Before the Guardians of the Galaxy came…the Guardians of the Galaxy!
Before the modern hit comic series and major motion picture, another rag-tag band of space heroes rocked the name and made sure no one ever forgot it. Those Guardians return this October in GUARDIANS 3000, written by the man that made “cosmic” a household word, Dan Abnett.
By the end of the 1960’s, Marvel’s space-faring heroes tended to be loners and not prone to travel in groups. MARVEL SUPER HEROES #18 in 1969 changed all that. Debuting in that issue, the Guardians of the Galaxy hailed from an alternate future, a far-flung century that boasted not only alien wonders, but altered human as well.
The team’s adventures blasted into several titles as the 1970’s progressed, including MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, ASTONISHING TALES, MARVEL PRESENTS, and of course, their fan-favorite appearances in DEFENDERS, where they struggled against their mortal enemies, the savage alien race known as the Badoon.
The Guardians counted among their eclectic membership:
Starhawk: A cosmically-charged protector of the spacelanes, Starhawk derives his/her incredible powers from the Hawk God and uses them to sail the solar winds in pursuit of justice.
Abnett says: “The mystic, the ‘one who knows.’ He’s the team’s pre-cog, their ‘sorcerer supreme’—in a cosmic sense. But he—she?—is unreadable and potentially sinister and dangerous because of his—her?—mystical otherness and focus on ‘destiny’ at the expense of human lives.”
Yondu: An accomplished blue-skinned archer from Centauri IV, Yondu’s seen as something of a savage warrior by those who cross his path, yet he’s really in complete control of himself.
Abnett says: “Kind of the ‘Hawkeye’ of the team for obvious reasons, but much more a weapons master, a hunter, a supreme fighter…all conditioned and off-set by his calm, Zen-like nature.”
Vance Astro: Possessed of amazing mental abilities, human Vance came from 20th century Earth through suspended animation, and became both a leader and a hero.
Abnett says: “In Avengers terms, he’s [Captain America]… the figurehead, the rallying call, the symbol of liberty and freedom. But—I guess like Cap—he has an inner sadness. He’s a man out of time who has lost a great deal along the way to this dangerous future.”
Martinex: A crystalline humanoid from Pluto, Martinex proves to be multi-faceted in everything he does, making him an indispensable member of the team.
Abnett says: “The smart one, the unflappable one, the brains, but oddly charming and more ‘human’ than he appears. Plus, very cool, unearthly powers. There are sides to Mart we haven’t seen yet. I think he’s aware that, perhaps more than any of them, he’s the ‘least human,’ the most alien in form.”
Charlie-27: A powerhouse of a mutated human from low-gravity Jupiter, Charlie’s background is that of a soldier, but his teammates look to him to be their rock in the middle of a storm.
Abnett say: “The heart, the spirit. He’s massively strong, but he’s more than just the team tank, despite his Hulk-like size and strength. He’s smart. He’s a trained and very disciplined soldier, and he’s also very gentle. He’s only fighting the war because it has to be fought for the good of all. Plus, and this is easy to forget, he’s very very fast too. He’s the Hulk with Quicksilver-like turns of speed, and he’s no dummy.”
Nikki: A genetically altered woman from Mercury, Nikki’s hot, of course, but quite literally.
Abnett says: “Ah, well…you’ll have to wait and see. She’s not in the initial line-up, but all sorts of cool characters are going to be appearing, as guest stars, as new team members, and as supporting cast. I’m building the Marvel Universe 3000 AD here. There are lots of cool and, I hope, surprising links to the MU we know.
“I’ll mention Geena too, as she’s very much a core part of this series. She doesn’t know what she is, apart from being a young human survivor of the Badoon labor camps. But there’s something about her, a yet-to-surface talent or power that Starhawk has perceived and which will be vital to the war…and to the problem that time itself is decaying. She’s our way into this book: we see the world, the characters and the unfolding mysteries through her eyes.”
In fact, Abnett’s certain that every aspect of the book will appeal to curious readers and that the series provides a gateway to its stories, no previous experience with the Guardians necessary.
Here’s a few more of his thoughts on GUARDIANS 3000:
Marvel.com: Dan, when the original Guardians debuted, what do you believe the original intent or focus was to have been for the concept? How were they different than other Marvel groups that had come before?
Dan Abnett: I think the “freedom fighter” aspect of them—something I’m preserving in the new run—was very distinct. They’re trying to save their galaxy from the Badoon invasion. They were very different, and in many ways, very alien individuals drawn together in a common cause.
Marvel.com: What was your own first encounter with the Guardians?
Dan Abnett: Reading that original 1969 story by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan in a British Marvel reprint title in the 70’s, as a kid, then reading reprints of the later stories where they came back in time to the present-day Marvel Universe, great stuff from the likes of Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema. The name of the new character in the mix, Geena Drake, is a nod to the original creators, [by the way].
Marvel.com: Which member of the original team is your favorite, and why? Also, who among them do you see as untapped potential, one you intend to remedy going forward in GUARDIANS 3000?
Dan Abnett: I think Vance was my fave for a long time, but they all have their appeal, and writing them I see potential in all of them. Maybe Martinex was the least “appealing” because he’s aloof and reserved, but that’s a strength of character in itself. I want to build them all up, both as personalities, as heroes with great powers, and as a team that interacts in a fun, human way.
Marvel.com: Finally, how do you describe the enmity between the Guardians and the Badoon? Is there any common ground there, or is it the classic heroes-villains romance?
Dan Abnett: Yes, in a way. The Badoon are invading conquerors, very ruthless. But, as Starhawk puts it, they are just “vermin, taking advantage of the situation, overrunning the galaxy while the galaxy is struggling.” The Brotherhood are the immediate threat, and as constant, obvious danger, but they are almost getting in the way of the real problem…
Follow the adventure in GUARDIANS 3000 #1 by Dan Abnett and Gerardo Sandoval, on sale October 1!