Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why I Love the Guardians (or What A Long Strange Trip It's Been)

Ahh, Guardians of the Galaxy.  If you had an announcement that there was going to be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out, I would probably have been one of the 17 people in the country that was excited.  What was Marvel thinking when they were letting these 3 legged mules into the big show?  I wish I knew what was going through the minds of the Powers That Be that made them decide to do this movie.  The comic had been cancelled, they were part of a semi-popular crossover (War of Kings), and that's it.  So why was I one of the excited ones?

I have always been a space cadet.  Ever since I saw Star Wars on the big screen, I was hooked.  Big space ships, strange aliens, and lots of pew pew guns.  Yeah, I loved it all.  I would have presents open on Christmas morning and my parents would not be able to explain one thing to you that I got (ha ha).  So in 1990 when Marvel released the first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, I was hooked.  Marvel + Space= Two great tastes that taste great together.

The original team was made up of characters that had original appeared as supporting characters in other Marvel titles.  Big names, they were not.  Major Vance Astrovik, Martinex, Charlie 27, and Yondu.  Two (three) characters joined them as well in this new series, the mysterious Starhawk and Aleta (characters who shared the same body) and Nikki, the head strong young girl from Mercury.  They were on a quest to take back Earth from the Badoon in the 31st century.

The thing that made this title so much fun as well was seeing the descendants of current characters in the Marvel Universe.  They meet the descendant of Logan early on in the series.  They meet the future incarnation of Ghost Rider.  Also the run into Galactus, Wonder Man, and Firelord.  It wasn't especially well written, like many new titles being tossed around in the early 90's, but since it was a smaller title, I took a bit of ownership to it.  This was my comic, that I enjoyed. After 62 issues, they finally called it quits and closed the doors on the series.

Flash forward 13 years and the super team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (known for their cosmic styled comics) took the reigns and started a mini series called Annihilation.  This was an event that wasn't taking place in the Marvel Universe per se.  It had no X-Men, no Avengers, no Spider-Man......NOTHING.  Silver Surfer, Nova, Super Skrull, Ronan the Accuser; names that have come up in other more mainstream comics, but never their own series.  The series described how Annihilus, leader of the Negative Zone, was bringing all of his minions with him in an Annihilation Wave to take over the Marvel Universe.  To take this threat away a team gravitated together made of Star Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Phyla Vell (Quasar), Bug, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.  They were able to fight back the wave and destroy negative zone minions that broke through to the Marvel Universe.

The team stayed together to fight other dangers that would face the universe.  This team had a much more humorous style of writing to it.  Sure, they were dealing with life and death, but still had some clever quips.  This comic lasted for 25 issues culminating in a storyline that I must tell people to check out dealing with a horrible place called the Cancerverse.  Truly a unique storyline.  Once again, star spanning stories were told with big star ships, crazy aliens, and plenty of pew pew guns.  And in the case of Rocket, really big pew pew guns.

Now flash forward to today.  The Guardians are much more recognizable and have started yet another series based upon their adventures.  Sure it is well written, and looks gorgeous, it just doesn't have the fun that the original series had.  Sure I am still reading it and probably will for a long time, but if you get a chance and are a huge fan, check out the old stuff.  That is what is so much fun with comics, they are mini time capsules.  You read those 1990 comics and you get the feel of what was going on in the medium at that time.  The book is really popular right now and will continue to be up to and past the release of the movie.  Oh yeah, and I forgot the one big piece of the puzzle missing form all of this and a key to why their popularity continues to of their main villains............

......yep, our buddy from the end of the Avengers, Thanos.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little walk back through history of on of my favorite comics.  Let me know if there are any other old titles that you want to know more about.  Until then......later

-  Great Scott

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