Star-Lord and the Guardians try to survive Doom’s brave new world!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

As Brian Michael Bendis’ first volume of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ended, a new one did not immediately appear to take its place because reality fell into chaos thanks to Jonathan Hickman and his runs on NEW AVENGERS and AVENGERS leading into Secret Wars. Like the rest of the Marvel Universe, our cosmic heroes got sucked into the craziness of the event both in the main series and in its spinoffs. In the pages of Hickman and Esad Ribic’s SECRET WARS, Star-Lord and his team fought against Ultimate Iron Man, until Peter Quill found himself teleported aboard Reed Richards’ life raft ship designed to survive the end of everything. Eight years later, Peter and the others on the craft awoke to find Doctor Strange and a new reality crafted by God Doom—formerly Doctor Doom.

Once free, Peter escaped to Manhattan where he took on the name Steve Rogers and became a singer in a club run by a fancy version of Drax as seen in STAR-LORD AND KITTY PRYDE by Sam Humphries and Alti Firmansyah. One day while crooning along, he was shocked to see his long lost love, Kitty, enter the establishment. However, unbeknownst to Quill, this version of Ms. Pryde came from Apocalypse’s realm and worked for Doom’s daughter Valeria in her efforts to clean up any scientific evidence that a world existed before the creation of Battleworld. Literally chained to one another for a time, Peter came to understand more of the hardships this Kitty had gone through while also trying not to die at the hands of Gambit the Collector. With that adventure behind them, both went their separate ways.

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde (2015) #1

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde (2015) #1

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For Peter, that meant reuniting with his fellow heroes from the previous reality and trying to take down Doom in SECRET WARS. To his part, Peter flew two Reed Richards into the field of battle. While he repaired his ship, a Black Swan got the drop on him, but Quill unleashed his secret weapon: a tiny piece of Groot! The talking tree caused enough of a distraction—and just the right amount of destruction—to let the other good guys rush in, take care of Doom, and replace Battleworld with an approximation of the old reality!

Transmissions from Knowhere

While Peter helped save reality and ran around with Kitty, his fellow Guardians found themselves hanging out on Knowhere. In the new reality, the story followed that Doom decapitated a Celestial and left it in Earth’s orbit to prove how great he is. Bendis and Mike Deodato set their four-issue GUARDIANS OF KNOWHERE here, appropriately. In the story, Rocket, Drax, Mantis, and Gamora struggled to stop first Yotat’s reign of terror and then Hala’s attacks. During their exploits, we got to see a Thor version of Angela as well as a Nova Corps consisting of Richard Rider, Moondragon, Iron Man, Venom, Adam Warlock. and Captain Marvel. Though set in a different reality, these four issues really set up the next arc of Bendis’ new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series and should definitely be read before jumping into that book.

Brian Michael Bendis and artist Valerio Schiti show Kitty picking up the Star-Lord mantle while Peter acts as Emperor of Spartax in a new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY volume.

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Star-Lord returns to Spartax with surprising results for the Guardians!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

In the wake of saving the universe from the Black Vortex, the Guardians of the Galaxy celebrated in their usual manner; in other words, they got sloppy at a space bar. This time, they had something else to be happy about too, as Kitty Pryde agreed to marry Star-Lord! As we picked up with the group in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2627 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Valerio Schiti, the team found another interesting piece of information that left them wondering about their future: Peter Quill had been elected President of Spartax.

Back in issue #22 a Spartax political adviser named Togth suggested they run Peter for President without his knowledge. By #26 the people of Spartax elected him, but he didn’t even know to report for duty! Around that same time, Quill and the Guardians heard about his appointment while hanging out in the aforementioned interstellar pub. Peter admitted that he’d actually heard about it, but figured it would just disappear. That proved not to be the case when the Spartax Royal Guard showed up to take Quill back to his new constituents.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #26

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #26

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Thinking quickly, Star-Lord offered the members of the Guardians places on his cabinet so they could all travel to Spartax with him. Once there, the people who put him up for election tried convincing him that he and the Guardians could do a lot more good with the planet’s resources instead of their usual space pirate methods.

While he mulled that over, the living planet Kindun appeared along with its Chitauri inhabitants. As her partners face off against the invaders, the still-Black-Vortex-upgraded Gamora headed directly to the leader and offered him the chance to leave as a way to prove that she had significantly distanced herself from her adoptive father, Thanos. The idea worked, but Gamora decided to leave the team because she felt like a danger to them.

This all left Peter with some big questions to answer, chief of which boiled down to whether he’d become President of Spartax…

Transmissions from Knowhere

For one more bit of Guardians fun, do yourself a favor and check out GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ANNUAL #1 from 2014. The tale, by MIGHTY AVENGERS collaborators Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho, featured the team running into a strange sight, even for them: a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in deep space! They were even more surprised when a jetpack-wearing Nick Fury boarded their ship and then took them to his, commanded by classic agents like the Contessa, Jimmy Woo, Dum Dum Duggan, Gabriel Jones, and Jasper Sitwell. Before they could ask too many questions, an attacking ship of Skrulls appeared to blast them to dust. Captain Marvel knew something was up with all this and did the sleuthing to figure out what really happened. We’ll keep a mystery for now so you can enjoy it for yourself!

Next time, before leaping into the reality-bending events of Secret Wars, we’ll look at Skottie Young’s fantastic ROCKET RACCOON series!

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Join Peter Quill for one final adventure under the pen of Chip Zdarsky!

So long precious Earth, hello unforgiving vacuum of space!

Peter Quill aka Star-Lord aka one of the galaxy’s—self-dubbed—greatest heroes will no longer flop around New York in the character’s final story under writer Chip Zdarsky. He escapes his earth-bound exile in the upcoming STAR-LORD ANNUAL #1 on May 24 only to crash-land on a desert planet and protect a small town from being terrorized by an otherworldly outlaw, “Magnificent Seven” style!

And it only gets more meta from there.

As we learned from our chat with Mr. Zdarsky, this iteration of Star-Lord is a chip off the old block. Read on for a fun and exciting exploration into Quill’s long awaited return to the stars.

Marvel.com: While he was “grounded” on Earth for the duration of your run, STAR-LORD ANNUAL finds Peter back in space. What was it like freeing him from his earthly bonds for your final Star-Lord story?

Chip Zdarsky: Great! It was a lot of fun dealing with Peter on Earth, but as we went on, I kept getting the itch to have him live up to his name, y’know? So it was nice to have him let loose a bit in the cosmos.

Marvel.com: Just by reading the description for this annual, I’m getting an exciting “Magnificent Seven” sort of vibe; were you influenced by Western movies and TV shows?

Chip Zdarsky: It’s definitely Western-themed—you’re totally right about [a] “Magnificent Seven” vibe!—but the core of a lot of Western stories are about the “Big Bad” terrorizing the small town, which is an idea that extends beyond the genre. It’s one of my favorite story tropes, so it was fun to mix that with some cosmic and alien elements. I was also inspired by the Dark Tower series, laying the fantastical elements over a Western framework. Travelling the cosmos doesn’t just mean sci-fi, especially considering the variety found in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: The mix of the ol’ West and science fiction is a fun prospect—pun intended. How did you settle on this story for your last Star-Lord hurrah, particularly when he’s been on Earth all this time?

Chip Zdarsky: Well, we wanted to have at least one story setting Peter up in space again, but the transition could have felt jarring going from bartending in New York to high-flying space adventures. So with this annual, we set this story on a planet familiar to ours, so it would feel like a nice way to ease readers back into space.

Marvel.com: We saw familiar faces like Daredevil and Abigail Brand pop up over the course of STAR-LORD. Can we expect more epic cameos in this annual?

Star-Lord Annual #1 cover by Kris Anka

Chip Zdarsky: Yeah, I don’t want to spoil anything, but there will definitely be some cameos, especially from Peter’s teammates in the Guardians.

Marvel.com: What percentage of the time will Star-Lord have his shirt on?

Chip Zdarsky: [Laughs] Uh, all the time? But not really? He’s kind of rocking more of a dusty, open shirt thing in this one. I mean, shirtless on a planet with two suns? That’s just a recipe for sunburn.

Marvel.com: What will you miss the most about Star Lord’s world?

Chip Zdarsky: I’ll miss Peter! He’s a good guy navigating relationships and his place in the universe. My favorite things about any character I’ve had the chance to write are seeing how they react around others. Getting the chance to have him tangle with Daredevil, Logan, and the characters I got to create for the “Grounded” arc really helped me reveal how Peter needs the Guardians in his life.

Marvel.com: If you had to nail down your biggest contribution to the Quill mythos, what would it be?

Chip Zdarsky: [Laughs] Uh, that’s a tough one. I think [artists] Kris Anka and Matt Wilson did more to the character that will continue on beyond our run, really. A great costume redesign, that beautiful beard, those spectacular abs.

Marvel.com: You’ll be taking on a slightly different Peter this summer with the SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN series. What lessons from your Star-Lord run will help dictate your take on Peter Parker?

Chip Zdarsky: I’m not sure about lessons; I think each book should stand as its own thing. So SPECTACULAR will be as different from STAR-LORD as I can make it. The locale is the same, but instead of the maybe seedier New York of Quill’s time there, Spidey’s will be bright and filled with rooftops and bigger danger! Maybe I’ll have the Peters meet in a new series: PETER PACK.

Tag along with Chip Zdarsky and artist Djibril Morissette-Phan on STAR-LORD ANNUAL #1, coming May 24!

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Peter Quill gets two new variations in to rock your world with!

Are you pumped for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” dropping in theaters just two short weeks from now? Well D3 Go! wants to prep you for all the awesome cosmic madness coming up by introducing “Marvel Puzzle Quest” players to new 3 and 5-Star Peter Quill variations!

We talked to Senior Producer Josh Austin about Peter’s new upgrades and what they bring to the board.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk Star-Lord! We have 3 and 5-Star versions of the dashing cosmic outlaw blasting into “Marvel Puzzle Quest” to coincide with his return to the silver screen in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” on May 5. Are these versions more closely tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Peter Quill?

Josh Austin: With the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out, we decided to focus more on the MCU version of Peter Quill, Star-Lord (Awesome Mix Volume 2) for the 5-Star; [the] 3-Star Star-Lord (Peter Quill) sports a look [artist] Kris Anka gave him for the [recent STAR-LORD] comic.

Marvel.com: And what about this Star-Lord makes him different from his 4-Star variant? What did the team choose to focus on to make these variants feel unique?

Josh Austin: The new 5-Star and 3-Star Star-Lord variations are more heroic for one. Instead of trying to sucker punch and steal from the bad guys, now he heals and steals! He swoops in heroically, uses the Milano to unleash blasters on the battlefield, and while everyone’s distracted by the chaos he quietly pockets some loot.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about his kit. What’s going on under his hood?

Josh Austin: Star-Lord’s first power is called Something Good. Star-Lord swoops in with a last-minute rescue, looking surprisingly heroic in the process of course! For 10 Yellow AP, Star-Lord converts tiles of the enemy’s strongest color to Green Charged tiles. If one of Star-Lord’s teammates has less than 50% health, Star-Lord burst heals the team. The difference between the 3-Star and 5-Star is the amount this power boost heals; the 3-Star heals less than the 5-Star.

The next power is called Something Bad and it costs eight Purple AP. As mentioned above, here’s where Peter pockets some loot. Star-Lord steals random enemy Strike, Attack, or Protect tiles and if there aren’t any, Peter steals random enemy AP instead. The difference between 3-Star and 5-Star is the amount of tiles/AP being stolen.

The third power for both versions of Star-Lord is called Bit of Both and costs 12 Green AP. Star-Lord cranks up the volume in the Milano to complement its blasters as they unleash devastation on the battlefield. It destroys three random columns of tiles, leaving any friendly tiles and deals damage to the enemy team. Destroyed tiles do not generate AP or deal damage. The difference between 3-Star and 5-Star versions is the amount of damage that is dealt to the enemy team.

Marvel.com: Sounds like he’s going to be an awesome Green AP battery and force teams to rethink when and how they put special tiles on the board. That being said, when does Star-Lord really shine?

Josh Austin: Star-Lord is great against players that create Attack, Protect and/or Strike tiles; these variations really focus on changing the state of the board to change the tide of battle.

Marvel.com: And I can’t think of a better character to pair him with than Thor (Goddess of Thunder). Green Charged tiles help pump up her Smite, they both can dish out team damage, maybe throw in Cyclops (Uncanny) to keep her Smite up and let loose with the occasional Full Blast…who are you thinking for teammates?

Josh Austin: Star-Lord (Peter Quill) and Star-Lord (Awesome Mix Volume 2) with The Hulk (Totally Awesome) as he creates green—or blue—charged tiles to complement Star-Lord’s Charged tile ability. Iron Fist (Danny Rand) with his ability to generate Green AP and fortify friendly tiles. Also Hawkeye (Hawkguy) is a good choice with his ability to create Strike tiles and remove them.

Marvel.com: When do we get to add Star-Lord to our rosters?

Josh Austin: Both versions of Star-Lord are going to be available on Thursday, April 27 and will be featured in the event Come and Get Me that debuts that day. Come and Get Me is a new Thanos boss event similar to Galactus and Ultron and the final progression rewards a token to a 5-Star cover store featuring Star-Lord (Awesome Mix Volume 2).

There is also a new three-part Guardians themed event starting on Sunday, April 30 that features Peter Quill that runs until May 5 and puts the Guardians hot on the trail of a powerful relic. Star-Lord’s Versus Tournament is called Hooked on a Feeling and starts on May 4.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about? Any cool new characters coming down the pipeline?

Josh Austin: In such a short amount of time after Star-Lord launches we will be sharing more info about our new 4-Star Rocket and Groot (Awesome Mix Vol. 2) coming to the game that pairs awesomely with the fun of the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” so yes we have tiny Groot! Rocket & Groot are part two of the Guardians themed event and our new 4-Star Gamora (Awesome Mix Vol.2) will be part three. The events are written by Marvel writer Alex Irvine and each part of the event ties with the launch of a new character starting with Star-Lord this week and concluding with Gamora later in May.

And before I forget I wanted to mention some cool things about the Come and Get Me event featuring Thanos, just to give players a taste of what they’ll be up against and can prepare accordingly. At the start of the battle in Come and Get Me, Thanos creates six Infinity gem Countdown tiles that do different things when they are matched, like heal the player’s team or disable the powers of the player’s team depending on the color of the gem. Thanos can also create Infinity Gauntlet Countdown tiles that can’t be matched and won’t fall; the player will have to destroy them via abilities or match four otherwise the player will receive massive damage if the Countdown ends. There’s more for players to discover but needless to say Thanos is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Marvel.com: And last but not least, has the team prepared any cool promotions for Marvel Insiders?

Josh Austin: Yes, fans should also join or check out Marvel Insider in the coming days for ways to rack up points doing “Marvel Puzzle Quest” related activities! Then, use all points to redeem an awesome in-game reward.

Pick up Star-Lord and take on Thanos here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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Peter Quill finds trouble on his own with Thanos, Mister Knife, and more!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

In 2014, Peter Quill broke out on his own in a series called LEGENDARY STAR-LORD that ran for 12 issues, leading into and ending with a story tied to the Black Vortex event. Sam Humphries wrote the book for its full run with artwork by Paco Medina, Joshua Williams II, and Freddie Williams.

To kick things off, Star-Lord got caught trying to steal the Mandalay Gem from an orphanage not only by the people living there, but by a bunch of barbaric Badoon. Even though he got captured, Peter used rocket boots, his space phone, a call to Kitty Pryde, and a bit of cunning to get out with gem in hand.

He then ran into Captain Victoria of Spartax, who happened to be his half-sister. Though they didn’t hit it off right off the bat, the two did agree to steal huge amounts of cash from Fortress Viderdoom. This marked one of many acts on Quill’s part that garnered the attention of the nefarious Mister Knife.

Legendary Star-Lord (2014) #1

Legendary Star-Lord (2014) #1

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Not long after, another prison escape introduced Peter to Lydia, the operating system driving a hot-rodded ship called Bad Boy. He flew in that vessel to confront Thanos with the Mandalay Gem, but the brawl didn’t result in much as a killing blow would have also destroyed the Moon, throwing Earth out of whack in the process.

From there, the rest of the story focused on Star-Lord taking on Mister Knife’s Slaughter Squad. First they stole the Black Vortex and then they continually tried to kill Peter while on a holo-date with Kitty. When that ended with Peter’s capture, Kitty stole one of Tony Stark’s spaceships and took off to save her super-long-distance boyfriend.

Kitty used her powers to fly through the prison, grab Peter, and then phase them both through the planet itself in order to save him. While the love birds enjoyed being in physical proximity to one another again, Mister Knife continued his plans for the Black Vortex by scheming to recruit Thanos’ son Thane.

Oh, by the way, did we mention that Mister Knife is actually Peter’s dad, J’Son, the deposed emperor of Spartax? Talk about taking the whole adversarial parent thing too far! We’ll see how all of this shakes out when we get to the Black Vortex crossover after examining how the Guardians made it through Original Sin!

Transmissions from Knowhere

We’ve gotten pretty far into the Guardians’ history without actually talking about Star-Lord’s origins, so let’s take care of that now. The character debuted in the black and white magazine MARVEL PREVIEW #4 in a story by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan. In that issue, his dad flipped out immediately after Peter’s birth and attempted to cut the baby up with an ax because the new addition didn’t look enough like the supposed father. Luckily for the baby, the old man had a heart attack and died, leaving him to sit under the stars until his mom could recover enough to find him. Later, aliens murdered his mother, which drove his fascination with the stars even further, leading him down a path that would head to NASA and eventually space. Once there, a being called the Master of the Sun made him a Starlord. As you can tell, these stories don’t exactly jive with the ones told in current comics. That’s because they’ve been retconned to an alternate reality dubbed Earth-791.

Find out what happened to Star-Lord, Nova, and Thanos in the Cancerverse with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1823!

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So, you think you know the Guardians of the Galaxy?

With the incredibly epic “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” coming out in May, it’s time for you to brush up on the history of the Guardians.

Let’s start with the team’s heroic members…ALL of them. Don’t be surprised when you’re told by hard core fans that the first movie barely scratches the surface when it comes to the team’s lore. Did you know that there are two different teams? From two different universes? That’s right. The quirky, yet valiant, team of Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), Gamora, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Drax the Destroyer are only a small part of the group. The first formation of the group starts in the distant future of the 31st century, in alternate universe, where a couple of unlikely heroes emerged, including Yondu Udonta (yes, you read that right). For now, let’s begin with some familiar faces.

The Current Guardians

With their first appearance in 2008, these Guardians of the Galaxy formed as a group opposing the Phalanx conquest of the Kree system and stayed together in an attempt to prevent any further catastrophes from ever occurring. 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

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Peter Quill

Peter Quill

Peter Quill was conceived from the love between the terran Meredith Quill and the Spartoi Emperor J’son. After being abducted by a pirate crew, captained by the fearsome Yondu, Quill would eventually escape and set out to become “Star-Lord,” a title his father once dawned. After the events of the Phalanx Invasion, Quill realized that the universe was in dire need of protecting. With the aid of Mantis telepathically urging his recruits, Quill formed the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Spartoi Physiology: Peter is half-Human, half-Spartoi giving him peak human abilities such as human strength, durability, agility, stamina, and longevity
  • Link with Ship: He is psionically linked to his starship, “Ship,” a living entity

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Kree Heat-Dampening Espionage Battle Suit: Star-Lord was outfitted with a Kree-issued heat-dampening espionage battle suit, his hallmark look; a battle helmet; and a universal translator. His famous battle helmet analyzes strategy data, as well as improve vision and regulate oxygen while in space.
  • Star-Lord Armor: Quill wears a suit that grants augmented strength and durability, and the ability to travel through space with ease.
  • Mandalay Gem: Alien technological mineral of celestial making; the gem utilizes cosmic energies to provide its user with vast and versatile capability, both in combat and travel
  • Element Gun: A pistol capable of conjuring one of the four elements
  • Kree Sub-Machine Gun: Star-Lord’s chosen weapons are two Kree sub-machine guns with various types of ammunition, including explosives

First Appearance: Marvel Preview #4 (January, 1976)

Marvel Preview (1977) #4

Marvel Preview (1977) #4

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Drax the Destroyer

Drax the Destroyer

Originally a real estate agent, this unlucky soul bumped into Thanos, setting off a chain of events. Thanos’ grandfather, Kronos, fashioned a new body made from the Earth’s soil to give Arthur Douglas superhuman abilities, transforming him into the awesome Drax the Destroyer. After the events of Annihilation, Drax was recruited by the legendary Star-Lord to join the butt-kicking Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Enhanced Physiology: Due to his new body, Drax has a number of superhuman abilities including strength, stamina, durability, senses, and an accelerated healing factor
  • Cosmic Awareness: He possesses a low-level form of cosmic awareness that allows him to track Thanos

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Twin Knives: While Drax is more than proficient in combat, he is always carrying his handy twin Knives

First Appearance: Iron Man #55 (February, 1973) 

Iron Man (1968) #55

Iron Man (1968) #55

  • Published: February 10, 1973
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 05, 2008
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Cosmo

Cosmo

A former test animal of the Soviet Space Program, Cosmo launched into Earth’s orbit as part of an experiment. He drifted off into space during the 1960’s, arriving in “Knowhere.” Mysteriously mutated, this daring Golden Labrador Retriever mix came to serve as the station’s security chief. Currently, Cosmo acts as a liaison for the Guardians and assists them in plotting courses for areas of the universe in peril.

Powers:

  • Telekinesis: A wide range of telekinetic powers including telepathic cloak, illusions, mind control, mental paralysis, psionic blast, and mental detection
  • Extended Longevity: Cosmo is decades older than the normal life expectancy of other dogs

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Space suit: Cosmo’s original Soviet Space suit given to him during the space race of the 1960’s.

First appearance: Nova #8 (January, 2008)  

Nova (2007) #8

Nova (2007) #8

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Bug

Bug

Bug is a master thief from the Insectivorid homeworld “Kaliklak” based in the Microverse. A member of the Microns, Bug is an adept fighter who joined the Guardians after Rocket Raccoon asked him when the original group disbanded.

Powers:

  • Insectivorid Physiology: Bug’s native abilities are considered superhuman compared to other humanoids. His powers include great strength, speed, stamina, agility, durability, reflexes, recuperative powers, balance, coordination, and sense of equilibrium.
  • Wall-Crawling: Ability to cling to surfaces and scale them like any insect
  • Danger-Sense: Similar to Spider-Man, this ability, in the form of a tingling sensation at the base of his skull, alerts him to danger
  • Antennae: Ability to communicate with other antennae-beings over a limited amount of space

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Gilder-Pac: A telepathically-controlled glider-pac enabling flight
  • Rocket Lance: Bug’s weapon of choice, which can fire varying intensities of energy, and can return to his hand if thrown

First Appearance: Micronauts #1 (January, 1979)

Gamora

Gamora

Gamora is the sole survivor of an alien humanoid race called the Zen Whoberis, a peace-loving tribe whose population was wiped out by a zealous religious order seeking to establish a galaxy-wide empire. The mad Titan Thanos rescued Gamora and brought her to a time period at least two decades prior to her people’s deaths, travelling from Earth-7528 to Earth-616. Aboard his space station Sanctuary, Thanos raised Gamora and used advanced technology to endow her with enhanced humanoid abilities. Feeling lost after the Phalanx Invasion, Gamora joined the Guardians of the Galaxy to give new purpose to her life

Powers:

  • Zen Whoberis Physiology: Slight superhuman strength, durability, endurance and reflexes, as well as a healing factor
  • Enhanced Physiology: Raised to be a deadly assassin by Thanos, he enhanced her body with advanced technologies; because of this, Gamora is a master in martial arts, various weaponry and an expert marksman and tactician.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Time Gem
  • The Godslayer

First Appearance: Strange Tales #180 (June, 1975)  

Strange Tales (1951) #180

Strange Tales (1951) #180

  • Published: June 10, 1975
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 30, 2012
  • Writer: Jim Starlin
  • Penciler: Jim Starlin
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Groot

Groot

Groot is a Flora colossus from Planet X, the capital of the branch worlds. During his adulthood, Groot wandered around Kree space exploring galaxies until he was captured and imprisoned. While in jail, he formed a rapport with Rocket Raccoon and was assigned to a covert ops team led by Star-Lord, which would eventually become the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Cellular Regeneration: As a flora, Groot can regenerate any part of his body. He has almost died on three separate occasions, each time regenerating from a twig.
  • Growth: Apart of the cellular regeneration, Groot can grow and extend his body at extreme speeds
  • Plasticity: Ability to stretch his limbs for long distances and reshape them for a variety of tasks
  • Superhuman Strength: Groot’s tree-like form provides him great strength
  • Control Over Other Plants: Groot has the power to control other plants, especially his own physical form. He can turn his hands into blades, grow in size altogether, or even use that power to heal himself from fatal wounds.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Groot’s Body: As mentioned before, Groot can manipulate his body in various ways as well as manipulate other plants, using them as weapons in place of more conventional ones

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (November, 1960)  

Tales to Astonish (1959) #13

Tales to Astonish (1959) #13

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Jack Flag

Jack Flag

Born Jack Harrison, he took on the alias Jack Flag to impress Captain America. During an undercover mission accident, Jack Flag was drenched in chemicals created by Mr. Hyde, giving him superhuman abilities. During a time in Prison 42, he crossed paths with Star-Lord who saved his life by bringing him back to his base. Grateful, Flag decided to stick around and join the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Hyde Formula: Various superhuman attributes as a result of being doused with the chemicals that Calvin Zabo used to transform himself into Mr. Hyde. These attributes include superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and a regenerative healing factor.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Weapon Technology: Various weapons and tech designed by his brother, Drake, including a boom box which contained rockets and fireworks

First Appearance: Captain America #434 (December, 1994)  

Captain America (1968) #434

Captain America (1968) #434

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Mantis

Mantis

As a child, Mantis trained with the alien Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree, who believed that she might become the “Celestial Madonna.” Experiencing a vision during the time of the Annihilation Wave, she allowed herself to become imprisoned to wait for Star-Lord to aid in his quest. After a series of events saving and being saved by Star-Lord and his crew, she joined the ranks of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Telepathy: Repeatedly demonstrated telepathy as well as a variety of other mental powers
  • Astral Projection: Projects her astral form, allowing her to travel interplanetary distances. Recreating a body out of the destination planet’s local vegetation, her fighting skills remain intact and her emphatic abilities heightened to a superhuman degree and extended to the planet’s flora and biosphere.
  • Chlorokinesis: The ability to control the vegetation within her vicinity. Mantis was able to accelerate her teammate Groot’s cellular growth rate.
  • Pyrokinesis: Mantis burned her teammate Groot’s internal sap with her mental powers, immediately lighting him on fire from the inside
  • Precognition: The ability to foresee almost all the events that would occur during her mission with Star-Lord and their teammates
  • Enhanced Durability: Physically-enhanced durability as well as immunity to mental and metaphysical assaults
  • Self-Healing: The ability to will herself to heal

Weapons & Equipment: None

First Appearance: Avengers #112 (June, 1973)  

Avengers (1963) #112

Avengers (1963) #112

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Moondragon

Moondragon

Heather Douglas is the daughter of Arthur Douglas, whose reanimated corpse had transformed into Drax the Destroyer. After a car explosion killed her parents, Thanos’ father Mentor took Heather back to Titan. After unlocking her psychic powers, she came under the influence of a powerful entity known as the Dragon of the Moon. Escaping his clutches and filled with pride, she took the name Moondragon. Like many of the other members, Moondragon crossed paths with Star-Lord after the Annihilation Wave and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy where she continues to fight alongside them.

Powers:

  • Psionics: One of the most powerful human born telepaths ever; repeatedly demonstrating mental psionic energy usage far in advance of all human and human mutants, including that of the world-renowned telepaths Professor Charles Xavier, Emma Frost and Jean Grey. Some of the abilities with this power include telepathy and telekinesis.
  • Dragon Form: The ability to assume the form of a strong and durable dragon capable of faster-than-light speed travel and surviving in outer space without air

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Conventional and Unconventional Weapons: Guns, staffs, and plasma weapons

First Appearance: Iron Man #54 (January, 1973)  

Iron Man (1968) #54

Iron Man (1968) #54

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Phyla-Vell

Phyla-Vell

When a new universe was created (after the destruction from the insane Genis-Vell), Phyla-Vell emerged as one of the new alterations. She is the second artificially-created offspring of Captain Marvel. After the events of the Annihilation Wave, Phyla-Vell decided to join a group that would protect the universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Kree Heritage: Possesses superhuman strength, the ability to fly, and a fraction of her father’s cosmic awareness
  • Energy Absorption: Like a sponge, she can absorb most outside energy sources directed at her

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Nega Bands: These powerful bands give the wearer a wide array of powers and abilities including: increased physical strength, interstellar flight, the ability to absorb & manipulate various types of energy, increased invulnerability to physical attacks, survival in the vacuum of space, and no need for food, water, air or sleep

First Appearance: Captain Marvel Vol 5 #16 (January, 2004) 

Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon is the result of sentient robots who used genetic engineering to give intelligence and sentience to animals so they wouldn’t have to take care of crazy people, and instead, could start their own colony far away. Think that sounds crazy? Well, clearly you haven’t met Rocket Raccoon. A near diabolical genius and weapons expert with a love for violence, this raccoon has it all. During the events of the Phalanx Invasion, Rocket was paired with Star-Lord, Groot, and others to form a tactical team. Eventually they would form the Guardians of the Galaxy where Rocket would act as a second-in-command, sometimes acting as a de-facto leader.

Powers:

  • Raccoon Physiology: Rocket possesses the same enhanced abilities attributed to Earth raccoons, including an acute sense of smell and sharp eyesight
  • Enhanced Physiology: Enhancements from the robot stewards gave Rocket enhanced intelligence, which over time, allowed him to become an expert in marksmanship, martial arts, tactician, and strategist.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Rocket-Powered Jet Boots: Also known as his “rocket skates,” not only do they propel him around but the exhaust is powerful enough to be used as a short ranged weapon
  • Dual Laser Pistols: One of Rocket’s go-to weapons are his dual laser pistols as well as other assorted heavy weapons

First Appearance: Marvel Preview #7 (June 1976)  

Marvel Preview (1977) #7

Marvel Preview (1977) #7

  • Published: July 10, 1976
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 28, 2016
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Adam Warlock

Adam Warlock

Created by a group of researches known as “The Enclave,” Adam Warlock is the pinnacle of future human evolution. Adam Warlock commands the mighty Soul Gem, given to him by the High Evolutionary. Due to disastrous events after the Annihilation Wave, he was given newfound powers and became an active force in the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Enhanced Biology: Possesses a number of superhuman properties and powers derived from his artificially-altered genetic structure including strength, speed, stamina, durability, and agility
  • Immortality: While Warlock can be killed, he never truly dies due to the fact his soul is so strong, even Death herself cannot claim his soul
  • Matter Manipulation: Ability to convert energy into matter and the ability to have absolute control over the process
  • Cosmic Awareness: Ability to detect or produce wormholes and other irregularities in space on a cosmic scale

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Soul Gem (Formerly): At one point Warlock possessed the Soul Gem, one of the legendary Infinity Gems, giving him the power to drain and control the life essences (or spirits) of living (or dead) organisms. This gem possessed a consciousness of its own, and displayed a vampiric hunger for the life-essences of living beings. Warlock was so accomplished at the gem’s usage that he could use its energies to project energy blasts, protective shields, and blasts of mystic energies capable of disrupting the karmic centers of living beings.
  • Karmic Staff: An extension of Warlock’s own life-essence, and its properties make it seemingly unbreakable. He can focus mystic energies through this staff with greater accuracy than he could by other means.

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #66 (September 1967)  

Fantastic Four (1961) #66

Fantastic Four (1961) #66

  • Published: September 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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Guardians of the Galaxy (3000)

Guardians of the Galaxy (3000)

The original group under this galactic moniker, first appeared in the January 1969 publication of Marvel Super-Heroes! Forming in the year 3007, after the Badoon held each member captive and invading their solar system, the team escaped to kick major butt and continued to fight for peace and prosperity throughout the galaxy.

Charlie-27

Charlie-27

Genetically engineered to live in Jupiter’s gravity, Charlie-27 is a soldier and space pilot, once captain in the United Lands Earth Space Militia. In 3007 A.D., the alien Badoon invaded the solar system, performing various acts of genocide. Charlie was the only survivor of his world due to being on a long-term space mission. He joined forces with Martinex, Yondu, and Vance Astro to form the Guardians of the Galaxy, a band of freedom fighters.

Powers:

  • Jovian Ancestry: His Jovian ancestry makes him 11 times stronger and 11 times denser than a normal human being, giving him superhuman strength, stamina, and durability

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Guardian Communicator/ Teleporter Star: Allows the Guardians to access their ships’ teleportation system
  • Yondu’s Yaka Dagger: Given as a gift from Yondu, Charlie is never seen without it

First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)  

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

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Martinex T’Naga

Martinex T’Naga

Pluvian scientist Martinex’s body is completely covered by facets that were crystalline in appearance, allowing Pluvians to withstand the extreme temperatures of their world. When the Badoon attempted to exterminate all the Pluvians, Martinex escaped the Badoon and teamed with Vance Astro, Charlie-27, and Yondu to fight the Badoon as the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Pluvian Physiology: Descended from the original human colonists of Pluto who were genetically-engineered to survive on that world. As a result, Martinex is a silicone-based lifeform with strength, durability, enhanced vision, ability to survive in a vacuum, and temperature resistance. He can withstand a greater range of hot or cold temperatures than humans
  • Thermokinesis: Martinex’s physiology can further improve his resistance to temperature extremes by siphoning excess heat out of the environment to warm up, or venting his own body heat to cool down. Martinex can also focus this effect offensively to project thermal beams of heat or cold.

Weapons & Equipment: None

First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)

Nikki Gold

Nikki Gold

Born on the Planet Mercury in the 31st Century, Nicholette “Nikki” Gold joined the Guardians of the Galaxy when she escaped the clutches of the Badoon invasion that killed her parents right before her eyes. Discovered on an abandoned spacecraft by the Guardians, she joined their ranks seeking excitement and adventures after years of solitude.

Powers:

  • Mercurian Physiology: A member of the genetically-engineered offshoot of humanity whose traits were designed for survival in the harsh conditions of the planet Mercury. As such, she possesses the ability to see in intense light, has a built-up resistance to heat and most types of radiation. Nikki’s hair is made of fire and she can potentially burn people with just a touch of her hand, due to an incredibly high body temperature.
  • Combat Skills: Extensive proficiency in hand-to-hand combat and proficiency in gymnastics and sharp-shooting

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Wrist Blasters: Twin wrist blasters with a range of settings from stun to kill

First Appearance: Marvel Presents #4 (April, 1976)

Starhawk

Starhawk

Stakar Ogord is the adoptive son of Ogord the Reaver. Growing up, he was raised alongside Ogord’s true daughter Aleta. The two found a statue of the Hawk God, which merged their beings together. Stakar emerged as the dominant being causing him to take on the mantle of Starhawk. At some point, his adult mind was sent back in time to his infant body to repeat his life, with the cycle repeating over and over again. He adopts the title “The One Who Knows,” predicting things that would happen in people’s lives. Starhawk would go on to nudge events in the right direction to allow for the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He joins their ranks and convinces them to lead a life as space explorers and protect the universe.

Powers:

  • Hawk God: The true extent of these powers are unknown. However, his inherited powers include superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes, and enhanced senses
  • Immortality: No longer ages and is immune to disease and infection
  • Light Manipulation: He can manipulate light to create concussive force blasts of photonic energy, heat, and solid-light constructs
  • Flight: Surrounding himself with intermingled photons and anti-gravitons, Starhawk can fly at great speeds

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Starhawk’s Suit: Made of alien materials, including a retracting transparent face-mask, life support system, and retractable solar wind collector wings, which can harness light waves and photonic particles from solar winds, producing easier and faster flight

First Appearance: Defenders #27 (September, 1975)  

Defenders (1972) #27

Defenders (1972) #27

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Talon

Talon

A member of the Inhumans in the 31st century, Talon is a beastly-looking creature with a heart of gold. Working under the tutelage of Soccer Supreme Krugarr, Talon saved Major Victory after battling a gang of thugs.

Powers:

  • Inhuman Superpower: As a member of the Inhumans, he possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes
  • Beastly Physique: As a literal beast, Talon possesses razor sharp claws on his hands and feet. Aside from being razor sharp and used in the conventional sense, Talon has the unique ability to fire these claws as projectile weapons, re-growing new ones almost instantly. These claw projectiles could be as deadly as high caliber bullets.

Weapons & Equipment: None

First Appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #18 (November, 1991)  

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #18

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #18

  • Published: November 01, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 21, 2016
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Jim Valentino
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Yondu Udonta

Yondu Udonta

Yondu Udonta started his life as a game hunter from the primitive Zatoan tribe native to Centauri-IV. After being captured by the vicious Badoon, he encountered Vance Astro, Charlie-27, and Martinex T’naga, where they banded together to fight the Badoon and become the incredibly impressive Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Zatoan Intuition: While Yondu displays no superhuman physical powers, he is a natural mystic like his entire tribe. He possesses an intuitive sixth sense that permits him limited emphatic relationships with other lifeforms. The higher the lifeform, the more limited his emphatic potential

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Yaka Arrow: Yondu always carries a 5-foot single curve bow and a quiver of arrows composed of Yaka, a special sound-sensitive metal found only on Centauri IV. A Yaka Arrow can change its direction (but not speed) in response to certain high-octave whistle sounds some Centaurians produce.

First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)  

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

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Major Victory

Major Victory

Last, but certainly not least, U.S. Air Force pilot turned astronaut, Vance Astro, took on a special mission to colonize a distant planet. After escaping the clutches of an evil organization and realizing he had been in suspended animation for centuries, Astro would go on to lead a group of fellow adventurers called the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Psychokinesis: Vance Astro possesses the psionic ability to affect matter with his mind

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Passport armbands: Allows him to use Knowhere’s teleporters to teleport instantly
  • Captain America’s Shield: During the time when he carried Cap’s shield in combat, he would use his power to propel the shield and manipulate its flight path, simulating Cap’s use of the shield as a throwing weapon

First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)  

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

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Marvel’s Bill Rosemann dives deep on birthing the Guardians of the Galaxy!

It might sound crazy right now, but if you time traveled back a full decade and told a comic-loving audience that the Guardians of the Galaxy would be a mega Marvel franchise in the same vein as the Avengers, you would have been laughed back through the timestream. At that point, the team that has now starred in several comic book series as well as a major motion picture with a sequel hitting on May 5, a Disney XD cartoon, multiple action figure lines, and the upcoming Telltale video game series, didn’t exist yet.

Sure, the original team had a nice run and Peter Quill had started making a name for himself in the original ANNIHILATION series as Nova’s main strategist, but the first embers of the Guardians fire started to flame in the pages of 2007’s ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST – STAR-LORD by writer Keith Giffen and artist Timothy Green II. In that book, Quill returned to his super hero identity and led a ragtag group including Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Bug, Deathcry, Mantis, and Captain Universe on an important mission. Not everyone survived, but by the end of the main ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST story, a team sure seemed like a good idea.

That of course finally came in 2008 with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. But even before all the writers, artists, and fans got involved in the story, one person saw the value in these characters and wanted them to succeed. That person was then-editor Bill Rosemann and this is his story of co-creating the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them today.

Marvel.com: How did you get involved in the Marvel Cosmic books?

Bill Rosemann: What happened was I was at the distinguished competition when Annihilation was happening and I was reading it. I was loving it because, even when I was a kid growing up, I didn’t read a ton of Marvel cosmic. I was kind of more into the street-based heroes: Spider-Man and Daredevil. The most cosmic I got was when I picked up an issue of AVENGERS or FANTASTIC FOUR. But I never faithfully read stuff like SILVER SURFER, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, or QUASAR. I knew of them, but never regularly read the series.

When ANNIHILATION came out I loved how they sort of grounded everything and made it very accessible in that they brought characters back who hadn’t been seen since the 80s or 90s. I was a big fan of Nova since he was a part of the New Warriors and so I really appreciated how they made Rich [Rider, aka Nova] very accessible and they elevated him at the same time.

So I was reading that and a big fan of the Annihilation event. I got a call from [then-Marvel-Editor-in-Chief] Joe Quesada to come back over to Marvel: “Hey come on back. We want you to edit full time.” Then we had a meeting where he talked about what books he wanted to give me. Of course, my fingers were crossed. I thought he was going to say Spider-Man, Daredevil. Instead, he smiled and said, “We want you to edit the cosmic books,” and inside I was like “Darn!” but on the outside I was like, “You got it boss!” Then I started to think about what was happening in Annihilation, because I loved it.

Marvel.com: And that led into NOVA, the Annihilation: Conquest event and eventually GUARDIANS?

Bill Rosemann: I was asked to launch NOVA out of that event and after a year I thought to myself, “Self, let’s do another event,” because people responded very well to Annihilation. Things were building, we had enough characters in the NOVA series to build towards an event.

We wanted to echo Annihilation but we did not want to repeat it and so I just thought that if Annihilation was sort of a World War II analogy. You know, here come the Nazis aka the Annihilation Wave, “We must stop them!” So here the decision was, this isn’t about stopping the invading army, the invasion has already happened from within, they’ve taken over, this is an occupation story and the question is, “What do you do when you’re occupied? Do you lay down or do you fight back?” It was a very simple, high concept, accessible idea.

So I asked Dan [Abnett] and Andy [Lanning] who were writing NOVA if they were interested in being the lead on this event, but I also wanted to involve Keith Giffen who wrote the first event, and so I asked him to write the Star-Lord book.

Marvel.com: What made Star-Lord the right choice to star in one of the Annihilation: Conquest limited series’?

Bill Rosemann: The reason for a Star-Lord book was, when we started talking about the event itself, it was going to happen in Kree Space. We started with an opportunity to put the spotlight on Phyla-Vell who was [at the time] Quasar and she was Kree. Much like the first Annihilation, it focused on Rich and he was the main focus on this ensemble piece and we elevated him.

The intention was to focus on Quasar and elevate her on the event. My thought for her was to make her arc a sort of “Cosmic Joan of Arc” and she’ll have her missions where she will rush into battle to repel the Phalanx from the Kree, and that was the main story.

But then I wanted to tell a story down in the trenches. I wanted to show all aspects of the occupation and so I went to Keith and I said, “Hey, I love how you write Peter Quill, how you wrote him in ANNIHILATION.” I wanted to get his Star-Lord days back. I said, “There is something magical about that name, and something really cool about his original design.” It’s got that magic Marvel combo, these primary colors, the blue and yellow.

And I said to him, “I want to do a story where Star-Lord is sort of the Captain Ahab and he has this crazy crew going on this sort of suicide mission.”

Marvel.com: That original Star-Lord team consisted of Rocket, Groot, Captain Universe, Mantis, Bug, and Deathcry. How did that group come about?

Bill Rosemann: I wanted to approach Keith with a list of hand-picked characters he could choose from. So again, walking in the footsteps of the original Annihilation, I opened up my Marvel Handbook of characters who hadn’t been seen in decades.

One night I had all the Handbooks open and I had little sticky notes on individual pages and my wife walked in and she said, “Billy, you’re making a mess! What are you doing?” I said, “Honey, I’m gonna build the next Marvel super team and here is our star!” She said to me, “Is that a squirrel?” and I said, “No, it’s a raccoon—Rocket Raccoon!”

Rocket Raccoon, to me, was sort of the heart of the team. He really represented what was the intention of the team. I was a huge fan of the ROCKET RACCOON [limited series] by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola back in the mid-80s. Rocket had really not been seen since then. He had been used once or twice, more as a punchline, but I thought he had great potential as his own hero and I thought, “Of course there is something funny about him, but I think he should use humor as Spider-Man does, where he would say funny things but we wouldn’t be mocking him.”

For some of the team I looked at other successful teams such as the X-Men and I started making decisions based on archetypes. So Rocket was our Wolverine, he was the short hairy guy with an attitude. I kind of picked characters thinking of their power sets, their personalities, their silhouettes, how different they were, and how they would fit together.

So I had a list of characters that included Deathcry, who was a Shi’ar warrior who was in the Avengers and Captain Universe and Rocket and Mantis and Star-Lord and I went into [editor] Tom Brevoort’s office, who was my boss at the time, and I said, “Tom here is a list of characters I want to bring back,” and to his credit, Tom got it and loved it and he started laughing and he said, “Bill you have a character from each decade; you have Deathcry from the 90s, Rocket from the 80s, and Mantis from the 70s.”

He also pointed out, “You don’t have anyone from the 60s.” I asked, “Well who do we have other than Captain Mar-Vell?” and Tom said, “What about one of the Kirby monsters?” I thought, “Oh yeah, one of them came from outer space, so technically they’re a cosmic character.” We had just published a Monster Handbook, so I sat down with it and my intention was, I was thinking about Googam, son of Goom, because he was a monster Tom and I always joked about, and I was turning to the Googam entry to read more about him, and I turn the page, and I see Groot. I see the cover of him from his first appearance, and he’s talking like Doctor Doom, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, he’s our big guy, every team needs their big guy! If Rocket is our Wolverine, Groot will be our Colossus.”

So I call up Keith and I said, “Keith, here is a list of characters,” and when I gave him a list I showed him Rocket Raccoon, and he said, “You know I co-created him right?” and I said, “Of course! That is why I picked you to do this!”

Marvel.com: That Star-Lord series featured a lot of elements that still carry through to this day in the comics and on the big screen. Did those just naturally come from bouncing these characters off each other?

Bill Rosemann: To Keith’s credit, a lot of the elements that you see in other mediums of the Guardians, specifically in the film, come from that first [CONQUEST – STAR-LORD series]. Everything from Groot going through his journey starting very selfish, then sacrificing himself, blowing himself up and Rocket getting the splinter and planting and then there is little Groot. All of that was in the [comic].

Them all getting recruited, lining up at the prison, that was in the first issue, and most importantly, he was the one that paired Rocket and Groot. In the initial line-up I didn’t say, “Hey, here is the buddy team,” I just had them listed, and then, reading his script, I turn to the page where you first see them together, and they form this bond. I called Keith up and I was laughing so hard, I said, “Why did you think of pairing Rocket with Groot?” and he said, “Eh, one’s a raccoon and one’s a tree. Of course they are going to be together.”

Marvel.com: You mentioned how Quasar was intended to be the star. Were you surprised when Star-Lord and his crew took off like they did?

Bill Rosemann: When that series came out, and we saw how delightful that book was, and saw how strongly people reacted to that [comic], half way through the event I turned to Tom and I said, “I know we were planning on elevating Quasar with this, but these are the characters that are catching on. I want to elevate them out of this.” So Tom said okay and what we all liked about that was we already had a solo book, NOVA, so I wanted a companion book, but we wanted every book to be different. So, if NOVA was the solo book, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY would be our team book.

Then, I turned to Dan and Andy who had finished writing the entire CONQUEST [series] and did an awesome job with it and I said, “You know what? I love your brand of cosmic, and I want you guys to write this team book, so that both books can be in their own corner of the Marvel Universe, and they can be connected tightly and that readers could bounce back and forth between NOVA and GUARDIANS.” With this they could kind of continue their exploration of Marvel Cosmic and things could snowball once there were two books together. So they jumped at it.

Marvel.com: Did it take a while to settle on calling them the Guardians of the Galaxy?

Bill Rosemann: We had to come up with a name and we were thinking about calling them the Annihilators, and we thought, “Eh is that too violent?” and then one of us—and honestly I don’t know who it was—said, “Hey what about, the name that hasn’t been used in a while, Guardians of the Galaxy?”

I went to my bosses and the question was, “Well, if you’re going to call them Guardians, how can they be the Guardians? Aren’t they from the future, in an alternate reality?” and I said, “Well yes, they still exist in their reality, and are still from the future, but maybe this is the first team to use that name. Maybe they inspired the future team and there is no reason to say there can’t be a Guardians team now,” and they said, “Alright.” I just felt passionately that the name Guardians of the Galaxy was so easy to understand, no matter how old you are. You see that logo, you see those words you know what they do; they guard the galaxy.

Marvel.com: How did the other elements like Drax, Gamora, Cosmo, and Knowhere come into play?

Bill Rosemann: We launched the group and it took a while for the core five Guardians to all be assembled. At the beginning, Groot was still small in his pot, he was being taken care of by Mantis on Knowhere, so it took a while for him to grow up and then join the squad. Then we added Drax and Gamora to the mix. They were there from issue #1 in the series, then finally after a while the five core were all there together.

I think the cherry on top was when Dan, Andy, and I were talking about the team and I said, “They need a cool headquarters, every team needs a great headquarters: Avengers Tower, the X-mansion.” I loved the story we did in NOVA where Nova went to Knowhere, which Dan and Andy invented, which was a decapitated Celestial head. I said, “What’s cooler than a giant decapitated robot head for your headquarters? That should be their headquarters!” We got to bring Cosmo back, and he’ll be their head of security, and he’ll always be kind of barking at them because they are always causing trouble. They ran with it, and brought their magic to it.

I can’t give enough credit to Dan and Andy, they just breathed such life into the team and our launch artist Paul Pelletier as well. They brought attitude and humor to the Guardians and it was a magic mix of action, drama, and humor. Most importantly, they realized that the Guardians were a group of lovable misfits. They were underdogs that were always outgunned and always misjudged, underestimated.

We really took it to heart when we first started to show people our lineup, people were laughing at us about using Rocket Raccoon, using Groot. There were people going, “That’s stupid! Rocket Raccoon is a joke!” We really kind of had a chip on our shoulders and we said. “Okay, we are going to show everybody how cool these characters are.” We had an “us against the world” mentality. We [would] have just been happy enough to see it take off.

Marvel.com: In addition to making these characters cool, GUARDIANS is also impressive for how deep and complex the stories go to the point where it greatly benefits from repeated readings.

Bill Rosemann: That was our goal. We wanted to use our team as a point-of-view for Marvel readers and once you were with them and related to them as people, then you can follow them throughout the cosmos and slowly start seeing more and more, and they are your tour guides of the Marvel Cosmic Universe. Through them, keeping them grounded and relatable, you can start experiencing more and more craziness, but you feel okay because you’re with your friends, you know them and you care about them, and through their eyes you can then travel through the rest of Marvel Cosmic.

Then going forward, our goals were to just keep going through the Handbook and keep bringing back things. That was our goal with bringing back the original Guardians, really focusing on Adam Warlock, bringing Magus back, bringing back the Church of Universal Truth, introducing characters like the Matriarch and Cardinal Raker.

Also in our next event, War of Kings, we asked ourselves who else could we bring back? So we brought back Darkhawk and really expanded his backstory and revealed that he was part of the Raptors and kind of kept thinking to ourselves, as we do with the Guardians, “There are so many characters that they don’t know they like yet. They need a dusting, really dust them off, study them, really respect their core but add a little modernization to them and figure out how to make a character from the 80s or 90s. How do you make them, in true sci-fi fashion, accessible to today’s audience?” That was our goal, to see how many toys we could bring back and add to the toy box.

Marvel.com: I’d say you succeeded in everything you set out to do. How does it feel to have created a team that works in every medium from comics and cartoons to the big screen and even video games?

Bill Rosemann: Well, I feel very grateful first for my bosses Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, and Dan Buckley, first for asking me to come back to Marvel and trusting me with Marvel Cosmic. At the time I felt that, you know, I was married, and I think my wife was pregnant at the time so I felt like there was a huge weight on my shoulders. So I just felt like, this must succeed, they gave me this great responsibility, for the sake of my career, for the sake of my family, and just for all the creators who came and worked on these characters and for the Marvel fans, I just felt that we have to pour everything into this to make this work. So I’m grateful that they gave me this responsibility.

I’m grateful for all the awesome work from the creators. They are the ones that, day-in and day-out started from blank pages, lists and ideas and had to make it all work. I’m also grateful for all the readers. We never had a huge following, but it was loyal. Every issue there were about 35,000 fans who read every issue of NOVA and GUARDIANS and every issue of every [limited series] that was a part of all of our events. They helped spread the word and they were there along for the ride and never went away, and without them the books would’ve never even existed; there would be no film without those loyal readers.

I’m grateful that the people in Marvel Studios that were taking in our weekly bundle of comic books read them and picked up GUARDIANS and saw something there and then brought all their great talents. I loved that they honored that when they chose to do a Guardians movie, that they picked our Guardians and that they were so faithful to the core material, that the things we saw in our comics were apparent on screen. They got it, they knew, a small handful of people at Marvel knew, that if you just gave these characters the right platform, and showed them to the world, that the world would love them. They just needed the right talent and the right spotlight.

I feel very grateful, very honored. It’s still exciting because, you know, I’m still the kid who read the ROCKET RACCOON [comic] and loved it and then got to bring it back and work with him for five years in comics and now I work with these characters in video games and see these characters go from the printed page, to the silver screen, to my TV screen, to now being in huge triple A console games. So it’s just very, very exciting.

Marvel.com: One last question: What do you think it is about this group that makes them work so well in a variety of mediums?

Bill Rosemann: We are so lucky to have this level of talent from the comics, to the cartoon, to the films, to now the video games, everyone understands and respects what the Guardians are about and at its heart it’s about family. Each member of the Guardians think that they have no family. They’ve either been kidnapped, their families have been killed, their planets have been destroyed, they are the last ones left and that is an intentional tribute to the original Guardians of the 1970s. They were all the last surviving members of their planet.

We did a modern version of that, and everyone understood that this team, they feel all alone, that they have no family, but they look around, at these other misfits that they are with and they say, “You’re my new family, and it may be the universe against us, but you have my back, I have yours, we are gonna form a new family, and not only will we save the universe, but we will do everything in our power, to preserve and protect our new family.”

That’s why, even though one is a raccoon and one is a tree and one is completely green, that is why the whole world gets them and loves them, because everyone can relate to the idea of being in a family or losing a family, or forming a new family. That is why the Guardians continue to be more popular than ever.

Want even more behind-the-scenes Guardians goodness? Come back later this week for an exclusive interview with writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning about creating this sensational team!

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Your favorite space scoundrels get posters for Marvel Studios' 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' out May 5!

Get a new look at Peter Quill and his band of unlikely heroes in 10 new cosmic character posters for Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” in theaters May 5!

Take a look at your favorite Guardians Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax (Dave Bautista), above! We’ve also got character posters for a couple misfits they’ve picked up along the way — Ego (Kurt Russell), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and Yondu (Michael Rooker).

Plus, check out a new IMAX poster, exclusive to participating IMAX theaters, shared by director James Gunn, for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” directly below!

EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 IMAX Poster – Those who have followed me awhile know that IMAX is…

Posted by James Gunn on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for the latest on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and follow @Guardians on Twitter and like the official Guardians of the Galaxy page on Facebook for the latest!

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Peter Quill goes back to his heroic roots and assembles a familiar team of oddballs!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of their new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

The Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them actually began as part of an epic space opera in 2007. A decade ago Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Mike Perkins joined forces on ANNIHILATION CONQUEST PROLOGUE. In that issue, Peter Quill—the once and future Star-Lord—working with the Kree, inadvertently allowed Phalanx-infested Space Knights to invade Hala and infect the empire’s War-Net.

Quill barely survived the initial attack, but limped off to join up with the Kree resistance in the pages of ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STAR-LORD written by Keith Giffen and drawn by Timothy Green II. After recapping the hero’s history, the first issue set up a premise that saw Quill’s cybernetics removed before introducing him to a new team consisting of Kree prisoners Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Bug, Deathcry, Mantis, and Gabriel “Captain Universe” Vargas. Their mission? Use their no-to-low tech abilities and equipment to infiltrate Hala and destroy the Phalanx’s seed bombs, intended to spread their infection across the galaxy.

Given the difficulty of the mission, the lack of team unity and the presence of murderous machines, it should come as no surprise that the crew had more than a little difficulty in following the plan. Before actually succeeding though, one member killed another, one found himself diminished, one lost his power, and many were captured by enemy forces. Still, the squad managed to infiltrate the enemy, do their job, and find a cure for the Phalanx contagion.

Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord (2007) #1

Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord (2007) #1

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In fact, the as yet unnamed group proved so successful that the Kree kept the remaining members together for another mission—but we’ll get into that next time!

Transmissions from Knowhere

Right before leading the proto-Guardians in the pages of ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STAR-LORD, Peter Quill appeared in THANOS #812. Instead of running around playing hero, he served as an inmate in the space prison known as the Kyln. After he aided Gladiator in the search for The Fallen One, the Imperial Guardsman conscripted Peter into his group. Not long after, Quill joined up with Nova and served alongside Richard Rider in the ANNIHILATION series where he acted as the resistance’s key tactician. The Kree honored his bravery by making him a combat advisor, a job he took seriously, making the Phalanx incursion all the more personal!

Next time we witness the role that Peter Quill and his new group of warriors played in stopping the Phalanx invasion in ANNIHILATION CONQUEST.

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Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka let Peter Quill loose on unfamiliar terrain—his home planet!

The Lord of Stars rides again! Facing a new Earthly adventure, a slick new uniform, and even some fresh facial hair, Peter Quill emerges from Civil War II with a brand-new series by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Kris Anka!

We caught up with Chip and Kris to find out what’s in-store for Star-Lord starting this December.

Marvel.com: What are the challenges in starting a brand new book, and making that fresh, while maintaining the narrative background and experiences of the character? Were there any specific inspirations behind your take on Peter Quill?

Chip Zdarsky: Well, I’m lucky, [because] the freshness has been handed to me on a silver platter by Brian Michael Bendis with the outcome of Civil War II. He’s set up a new status quo for the Guardians and Peter, so all I have to do is to not ruin that. Can I not ruin that? Tune in and find out.

I’ve been visiting and revisiting a ton of classic Star-Lord and Guardians work, but my main focus is in continuing [STAR-LORD writer] Sam Humphries’ work with Peter and making sure I gel with what Brian’s doing in the main GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY book. It’s a new thing for me, working within continuity like this! It’s exciting! HOWARD THE DUCK was just kind of its own thing, wandering through whatever was happening in the Marvel Universe at the time, but Star-Lord is more integral and pops up in more places, so it’s a fun juggling process. Like, when Bendis kills Peter in Guardians, I have to portray him as a ghost in my book.

Marvel.com: Kris, judging from social media, it seems like you and Chip are pretty excited to work together on this. How’s it been so far?

Kris Anka: It’s been great! We’ve never worked together before this, but we just clicked right away on issue #1. There was a quick back and forth between us in the beginning as to what we wanted out of this book and collaboration and we’ve just been running at full engines ever since.

Marvel.com: Jumping from the Duck to the Lord: they’re both funny, both of their journeys began with them being unwillingly taken from their homes; after such a successful run with Howard, do you see any similarities between Peter and our friendly fowl?

Chip Zdarsky: Oh yeah, for sure! Especially with Peter being stuck on Earth at the beginning of our run. Earth for Howard is both familiar and strange, and Peter shares that feeling. He’s spent a big chunk of his life off-planet, so re-acclimatizing to life here’s going to make him feel like he’s…trapped in a world he never made??? Or something like that.

Also, both Howard and Peter are very attractive.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen the awesome covers for the first couple issues of STAR-LORD, including a new uniform for Peter not to mention a beautiful new beard. Kris, what was your process in coming up with the new look?

Kris Anka: Largely it was about trying to find a new look that unified all of Peter’s previous looks. His costumes have kind of been all over the place visually thus far and I wanted to see if I could find a way to bring them all together and still make it feel fresh. You could almost call the new costume a remix.

Marvel.com: You’ve drawn some of the greatest cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe, including Captain Marvel and now Star-Lord. How does having such huge canvases and galactic settings inspire and challenge you as an artist?

Kris Anka: It’s kind of two-fold, because while you have vast opportunities to create worlds and visuals that aren’t limited, these are also two hugely different characters that have to be approached differently. Not to mention that Peter is on Earth now! So as of right now this book is much more street level rather than cosmic, which, in a respect, is almost harder to handle then just drawing space!

Marvel.com: There seems to be a lot going on in the cover of STAR-LORD #1: a “Starry Night” background, certain claws popped in the corner—what can you tease about where this story begins?

Chip Zdarsky: Well, Peter’s not handling being stuck here so well, so when somebody’s sulking in the Marvel U, the only person who can cheer them up is that good ol’ Canadian clown, Logan! In issue #1 he wows Peter with his patented pratfalls and classic jokes like “Pull my claw!” It’s fun!

Check out STAR-LORD #1 by Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka on December 7! And stay tuned to Marvel.com and all our social channels for the latest on Marvel NOW!

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