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The Guardians of the Galaxy - A Primer - Part One

by mahargen on July 07, 2014

There have been a number of iterations of the Guardians of the Galaxy over the years.  The upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the team originally came together during the Marvel cosmic 2007/8 crossover “Annihilation:  Conquest,”  where they came together to aid the Kree when the Phalanx took control of their solar sector following the events of the “Annihilation” crossover.  This is meant to be a brief introduction to the world of the Guardians of the Galaxy, which characters we will see, some we might, and a quick summary of who they are.  


Of all the MCU films, Guardians of the Galaxy is the biggest risk for them.  This is a relatively new property, dug up with some incredibly obscure characters from Marvel’s extensive history.  Before 2007, some of these guys were D-Listers at best.  However, they have been gaining popularity and visibility steadily since then.  The 2012 announcement at San Diego Comic-Con took me by surprise, for sure.  However, after really thinking about it, this is a property they can do a great deal with, if done correctly.  Bringing in James Gunn was a huge step in the right direction.  He is no stranger to genre enthusiasts, and he’s shown great dedication to bringing his vision to life.  This could be a bizarre, incredibly fun franchise, especially if it hits on any of the wide depth of stories of the cosmic nature available.


Without further ado, the first installment of our Guardians of the Galaxy primer!


Part One:  The Good Guys


Peter “Star-Lord” Quill 



Portrayed By:  Chris Pratt

First Appearance:  Marvel Preview #4 (1976)

Currently Appearing In:  The Guardians of the Galaxy v3, The Legendary Star-Lord


Our roguish hero.  Peter Quill’s mother is human, and his father is J’Son, king of the Spartax empire.  That’s in space.  His dad spent some time on planet Earth many years ago, while he repaired his spaceship.  You know how it is.  Anyway, Peter’s the son of an emperor, life should be good, eh?  Not quite.  Dear old daddy heads back home, leaving his lover and scion behind.    Flash forward a few years, and some alien baddies come looking for the son of the emperor.  Peter’s mom is killed and he finds himself an orphan with a greatly expanded view of the universe.  His upbringing is in a string of orphanages, where he eventually joins NASA (obviously) and meets some visitors who aid him in getting out of the solar system.  Sadly, when he was eventually reunited with pops, things didn’t go so well.  As it turns out, J’Son is kind of a bully.  Currently, Peter has eschewed his destiny at the side of his father in favor of a life protecting the universe from people like his father.  He’s the begrudging leader.  He’s the scamp with a heart of gold.  He also has a really awesome gun that’s coded to his DNA.  I really want to see it pop up in the movie.


Rocket 


Voiced By:  Bradley Cooper

First Appearance:  Marvel Preview #7 (1976)

Currently Appearing In:  The Guardians of the Galaxy v3, Rocket Raccoon v2


This is the definition of a ridiculous, classic Marvel character.  Hailing from “Halfworld,” Rocket gained sentience when the robotic custodians of a psychiatric facility tinkered with genetic engineering in order to pass off their jobs.  Long story short, a bunch of alien critters went anthropomorphic.  It was the 70’s.  Stuff was weird.  Eventually he found his way into a prison operated by the Kree (more about that word later) during Annihilation:  Conquest, where he met Peter Quill.  They’ve been bouncing around the universe ever since.  Rocket, in the comics, serves as a pilot and weapons expert.  When not guarding the galaxy, he’s a bounty hunter with his BFF Groot.  He’s an angry little creature that provides a great deal of feisty comic relief to the stories in which he appears.  Look forward to him being one of the breakout stars of this film if he’s handled correctly.  The merchandising opportunities are endless.  Why does my 2 year old daughter not have a Rocket plushy?  Have I failed as a father?


Oh, and don’t call him a raccoon.  That just makes him angry.


Groot  


Voiced By:  Vin Diesel

First Appearance:  Tales to Astonish #13 (1960)

Currently Appearing In:  The Guardians of the Galaxy v3


Remember when I said Guardians of the Galaxy has some bizarre characters?  Groot is a sentient tree from Planet X.  His first appearance on Earth wasn’t of the “guarding” variety.  He was actually there to kidnap a town for scientists on his homeworld to study.  Things went bad for old Groot, and he bounced around the Marvel universe from the Collector’s (more about him later, too, True Believer!) zoo to a stint with the Howling Commandos of Area 13.  It’s a thing, look it up.  He also eventually wound up in the same Kree prison as Rocket, where the pair bonded.  Originally Groot spoke just like any other character, but deeper into his time with the Guardians he eventually only began saying “I am Groot,” with varying degrees of emphasis.  It seems that those close to him can understand what he is saying but hearing the words between the words.  He is, essentially, the Guardians muscle.  His powerset allows him to change size, and he has the ability to regenerate himself.  


Gamora 


Portrayed By:  Zoe Saldana

First Appearance:  Strange Tales #180 (1975)

Currently Appearing In:  The Guardians of the Galaxy v3, Original Sin


Yeah, this girl’s got problems.  Probably not the most politically correct way to put it, but there it is.  Let’s run down the list:


1.  Sole survivor of a planet massacred by the intergalactic Church.

2.  Raised by Thanos (purple dude from the end of the Avengers film.)  Not exactly father material.

3.  Trained in deadly combat and brainwashed by her adoptive father to be an assassin.

4.  Killed by daddy dearest after she found out he wanted to destroy the universe as a tribute to Death.  Shocker.

5.  Absorbed by the Soul Gem (An Infinity Gem, more about those later, too!).

6.  Reborn and confused.


Needless to say, she’s got a chip on her shoulder in the comics.  She’s easily the most deadly woman in the universe, but she’s trying to put all that to a good use and atone for her past mistakes.  She began to gain the trust of the Guardians of the Galaxy when she joined them after the Annihilation:  Conquest event.  Gamora is a very complex character who should bring a lot of darkness to the screen, but a little brightness as well.  The intentions are there for her, but she’s still learning how to approach life with her new mindset.  Also, it appears she may be a love interest for our aforementioned roguish hero.  He likes the bad girls, apparently.  


Drax the Destroyer 


Portrayed By:  Dave Bautista

First Appearance:  Iron Man #55 (1973)

Currently Appearing In:  The Guardians of the Galaxy v3


Drax wasn’t always a destroyer.  He used to sell Real Estate and go by Arthur Douglas.  That is, until Thanos killed him and his family.  It was a sad case of wrong place, wrong time that did in the Douglas family.  Arthur’s astral consciousness was saved by Thanos’ father, Mentor, and grandfather, Kronos.  It was put into a new body and “tweaked” by the pair, making Drax the Destroyer.  Drax has one mission in life, destroy Thanos at all costs.  He spent years in the comics working his way up to his goal, coming close and playing the foil, but never succeeding.  His newly created body brings all the goodies to the table, enhanced strength, enhanced speed, cosmic awareness, everything.  He’s also not quite all together, thanks to everything that’s happened to him.  He’ll do what he needs to do to get to his goal.  It will be interesting to see if the film version of Drax keeps the same history intact, as it could easily simplify his backstory.  It remains to be seen.  What is certain, however, is that Drax will most certainly be hitting things.  Very hard.


Also, stay tuned for more about his daughter.  Told you there was a lot of story available in regards to the Guardians!


That does it for the first installment.  Next time, we tackle the villains of the piece!

 

Comments

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