There has been a lot of talk about the Guardians of the Galaxy lately. Even more since the trailer release the other day. There have been many articles and stories talking about the individual members of the GotG; who they are, where they come from, but what about the team itself? How did they meet? What made them decide to work together and become this group of “Space Avengers” anyway? That is what we will be discussing today.
** As always, this probably contains a whole bucket full of spoilers if you are not familiar with the storylines, so consider yourselves warned. **
Our story begins with Peter Quill, aka the Star-Lord. As we have seen and heard, Star-Lord is not quite the hero that we are used to. For a long time, he wasn’t really much of a hero at all. He did some heroic things now and then, but only to boost his own ego. The game changer came when Star-Lord encountered a being known as the Fallen One; the first attempt by the cosmic entity Galactus to create a herald (the most well-known of the heralds being the Silver Surfer). Like many prototypes and first attempts it did not work out so well and the Fallen One is a danger to life as we known it. During their battle, Peter is forced to destroy a Kree settlement in order to defeat him. After the battle Peter turns both the Fallen One and himself over to the authorities, hoping to atone for his crimes.
After spending some time in a Kree prison, Star-Lord is recruited by Nova to help fight Annihilus (big bad, bug-looking guy from the Negative Zone). There is way, way too much that goes on during this event than can be covered here but the highlights which apply to our heroes can be summed up as follows: During the course of this cosmic battle, Drax – who had been on a prison transport ship at the time – is killed and then reborn again into a weaker form than the powerhouse he had once been. The changes to his DNA allow him to be freed of all charges since the Nova Corps are unable to prove he was the Drax they were looking for (no Jedi Mind Trick needed). Gamora goes toe-to-toe with Ronan the Accuser, then winds up working with him to help get survivors off of a planet and warn the Kree of the coming attack. Gamora ends up romantically involved with Nova (Richard Rider). Eventually Nova, Quasar and Star-Lord manage to defeat Annihilus. Peter is considered a hero to the Kree people and is made a military advisor to Ronan and the Kree.
During his run as military advisor, Star-Lord invites the Space Knights to help rebuild the Kree homeworld’s defences, which were decimated in the Annihilation Wave. Unbeknownst to him, the Space Knights have been infected by a techno-organic virus/race known as the Phalanx and the Kree world quickly falls to them as they infect not only every piece of technology on the planet, but begin to infect the Kree people themselves.
Feeling responsible (and being blamed by many) for what happened, Peter attempts to put together an infiltration team to find and destroy the power source behind the plans the Phalanx have to infect the rest of the galaxy. As most of the key players in that sector have already been taken out by or are infected and thereby working for the Phalanx (including Gamora and Drax), there are slim pickings for the team and Peter is forced to choose from a group of inmates who reside in the very same prisons he himself once called home just a short time earlier. Most notable amongst these felons were Rocket Raccoon, Groot, a female telepath named Mantis and an insect-like man simply named Bug, who had a libido that could put Don Juan to shame. This group, along with a few others who sacrificed themselves along the way, eventually were able to defeat the Phalanx, in the form of Ultron, with the help of Gamora, Drax, Adam Warlock, Quasar, Nova and a Kree revenant named Wraith.
Prior to the final battle Nova had used a Stargate (a technique taught to him by Drax earlier on) to attempt to escape the Phalanx infected Drax and Gamora and wound up in an unknown part of the galaxy called Knowhere, where the head of a celestial floated in space. After mentioning this place to Star-Lord (and the fact that the station/head possesses a teleportation system with near-universal range), it was decided it would make an excellent base of operations for the new team he was trying to put together.
Here we must jump forward several hundred years in the future for a moment and talk about the original Guardians of the Galaxy team. A group of people, who were the last members of their races, thrown together to fight against the Badoon – a warrior race that had wiped out most of humanity by the 31st century – and other evils. This group consisted of Martinex T'Naga, a crystalline being from Pluto, Charlie-27, a soldier from Jupiter, Yondu Udonta (who incidentally is in the upcoming movie?), a blue-skinned "noble savage" from Centauri-IV and an earth astronaut named Vance Astro who spent 1000 years in suspended animation traveling to Alpha Centauri. A later addition to the team was the being known as Starhawk, who was stuck in a re-incarnation loop, forced to relive his life over and over again, who was often called “The One Who Knows”.
During an incursion in to our universe by beings from another reality known as the Cancerverse, Vance Astro is found by the new team, frozen in a block of ice and somehow displaced from his original timeline. For some reason, the transfer back wiped out most of his memory of who he was and why he came but he did remember being a member of a team called The Guardians of the Galaxy. As it happens, the newly formed team of do-gooders had been looking for a name for themselves and decided (mostly Rocket) it was a great name for a team.
These new Guardians of the Galaxy, made up of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Mantis, Quasar, Adam Warlock and a Russian Cosmonaut Dog named Cosmo fought against the invasion of the Many-Angled ones (creatures similar to H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Gods). With the help of the recently resurrected Thanos of Titan (yes, that guy) the Guardians are able to stop the forces of the Cancerverse, but take heavy losses to do so. Adam Warlock, Nova, Quasar, Mantis and it is believed Peter Quill all fall before the end.
After the apparent death of Star-Lord, the Guardians initially disband. Rocket Raccoon and Groot later reunite and decide to continue the Guardian's legacy after the duo prevent an incident on Rocket's home world, Halfworld.
Through what he refers to as “difficult ways” Star-Lord was eventually able to escape the Cancerverse and return to his proper reality. Once again joining up with Rocket, Drax, Gamora and Groot, the Guardians of the Galaxy help the Avengers defeat Thanos (who yeah by the way, ALSO made it back) and return to their original mission of trying to save the Galaxy from any and all threats against it.
Which brings us to where we are today. The current roster has added an Angel from Heaven named Angela (readers familiar with Spawn might recognize her) who was somehow transported to this universe and after initially fighting against the Guardians, decided to join the team. The Comic Book GotG are currently involved in a cross-over storyline with the All New X-Men involving the Shi'ar and the Trial of Jean Grey.
As to where In the story the Movie will start and how much of the comic version will exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is far too early to tell, but I thought it should be noted that while they are a relatively unknown group in the vast scheme of the Marvel Universe, they have been around and been crucial in many events of cosmic proportion for many years. I look forward to the continuing stories of the Guardians of the Galaxy on the Big Screen, the Little Screen and my comic book collection for years to come.
Need to know more about the individual team members? Check out these articles by Alisha Grauso