Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008-2010) and Thanos Imperative (2010)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils comics Guardians of the Galaxy (2008-2010) and Thanos Imperative (2010).

Guardians of the Galaxy was quite obscure comic when Marvel Studios decided to make movie about it. Different group with same name had 62 issues of own comic early 1990's and few appearances in other comics since 1969. Movie's version of the group had 25 issues between 2008 and 2010 plus role in Annihilation, Annihilation: Conquest and Thanos Imperative. Comic was cancelled some time before Marvel Studios decided to make the movie. Now there is new Guardians of the Galaxy comic which started 2013.

Last Thursday I told you about Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest. Now it is time for Guardians of the Galaxy itself. Original line-up was Star-Lord, Adam Warlock, Quasar, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. They operated from space station Knowhere. They were assisted by telepath Mantis. She was part of pre-Guardians in Annihilation: Conquest. Telepathic dog Cosmo is responsible for security of Knowhere. Knowhere is Babylon 5 kind of space station. Guardians of the Galaxy have their share of space station politics. Guardians of the Galaxy can transport to anywhere from Knowhere.

Universal Church of Truth are main villains of the story. First they start as neutral fraction, but as things go further they work for the end of the world. It is not sure, if they actually know what they are doing or are they causing end of the world because they thing it would mean something else. To be honest, villains motivations don't make much sense as doesn't their allies. First UCT doesn't like Adam Warlock. Then we learn he is their messiah. Then it was Adam Walock's evil side Magus who was their messiah. First Magus tries to take control of the universe. When Guardians stop his plans, he works for Cancerverse and  evil Captain Marvel. UCT doesn't react anyway when evil Captain Marvel kills Magus. This was their messiah and the y don't care. Make a lot sense. As much sense than UCT members destroying their planets and ships all the time.

Story begins Guardians trying to stop this universe to fall apart. Then others learn about Star-Lord's telepathic tricks to make members of the group to say yes to joining the group. This makes Drax, Quisar, Adam Warlock and Gamora to leave the group. Star-Lord disappears after this. Rocket Raccoon becomes leader of the group. Mantis become regular member. Bug from pre-Guardians joins the group as does Major Victory, member of future Guardians of the Galaxy. Later others come back. With Star-Lord group got Jack Flag and Moondragon joins with Martyr(former Quasar). Something related to modern day Guardians changes the future. This is where the comic has its best moments. Then begins War of Kings even.

Guardians take backseat at this event. Everything important happens outside Guardians' comics. Guardians were just connected to this. Guardian's own story was put on hold for this. Then we suddenly learn, super weapon was fired during War of Kings. Outside Guardians comics of course. Super weapon caused changes in the future. Adam Warlock manages to stop effects of super weapon spreading, but turn into evil Magus. Realm of Kings starts. Super weapon created the Fault, which is gateway to Cancer universe. For Guardians Realm of Kings meant fight against Magus and monsters from Cancerverse.

Guardians of the Galaxy comic ends with Realm of Kings. The story ends in mini series Thanos Imperative, which starts where Realm of Kings ends. In it UCT explodes the Fault open and Cancerverse invades our universe. As name implies events of this mini series revolves around Thanos. Yes, Drax killed him during Annihilation. He lives again because Adam Warlock put him in cocoon and UCT hatched the cocoon. Thanos Imperative was also end of another comic, Nova. Thanos Imperative let Nova and Star-Lord go in blaze of glory and make heroic sacrifice keeping Thanos out of our universe. Death of Star-Lord meant death of Guardians of the Galaxy, which was strange from story's point of view. Guardians continued after Star-Lord disappeared earlier and everyone, who died during Realm of Kings or Thanos Imperative, left the group when they learned Star-Lord's telepathic tricks. Why stop this time?

Comic had potential. Problem was, it tried to be too cosmic. Inclusion of Adam Warlock was reason for that. Things had to be end of universe level when Adam Warlock is included. Comic got better when he left the group. Comic followed him and he came back, but never returned to group. War of Kings began when comic started to work. It meant reading Guardians of the Galaxy wasn't enough. You had to read other comics too to know what was happening. Around that time members of the group started to die and came back to life. It was like dying didn't mean anything. Thanos Imperative was quite stupid. It had Thanos, but that didn't help since he wasn't same Thanos we have seen in classic Thanos stories.

If you liked the movie and like to read comics, you can probably should skip these and start from third volume, which started at 2013. I haven't read those yet, but group seems to be closer to one from the movie. Annihilation is worth reading. Annihilation: Conquest not as much. It has pre-guardians, but story is not as good as Annihilation. Guardians of the Galaxy volume two has its moments, but it will end in disappointment and there is no point where to jump off before comic gets worse.


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