Monday 1 May 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Just who WERE Sylvester Stallone's old team?*

So who was those people who were going to ‘go steal some shit’ with Stallone at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
Just a quick one, I’ve just got back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I enjoyed it very much thank you, I’m not sure if I prefer it to the original but it was very funny, very awesome and we got to see a lot of character development. There were times when I would have liked a little bit of a better balance between comedy and action in one or two scenes but the balance wasn’t THAT far off. What I enjoyed as much as the film was sitting in a full cinema, packed with as many teenagers on their days off and Essex scum as it was with fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and nerds and they all cared about Nebula and Yondu, they all cheered on Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon, they all loved Groot, they all treated Ego the Living Planet as a genuine threat. Having grown up in and been a tragically hardcore fanboy during the nineties and early-to-mid noughties when not only mainstream acceptance but fandom acceptance of these character was considered a ludicrous impossibility, when you’d get laughed at in comic shops for liking the Rocket Racoon mini-series, when no-one but the most die-hard Kirby fans knew who the fuck Groot was. but being the guy who did, who adored Jim Stalin’s run on Warlock, who read Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity Watch (no matter how shit they could be), who preferred Gamora to Wonder Woman, who preferred Rocket Racoon to Wonder Woman (my dad will agree with this by the way, he’s loved Rocket nearly as long as I have), who had complete runs of industry and fandom punch-lines like Howard the Duck, this was so gratifying, because this shit was always good and always filled with so much promise and now everyone’s caught up, I felt like crying - and GOD that was a run-on sentence.     

Anyway I’m sure this has been covered by some clickbait site or YouTube channel but I thought I’d do it just in case: one of the FIVE after credits scenes in the film shows Silver Stallone’s character delighted that his old team, made up of various Ravagers captains, has been brought back together by the events of the film and they should go steal some shit. The gag is that all of them are present day Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, this makes complete sense as Yondu (who has a much bigger role in this film) is a Ravager who’s a modern day Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Yondu Udonta, the archer from the original Guardians. For the confused there are two teams called the Guardians of the Galaxy, the second is active in the present day and debuted in 2008 in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 issue 1 following the event Annihilation: Conquest; this is the team made up of Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, Adam Warlock and so on - the one the film team is based on. The first team, now sometimes know as Guardians 3000 or Guardians of Infinity, is from an alternate future, the same one Killraven’s from and debuted all the way back in 1969 in Marvel Super-Heroes issue 18 (so the second one comes first chronologically, comics are complicated) and is the one that includes Major Victory, Yondu, Starhawk, Charlie-27 and Martinex. Hopefully this'll be useful to someone, so are you sitting comfortably: then do you have any tape?
Silver Stallone is…Starhawk
Comic debut: Defenders 27 (1975)
Yeah I didn’t catch this at first, his name is mentioned once I think and even then it’s Starhawk’s real first name: Stakar. It’s actually really obvious once you’re told – if you know the character anyway: Starhawk is a generally depicted as an angry man in blue, which is Stallone all over really but also describes his character in the film nicely, Sly’s also rocking shoulder ornaments that resemble Starhawk’s ‘light streamers’. Stakar is from Arcturus IV though he’s not a native, he was brought there (by Quasar) and raised by the Reavers, who I’m convinced are a main inspiration for the Ravagers. He has a very…confusing relationship with Aleta – another Guardian who we’ll get to – they’re often merged and can switch between one another, but they’re also married and sometimes they’re not merged, comics are complicated. He’s powered by the Hawk God and his powers can pretty much be summed up as ‘does lots of things with light’. Starhawk wasn’t a founding Guardian, nor ever the leader but he seems to have always been the most popular so it makes sense to give him an elevated role, especially as Vance Astro (the team’s usual leader and seemingly second most popular before the Cinematic Universe made Yondu 'Most Popular Original Guardian') isn’t in the film: this actually makes a lot of sense by the way as Vance Astro is a future version of the New Warriors member Justice, so his present day Marvel Cinematic Universe version would be Justice, not Vance Astro.
The crystal man is…Martinex
Comic debut: Marvel Super-Heroes 18 (1969)
I can never remember how to pronounce this poor bloke’s name without looking at it, it’s really simple: mar-tin-necks, I just always forget, mostly I call him Marty. Marty is one of the races who evolved from the humans who colonised the Milky Way galaxy in his timeline, specifically he’s from Pluto, the facet ‘skin’ (though he’s just as often depicted as see-thru I think it’s supposed to be like armour) that makes him look like a giant crystal (or a jaggedy Iceman) is to compensate for the incredible heat on his home planet (ah, remember when Pluto was a planet? Poor Pluto). He’s the sensible scientific one and often served as leader of the team in the 70’s and 80’s. He also formed an offshoot team called the Galactic Guardians because at the time Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom Deflaco fucking loved that shit – Thunderstrike, War Machine, Galactic Guardians, Fantastic Force, Secret Defenders – he was mad on this idea (and wanted to do it to the Scarlet Spider and U.S. Agent too), the Galactic Guardians had on its team Simon Williams aka Wonder Man aka Hollywood (as he was uncreatively named while a Guardian) who you’ll see cameoing throughout the new Guardians film on posters.
The dark haired woman is… Aleta alias Lady Starhawk
Comic debut: Defenders 29 (1975)
Ok I’m summarizing this going off of the Marvel Wikia because I’ve never been able to truly make sense of it, so any inaccuracies are their fault (muhahah blame passed): Aleta is the adopted sister of Starhawk (the one Stallone plays) but also his wife, it was she who found the statue of the Hawk God that gives them their powers and was turned into living energy when she went ‘ooh what’s that’ and touched it (she always has to touch), the ‘living light’ that allows Starhawk to do lots of things with light (I think). The two shared a body and swapped in an out of limbo (the same as Rick Jones and Captain Marvel used to) but Aleta got the ‘ump with her husband cos he was usually driving and then her children got killed and then she got de-merged from Starhawk and began shagging and eventually became the finance of Vance Astro. Then she was forcibly merged again with Starhawk and then Starhawk was a baby and she was the only one then Starhawk was an adult and they were merged again and then eventually they were separated again because she didn’t like what being Starhawk did to her and Starhawk was Starhawk and she was just Aleta and she was back to banging Vance and nowadays? I have no fucking idea but she was in the Guardians 3000 series so I guess they’re separate? COMICS ARE SO COMPLICATED!
The robot head with the voice of Miley Cyrus is…Mainframe
Comic debut: Amazing Adventures Volume 2 issue 38 (1976)
Yeah didn’t work that out. In the comics Mainframe is the future version of the Vision so male (technically speaking I guess ‘identifies as male’ would be the better term, but his A.I. is based on the brain patterns of a heterosexual male – Wonder Man again, he gets everywhere – and we know Vision has the correct equipment to be considered biologically male, well according to the Scarlet Witch anyway *wink wink nudge nudge*). While ‘A.I. in a robot head’ does basically describe him at times the film version is pretty different to how I remember it looking (which as you can see was sort of like the top of the Venus Space Probe from Six Million Dollar Man, but with faces on it), but that’s who she’s supposed to be. Mainframe guarded Captain America’s shield in the future btw (Vance Astro used it for most of the 90’s). The sex thing of course really doesn’t matter as this isn’t the future version of the Vision but a contemporary to him in the present day and the film’s design is very nice, much better designed than and far more unique looking than (but still evocative of) the comic version.
Ving Rhames is…Charlie-27
Comic debut: Marvel Super-Heroes 18 (1969)
Ha! Oh he is absolutely the natural shape to match Charlie-27, wide as three people with no neck, ha! Perfect. The comic book version of Charlie-27 is a huge Caucasian  soldier who was genetically engineered to deal with Jupiter’s gravity: so he’s got incredible muscle density and is wide and kind of squat despite being huge, so he’s roughly the shape of Ving Rhames but with a square head and more muscles, and much less melanin. He was the gruff rough-and-tumble one (who I think was supposed to have an English accent?) and another Guardians founder who came together with the others to fight the Badoon when they invaded, I’d probably say either he or Yondu was my favourite from the Guardians cast. He typically wears brown, red or mustard (or all three) with lots of studs so while Rhames’ costume isn’t that close to the Masters of the Universe look the comic book version usually sports it’s fine by me, Rhames really needs his mask though (for accuracy, Rhames ain’t ugly - and even if he was (he isn’t) I’d never admit it, he could break me into five pieces without breathing heavy) - and some bigger studs in an X on his coat.
The lizard man is…Krugarr
Comic debut: Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 1 (1991)
Now we’re really getting obscure, in fact I’d forgotten this bloke even existed (I feel bad). He’s the Sorcerer Supreme in the Guardian’s time and from the planet Lem, he was trained by Doctor Strange himself (who had become the current Ancient One by this time, it’s so nice to be able to reference characters like the Ancient One nowadays and know that a lot of people will know who I mean) and fought Korvac and Dormammu so he was pretty hardcore and although it seemed like he didn’t appear that often he racked up 14 appearances, not bad for a secondary hero in a universe that was only being chronicled in one book and it’s annuals (and only two or three less than Mainframe according to IMDB, though mainframe was more prominent at the start of the series when it was hot and Krugarr near the end when sales were lower, often characters who become important later on are less well remembered even if they are cooler). As a lovely nod to his role in-comic we have him using the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ‘spell circles’ to give the thumbs up to Stallone in the stinger, so while he’s not going to be Sorcerer Supreme any time soon, he still uses the same type of magic, fucking brilliant really.

So there you are, I wrote this mostly because I was sat here refreshing my own memory and by that I mean figuring out who was who because I’d completely forgotten because I haven’t read the 1990s Guardians series (which is key to identifying anyone other than Vance Astro, Marty, Charlie, Starhawk and Yondu) in years. Honestly I’d’ve switched out Aleta with Nikki because, what with having her head on fire and elf ears, she’s the more instantly recognisable female Guardian and thrown in Talon too but that’s just cos I have this weird fondness for Talon left over from my childhood (he was Space Cat Wolverine and I was like 9, of course I liked him). Oh and just to continue showing up the gaps in my knowledge, I thought Hollywood was Warpath from the X-Men up until today, that’s roughly 20 years of getting that wrong.     

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