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"Earth Shall Overcome!"
The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969), created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan. They are a science fiction comic series set in the future, the 30th Century. An alien race known as the Badoon (later switched to Martians due to time travel) have taken over Earth, leading to a young telekinetic from the 20th Century to gather a team of heroes to free Earth. They eventually do, and go on to do other stuff.
The series ran in various Marvel Anthology books in the 1970s, with guest appearances in The Defenders and The Avengers in between anthology runs. The characters most notable appearance during these early years was in the Avengers, during the Korvac Saga.
The characters vanished into limbo during the 1980s, but were revived and given their own book in 1990. Originally written and drawn by Jim Valentino (with only one fill-in artist, Mark Texiera, for a single issue), Valentino revived the book with gratuitous continuity nods to existing Marvel characters: these included a new Phoenix, Wolverine's evil daughter Rancor and her army of evil mutants, a revived Church of the Universal Truth, "The Punisher" militia, Doctor Doom (whose brain was implanted into Wolverine's body), and Mephisto's daughter among other things. The series was popular, but ultimately around issue #28, Jim Valentino jumped ship to go found Image Comics after the other founders made a surprise offer to let Valentino come with them.
The book was then turned over to Michael Gallagher, who resolved Valentino's various storylines before using time travel as a plot device to incorporate elements of another 1970s sci-fi book (Kilraven) into the franchise, causing the Guardians to fight the Martians. The series lasted for 62 issues (June, 1990-July, 1995). They haven't seen much use since that time.
Had its own spin-off mini-series: Galactic Guardians, which featured a lot of future versions of Marvel characters, including: Phoenix IX, the Spirit of Vengeance, Mainframe (the Vision) and Hollywood (Wonder Man).
This Team initially consisted of:
- Major Victory
- Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara)
This Version Contains Examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage
- Alternate History - When they go back in time to team up with The Avengers, they change Major Victory's history, making their future an alternate timeline. The Earth-616 version of Vance Astrovik goes on to become Justice of the New Warriors.
- Incidentally, this makes him the only person to be an Avenger twice as two separate people rather than just having one person with multiple identities. They've even technically met in JLA vs. Avengers (although we don't see them talking to each other).
- An Ice Person - Martinex
- The Archer - Yondu
- Artificial Limbs - Yondu, after Interface from Force uses his power to transmute matter to turn Yondu's hand to gas. Yondu gets a replacement, and still managed to remain an Archer despite missing a hand.
- Ax Crazy: Yondu tends to go ax crazy at the drop of a hat.
- Cat Boy - Talon
- Exposed Extraterrestrials - Martinex is a crystaline alien from the planet Pluto. His body is composed entirely of crystal, and never wears clothes.
- Fantastic Racism - Nikki believes Reptiles Are Abhorrent.
- Fiery Redhead - Nikki. Slight Aversion in that she's not quite a readhead so much that being from the planet Mercury, the pores on her head are exhaust ports for a high, constant body heat. The result? Actual constant fire that looks like hair.
- Heavyworlder - Charlie-27
- Human Popsicle - Major Victory
- I Just Knew - Starhawk (Stakar, not Aleta): Starhawk's Catch Phrase was 'Accept the word of One Who Knows.' What he would tell Martinex later is that Stakar was not a precognitive; he was fated to go back in time, and his disembodied consciousness inhabit his infant body to start all over again
- Last of His Kind - The premise starts here; the Badoon have attacked, and the four originals are survivors of their worlds. Yondu, from Beta Centauri, eventually discovers that a large number of his people survived and saves them from Galactus.
- Legacy Character - Major Victory for Captain America, amongst others.
- Mass Teleportation
- Only You Can Repopulate My Race - Yondu, to Photon. Unfortunately, Photon's an athiest and Yondu is sworn to murder any of his kind who are.
- Although it was she who was trying to kill him. No one ended up killing anyone, although he caught her off-guard and badly hurt her at one point. (Valentino intended them to eventually get together, but it never panned out.)
- Plot Armor
- Playing with Fire - Firelord, and Nikki (Nikki, who was in a relationship with Charlie-27 at one point, and had to immerse herself in water to cool down enough so they could touch.)
- The Reptilians - The Badoon. Also, Scanner, from Force
- Sharing a Body - Starhawk and Aleta, from their first appearance. They were a married couple who encounted a device that made them share the same physical space, so only one of them could manifest at a time. Everything seemed okay until Aleta started falling for Vance...
- Smart Guy - Martinex
- Voluntary Shapeshifting - Replica (a Skrull)
"Feels like someone turned the symbolic homage up to eleven."
Years after the original comic ended, a new version, set in the mainstream 616 universe and in the present time was created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning out of the main characters from their two Annihilation miniseries events. In it, a few of the protagonists who helped solve the troubles of those series decide that the universe can't take another, and so organize a team to proactively go out and lay the beatdown on whatever troubles threaten to destroy everything.
The new version first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 #1 (July, 2008). Their book lasted for 25 issues (July, 2008-June, 2010). A version of the team is set to appear in the second season of the Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes animated program during a adaptation of the Korvac saga.
The team line -up initially consisted of:
With Mantis providing a support role and Groot still recovering from Annihilation Conquest, though both would soon join the main line up. Also providing a support role was Cosmo, a telepathic former Russian Cosmonaut dog who ran security at Knowhere, the former head of a Celestial at the end of space and time. By the second issue, Major Victory, the same character from the original series, would join up, and would be followed later on by Bug, Jack Flagg and Moondragon.
This version of the series includes:
- Absolute Cleavage - Gamora, who pairs it with Sideboob, Vapor Wear, and likely a few other related tropes. Frankly, it's probably a miracle of space-age future science that her clothing manages to stay on her as reliably as it does.
- Anyone Can Die - Issue 19 has half the main characters KIA by the time the issue is over.
- Not Quite Dead - 22/23 reveals it was an illusion the whole time.
- Apocalypse How - One potential future we're shown results in a Class X-2.
- Badass - Everyone on the team gets their moments to shine, but Drax the Destroyer is the resident One-Man Army.
- Badass Normal - Starlord, while he used to have all kinds of nifty cosmic powers, these days he's just a guy with a gun and a rad helmet taking on cosmic level threats.
- Bad Future: Adam Warlock may have contained the Fault in time but his actions resulted in every possible future becoming the 'Magus future', where the universe is under the control of the Universal Church of Truth, lead by Magus. It got so bad that Kang the Conqueror is the only one left standing, giving Starlord a Cosmic Cube that might give him the edge over the Magus.
- Brick Joke - When Star-Lord and half of his team are thrown through time and encounter the classic Guardians of the Galaxy, he decided to come up with another name for his team to avoid any unnecessary problems with the other guardians. The name he chose: The Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic, a name that Rocket Raccoon suggested for their team name in the beginning of the first issue.
Star-Lord: All the good names were taken.
- Catch Phrase - "I am Groot!" (It actually means something. We just can't understand the subtle nuances.)
- Chekhov's Gun
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: Kang the Conqueror in #19.
- Confession Cam
- Corrupt Church - The Church of Universal Truth definitely. They use the faith of their followers to empower themselves but are unafraid of bugging out and leaving them to their doom when things get hot. Becosme even more so under the leadership of Adam Magus in the future.
- Eldritch Abomination - They're trying to get through the negative space wedgies.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Rocket Raccoon
- Funny Animal - Cosmo and Rocket Raccoon
- Fate Worse Than Death - Drax the Destroyer
...And I believe you will now feel all the pain you have ever inflicted.
- Gatling Good - Rocket Racoon
- Genius Bruiser - Groot, apparently.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe - Gamora and Mantis
- Bug would be the male version of this trope, being VERY handsome under the helmet
- Human Popsicle - Again, Major Victory, only this time to travel backwards in time. And through dimensions.
- Heterosexual Life Partners - Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
- Informed Ability - Rocket Raccoon is supposedly a tactical genius. Most of his plans seem to revolve on plastering the enemy with bullets.
- Jekyll and Hyde - The Magus for Adam Warlock.
- Let's You and Him Fight - When some of the "Modern" Guardians are thrown forward in time and meet the "Original" Guardians.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Rocket Raccoon gets to be playable in Ultimate, to the surprise of many.
- More Dakka: Rocket Raccoon's real super power.
- More Than Mind Control
- Negative Space Wedgie - The rips in the fabric of the universe that keep showing up. There's a really, really big one (which they manage to actually stabilize) by the time the War of Kings story is over.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Maelstrom is very much this. He'd like you to believe he's a beyond good and evil force of nature. Really he's middle management for Oblivion and a loud mouthed sociopath to boot.
- Path of Inspiration - The Universal Church of Truth.
- Plant Aliens - Again, Groot.
- Pokémon-Speak - Groot. Apparently, some of his chants translate to extremely complex Techno Babble.
- Running Gag - Jack Flagg hates Cosmic $#*^. Rocket Raccoon comes to echo his sentiments, despite being a friggin anthromorphic raccoon.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: What Groot is really saying part of the time when he says "I AM GROOT!". Also Techno Babble.
- Space X - A variation:
Jack Flag: It's a time-door!
- Super-Powered Evil Side - Magus to Adam Warlock.
- Timey-Wimey Ball - In particular, the Guardians Of All Galaxys (the 30th century team, and all alternates thereof) live Meanwhile in the Future, operate on San Dimas Time, and have Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory. So they only know about things happening in 2010 "after" they've happened.
- Verbal Tic - Bug
- Walking Shirtless Scene - Drax
- What Now? Ending - After The Thanos Imperative, the group disbanded with no leader.
- When Trees Attack - Groot's kind of like a space Ent. Who can grow back if you smash him apart.