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Super Reads 143

These guys aren't douches like the Guardians of the Universe.

Here we go again!

Today, we check out Avengers #13, Invincible Iron Man #504, Herc #3 and Blast to the Past for Marvel Super-Heroes #18.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!


Super Reads 143

It's about time Marvel's super-scribe, Brian Michael Bendis, got his say on this year's mega-event!

Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Heroic Age and beyond?  Check no further than this link right HERE.

Let's get oral!

Avengers #13Avengers #13
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Chris Bachalo

In this issue:

• The Oral History of the Avengers goes from back-up to main story.

• Red Hulk eats eggs in the most disgusting way possible.  So does the Protector.

• The Avengers go over the pros and cons of rebuilding Asgard.

• We switch to the party in Asgard from Fear Itself.

• Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel talk about their dating prospects, including Thor and Hawkeye.

• Clint walks up and talks to Jessica.

• Press Conference!

• The Avengers talk about how nothing will ever be the same again.  Again.

For the first 12 issues of Avengers and New Avengers, the comics featured a back-up feature called the Oral History of the Avengers.  It details in text the fledgling years of the Avengers and how individual Avengers remember these adventures.  They haven't been the most popular back-ups ever dropped into a comic but they had their charm.  The question about whether they took place in continuity or not seems to be answered right here.

They are.

The opening pages feature several Avengers from different eras talking about starting up the Oral History and then mentioning some of the bigger Avengers events from throughout their history.  The Kree-Skrull War.  The Avengers-Defenders War.  The Korvac Saga.  Civil War.  Secret Invasion.  Pym even offers to talk about Ultron.  With a smile on his face.  Someone is suddenly o.k. with having unleashed such a devastating force on the world...

Now, I'm not going to lie to you.  I love this stuff.  No, really.  Part of me acknowledges that when a major event takes place, it takes some of the major Avengers off the title, and into their own tie-in books as well as the main event.  Avengers kind of suffers its way through the event.  Sometimes they do this in creative ways; like individual slices out of individual Avenger's lives as they did in Civil War.  Sometimes, the title just becomes redundant, filling in gaps in the story that no one cares about or are already covered in other books (like during Secret Invasion).  Doing the Oral History means you can put in your main cast as they tell their own version of events AFTER the fact.  It fills up pages and you get snippets of each Avenger's personality as seen through the warped prism of Wanda... I mean Brian Michael Bendis. :p

It also gives me the opportunity to do jokes like this:

I have never read a more intense reading of the Brady Bunch before.

Throughout the issue, we'll get the Avengers talking about what happened in the opening stages of Fear Itself.  It's done in the most vague terms at first, as we get a double page splash page of Blitzkrieg U.S.A.

Then we cut to Jarvis, the ever faithful butler of the Avengers who only betrayed the team that one time for money (yes, for his ailing mother).  Anyway, he's not talking about his one slip up.  Jarvis is talking about how awesome it is serving the various Avengers team members, including the brand new guys.

And so, we get a scene from before Fear Itself began where Jarvis is serving the Red Hulk a tasty meal of raw eggs.  General Ross (that's Rulk) eats them in the most disgusting way possible as yoke dribbles down his chin.  It's gross.  If people actually crunched down on raw eggs like this, I would hope they'd try to keep all the various bits inside.  Or, y'know, crack the eggs open and eat them in a cup like you're supposed to.  Like Rocky.

Anyway, it's nasty.  Spider-Man heaves in his mask which isn't any less nasty.

The Protector brings his girlfriend over and freaks her out by introducing her to the giant Red Hulk.  Ross offers him an egg and he eats it in the same hideous manner.  Spidey chucks in his mask again.

Obviously, that has nothing to do with anything.  Like, at all.  I got nothing, people.  It looks like they just wanted to write some gross pages for you and me.

What it might be is the moment right before Tony Stark brought everyone up to the roof of Avengers Tower to tell them about his plans to rebuild Asgard.  Back at the Oral History, we learn that the Avengers realize that something is going down in the world.  They have had a hell of a lot of big, dragout, slobberknocker battles and they have taken a toll on not only the Avengers but the world.  Hell, in New Avengers and Avengers, New York faced down a light dimension invasion and a screwy time-war in the recent past.  Things are getting scary out there and you know that it's going to get worse.  I mean, we've read Fear Itself.

So Tony has realized that Asgard is still in ruins since it fell apart during the Siege.  He decides that he's in a position to do something about it and maybe make a profit for his fledgling company.  By including the Avengers, he can tell the world that the Avengers are cleaning up after themselves and maybe inspire everyone else to help out in their own neighborhoods.

Now, there are some Avengers who think this is a bad idea and that maybe they should help out some people a little closer to home and let the Asgardians take care of themselves.  That would be Luke Cage, who doesn't have much of a relationship with Thor and maybe has forgotten all the things the god of thunder has done for the world.

After talking about how the rebuilding of Asgard will help change the world and how great press conferences are, we catch up with the Avengers at the party in Asgard.  Like any Bendis comic, its continuity is messed up.  The party happened after the press conference in Fear Itself #1.  Here, it happens before.  While this could be the meeting BEFORE the press conference that would then lead to the party, events that happen during the party in Fear Itself #1 are referenced, blowing that no-prize out the window.

OK, there's a lot of things that happen in the background; like Volstagg flirting with Ms. Marvel, Fandral and checking out Hawkeye's bow, and Luke Cage drinking his weight in mead, but what's a actually important right here is Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel talking about their lack of a relationship.  Yeah, that's what's important!

You see, we're dealing with two hot chicks that fight crime in their underwear.  If they can't get dates, the world is doomed.  In fact, Ms. Marvel claims to not have dated anyone lately and we wonder how long ago her date with Peter Parker was.  That was a good time.  Even though she was totally not interested in the Voluminous one, another Asgardian might be worth pursuing...

Or an AWESOME date depending on how seriously you took it.

While Carol is checking out Thor, Jessica shares a look with Clint Barton.  Uh oh.

Ms. Marvel sees that glance and questions her best friend about it.  We cut back to the Oral History.  Hawkeye and Mockingbird both claim that they aren't married to each other anymore (which they aren't-- Bobbi was declared dead, and even though it was Skrull, they are not LEGALLY married).  Mock even tells us that Clint can see whoever he wants... though she's not completely comfortable letting him go.  Spider-Woman refusing to say a word.

Ms. Marvel fills in the gaps.  Going out with Clint Barton is a terrible idea because it's dating someone she works with and when it goes south (and it WILL), they'll be stuck working together because Hawkeye is a lifer and Spider-Woman needs the Avengers.

Back at the Asgard party, Jessica shoos Carol away just as Hawkeye walks up.  He compliments her hair and then gets hit by her pheremones.  They make people like her.  Clint realizes that he just got a love whammy and tells Jessica that she doesn't need to use pheremones to get others to like her.

They share another glance and then it's off to the press conference that actually happened BEFORE the party.  Like I said, continuity is a bastard.

Again, the Press Conference is led by Tony Stark.  It's about the same as before except the other Avengers tell us that Thor was really happy about this.  They liken it to him holding up the world all the time and now his friends have finally come in to lend him a hand.  Thor needed this.

The Oral History gets uncomfortable at what comes next.  Obviously, we know that Asgard on earth isn't going to be rebuilt.  The gods leave and the world falls apart.  As Wolverine says, this was a "waste of time."

Or, as Spider-Man says, "the Avengers were never going to be the same again."

So, yeah, it's another mega-event.


Invincible Iron Man #504Invincible Iron Man #504
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca

In this issue:

• Hammers strike various places around the globe.  One of them lands in Paris, catching the attention of the Grey Gargoyle.

• Before leaving for Paris, Tony tells Pepper Potts to hire Bethany Cabe as chief of security for Resilient.  Because they REALLY need her.  Pepper objects because of Tony's prior relationship with Cabe.

• Iron Man lands in Paris to find the city devoid of life.  When he finally finds someone, that person is quickly turned to stone by a hammer powered Grey Gargoyle.

• Shellhead is unaffected by the stone vision, which is only a little bit of a plus since he is helpless to defeat the super-charged Duval and can only watch as the former Gargoyle shatters stoned people.

• Pepper hires Bethany as the new Resilient Security Chief is investigating the remains of Flight 19 in the Bermuda Triangle.

• Iron Man loses a battle to the more powerful Grey Gargoyle.

• He wakes up buried in the rubble remains of Paris's stone citizens.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

Hammers have landed all around the world.  In the opening sequences, we see hammers dropping in Brazil (to be picked up by the Hulk), the Raft (Juggernaut), the Kunlun Mountain Range (I believe this one is for the Absorbing Man), and, most important for our purposes, Paris, France.

Remember Paul Pierre Duval hanging out on one of the flying buttresses of a gothic cathedrals in Fear Itself #2?  You might know Duval better as the Grey Gargoyle.  He sees the hammer land and is... entranced.  The Gargoyle drops off the church buttress and makes his way to the crash site.

Also in Fear Itself #2, Steve Rogers sent the Avengers out to hit the hot spots where these unidentified falling objects were crashing.  There are seven drop sites and a limited number of Avengers to go around, especially considering that Spider-Man's hot spot is keeping peace in New York City (Fear Itself: Spider-Man) and I bet other Avengers are otherwise occupied.  For this reason, Iron Man is flying out alone to check on Paris.

Before he flies off, Tony Stark is relaying some business decisions to his CEO, Pepper Potts.  Resilient has had some major security breaches in its short life.  Hell, it has a worse record than Stark's first company, Stark Industries.  They got broken into every issue.  Tony has decided that maybe it's time to hire someone as chief of security.

Stark has a couple people he could choose for the position from his past companies, but there's only one person we all would like to join the cast: Bethany Cabe.  If you know your Iron Man history, Bethany is one of Tony's many, exes but she's damn good at what she does.  Now, while I am against Tony revisiting past flames (including Pepper), I love it when Bethany shows up.  Heck, I wouldn't even be that upset if she and Stark hooked up again.  They've had an on again/off again relationship that is actually enjoyable to watch.  Unlike, you know, whatever he's doing with Pepper Potts.  Besides annoying Super.

Of course, Pepper doesn't like Tony hiring a hot redhead to work security because she thinks he's just trotting Bethany around to show how not in love with her he is.  Or something.  Now, there might be some truth to this but there's also the fact that Cabe is a good choice for security.  Tony makes it an order.

Interspersed into this drama is a gift from Hammer Industries for "successfully" starting work on a Repulsor Powered Asgard.  They've sent over a congratulatory bottle of alchohol.  Remember folks, Tony's an alcoholic.  Public record.  Justine Hammer knows what she's doing.  It's not like Tony's going to drink it.  At least, not this issue.  He's got a mission in Paris.

Up, Up, and Away.

Time passes between panels and we catch back up with Iron Man as he touches down in Paris.  The problem is that no one seems to be running around in the city of lights.  A quick look around reveals... statues.  Tons of horrified statues.  These are the citizens of Paris, turned to stone.  Three guesses on who's responsible.

After reporting this information back to "the Avengers," Tony finally finds someone breathing in the streets of Paris.  Well, at least down a back alley.  This Parisian is freaking out and wants Iron Man to get off the streets.  No matter what Shellhead says, the man won't believe that the hero can help out at all.

Seconds later, Tony finds out why.  The Grey Gargoyle shows up with a brand new, shiny hammer and a brand new name: Mokk, Breaker of Faith (Though that isn't actually revealed in the comic-- thank you, wikipedia!).  Tony's new friend is eyebeamed into stone and then smashed with a hammer.

Pepper Potts has flown to the Bermuda Triangle to offer a job to Bethany Cabe.  Cabe is down here discovering the resting place for Flight 19 which went missing in the area back in 1945.  She's all about working for Resilient even though there's no real money involved.  It sounds like a party.

Back in Paris, Iron Man is losing a fight with Mokk.  Everytime he's tossed around the city, Shellhead smashes into more stone bodies.  It's terrible and it just won't stop.  The only benefit to this is that Stark is immune to the super-charged Grey Gargoyle's stone vision.  This is the definition of "consolation prize."  Tony still can't stop breaking people as he's ragdolled around the streets.

It's inevitable that Mokk knocks the hero unconscious.

You don't need a head, do you? They're overrated, right?

Tony wakes up buried under something.  He breaks his way to the surface and finds out that he was buried underneath far more stone bodies than you can count.  They're all crushed and stacked into a mountain right next to the gothic cathedral.

If there were ever a reason to vomit into your mask, this would probably be it.


Herc #3Herc #3
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Breakdowns/ Finishes: Neil Edwards/ Scott Hanna

In this issue:

• Basilisk, Griffin, and Man-Bull escape from the Raft with an unidentified female prisoner in tow.

• Herc has nightmares about his worshippers before waking up in Brooklyn.  Rhea gets him up and running and he is forced to talk to the people about their problems.

• He also gets a brand new costume which might be an improvement on his traditional look.  MIGHT.

• The Raft escapees rob a bank downtown and Hercules is there to face them down using his special, mystical weapons.

• Griffin tries to getaway with a fist full of dollars only to get shot out of the sky by Kyknos and the Warhawks.

• The Lion of Olympus has to switch tactics to make sure these criminals aren't killed by the son of Ares.

• The criminals and Hercules hole up in the bank as the crowd turns on Herc.

• That unidentified female prisoner?  She turns out to be Hecate.  Goddess of terror, witchcraft, and mother of hounds.  She has three faces and a lot of attitude.

It's been a while since Super Reads has caught up with Hercules.  I decided against walking through Chaos War for financial and time issues so the last I wrote on Herc was when he returned in the closing pages of Heroic Age: Prince of Power.  Let me catch you up on Herc's particulars before we get this thing going.
At the close of Chaos War, Hercules lost all of his godly powers.  He's just another super-strong mortal living in Brooklyn.  Of course, he needs a job, so he's bartending at the Athena Restaurant, owned by a Greek immigrant named George Michael.  Somewhere in all of this, Kyknos, the son of Ares that died in Dark Avengers: Ares #3, has been returned to life to lead a group called the Warhawks.  They worship Ares and do things on the Punisher side of things.  One of their former members, Rhea, has thrown her support behind Hercules, believing he is the best hope for saving Brooklyn.  Or something.

Anyway, you know how most new series could benefit from the boost in sales you typically get when involved in the mostly annual Marvel mega-event?  That's what's going on here.  After two issues of setting up Herc's new status quo, the Lion of Olympus is dropped into the loving arms of Fear Itself.  What part of Fear Itself will we see reflected in these pages?  Why, the Raft breakout!  In Fear Itself #2, Juggernaut blew this super-prison wide open and the criminals held within spill out into the city.  The ones we'll be following are Basilisk, Man-Bull, and Griffin.

No, their connection to ancient Greek myth hasn't escaped my attention.  Basilisk is a mythological reptile that could paralyze its victims, but he also conjures up images of the gorgons with a similar power.  Man-Bull is pretty much a minotaur.  Griffin is a griffin.  Am I going too fast, here?

These three prisoners escape the Raft and race off towards the beach.  We already know that the waters around the Raft are swarming with paralyzing jellyfish so swimming is a terrible idea (though that's what the Purple Man did in Fear Itself: The Home Front #2).  Fortunately, they find a female prisoner who's already put a life raft into the water.  Basilisk and Man-Bull invite themselves along and the woman has no objections.

Griffin does his good deed for the day by pulling the raft swiftly across the waters.  Basilisk thinks it'd be a good idea to leave the state, possibly the country, for a while. To do that, they'll need money.  This calls for a trip to Brooklyn.

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn is the current home of ex-Avenger and adventurer, Hercules.  We've explain his current predicament above so I'll just add to that that the Lion of Olympus is living above the restaurant he works at and isn't sleeping well.  His lady friend, Rhea, wakes him up and asks him what the deal is with his dreams.  They're nightmares giving him visions from his worshippers.  The worshippers warn Herc that Kyknos will strike at him through his greatest FEAR.  Since this is Fear Itself, that's tremendously important.

Rhea drags Herc out onto the streets where he does another part of his job: listening to the concerns of the people of Brooklyn.  They have issues that range from serious (meth labs and Mr. Negative's advances into the area) to the ridiculous (barking dogs and fear mongers).  The son of Zeus listens to them all with flagging interest.

Next, some local residents gift Hercules with a new look.

Really... why is there no Legend of Zelda comic?  It would be like printing money.

I hear green is in this time of year.

So that's the new Hercules costume people!  The hero thinks it'll work but has questions about the pouches.  He doesn't see their point.  Before the designers can answer his question, Rhea gets news of a bank robbery.  Herc to the rescue!

The robbery is the work of those four prison escapees.  Man-Bull keeps the police busy outside.  Basilisk freezes everyone inside the bank.  Griffin attempts to shred his way into the vault, unsuccessfully.  And the unidentified female convict?  She went into the bank manager's head and got the combination for the vault.  The bank manager didn't survive the experience.

Whent he bank vault is opened, who should greet them from the inside but Hercules!  Now that our Greek demi-god is powerless and mortal, he's relying on a lot of ancient artifacts.  He wore the Helm of Hades (which made him invisible) to slip inside the vault as it was being opened.  With the Sword of Peleus, he runs Griffin through but can actually control what is being cut and what is just being passed through so this doesn't kill the villain.  Herc raises the Shield of Perseus to block Basilisk's paralyzing stare and to send a stone blast right back at the criminal (the Shield has the face of Medusa embedded in it).

When Man-Bull joins the fight, the son of Zeus skips all the fancy gear and uses some old fashioned bull-leaping.  In doing this, he temporarily loses his shield.  It drops near the still unknown lady convict who stares at it without turning to stone.  When Griffin tells her that looking into the eyes of Medusa should have more of an effect, the woman tells him that the Shield is restoring her identity.

When Hercules withdraws the Sword of Peleus from Griffin's chest to deal with Man-Bull, the criminal decides he's had enough of this.  He opens up a safety deposit box, grabs whatever's inside and flies off.  It's not a lot of loot but at this point it's escape that's priority.

Griffin doesn't make it very far before he's shot out of the sky.  The Warhawks and their leader, Kyknos, have arrived.  Last we saw Kyknos was in the pages of Dark Avengers: Ares.  Kyknos is the son of Ares but they didn't get along very well.  In fact, Ares killed his son before the final issue was over.  You may be wondering why Kyk is in the land of the living once again.  Don't expect that answer just yet.

The Warhawks are a lot more Punisher than Captain America which means that the fallen Griffin is about three seconds away from getting killed by a runaway vigilante.  Hercules isn't about to see that happen and he steps in to defend the criminal.  Suddenly, the battlelines have changed.  Herc is protecting the criminals from a premature death sentence.  The citizens of Brooklyn don't really know what to make of this.  They just see that their hero is working with the bad guys.

Hercules and the Raft escapees make their way back to inside the bank, Herc knocking out Helene on the way.  Inside the bank, they find that the female convict is glowing, babbling, and might be growing horns.  Throughout the area, dogs start attacking their owners.

Herc and his new temporary partners attempt a run for it but they're blocked not only by the Warhawks but also by by the confused people of Brooklyn.  Part of this is the effect of the FEAR spreading throughout the world.  Another part of it is seeing Herc ally himself with criminals.  Either way, the support of the people is no longer his.  The female convict rises, laughing at Hercules.  His worst fears are coming true.

When the glowing transformation is over with, the woman is revealed as three headed Hecate, goddess of terror, witchcraft, and mother of hounds.  That's not a good combination.


Marvel Super-Heroes #18Marvel Super-Heroes #18
Writer: Arnold Drake
Penciler: Gene Colon

In this story:

• Yellow is the color of Jupiter.

• Badoon are not Skrulls though they may look like them.

• Tele-Port Depot will take you anywhere you do not want to be.

• Jovians cannot survive on the planet Pluto without an atmospheric suit. The Badoon only needs to wear short-shorts.

• Pluvian do not need pockets.

• An unnecessary Vance Astro back-story.

• Whistle while you fight.

• A Comic Book Misunderstanding.

• A Comic Book Team-Up.

• Whistle while you fight.

• A rousing victory cheer.

January 1969!  Avengers #60, Captain America #109, Fantastic Four #82, Daredevil #48, X-Men #52 and Amazing Spider-Man #68 were out on the stands.  Making their debut was this team of futuristic heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy!  Marvel Super-Heroes was the place for premiere first appearance, nestled in as an opening segment among multiple Golden Age tales.  The Guardians, however, broke away from the modern Marvel era altogether and flung themselves over one thousand years into the future where mankind faced extinction at the hands of the reptilian Badoon.

But enough build up from me.  Here's bkthomson with all the details:

Opening Line: It is the year 3007! A single flag flies over U.L.E.—The United Lands of Earth—and over the Dozens of Planets, wars among nations long ago ceased—but the era of the Star Systems has only begun.

Now let's be clear, when I am talking about the Guardians of the Galaxy I am talking about the original Guardians, the ones that appeared in 1969, not the team that started 2008. Yes, most of you reading this were not even born at the time of the Guardians first publication but that is ok.  It was the tail end of a magical era called the 60's.  To learn more about it, go rent the TV mini-series The 60's or attend a Keith Richards Tupperware party.

Planet Jupiter:

Welcome to the first appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy. We see the first member of the soon-to-be-formed team: Charlie-27. I guess in the year 3007 people must have started to move away from using the common notation of roman numerals to the prefix of a name and instead just slapped a number to the end. Though really, I cannot blame them. Charlie-XXVII does not have the same oomph that Charlie-27 has, plus I can see all the fan boys later on wondering if Charlie was a member of the Weapon X program or a future generation of the George Forman family. Charlie-27 is a stocky man born on the planet Jupiter where he adapted to withstand a planets with eleven times the mass and three times the gravity of Earth. We see Charlie-27 rocketing to a planet that looks like a cut away of a Tootsie Roll Pop but we are to assume it is Jupiter! We are told that Charlie-27 has been on Space-Militia Duty and is joyously returning home.

Charlie-27's rocket is a traditional, futuristic designed phallic symbol with fins, a lot of fins. And yellow. Oh yes, I believe that color is Jupiter's planet color. Charlie-27's phallic rocket is yellow, his space suit is yellow, and oh, look it seems like the roads are also yellow. Though. to avoid any law suits, it's more of a yellow slat road than brick. Also it does not seem that Jupiter has any parking restrictions because Charlie-27 lands his ship in the middle of a grass field- my only explanation of this on Jupiter is that it is the future and a comic book. Moving on... Exiting phallic rocket, Charlie-27 is quite distressed that no one is here to welcome him back from his months long Space-Militia duty. Keep in mind that Charlie-27 does point out that it has been two months since he "lost radio contact" with Jupiter. Still, "There's always a party when a Mil-Man returns from Space Solitary! But this place is deader than a Saturn Moon" Two things about Charlie-27 that you really should know. First: I did not have a party when I came back to the States from Israel when I had my Bar Mitzvah. I got over it and you should too. Second: Saturn Moon jokes are never funny. Ever. Still, with great advice must come more pleading for "rousing cheers for the conquering hero".

Wait a minute. He was in Space Solitary. What was he conquering? Sleep? Belly button lint? Donkey Kong?

So while Charlie-27 is standing by his phallic rocket shouting for someone, anyone, to cheer for his return, deep in the shadows of the Jovian (a person on Jupiter I guess) lurks two scaly green humanoids who look like Skrulls, well except for the quadruple chin bumps, but they are not. Also, it does not look like they are very skilled in clothing as that their only article of clothing is some purple short-shorts. Yes, who ever is lurking in the shadows watching Charlie-27 could be viewed as the weak young brother of the Incredible Hulk but with scales and pointy ears. These are not Skrulls, nor are they Vulcans, in case the pointy ears were throwing you off. "We are about to capture the last free Jovian" one states to the other and they come out of hiding with ray-guns poised at the ready and shout to Charlie-27 to halt! Charlie-27 is surprised to see the Badoon have already arrived on Jupiter. Could the Badoon be the cause of Charlie-27's lack of a 'rousing cheer to welcome him home from space-solitary party?' Brawn not brains are born on Jupiter is seems. With amazing Jovian reflexes, Charlie-27 draws his own ray-gun and shoots one Badoon goon before either can react. To follow-up with that feat, Charlie-27 decides to use his head and rams (think Ram-man from Masters of the Universe) the last Badoon goon into a "Keep Jupiter Clean Incendi-Drop" trash disposal.

With the two Badoon 'disposed' of Charlie-27 for once is no longer thinking of his 'rousing cheer to welcome him home from space-solitary party' that no one threw for him but is now wondering how long the Badoon have been on Jupiter (try at least 2 to six months) and what has happened to the general populace. To Command HQ on the double to see what has befallen his excessive mass and gravity planet! Arriving at Command HQ, he discovers that it is deserted.

Next stop is his folks so he can try to get them safely off the planet. Doing his own lurking in the shadows of buildings, Charlie-27 sees a rocket car... not quite as phallic... zipping by but it was long enough for him to see that inside were Badoon and his father! Determined to rescue his father Charlie-27 follows the rocket car to a prison camp where he finds that the prisoners are mining "high-intensity Harkovite" and without protection they will die from the radioactivity within five days. Now, Charlie-27 must rescue his father no matter what the cost.

While Charlie-27 thinks of a plan for rescuing his father, a Badoon goon sneaks up on him, ordering for his surrender. "I'm too late! We're all too late! Jupiter is lost!" Charlie-27 thinks and personally, I believe he is overstating his usefulness to the planet and his ability to save it but then again this is the same Jovian who was disappointed not to receive a 'rousing cheer welcome home from space-solitary party.' As shown before, Charlie-27 uses his quick speed and punches the Badoon goon into unconsciousness but wait! There at more goons now, shooting at him as he flees the prison camp.

Charlie-27 tells himself that he has to get off planet and join the rest of the U.L.E.'s forces so he can liberate Jupiter. Running to the Jupiter Tele-Port Depot Charlie-27 avoids the Badoon goons if at all possible. Once inside the Depot, Charlie-27 dives into the Living Matter Transmitter and is transmitted through space as radio energy. For two hours, Charlie-27 remains in this state covering, millions, billions of miles of space (If everything is digital now, I doubt the in-flight show would be a I Love Lucy re-runs. What? Oh put the comic down and go learn about radio ways kids!).

Planet Pluto:

Less than thrilled with his destination, the planet Pluto, more likely because he was also expecting a 'rousing cheer welcome to Pluto you escaped Jupiter that had been taken over by Badoon party'. Still the Tele-Port Depot on Pluto also seems deserted. Have the Badoon also taken over the planet? Gathering food and an atmospheric suit, Charlie-27 leaves the Depot and ventures out into the frigid environment of the planet.

The cold environment must not be a problem for the Badoon as they do not need an atmospheric suit like Charlie-27 and are scouring the Pluvian city in their purple short-shorts... they must have the legs for the outfit. Are they looking for Charlie-27 or someone else? Badoon are not searching the city alone for they have in tow their winged-bat-looking-hounds (which I will call Ace and Snuffy) whom have picked up a non-Badoon scent-- not just one sent, but two! Unfortunately, the first scent they find is Charlie-27 and so, it is off to the races!

On a roof top, Charlie-27 attempts an escape but no one escapes Ace and Snuffy the winged-bat-looking- hounds! They take to the air in chase. Realizing his pursuers are Saturnian Hound-Hawks (well I had the hound part right), Charlie-27 does not know how to fight these deadly beasts. Rescue comes in the form of a mysterious hand opening a doorway for Charlie-27 which he gratefully takes for the opportunity to make his escape from Ace and Snuffy.

Not one to be ungrateful, Charlie-27 launches into a series of complaints about who his savior is, what is this place, turn on some lights, I cannot see, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to! His rescuer is not put off but rather jokingly indicates that Charlie-27 can leave any time he wants and go back to playing with Ace and Snuffy. It is then that Charlie-27 realizes who his rescuer is: a crystal man—a Pluvian, and it is not Crystar, that comic won't appear for another fourteen years. Taking offense to being called a crystal man, the crystal man replies "you mean a 'rock head' don't you? Isn't that what you people always call us! Despite the fact that we, like you, are descended from Earthmen!"
Oh Charlie-27, are you making racial slurs? Wait a minute, racial tension between planets? Could there be some deep parallel meaning speaking out of the era of the 60's? Hmm . . . . Marvel would not hit its readers over the head that hard to make a social message, would they?
Ah, Charlie-27 is not interested in race wars but wants to know what happened to Pluto? Whew, dodged that bullet. As the crystal man explains that Pluto was totally evacuated two months ago (see a pattern here) and he has been left behind because he drew the short straw to blow up some industrial complexes and was just about to escape when Charlie and the Hounds showed up and ruined those plans.

Sad that he has ruined crystal man's escape, Charlie-27 offers up to surrender to the Badoon so something could be salvaged. (Badoon are not going to throw you a 'rousing cheer Thank You for Surrendering party,' Charlie-27, just keep that in mind). Brushing off Charlie-27's unusually good natured gesture, he pulls out a radio transmitter (which looks like a communicator from Star Trek) from his head. FROM. HIS. HEAD! Well I guess if you are made of crystal, you do not need a wallet or pockets? This radio transmitter, the crystal man explains, will "activate many robot servants in a nearby store... sending them smashing through the streets."

And that is what they do. Smashing through the Rent a Servant established 1405 front window, the human looking Robo-Butler, Robo-Nurse and Robo-Playboy-Bunny wreak havoc with the Badoon goons as the crystal man and Charlie-27 make the escape back to the Tele-Port Depot. Inside the Depot, Charlie-27 makes another rushing dive into the Tele-Tram with the crystal man not far behind. Before it takes off, though, there is enough time to exchange names. Charlie-27 of Jupiter meet Martinex of Pluto. Inside the Tel-Tram, their bodies are converted into radio energy. "Next stop Mother-Planet Earth! And let's hope that it is still free!" Charlie-27 states before his radio energy is shot into space.

Planet Earth:

Hate to say it Charlie-27, but Mother-Planet Earth, yeah, not so much free and you are not going to get a 'rousing cheer Welcome to Earth party' You did not get one on Jupiter or Pluto so it's a hundred percent guarantee it's not going to happen on Earth.

While Charlie-27 and Martinex's radio energy is shunting towards disappointment, other bad things are happening in the Badoon Throne Room on Earth. Two unknown captives are held before the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire. Put that on a business card and see how much you're charged. One of the captives is dressed in a full purple body suit with black pinstripes along the legs and chest while the other is in the latest Badoon fashion of red short-shorts over his bare blue skin (though he is sporting a cool red mohawk). In the future, it is a have-or-have-not clothing universe.

In a mocking tone, Drang, the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire says "Ahhhh! So this is the esteemed Major Vance Astro, first Earthman to the stars! The saga of your great adventure has reached unto our world!"

Yes, this is supposed to be the future version of New Warriors, Avengers, Avengers Academy cradle rocker Vance Astro. Though not sure about those adventures Drang is talking about since this is his first appearance! It seems in the future that Vance is a lot more assertive as he fires back to Drang that if these 'Royal Murderers' Badoon goons would release him, he could provide a good smack down to the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire.

But Drang, the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire, does not care for fights. He cares for stories and since General Hospital re-runs have been discontinued after the Badoon invasion of Earth, he would rather watch the Previous Adventures of Vance Astro, the 1000 year old man! A great electronic helmet is lowered on Vance Astro's head. Threatening him one last time to tell of his story, Drang starts the memory probe. On a screen before everyone, Vance's previous life is reveled.

The Moon of Earth 1988:

A lone phallic rocket stands on a pad waiting for takeoff. Vance Astro's name is called through a loud speaker to report to the Bio Prep Room. The scene changes and there is the blue eyed, blond haired Vance Astro, (Mr. McSpaceDreamy?) lying in a tub filled with large blocks of ice. As the technician explains "We must now drain your blood and replace it with the pre-servative fluid! When you land 1,000 years from now the machines will automatically pump back your blood and you will awaken." So Vance is going to the stars and where he is going will take 1000 years? Ok, got it. Why? Well, why not and Vance is the man to do it.

Even a phone call from an ex-girlfriend is not enough to convince him otherwise. "Now forget about me!" he says to her "I'd never have worked anyway! I'd always be reaching for the stars! You live, sweetie! Live! Otherwise you'll haunt me—for 1,000 years." But I'll be asleep all that time so it will not be like you're HAUNTING ME haunting me and who knows, maybe I'll check out your great-great -great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter when I get back. Wow, smooth man. He needs a smooth beer; get this man some Colt .45! After the anesthesia is administered, Vance is loaded on the phallic rocket and blasted off into outer space, carrying the man-on-ice to his 1000 year away destination.

Space 1,000 Years Later:

Vance awakens to his alarm clock. Crawling out of the semi-melted ice blocks, his first thoughts are how everyone he knew has been dead more than nine centuries and his purple body suit, which he is now wearing, is the only thing that is keeping himself from aging 1,000 years in a second. As Vance's rocket reaches its planetary target he wonders what he'll find on the planet "A barren world where I'll starve to death?" You signed up for this, Vance. "Some unendurable conditions?" No one put a gun to your head, Vance. "Or bone-crushing beasts—or even a plant life that can tear me to shreds?" My gawd, man, what do you think when you go to the grocery store?

Stepping outside, Vance is greeted to a rousing cheer of 'He's a jolly good fellow' and a welcome party. The people singing and cheering to Vance's astonishment are Earthmen!

They started singing it not knowing what it was...

Was there something wrong with the phallic rocket? Did it take him back to Earth on a 1,000 year long scenic tour of the galaxy that Vance slept through? No! It was Harkovian Physics! What? It's a comic book; you can make up your own physics. As explained to the 1,000 year old Vance Astro. "It was discovered 200 years after you left! But there was no way of interrupting your journey! However, you've been a hero to every child for ten centuries..."

I will say it was pretty RUDE of the people of Earth to not even try to stop Vance's rocket and you know, let him out of his deep sleep while they were passing him by in their Harkovian Physics propelled rockets (which I'm sure were phallic in design as well) on their way to the same planet he was! Also, in the remaining 800 years you could not have found a way to rescue Vance? Ungrateful bastards! Still, think of the children. You're the idol of children, Vance! It was not enough. In a Joker level howling laughter Vance realize that this was all for nothing. Nothing!

Earth One Year (plus or minus a day) Later:

Back in the Throne Room of Drang, the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire, the mind probe lifts off Vance Astro's head. The man from the past is not shaken by this violation of his memories but wants to know why Drang has brought him here. Drang admits that he has not made Vance into one of the Badoon slaves out of respect for a man who has lived forty generations and he would like Vance to work for the Badoon, freely. Vance does not see a problem with not being a slave like the population of Earth. Drang, pleased with Vance Astro's decision, tells him that Vance will be well paid for betraying his people.

Now hold it! Vance is not going to have any of that. People from other planets like the blue skinned guy next to him in the red short-shorts named Yondu (thought I forgot about him did you?), Drang can do all he wants with him. Vance just keeps him around for laughs but when it comes to the humans of Earth he is not having any part of that. No racial message here.

Drang, the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire, is quite amused by Vance's response. He hands Vance a gun and asks Astro to kill Yondu. Without batting an eye Vance (though you really cannot see his eyes thanks to the purple body suit that covers his head) asks for the native weapon of Yondu's planet and that is a bow and arrow. Taking Yondu's weapon Vance aims the arrow at the blue man with the red short-shorts and the cool red Mohawk. Astro passes along a trite saying from 1988 to which Yondu yells about a friendship betrayed. You see where this is going? If not, read up at (http://tvtropes.org/).

But at the second the arrow is fired, Yondu emits a weird whistle and instantly the arrow changes course. "Arrow—made of sound-sensitive mineral from his world! He commands it with his whistle!" shouts a Badoon goon (Thank You Mr. Obvious.) as the arrow flies in his direction. Instead of impaling the Badoon goon, the arrow tip fires a ray of energy that kills him.

In the moment of distraction Vance leaps out the window, followed by Yondu. Astro gives the blue skinned man explicit instructions to not stop whistling and keep the arrow flying while he uses his Psyke-Pusher powers to keep them in the air. Psyke-Pusher powers? That would be 60's speak for telekinesis and this would be the first time it is ever mentioned that Vance has any special powers at all. It might have been handier to use that power to break out of Drang's, the Supreme Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Badoon Empire, Throne Room than subjecting us to three pages of Vance Astro back-story. Flying through the air, escaping with ease, the daring duo find a Tele-Port Depot (yeah it does not rhyme, I know.) Which they feel will allow them to escape from Earth and the Badoon.
Meanwhile, at that same moment inside the Tele-Port Depot, Charlie-27 and Martinex arrive on Earth from their very long and tedious voyage from Pluto. You can only hear the phrase, this one time at crystal camp and not want to cut your ears off... good thing they were both made of radio wave so, you know, they had no appendages but if they did... Off with the ears. Their bodies back to their original forms, the two are greeted to a rousing cheer of "HALT!" from armed Badoon goons! Only two and its already been proven that Charlie-27 can take down two Badoon goons on Jupiter and on Pluto. Now with Martinex at hand, this will be a piece of Romulan Ale Cake. In one panel the two subdue the Badoon goons and steal their ray-guns.

On their way out of the Tele-Port Depot, Charlie-27 and Martinex run into Vance Astro and Yondu. You see where this is going? Oh, come on go back and read up at (http://tvtropes.org/).

Vance has mistaken Charlie-27 and Martinex as Badoon guards and instructs Yondu to attack. How Vance comes to this conclusion that the people in front of him are Badoon guards, I'm not sure. Seeing how neither one of them look green, scaly or only wear purple short-shorts... also the fact that all the alien population has been enslaved by the Badoon to raise Badoon status, not a part of the Badoon, but Charlie-27 and Martinex do have the Badoon ray-guns. That must have been it. Damn ray-guns.

Misunderstanding Fight Time!

Yondu's arrow narrowly misses Charlie-27, only to have it destroyed by Martinex when he "converts light waves into internal extremes!" With his hands, he can freeze the air around the arrow and destroys it. While Martinex was paying attention to Yondu's arrow (too easy), Vance sneaks up on him and tosses the crystal man into something that does not really look like a wall but more like, well, something you could throw people into. Charlie-27 sees the advantage of throwing people into walls and picks up Vance Astro. With his Jovian muscles, he turns Astro into a living missile and throws him to a wall. Vance once again is not having any of that, reverses the psychic energy from the soles of his shoes, and alters his trajectory to crash into Charlie-27.

Charlie-27 puts Vance Astro into a neck lock and starts to cut circulation to his brain. It must have been the last of blood or oxygen since Vance comes to the stunning conclusion that Charlie-27 and Martinex are not in fact Badoon! Charlie-27 chastises Vance for his ignorance... like the Badoon would wear yellow in the spring when it's obviously purple short-shorts season.

This upcoming friendship is soon given a pause as five Badoon goons arrive at the Tele-Port Depot with orders to kill Vance Astro! Now that the good guys have been identified, it's time to team-up to take down some scaly green purple short-shorts wearing Badoon! Vance Astro punches out a Badoon goon! Martinex uses his right hand and takes down a Badoon with extreme heat! While Charlie-27 takes out the remaining Badoon goons using his Jovian super strength and speed. Yondu, you may ask what was he doing? Well running to one of the Tele-Trans. I guess he thought he was out of arrows even though there was a full quiver strapped to his back.

At a control panel Vance Astro activates the Tele-Tran and the four fugitives jump in and once again let their bodies be transformed into radio energy and shunted off to a place of Vance's choice. They arrive on the planet colony called New New York which I guess is better than calling it the Old Abandoned Old Abandoned New York since the Badoon had virtually razed the planet. Standing on a hill looking down at a burning city, Vance Astro comes to the conclusion that to stop the Badoon they must find the Free Colony. A myth or legend, it is Earth's salivation against the invaders. Recalling a song that they sang in Vance's time and with a slight alteration and a goal in mind, the four men of different races come together and sing. "Earth shall overcome! Earth shall overcome! Earth shall overcome! – Someday"

So in the end Charlie-27 got his 'rousing cheer' even if it he had to sing it himself. Hey, what about your father, Charlie-27? Remember the guy you were supposed to save on Jupiter within five days because he'll die from exposure to High Intensity Harkovite? Your. Father. Dying. You. Save.

"Until all are one! Until all are one! Until all are one!"

That's cold man. That's colder than Martinex left hand.

Thank you very much, bk!

Interesting enough, the Guardians made their debut and were quickly forgotten.  Five years later, the team made their second appearance in Marvel Two-In-One #5, teaming up with the Thing.  Their third appearance showed up a year after that and instead of being a brand new adventure, it was a reprint of their first appearance.  Finally, Steve Gerber decided to do something with the Guardians and they appeared in a story arc of Defenders (Giant-Size Defenders #5 & The Defenders #'s 26-29) before Gerber moved them into Marvel Premiere for their own adventures.  The team appeared on a steady basis for the remainder of the seventies but nearly disappeared for the entirety of the eighties.  In June 1990, the Guardians of the Galaxy returned in their own series with writer/ artist Jim Valentino in charge.  This series continued for 62 issues, wrapping up it's run soon after the comic book speculator boom burst.

The original members of the group made sporadic appearances in the modern Guardians of the Galaxy book.  Vance Astro, Major Victory, returned to the team as a timelost hero from the future, complete with Captain America's shield.  That series ended right before Thanos Imperative and didn't come out the other end of the event intact.

Someday, we'll see the return of the Guardians, possibly in the next Annihilators series.  Maybe another five years from now.  You can't keep a good future team down.

And that, you wonderful internet people, is that.  Much thanks to bkthomson for contributing his take on Marvel Super-heroes #18!  I always love a helping hand!

Until next time:  Excelsior!

Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
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About the Author - SuperginraiX


SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.

 


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