Ka-Pow 101: Intro to Galactic Defense

You’ve heard us talk about them on the podcast, and according to Kevin Feige, they are integral to introducing Thanos as the villain of a future Avengers movie. Variety has confirmed it is one of Marvel’s 2014 releases, so you have to ask yourself: just who are the Guardians of the Galaxy?

The Original Team

Clockwise from top: Starhawk, Martinex, Major Victory, Yondu, Charlie-27
Artist: Pasqual Ferry

In1969, the team was created by writer Arnold Drake and penciled by Gene Colan. As a group of freedom fighters in thirty-first century, Vance Astro (Earth), Martinex (Pluto), Charlie-27 (Jupiter), and Yondu (Beta Centauri IV) faced off against the Badoon, an alien race bent on conquering Earth’s solar system. Traveling back and forth in time, the Guardians would eventually defeat the Badoon and face the galactic threat known as Korvac alongside the Avengers. Members of the Guardians who fought in the twentieth century against Korvac even gained honorary Avengers membership. Team membership would also grow to include characters such as Firelord (a herald of Galactus) and Starhawk. Vance Astro would also recover Captain America’s shield and begin operating under the title, Major Victory.

The Modern Team

Clockwise from top: Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Moondragon
Artist: Alex Garner

In 2008, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning followed the success of two major cosmic events with a new series featuring several characters from the events. Following an invasion from the Negative Zone (an anti-matter universe) and a failed conquest of the Kree by Ultron, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, bands a group together to proactively stop galactic threats. This group consists of:

Adam Warlock – Artificial human with the ability to manipulate cosmic energy

Drax the Destroyer – The spirit of human Arthur Douglas in a new body with the sole purpose of killing Thanos

Gamora – Deadly assassin trained and raised by Thanos; Last survivor of her species

Phyla-Vell – Artificial daughter of Captain Mar-Vell; possessor of the Quantum Bands

Rocket Racoon – Genetically anthropomorphized racoon; space cop

Groot – Alien floral colossus (or Giant Tree Monster); Monarch of Planet X

Later additions include Major Victory (see above) and Moondragon (psionic human daughter of Drax/Arthur Douglas).

What Does This All Mean?

A Guardians of the Galaxy movie featuring this cast of characters allows for both a thorough introduction of Thanos and possibly the items of his desire the Infinity Gems. Drax, Gamora, Moondragon, Adam Warlock, and Thanos have all been possessors of various Infinity Gems as members of the Infinity Watch. Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, and Groot are simply fan-favorite characters, but Drax, Gamora, Moondragon and Warlock all have pasts linked to Thanos. Phyla-Vell may be a tough transition especially if Marvel ever plans to introduce the Kree and Captain Marvel.

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