COVER BY: RON WILSON
WRITER: ARNOLD DRAKE
PENCILS: GENE COLAN
COLORED BY: TOM SMITH
Collecting MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #18, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #4-5, GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #5 and DEFENDERS #26-29.
Warning: Contains Spoilers
This hardcover is a collection of the first adventures of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, dating back to their very first appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes #18, beautifully rendered by Gene Colan in 1969. This story introduces Charlie-27, Martinex, Vance Astro, and Yondu, as they struggle against a Badoon-infested Earth in the year 3007. Banding together as the last members of their respective races, they vow that the Earth shall overcome the Badoon invaders!
In Marvel Two-in-One #4-5, Captain America, the Thing, and Sharon Carter travel to the world of Earth-691 to lend a hand in the struggle to free Earth. Joining up with the Guardians, they manage to liberate New York City from Badoon rule before returning to their own time.
In their next adventure, chronicled in Giant-Size Defenders #5, the Guardians travel to present-day Earth in search of a Badoon artifact (possibly waylaid by the Silver Surfer when he single-handedly repelled a Badoon invasion force) that could be the key to freeing their world. They team-up with the Defenders to combat Eelar, an innocent victim of Badoon treachery. And they also meet a very young version of Vance Astrovik for the first time--!
Continuing directly after the conclusion of Giant-Size Defenders #5, Defenders #26-29 sees the Defenders join the Guardians’ cause and journey to Earth-691 to free mankind from the Badoon. We also see the first appearance of Starhawk and his family, and learn the history of Earth-691 and the ways in which it is divergent from main Marvel Earth: the Martian invasion of 2001 and Killraven’s Freemen; the rise and fall of the Techno-Barons; the rebuilding of Earth and humanity’s expansion throughout the solar system and beyond; and its conquest by the Brotherhood of Badoon. We also learn of the Sisterhood of Badoon and their bizarre interaction with the Brotherhood. With a big assist from Doctor Strange and the Defenders, the Guardians free the millions of human slaves from Badoon rule and are poised to liberate the Earth once and for all.
There are two dust jackets for this hardcover - one standard (with Starhawk) and one direct-market variant (with the cover of Marvel Super-Heroes #18).
NOTES: While some of the material is dated (especially in the Guardians’ first appearance, where a lot of the dialog is prefaced by space-this and hyper-that), it’s a fun read that is reflective of the period in which it was written. Science fiction was an evolving genre in the 1970’s, and Gerber’s storylines reflected this tone and feeling (especially in the form of the Guardians’ ship, the Captain America, and the technologies contained therein – can we say poor-man’s USS Enterprise?). Colan’s and Buscema’s artwork is great as per usual, and while they are remembered for work on more popular books, for Guardians fans it doesn’t get much better. The stories reprinted in this hardcover continued directly into the Guardians’ first run at their own series in Marvel Presents (1975) #3-12 (which will be collected in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Power of Starhawk hardcover, solicited for July 1, 2009), also written by Steve Gerber. It is definitely a good year for fans of the original Guardians--!