Chris Peruzzi is a comic book superhero historian who is passionate about how today's comic book heroes are the new mythology for America.
The Next Level of Defense
The San Diego Comic Con for 2013 is the nexus geek activity for anyone who’s a scifi/fantasy/adventure/superhero/anime enthusiast. Just talking about it is enough to make any fanboy drool. If you are lucky enough to get tickets, have the disposable income, and have the time, patience, and (most importantly) endurance, the SDCC is for you.
“Well, what’s the big deal?” I hear from my unenlightened friends in the back row.
The big deal is that if you read comic books, regular books, watch movies, or watch television, it is your chance to talk to the writers, artists, actors, producers, and fellow geeks about all things awesome. It is THE event.
Among the goodies that geeks get to experience are sneak previews. This includes the latest in the Marvel movie franchise machine. Along with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Avengers, Marvel is going to introduce a team that very few people outside of real geekdom know about – The Guardians of the Galaxy.
It is no secret that I’ve been a fan of the Marvel Universe’s version of Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) and with him my fascination of the villain known as Thanos, the mad Titan. Part of Captain Marvel's storyline was his wandering through the galaxy, protecting the universe. The problem was that as Captain Marvel was killed off in 1982, much of the supporting cast was basically lost and remained unused for decades. With that supporting cast, a whole bunch of Marvel creations also fell by the wayside. Why? Marvel just wasn’t writing a lot of deep space planet spanning story lines.
And that was a crime.
You see, in the mid 1970’s and 1980’s Marvel ‘s universe pushed outside of Earth. Oh sure, there were a few extraterrestrial heroes and villains that had stopped and stayed on this mud hole for a while. Heroes and villains like the Silver Surfer, Galactus (and all of his heralds), Captain Marvel, the Kree, the Skrulls, The Stranger, Overmind, Omega the Unknown, and Captain Universe, but those stories focused mostly on their stay on Earth.
Especially the Silver Surfer – his title dealt with his being imprisoned forever by Galactus as punishment for helping the Fantastic Four (and the people of Earth). However, he was a vehicle for being a messiah-like figure and he mostly battled metaphysical villains like Mephisto and dealt with existential and philosophical issues.
That and he whined about it… a lot.
But I digress.
Teams like the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starjammers represent a united force for order outside the confines of Earth. The Fantastic Four defend the outer periphery of Earth (as well as the Negative Zone and the Microverse), the Avengers are next in line, then we have defenders of countries (like Canada’s Alpha Flight), followed by city defenders.
Depending on how they handle this franchise, it will either be a great story or it will fizzle out in obscurity. So, in order to keep you guys informed, let me give you the skinny on what could be the next Marvel hit for 2014.
Where are they from?
Star-Lord, Peter Quill
His own title. Forgotten title from the 70's
None. Very clever. Great fighter
Precognition, Celestial Madonna, Fighter
Formerly starred in a limited series in the 80's
An exceptionally bright raccoon... that talks... and flies a spaceship
Drax the Destroyer
The cast of Captain Marvel and the Infinity Watch
Really big, really strong, really mean
The cast of Warlock and the Infinity Watch
Formerly his own title in the 70's, Died, Resurrected
Really strong, fires force blasts from his hands, excellent strategist and fighter
Thor and the Hulk
He's a big walking talking tree
The Micronauts... Last seen in Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell)
Sticks to walls, Danger sense, Great Agility
Phyla-Vell aka Quasar aka Martyr
The cast of Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell)
Has energy manipulation powers - can make light weapons
The Avengers, Defenders, and cast of Captain Marvel (father and son)
Mental powers: telepathy, telekinesis, and became a giant dragon
A Group of Future-Past
If it were twenty years ago and someone wanted to tell the story of The Guardians of the Galaxy, it would be set in the 31st century of an alternate timeline with a different set of characters. Originally, the team known as The Guardians of the Galaxy were veterans of Earth’s war against Martians and the Badoon.
The initial incarnation premiered in 1969 and had been popping up in other titles - usually through some kind of time displacement. Most famously, they were part of the Michael Korvac saga and allied themselves with the present day Avengers to fight him.
The original team consisted of:
Vance Astro – Also known as Major Victory. A time displaced astronaut from the 20th century Earth. He came to the 31st century while he was in suspended animation and has been entrapped in a containment suit – which kept him alive as part of his initial trip to Alpha Centauri. Vance is the alternate version of the New Warrior, Justice, and has telekinetic powers.
Martinex T’Naga – A crystalline being from Pluto with roots to Earth. He has resistance to cold as well as enhanced strength, speed, and stamina.
Captain Charlie-27 – A superstrong native of Jupiter. His superstrength is derived from the higher gravity pull from his planet. He is also an accomplished soldier.
Yondu Udonta – An alien from Centauri IV. He has no powers but is a natural mystic and an expert archer. His other ability is a mystic “sixth sense” which gives him a connection to other life forms.
Starhawk – The mysterious (and sometimes transgender) “one who knows”. He has very great, very nebulous powers – which really haven’t been fully defined. The catalogued powers include precognition, super strength, flight, and some amount of photonic blasting powers. He shifts from either one of two different personas of Stakar and Aleta, male and female, respectively.
Nikki – Nikki is a female Mercurian who has very hot body temperature and resistance to heat.
Most of these characters claim to be the last of their species and have banded together to initially fight the Badoon and free Earth. After they’d won the war, the Guardians had trouble assimilating back into Earth society and left to seek adventure on their ship, the Captain America.
However, as we’re dealing with the incarnation that will be in a feature film, let’s talk about the current, present-day, incarnation.
Today's Guardians of the Galaxy
The origin of the group that one day became the Guardians of the Galaxy is a really good story. The very first team was assembled by Peter Quill (Star Lord) as part of a Kree covert tactical unit. Like the dirty dozen, Quill has his choice of characters that have been captured and kept in the Kree detention center. The first team was made of Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Captain Universe (Gabriel Vargus), Mantis, Groot, Deathcry, and Bug. The team is successful in their mission with only one real casualty in “friendly fire” as Deathcry went berserk after Captain Universe robbed her of a kill. Captain Universe blew her up in self-defense.
Following the Annihilation War, Quill started a new team with some of the out of place characters from that war.
Here are some of the regulars and characters that will probably be part of the upcoming movie.
Peter Quill aka Star Lord
Peter Quill was born on Earth during a perfect alignment of stars. Quill’s father, being something of an alcoholic psychotic saw no resemblance between himself and the boy and went to kill the infant immediately. However, before killing the child, he is struck down by a sudden massive heart attack.
Peter’s mother raised him alone. The child was incredibly gifted. Unfortunately, Quill’s mother is killed by Baddoon when he was eleven. He is sent to an orphanage and pushes himself mentally and physically to be the best and brightest. He runs away from the orphanage and becomes a trainee to be a NASA astronaut. After a few delays (despite being the most qualified candidate) he is accepted to be an astronaut and is recruited by the Master of the Sun. He is then given the mantle of Star Lord and put through the illusion of killing the Baddoon that killed his mother. (Much of this origin was retconned without the psychotic father. Instead, Quill’s real father was J’son of Spartax who had slept with Peter’s mother who was later killed by Baddoon).
Quill is given a ship named “Ship”. Ship has artificial intelligence and becomes his companion. Ship is later destroyed after a battle with the former herald of Galactus known as “The Fallen One”. Shortly after the battle he is captured by the Kree and placed in an intergalactic prison.
After Nova frees Quill from prison he becomes the advisor of Ronan the Accuser. As part of his new responsibilities, Quill forms a version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. It is their job to stop small menaces before they become larger threats.
Star Lord has no powers but is a brilliant tactician. He uses an element gun that can fire any of the four major elements. At one poin