With “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” just days away from hitting your local multiplex, I thought this would be a good time to talk about some underrated Guardians of the Galaxy comics. But then it hit me:
The numerous Guardians of the Galaxy titles over the years, have never had any memorable stories. I simply refuse to acknowledge anything Brian Michael Bendis did with the group over the last few years. And, as good as Jim Valentino was, his early 1990’s Guardians run wasn’t exactly a classic. That Vance Astro Captain America costume? woof.
So instead of writing about the Guardians of the Galaxy title, I’m instead going to mention some my favorite stories featuring a couple of Guardians of the Galaxy members.
But to be clear: these comic stories are by no means necessary to enjoy “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” on the big screen. These are just good comic stories you might enjoy before or after seeing the movie. Got it? good, and away we go:
Warlock and the Infinity Watch #9 (1992)
The Guardians’ leading lady is of course, the green beauty, Gamora. In the first movie we don’t learn much about her background, except that she is Thanos’ daughter. But even then we don’t get any details.
The first time I saw her origin in any detail was in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #9 published in 1992. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #9 was an Infinity War tie-in issue, but the main story was called “Old Wounds” written by Jim Starlin, with Art by Tom Raney and Keith Williams.
In this comic we learn the origin of the most dangerous woman in the universe. How she came to be raised by Thanos, how he trained her, and why after all this time, she still hates him.
Starlord #1-3 (1996-1997)
The 1990’s in general were a pretty bad time for comics. But the mid 90’s were extremely painful for Marvel. However, every once in a while during that time, Marvel published something good. In this case, the three issue Starlord mini-series Written by Timothy Zahn, and painted by Dan Lawlis.
In this series, Starlord has been missing for 22 years, but When a rookie lawman in a corrupt judicial system finds a crashed sentient starship, he stumbles into a web of intrigue beyond his experience, as he is forced to become the new Starlord!
This is not quite the Starlord you see in the MCU, but this was still a fun series published during a rough time for Marvel.
Captain Marvel #6 (1999)
In 1999, writer Peter David and artist Chris Cross launched a new Captain Marvel title that sadly, most people didn’t read. That’s a shame because this title was highly underrated. One of the early highlights of this comic, happened in issue #6.
Behold, Drax the Despot! In Captain Marvel #6, Captain Marvel and Drax the Destroyer find themselves transported to a familiar spot in the Marvel Universe one where Drax is worshipped as a god, and Captain Marvel is considered a villain! And to make matters worse, Drax is slowly becoming more and more stupid, not to mention more violent!
Drax may look different here than he does in the comic, but the fact remains this is one heck of an issue.
Rocket Raccoon #1-4 (1985)
Assuming you can find affordable copies of the issues, the Rocket Raccoon mini-series from 1985 is worth every penny. The series is probably available digitally, but it just isn’t the same thing.
Anyways, Rocket Raccoon was written by Bill Mantlo, and featured art by Mike Mignola. In the series, Lord Mole has started a toy war by killing the chief toysmith of Lord Dyvyne. Rocket Raccoon and his crew, with the oath of protecting the loonies of Cuckoo’s Nest, find themselves involved in the struggle to ensure that their subjects receive the toys they need. Lord Dyvyne sends the Black Bunny Brigade to capture Llyla to obtain her stake in her toy empire.
And di I mention Mike freaking Mignola drew this?
Marvel: The End #1-6 (2003)
Written and drawn by Jim Starlin, Marvel: The End sees a grave threat from beyond space and time swiftly approaches the Earth. This catastrophic, existence-ending event forces Earth’s mightiest heroes and villains to join forces to fend off Armageddon. But amid ever-shifting alliances and internally warring factions, will they succeed in their quest to save all of eternity?
Led by the demigod Thanos (who is admittedly not only quite mad, but something of a continual threat himself to both Earth and eternity), Earth’s super-humans must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to face the most terrifying threat that they’ve ever encountered: Nothing less than the end of all that ever was!
The six issue Marvel: The End series is a fun and ambitious story featuring Thanos vs. the Marvel universe. Although The End isn’t as good as the Infinity Gauntlet, The End does cool team-ups, and shocking twists. And come on, it’s by Jim Starlin, you can’t go wrong!