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Guardians of the Galaxy 101: A History

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Published on Dec 11, 2012

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Welcome back, class. You're probably familiar with DC's Justice League and of course Marvel's The Avengers which we previously covered, but you may not be as familiar with another group of heroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Today we're here to bring you up to speed and get you ready for Marvel's upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie set to hit theaters August 1st, 2014. So grab your pencils and silence those cell phones and prepare to get schooled!

There are actually two teams that have gone by the name "Guardians of the Galaxy". Though the upcoming movie will focus on the newest incarnation, it's only fair that we start our lesson at the beginning.

The original Guardians of the Galaxy was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan and made their first appearance in January 1969 in issue #18 of Marvel Super-Heroes. The Guardians originate from the 31st Century in an alternate timeline known as Earth-691. In this timeline, mankind has colonized the solar system by genetically engineering individuals in order for them to survive the various environments of the different planets. The planets are invaded by the evil alien race known as the Badoon in 3007 AD and most of humanity is killed or thrown into slavery. The Guardians are formed by a group of survivors determined to stop the Badoon's tyranny.

The original team included Major Vance Astro, a mutant and astronaut from the 20th century who is sent on a mission to explore Alpha Centauri. Placed in statis for the mission, he awakens to find himself in the 31st century. Other founding members include Charlie-27, a human engineered with a large, powerful body in order to survive the intense gravity of Jupiter; Martinex, a scientist from Pluto with the ability to shoot heat and cold blasts from his hands; and Yondu, a Centaurian that Vance teams with when the Badoon attack his planet. Additional members that have joined the team include Aleta Ogord, Firelord, Nikki, Replica, Starhawk, Talon and Yellowjacket.

The original Guardians spent most of their comic book life making appearances in other heroe's comics and teaming with the likes of Captain America, Thor, Thing and The Avengers, both in their own timeline and in the 20th and 21st century. The Guardians finally got their own series in 1990 with a 62 issue series.

Other than a limited spin-off series called Galactic Guardians in 1994, the Guardians were pretty much MIA until a new Guardian team was formed in 2008. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning formed the team using existing characters within the Earth-616 universe. The team is formed by Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, a human/alien hybrid who sets out to take a proactive role in defending the universe from threats. He recruits fellow cosmic heroes Adam Warlock, an artificially created human with the superhuman strength, speed and the ability to fly and manipulate cosmic energy; Drax the Destroyer, a dead saxophonist resurrected and transformed into a superhuman warrior in order to destroy the evil Thanos; Gamora, the adopted daughter of Thanos; Groot, a giant tree creature with the power to manipulate trees and Rocket Raccoon, a...you guessed it...a raccoon who is an expert tactician and marksman with a knack for heavy weapons. Other members include the powerful Phyla-Vell, martial arts master Mantis and soon Iron Man himself, Tony Stark. The team also finds original member Vance Astro encased in ice (sound familiar?) who joins the team as "Major Victory" after finding and utilizing Captain America's shield. It is Vance who inspires the new team to take on the name "Guardians of the Galaxy".

Though the Guardians take on various cosmic villains, they are most known for taking on one of the biggest baddies of them all, Thanos. Arguably one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe and a major obstacle for the Guardians. So much so, they must recruit The Avengers to help them battle the Mad Titan.

So there you have it, a history of the Guardians of the Galaxy. I hope you took good notes, because we're just getting started. Be sure you're enrolled in Clevver U as we delve deeper into the individual characters that make up the Guardians team. Until then, I'm Professor Aja Dang saying class dismissed.

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