FIRST APPEARANCE: Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord #1 (2007)
The story of the so-called ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ begins in the far future.
The original ‘Guardians’ were a group of 31st century survivors from different worlds, such as Pluto, Jupiter and Centauri-IV, who gathered together to protect the Earth and the solar system from a race of reptilian alien conquerors known as the Badoon. Their many adventures would see them face other foes, such as the energy manipulator Michael Korvac, and team-up with modern day heroes like the Avengers.
At some point after these conflicts and adventures, one of their number, Major Victory, once again became displaced in time, and found himself in the present day, but this time with no memory of his previous adventures.
At this point, the Galaxy was in turmoil, and had recently seen two invasion attempts of universal scope. The first came at the hands of the bug-like Annihilus, who had escaped his own alternate dimension, the Negative Zone, and lead an armada of warships into the Galaxy, ravaging numerous worlds. His attempt at universal conquest was halted, but in turn lead to a follow-up invasion, wherein the Avengers villain Ultron bonded with a cybernetic hive-mind known as the Phalanx. Thanks to a blunder by Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord, while he tried to help the Kree race rebuild their home-planet following the ‘Annihilation Wave’, the Phalanx were able to gain a foothold in the galaxy.
Overwhelmed by guilt, Quill resolved to form a strike-force to take out any future threats to the Galaxy before they could cause the same levels of damage as Ultron and Annihilus. Bringing together other ‘heroes’ who had fought against the two threats, the team began opperating out of a space-station, crafted from the head of a dead Celestial, called Knowhere.
In their early adventures, the team found the time-displaced Major Victory, and decided to adopt the name of his team, the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, and in the process, became the very group that would inspire Major’s team in the future.
The infamous Peter Quill, better known as the ‘legendary’ Star-Lord, is traditionally seen as the leader of the Guardians. Originally a rather stoic and responsible, if abrasive, hero, as time has passed, he’s developed into somewhat of a scoundrel. Having left Earth decades ago, Quill has a fondness for seventies music, as it is the main thing that connects him to his home-planet and one of the few things he’s taken with him into space.
Originally from ‘Halfworld’, Rocket Raccoon was one of many animals genetically altered to serve as companions to the residents of the planet – an abandoned colony for the mentally ill. After leaving his post as ‘security officer’, munitions-expert Rocket began travelling the galaxy, and can often be found in the company of the Flora Colossi king, Groot, with Rocket being one of the few beings who can understand’s the true meaning behind Groot’s seemingly indistinguishably inflections of the phrase “I am Groot”.
A merciless killer, Gamora is the last surviving member of a race slain by the Badoon. She was later found by ‘the Mad Titan’, Thanos, who trained her to become “the deadliest woman in the Galaxy”. Through the influence of characters (and lovers) like Warlock and Nova, Gamora has since begun fighting for good, and along with the other Guardians, hopes to make up for the many innocent lives she has taken.
Created by a group of scientists to be the perfect, artificial human, Adam Warlock is perhaps best known as the primary holder of the ‘Soul’ Infinity Gem. Respected and deified by various parties, Warlock is a messianic figure, who can inspire good in lost souls like Gamora, rally disparate personalities (like in Infinity Gauntlet) and has even overcome death on numerous occasions. Alongside his heightened physical attributes, Warlock wields ‘Quantum Magic’, which he uses in his constant battle for universal peace.
Formerly a human named Arthur Douglas, the being that would become Drax the Destroyer was killed during Thanos’ first excursion to Earth alongside his daughter, Heather (or so he believed). Thanos’ grandfather, Kronos placed Arthur’s soul in a new, more resilient alien body, and gave him a new goal – destroying the Mad Titan. Fueled by rage and the death of his family, Drax has since become one of the most feared beings in the cosmos.
Usually resigned to support, Mantis is another space-faring human. Born in Vietnam, Mantis was given over to a group called ‘the Priests of Pama’, a religious sect of the Kree race. Believing her to be the ‘Celestial Madonna’ – a being thought to give birth to a Messiah – they trained her to fight and granted her telepathic abilities. After bearing a child and spending some time as an Avenger, Mantis took off for space, where she uses her empathic powers and martial art skills to serve as a mediator for various parties.
After her father’s death and rebirth, Heather Douglas would also be sought out by Thanos’ family, and raised by his father, Mentor. Trained by monks on Thanos’ home planet of Titan, Heather developed keen fighting skills and telepathic abilities, taking the name Moondragon. After having spent time as a supervillain and later, an Avenger, Heather took to the stars with her Kree lover, Phyla-Vell.
The daughter of renowned cosmic hero Captain Mar-Vell, Phyla initially followed in her father’s footsteps, becoming one of many in a long line of ‘Captain Marvels’ (others being her brother, the light manipulating Avenger Monica Rambeau, and current Captain Marvel Carol Danvers). After recovering artifacts known as the ‘Quantum Bands’, Phylla later took on the mantle of the hero Quasar, using the bands to manipulate energy (not unlike Green Lantern) as the designated ‘Protector of the Universe’.
Although not technically a Guardian, Richard Rider has always been a prominent part of their story. As a Nova, Richard is part of the Nova Corps, a vast super-powered army made from a variety of races that police the galaxy. Similarly, the Guardians also often recieve aid from Cosmo the Spacedog, a Russian Dog lost in a 20th century space-program, who has since gained telepathy and uses his new powers as security chief of the space-station (/Celestial head) Knowhere.
Originally a Fantastic Four villain, Annihilus is a bug-like alien from a pocket dimension called the Negative Zone. In recent years, Annihilus became a far greater threat, as he and his armies broke through into the Galaxy, wiping out several populated planets in the process. His invasion, and the events that followed, were the opening acts that led to the modern day Guardian of the Galaxy’s creation.
As the ‘father’ of Gamora, Thanos is directly tied to the Guardians. His obsession with the personification of Death has led him to enact many devilish schemes that have threatened the entire galaxy. Similarly, Thanos is the reason for Drax’s continued existence, and their bloody feud has lead to them both killing one another on separate occasions, only for each to be reborn anew.
J’Son of Spartax is Peter Quill’s alien father. Human in appearance, J’Son is the King of the Spartoi people, and met Peter’s mother after crashing on Earth. J’Son has interfered with the operations of the Guardians on numerous occasions, not out of hatred, so much as a desire to have his son abandon both the Earth and his assumed duties to the galaxy and take his place as J’Son’s heir to the Spartoi throne. Star-Lord’s continued defiance led to J’Son’s loss of the throne, and in place of his former planetary dominion, he instead began forming a criminal empire.
Each of the Guardians has their dark sides, but few are comparable to that of Adam Warlock’s. The Magus is the physical embodiment of Warlock’s darker side, and has come into being on numerous occassions – whether that be travelling back in time from the future, being phyiscally separated from Adam’s own body, or even taking control of Adam’s mind. As Warlock’s doppelganger, Magus posseses all of Adam’s considerable powers, and uses them to command the Universal Church of Truth, a villainous religous organisation that would occupy planets, exterminating any beings who would not join in their faith.
Created by the Earth hero and Avenger Hank Pym, the robot known as Ultron eventually left Earth and his feud with the Avengers in search of universal domination. His bonding with the cybernetic Phalanx race is what encouraged Peter Quill’s creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now dividing his time between conquering the stars and plaguing the heroes of Earth, Ultron seeks to ascend beyond his robotic form and become part-organic, part-mechanical and assimilate all living beings into his programming.
CURRENTLY APPEARS IN: Infinity Countdown