Mike Luoma's "Cosmic Crackle" - Who are the "Guardians of the Galaxy?"
So, Marvel is making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie? You might be wondering - Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? I've been chronicling the exploits of the original team who held that name over the last couple of columns. In the last installment of my Cosmic Crackle we took a look at the rebirth of the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the hands of Jim Valentino in the early 1990s.
Michael Gallagher took over as writer of the Guardians' self-titled series with issue #29, Valentino's last plotted issue. Gallagher took the Guardians in a different direction - in this third part of my look back at the original Guardians of the Galaxy, we'll look at how he brought the Guardians of the Galaxy's 1990s series to a close.
The final four issues of Guardians of the Galaxy - 59 through 62 -feature Starhawk's search for his parents in the front half, and four separate back up solo stories featuring other team members. The Guardians team disbanded at the end of issue #58, and the back up stories were supposed to follow four different characters. The final "solo" story in #62, however, was expanded to become the final Guardians of the Galaxy story in the run. The final story arc also features one of Marvel's most popular cosmic characters of the nineties - Quasar - as a guest star!
Quasar and Starhawk: Father and Son! Detail from Guardians of the Galaxy #61
Starhawk briefly wore the Quantum Bands and discovered that Quasar and Kismet were his parents. His search for them lead him to the Abrogate, "The Intergalactic Nexus Point of Abolition" where Quasar was killed. As issue #61 opens, Starhawk believes he has also been killed at the Abrogate; instead, Starhawk finds himself in Quasar's White Room - sitting across from Wendell Vaughan - his father!
All the former Protectors of the Universe, the wearers of the Quantum Bands, are gathered at the table with a plant on it. All save Starhawk are pictured in black and white, and they cannot rise from their seats. Starhawk, however, breaks free, and then frees Wendell.
Vaughan then tells Starhawk of the War of the Worlds, when he discovered Kismet's pregnancy. In a flashback, we get the story. Quasar grabbed Kismet and selfishly Quantum leapt far from Earth during the War of the Worlds to protect his lover and unborn child, leaving Kismet in the care of the Sisters of Mercy on the planet Vesper. Weakened but guilt-ridden, Quasar Quantum leaps to head back to Earth but miscalculated, appearing at the Abrogate. The creature there took his appearance as an attack and retaliated, killing him.
Quasar still feels immense guilt, telling Starhawk, "Without my Quantum Bands, Earth lost the War of the Worlds!" He tells Starhawk he knows nothing of the child borne by Kismet, says he has no right to know, and awareness would bring him further shame, since "my personal weakness caused millions of deaths and forever changed galactic history." Starhawk, frustrated by the inertia of the place, busts out of the White Room.
Wendell Vaughan then reveals to the plant on the table - who turns out to be Eon - that he actually knows Starhawk is his son. We are given a clue to future events when Wendell tells Eon, "You might do well to ponder the current actions of your child as well, Eon!" To which Eon replies, "...his agenda begins to disturb me..." Starhawk takes off for Vesper to see if his mother is still alive - only to be struck down in Vesper's orbit by Pathbreaker. The resolution of that battle is saved for the next issue. The back up feature in #61 is a Talon solo story.
The Final Issue of 1990s Guardians of the Galaxy - #62
The final issue of the 1990s run of Guardians of the Galaxy, issue #62, opens with Starhawk landing on Vesper looking for Kismet, his mother. He easily defeats Pathbreaker, finds Kismet, and flies off with her for Quasar's grave. He then tells her of his encounter with Wendell in the White Room, thanks to Eon letting him briefly wear the bands.
Kismet surprises Starhawk by cursing Eon, revealing it was him who took her baby from her at birth! Starhawk reveals to Kismet that he is her son, but before they can bond too much Eon actually appears.
Here Gallagher employs a major plot twist, as he reveals that Eon isn't really Eon! Her son Era has been masquerading as Eon - Eon is actually trapped in the White Room with Wendell. Perhaps because he must wrap up the series, Gallagher uses this twist to explain everything. It strains the credibility of the plot a bit. It seems Era has been a master manipulator. He tricked the Silver Surfer into abandoning Earth during the War of the Worlds, helped arrange for the Surfer to kill Nova, misdirected Quasar to the Abrogate and stole the child Starhawk from Kismet's arms, all the while pretending to be Eon.
As they face off against Era, Starhawk calls on his mother to use her power, but she cannot. He calls on the Hawk God, but is still almost vanquished by Era. Though Kismet has sworn not to use her power, when Era is on the verge of killing Starhawk she erupts into her old, powerful Kismet persona!
Era runs when Kismet and Starhawk attack together. The Hawk God then appears and tells them Era is trying to bring about a prophesied War of the Cosmic Beings - "His meddlings permeate the Multiverse!"
Era wants to bring about the extinction of the Multiverse, the Ultimate Calamity - so claims the Hawk God, who has also been accused of these things. Starhawk and Kismet vow to hunt Era down... for Wendell's sake. The story closes with an air of finality, as Gallagher writes, "It is a new beginning for Mother and Son, but for us, it is - The End."
Well, except for the second half of the issue! Discovering that this would be the final issue of the series, Gallagher turned what had been planned to be a solo story into a team story, to wrap up the series.
The Guardians are getting back together on their ship, the Icarus. Charlie-27 and Nikki pick up Yondu and head back to meet up with Aleta and Vance Astro. Astro's bummed because he and Aleta spent much of their alone time testing his new skin suit. Turns out the Beyonder gave it to him. Sounds like it could be a Venom-like symbiote. Aleta hasn't been comfortable since the suit groped her!
Martinex has been back for a while, aklso helping Vance and Aleta test the suit. Astro isn't happy with Martinex, however, as he didn't let Astro know Main Frame was monitoring the Guardians' activities.
Apparently Main Frame isn't the only hidden watcher, as we see a shadowy figure watching the current goings on from a hiding place somewhere on board the Icarus!
The Guardians gather to hear the results of the tests on Astro's new suit. It's good news. This suit is not a symbiote, but sympathetic exo-armor whose seemingly sentient behavior was cause by interaction with Astro's mutant biochemistry. Astro's increased physical powers have a different cause, revealed by the former Wonder Man, Simon Williams, now known as "Hollywood" who reminds them of the blood transfusion Astro received from him way back in issue #19! His blood is becoming like Simon's, giving Astro increasing strength. When Astro calls Simon a "Blood Stepbrother", Main Frame, the former Vision, pipes up that he isn't the first.
Main Frame has been studying the War of the Worlds, and has called the Guardians back together to go back in time, in an attempt to prevent the War from ever happening! The Icarus goes back in time to just before the war and appears in front of the Martian fleet as it approaches the Earth. They command them to turn back. When they instead deploy into battle formations, they let Simon loose on them.
Hollywood is a survivor of the War of the Worlds. He goes berserk and begins wiping out the ships of the fleet, until the Guardians have to demand he stop. They call him back on board, then launch what Charlie-27 calls "a concentric, high-density energy tsunami" that wipes out the flagship and sixty-two percent of the fleet. The rest, damaged, turn back for Mars. Charlie-27 declares mission accomplished.
The Guardians of the Galaxy start to head back to their time. But the hidden watcher reveals himself to be the Inhuman Wormhole. He swears the Guardians will never return to their own time! Instead he promises they will suffer a torturous death!
The Inhuman Wormhole's vendetta goes back to issues 40 - 44 according to an editorial note. He launches a wormhole as the Icarus enters the timestream, giving them a rough ride "through a chaotic conflux of neo-time and temporal realities that beggar description." The ship's instruments are frozen, all systems are down as they leave the timestream, the Icarus an inert glider as they begin to crash on a planet with an atmosphere. Astro protects them from the worst of the crash with a psycho-kinetic cushion.
As the issue ends, they don't know where or when they are: "Where physics, fortune, and fate brought them, they know not. Perhaps the tales will be told another time. But for now, this determined band of heroes know but one thing: They will fearlessly meet whatever challenges they encounter as a team."
And so the 1990s series ends, conveniently leaving the Guardians available in any Marvel Reality, at any Marvel time. Gallagher does future writers a favor with this uncertainty, by not pinning anything down. They could emerge at any time, in any reality. Eventually they did reappear, as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning eventually brought them back as guest stars in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy series. That's something I'll write more about in a future Cosmic Crackle.
This Guardians of the Galaxy ended in 1995. So did another Marvel cosmic title, Warlock and the Infinity Watch. Quasar had ended a year earlier, and The Infinity Crusade had played that franchise out the year before. After the mid-90s, Marvel's cosmic side became kind of dormant. There was a Warlock mini-series or two, but neither clearly in regular Marvel cosmic continuity. Jim Starlin brought back Thanos and his gems in The Infinity Abyss in 2002, and then wrote Thanos: The End and the first six issues of a Thanos miniseries before leaving Marvel in 2003 (Find out more about those in my look at Thanos. [LINK TO Thanos CRACKLE]).
The Thanos miniseries was turned over to writer Keith Giffen with issue #7. The rebirth of Marvel Cosmic begins with this issue, as Giffen starts the "Samaritan" storyline and reintroduces a character who would go on to lead the new Guardians of the Galaxy - Peter Quill is half-human, half Spartoi, and used to be known as Star-Lord. And if Marvel Studios are as clever as they seem to be, he'll be the star of the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
With that in mind, next time on Cosmic Crackle we'll continuing answering "Who Are the Guardians of the Galaxy?" with the first of a multi-part look at one of the most fascinating Marvel Cosmic Characters you may never have heard of - Star-Lord.
Read Who are the "Guardians of the Galaxy"? Part One here.
Read Who are the "Guardians of the Galaxy"? Part Two here.
blog comments powered by Disqus