** MINOR SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 follow. Don't read if you don't want to know! **
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is finally here, and it is surprisingly delightful. A take on family that swings between humorous and dark-hearted at the whims of its characters, James Gunn's second #Marvel outing is a welcome addition to the annuals of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Many characters from Guardians of the Galaxy return for Vol. 2, alongside a number of new characters. One such returning character is Nebula, portrayed by Scottish actress Karen Gillan. Once the right-hand man to #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy antagonist Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), Nebula is one of a pair of Thanos's (Josh Brolin) "adopted" daughters, alongside her "sister" #Gamora (Zoe Saldana).
And, like with Gamora, there's clearly very little love lost between Nebula and #Thanos. In Guardians of the Galaxy Nebula sides with Ronan against the Titan, telling him:
"You see what [Thanos] has turned me into? You kill him and I will help you destroy a thousand planets."
This is a pertinent line, because Thanos has a history of mistreating his daughters, both in the #MCU and in the comics. And there are two big moments of reference to the horror Nebula went through at the hands of her "father" in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
- Karen Gillan Reveals That Nebula Died In An Early 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Script
- How 'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' Proved That The MCU & Fox's X-Men Are Connected
- Forget Star-Lord, Will 'Avengers: Infinity War' Finally See Gamora Getting Revenge On Thanos?
Firstly, Nebula explains to Kraglin (Sean Gunn) why she wants to kill Gamora. When they were children she and Gamora were made to battle for training purposes, with the loser having a part of them replaced by machinery by Thanos. Her sister never let Nebula win, so now she is almost completely composed of robotics while Gamora remains whole (physically, at least).
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Nebula describes to Kraglin the experience of being ripped apart and remade by Thanos, and later she tells Gamora, "he pulled out my eye, pulled out my brain, pulled off my arm." Now, this may seem like a pretty horrific way of writing Nebula's backstory — and you'd be totally right — but it's also a big Easter Egg, taken almost directly from the pages of Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet.
Nebula appears in the Infinity Gauntlet saga as a captive of Thanos, his self-described "greatest creation." Prior to the events of Infinity Gauntlet, Nebula had approached Thanos claiming to be his granddaughter. Spoilers: She isn't. Double spoilers: Thanos is not very happy about being lied to. So unhappy, in fact, that Thanos submits Nebula to a horrific torture, which he flaunts to his paramour Lady Death in an attempt to impress her. In this instance, he uses Nebula's form as "proof of [his] depravity". Yikes.
Nebula here is described as being in a state of "walking death." Thanos has destroyed her body to the point where she appears basically skeletal, with rotten flesh, but keeps her alive and conscious to suffer through it.
Like the Nebula of the comics, Nebula of the MCU has also had her body ravaged and destroyed by Thanos, kept alive by his machinations to become a creature of his own making. The only difference here is that she has become almost entirely composed of machinery, as opposed to a withered corpse.
So, there you have it. If you left Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 thinking that the MCU Thanos is one sick mother, you can rest assured knowing that he hasn't got anything on his comic book counterpart.
What was your favorite Easter Egg from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Tell us in the comments below!