read The Crossing, consider yourself lucky as it began with a throwaway death of a former Guardian with tons of story potential and got progressively worse from there. Thankfully, Rita was resurrected during the Chaos War and with connections to Marvel’s next two big film franchises, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man; things probably bode well for a return of the yesterday girl that experienced tomorrow.
Jim Valentino’s run on Guardians was filled with hits and misses, but when the Image founder hit, he hit hard. This wise and experienced hero was actually Simon Williams, the Avenger once known as Wonder Man. In the present day, Wonder Man had his share of hardships, so seeing the crusader in the future gave long time Avengers reader a happy ending of sorts for their beloved ionic-powered hero.
Hollywood was the most popular film star in the galaxy but he still bravely fought side by side with the Guardians and the team’s offshoot, the Galactic Guardians. It was unique experiencing a modern day hero still vital so far in the future and provided Valentino and the Guardians with a tether to the past while giving the readers a familiar icon to rally behind in the sometimes unfamiliar future.
Speaking of classic Avengers in the future, Mainframe was actually the Vision. In the Guardians’ future, the Vision had evolved to make up the operating system of an entire planet. Calling himself Mainframe, this hero from the past was tasked with protecting the shield of Captain America and later joined the Galactic Guardians. No matter if he is a humanoid or a being evolved into the technology of an entire planet, the Vision is always a hero.
One of the past Guardians who is probably guaranteed to never appear in a Guardians film, (because Fox lawyers are more powerful than the Infinity Gems).
Giraud was once a proud resident of New Haven, (not the one in Connecticut) a world inhabited by mutants. When his planet was in danger, Giraud was possessed by the Phoenix Force in order to save his people, and like Jean Grey, Giraud, with all his heroic ideals, took a dark turn. When Giraud contracted a deadly virus, he went insane and makes with the planet destroying (thankfully uninhabited). Giraud, like the other past wielders of the Phoenix Force realized what a terrible burden being a space god of ultimate destruction was and pulled away from the Guardians, but not before he joined the Galactic Guardians and fought a future version of Korvac.
Man, that’s a lot of cosmic forces of destruction gathered in one place.
Spirit of Vengeance
In the ’90s, Ghost Rider was everywhere. It was impossible to swing a hell-forged bike chain without hitting a flame headed pursuer of vengeance. The future was no different, as the Ghost Rider of tomorrow, the Spirit of Vengeance joined with Guardians lore by fighting side-by-side with the Guardians and eventually joining the Galactic Guardians.
The Spirit of Vengeance was Wileaydus Autolycus for the planet Sarka, a member of the Universal Church of Truth who turned against the zealotry of his religion and, like Replica, joined the Guardians. The Spirit of Vengeance wanted to atone for his Church’s sins and rode his Death Cycle across the spaceways seeking to purify his religion. The Ghost Rider boom of the ’90s soon faded after Autoycus’ debut but in our opinion, there is always room for a vengeance seeking alien on a space motorcycle.
The Road to the Big Screen Begins…the Abnett and Lanning Era
Before he was a Guardian, Peter Quill starred in his own series of black-and-white features. He was created by Steve Englehart but when the writer left Marvel, the character was taken in a new and more space opera like direction by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont. In fact, the first time Claremont’s most famous X artist John Byrne worked with the writer was on Star-Lord. Despite that level of talent involved with the early Star-Lord, the character quickly faded into trivial obscurity until he returned in the Annihilation event.
Star-Lord epitomizes what makes the modern Guardians so special, he was a forgotten character bursting with potential until he was dusted off by Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning and given a chance to shine. Now, Marvel has a multimedia franchise character on their hands thanks to the work of these three great writers.
The tale of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy is the story about of a group of rejects who become heroes, and the characters featured in the new Guardians were heroes Marvel had almost forgotten about. No one exemplifies that more than Star-Lord, the face of the Guardians and a leader who is now familiar to sci-fi fans all over the world. Since the first Guardians film, Peter Quill has continued to lead the Guardians, became an Emperor of the Spartax Empire, discovered the identity of his father (it ain’t a Living Planet in the comics), had a star crossed romance with X-Men stalwart Kitty Pryde, and was stranded on Earth where he got involved in a second super hero Civil War.
Although he wasn’t nearly as obscure as Star-Lord, Drax was still an underused character in the world of cosmic Marvel. Drax’s original sole purpose was to destroy Thanos, the being who murdered the future Guardian and nearly killed his daughter. Thanos’ father Mentor needed a killing machine to take out his death worshipping son and used the spirit of the recently murdered Arthur Douglas to create a being with enough rage to fuel his weapon against Thanos. Thus, Arthur Douglas became Drax.
Drax popped around the Marvel Universe, appearing in Iron Man, Thor, Avengers, Warlock, and Logan’s Run (Whhhaaattt?) becoming a semi-constant space mainstay. Drax joined Adam Warlock’s Infinity Watch after the events of the Infinity Gauntlet and became a familiar sight to fans of cosmic Marvel. But alas, Drax was just a supporting character to Adam Warlock and Thanos, never truly defining himself as a compelling character away from his friend and sworn enemy. Until Drax became a Guardian that is.
Whatever direction Marvel chooses to go with Drax, it is amazing to think that a former supporting character to Adam Warlock is now a huge film star. And what a star, Drax is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe. You can be sure Marvel has huge things in store for this very literal minded monster. Fun fact, did you know that Drax is a world class saxophone player? The more you know.
Like Drax, Gamora, the deadliest woman in the galaxy, was also deeply embroiled in the Jim Starlin era Warlock and Thanos stories. She is the daughter of Thanos and former lover of Adam Warlock.
The coolest part about witnessing the arrival of the Guardians is that the entire team is made up of concepts and ideas from different ages of Marvel comics dreamed up by some of the most legendary comic creators of those eras. Think about it, you have a core concept created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan added to characters created by Englehart, Claremont, and Starlin.
Gamora represents decades of innovative cosmic storytelling in one deadly package presented to the world in such a way that she can become a legend. That’s the power of the Guardians, taking the once forgotten and making it into something special.
Recently, Marvel Comics told the tale of Gamora’s origin as the Most Dangerous Woman in the Galaxy continues to be one of Marvel’s most important and intriguing female leads.
Nowhere is the idea of the forgotten becoming legendary more evident than in Rocket Raccoon. It’s hard to imagine there was a time where Rocket wasn’t a core member of the Guardians, but in fact, that time was not long ago at all. In recent memory, Rocket was a punch line, a trivia question, an oddity, now, he is America’s favorite space hero, a modern day Flash Gordon who, through excellent storytelling and brilliant marketing, is Marvel’s favorite talking animal (sorry Howard).
Rocket first appeared in the pages of an obscure black-and-white back up feature before popping up in the pages of the Incredible Hulk and finally in his own mini-series. Bill Mantlo infused the character with a likability that transcended the rodent’s comical appearance. Who would have ever believed that Marvel’s next film sensation would be Rocket and his team of space losers? It just goes to show that with the Mouse’s marketing machine and the talent of Marvel’s creators, both in film and comics, anything is possible. And Rocket has soared since the first film taking part in every big Marvel event and storyline. The angry space rodent is now rubbing shoulders with Spider-Man and the Hulk and continues to be a testament to the creative vision of the great Bill Mantlo.
Also from the anything is possible department, we have Groot. We’ve tracked the creation of the other members of the film Guardians, but Groot stretches back even further than the beginnings of the Marvel Universe. Groot was one of the many giant monsters created by Lee and Kirby in the pre-Marvel superhero era. In his initial appearance, Groot, the Monarch of Planet X tried to take over the Earth until a scientist destroyed him using termites. Yes, a pretty ignominious defeat for a monarch, but Groot’s greatest days were to come, even if he had to wait 48 years for them.
Despite not appearing for almost half a century, Groot was included in the new Guardians. At first he was played for laughs, acting like an arrogant monarch and getting destroyed a lot, but then, as he lost vocabulary, he gained likeability. As his ability to speak diminished, Groot became a more gentle soul, the most loyal member of the Guardians, the closest thing to a Chewbacca the team has. Think about it, a forgotten Kirby creation, a character that should be a one note joke appeared in movies before Doctor Strange, Black Panther, or Captain Marvel! Of course, we now live in the era of Baby Groot and Disney is ready to fill a Scrooge McDuck like money bin with the coin they are going to make of that lil’ adorable Guardian.
Adam Warlock was once the central figure of the cosmic Marvel Universe. He recently played a major role in Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians, but the being formerly known as Him has been absent from the scene for awhile, although with Jim Starlin back at Marvel, that will probably change very soon.
Poor Warlock, think about it, three of his supporting cast will be major players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanos, Drax, and Gamora will soon all become household names and Warlock is nowhere to be seen. With so many of his cast playing major roles in the Marvel films, could Warlock be far behind? It’s hard to imagine an Infinity Gauntlet adaptation without him, isn’t it? And from all hints and clues, after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, that wait may just be over.
One of the biggest miracles of Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy run was that they found a way to present Mantis and not make her annoying. Mantis was introduced in Steve Englehart’s run on the Avengers in the “Celestial Madonna” storyline. The Celestial Madonna arc was conceptually sound but any Bronze Age fan will tell you, it lasted for freakin’ ever.
Mantis is a martial artist who achieved cosmic awareness and was supposed to be the woman who conceived a new galactic messiah. She had a really annoying way of talking, referring to herself as “This one,” and kind of pissing off her teammates by coming on to most of the male members of the team. She tried to get with Vision, Thor, and Hawkeye before settling on the Swordsman who she conceived her child with before going all ghostie and disappearing. She returned but wasn’t utilized much until she joined the Guardians.
As a precog, she was a great asset to Peter Quill and even lost her annoying speech patterns but kept her super cute antennae. She was an integral part of the early days of the Guardians and was recently reunited with Star-Lord. She was the first modern day character to be a member of both the Avengers and the Guardians, but “this one” wouldn’t be the last.
Abnett and Lanning really delved into every corner of the cosmic Marvel Universe in order to assemble their first team of Guardians. Bug was a proud member of the Micronauts, a comic adaptation of a ’70s toy line from the legendary toy company Mego that ran way longer than the toys were on store shelves.
Bug was a swashbuckling ladies man in the Guardians, an acrobatic troublemaker who gave the team a roguish element. Bug even accompanied the Guardians to Earth in their first post Abnett and Lanning appearance in Avengers Assemble, but the suave humanoid insect didn’t make the cut when Marvel launched the Guardians into a new series. One has to wonder if Bug’s inclusion in Avengers Assemble was done because there were aborted plans to include Bug in the film. I guess we’ll never know unless we can BUG Kevin Feige’s office.
For a lameass character with red-white-and blue hair, Jack Flag certainly has appeared in some awesome books. He was a large part of Warren Ellis’ Civil War era run on Thunderbolts where he was crippled and imprisoned in the Negative Zone for defying the Superhuman Registration Act. In the prison, confined to a wheelchair, Jack met the Guardians and was instantly taken with the team even though he claimed to despise cosmic shenanigans. The Guardians cured him of his spinal injuries and he decided to join the team rather to return to Earth where he was a fugitive. Jack did not stay with the team for long, but he was a very human presence on a team of sentient trees and aliens.
Flag didn’t have any powers or special abilities but proved himself a true Guardian through bravery and cunning. Jack Flag may not have been the coolest Guardian, but he was a hero through and through…despite the hair. Recently, Jack Flag took a place in one of Marvel’s most shocking events. We’re sure you heard about Captain America’s turn to the dark side. You see, Cap revealed himself to be a sleeper agent by uttering the words “Hail Hydra!” after tossing a SHIELD super powered operative out of a plane. That operative was none other than Jack Flag, the first victim of Captain America’s turn to the dark side. All of a sudden, Flag seems way more tragic, huh?
Cosmo the Space Dog
Disney certainly likes their talking dogs which bodes well for this security pooch. The Abnett and Lanning Guardians were headquartered in the flying head of a Celestial, a vessel called Knowhere. Making sure the population of Knowhere was safe was Cosmo, a former Soviet cosmonaut dog gifted with enhanced intelligence.
Cosmo defined the quirkiness of this era of the Guardians, but like Rocket, he defied his ludicrous premise and became a rich character in his own right. Of course, Cosmo and Rocket never quite liked each other, with Rocket always afraid Cosmo was going to chase him up a tree, but Cosmo was just a vital member of the Guardians as anyone else on the squad.
Phyla-Vell aka Quasar aka Martyr
Phyla-Vell has the distinction of carrying the legacy of both Captain Mar-Vell and Quasar, two of the greatest cosmic Marvel heroes of all time. She also was the lover of Moondragon, who just happens to be the daughter of Drax, giving Phyla a connection to another cosmic Marvel mainstay. Phyla-Vell was a fascinating character, a woman trying to forge her own legacy while carrying on the tradition of two great heroes. After she lost her lover Moondragon, Phyla darkened and became the universe’s avatar of death, Martyr.
Phyla was believed to be killed a number of times, first at the hands of by Warlock’s evil clone, Magus (she got better), then by Thanos himself. When last readers heard of Phyla, she was being mourned on Knowhere after the Thanos Imperative. Hey, Star-Lord returned to life after that battle, so maybe the Quantum Bands of the torchbearer of two heroic legacies will one day burn bright once again!
Madame MacEvil? The hell? Anyway, Moondragon was one of the most despised Avengers in history, actually mentally forcing Thor to become her lover. That being said, she was a pretty awesome Guardian, maybe because she spent the majority of her run in the book as an actual space dragon. She is the lover of Phyla-Vell (how they did that while Moondragon was in dragon form is anyone’s guess) and the daughter of Drax.
With her being central to Drax’s origin, one has to wonder if a film appearance is in the future for Moondragon. Moondragon is currently on an idealistic quest to try and find her former lover, where that story picks up will be anyone guess but this character has come a long way from roofieing Thor.
Moondragon also has a connection to Mantis as she was once believed to also be the potential Celestial Madonna. With her ties to Warlock, Drax, Thanos, and Mantis, it could be only a matter of time before some Hollywood A list actress is forced to shave off their elegant tresses in order to play Moondragon n a future Guardians film.
After the success of the first Guardians film, Marvel brought back the future Guardians in the comics Guardians 3000. There Dan Abnett continued to work his cosmic magic and make sure that the old school Guardians were still a part of the Marvel Universe.
During this time, the Earth precog Geena Drake joined the team. She helped the Guardians in a number of adventures and used her ability to see the future to help defeat the Badoon and other cosmic menaces. Drake insured that the Guardians legend is still vital in the future, plus, Abnett named her after the co-creators of the Guardians Gene Colan and Arnold Drake, so how cool is that?
Davis stands as a reminder of the Guardians of the future and the creators of the past that helped forge the legend that got us all hooked on a feeling.
Welcome to the Big Time…
When Thanos invaded Earth using a new group of villains called the Zodiac, the modern Guardians arrived to help fight side-by-side with the Avengers. When the dust cleared, Tony Stark decided to accompany the Guardians into space and found himself in the unfamiliar position of being the least technologically aware member of the team. Rocket and Star-Lord both used weapons centuries ahead of the most technologically advanced Stark tech, and Iron Man was like a wide eyed kid in a candy store.
He didn’t stay with the Guardians for long, but Iron Man’s time with the Guardians was extremely memorable with a romantic liaison with Gamora and the forging of a close friendship with Rocket. He’s back with the Avengers now, but fans will never forget the time Marvel Studios’ first star joined their newest film sensations.
Not every super team boasts a character created for another company. When Marvel gained the rights to Angela (because Neil Gaiman is a wizard), the House of Ideas wasted no time including the celestial warrior in the pages of the Guardians of the Galaxy. First off, any time you can include a Nail Gaiman creation in a book, any company worth its salt needs to pull that trigger.
Since meeting the Guardians, Angela has bonded with her fellow female warrior Gamora and has served as the team’s angelic powerhouse. Will a future Guardians film feature the former Spawn supporting character? It’s a distinct possibility and one that will make Todd McFarlane very grumpy. Whatever the case, Angela brings some otherworldly baddassery to the pages of the book every month. As her presence in the Marvel Universe grows, never forget that the Marvel legacy of Angela began when she joined the Guardians.
In the far future, Vance Astro would bring the Venom symbiote into the mythos of the Guardians, but in the present day, Flash Thompson, the current wearer of the black costume, serves proudly with the team. The inclusion of Agent Venom represents the first time the modern Guardians crossed with the world of Spider-Man, an intriguing prospect for future story directions. What would happen if a radioactive spider bit a sentient tree?
Flash Thompson is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, and since he lost his legs on the battlefield, one of the most compelling, and for a good long while, Flash was a Guardian. From a high school bully to a galactic savior, not bad for one of Marvel’s oldest characters.
Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)
Phyla-Vell isn’t the only Guardian to be connected to the legacy of the original Captain Mar-Vell. Carol Danvers has been an Avenger, an ally to the X-Men, a member of the Starjammers, and recently, was a proud member of the Guardians. Carol is an accomplished pilot with a keen military mind and does not flinch from cosmic insanity.
Of course Captain Marvel will soon by joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it is only a matter of time before Danvers is rubbing elbows with the Guardians on the big screen.
On Earth, Ben Grimm was always considered a monster. A hero, yeah, but also, a grotesque creature to be feared and shunned. But in space, Ben Grimm is just a hero. After all, a guy with a rocky hide and unmatchable strength is just another Tom, Dick, or Harry. So it was a natural fit when the Thing joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Here, Ben Grimm was more Flash Gordon than Frankenstein, a brave space adventurer that kicked alien ass and kissed alien babes. There was no pathos for Grimm in space as the farther the Thing got from Yancy Street, the more accepted he was by countless alien races. Grimm is back on Earth currently and working with SHIELD, but for a time, the legendary blue eyed Thing clobbered the bad guys in every star system in the galaxy as the Guardians’ resident muscle and pilot. If only we could see this film. You hear me Fox? If only.
Every Han Solo needs a Princess Leia and for a time, that’s exactly what Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde. The Guardian and the X-Man had a legendary space romance after Kitty left the mutant conflicts on Earth to become a member, and for a time, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Heck man, when Quill became the Emperor of the Spartax people, Pryde even took up the mask and gun of Star Lord, and she was just as great a space hero, if not better, than Quill himself.
Like all bright burning stars, the Pryde and Quill romance soon burned itself out, but for a while, their love was pure cosmic poetry as the two swashbuckling heroes blazed a path of adventure side by side. Now, Pryde is back on Earth as leader of the X-Men, but her time in space will always melt the hearts of even the mightiest comic entities (someone get Thanos a tissue, the old softy).
The two least likely superhero movie franchises joined forces when Scott Lang joined the Guardians of the Galaxy in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #12 (2017). Lang fits in perfectly with the always wacky and always brave Guardians and watching Lang and Quill play off each other is a true comic book delight. So far, Lang’s time as a Guardians hasn’t been a space cake walk (mmmm, space cake), as the miniscule hero and his cosmic pals have been embroiled in The Infinity Countdown, a cosmic tale of mayhem which involves Thanos, Ultron, the Infinity stones and countless other intergalactic agents of chaos.
Lang may be small, but as fans know, even in space, he makes a big impact cracking wise and cracking heads. One just has to wonder when Lang’s in space, where does he find his ants? In space, no one can hear you ant.