Tour of the Marvel Cosmos 2: THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Tour of the Marvel Cosmos 2: GUARDIANS

Since Marvel dusted off their cosmic characters in 2005 with the Annihilation event, that corner of the universe has become more and more popular with a slew of loyal readers.

One of the teams responsible for much of the loyalty is the Guardians of the Galaxy, a band of adventure-seeking, wise-cracking characters who united to protect the universe.

Beginning in November, the Guardians will join the other cosmic book written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning under the banner "Realm of Kings." And as the cosmic characters head into this latest phase, Newsarama is taking a "Tour of the Marvel Cosmos" with the two writers.

Over the next few weeks leading up to November's "Realm of Kings" stories, we'll be exploring a different cosmic concept with the writers each week. And for readers who are new to the cosmic books, we'll include some basic facts about the characters, teams and royal families who are featured in the comics participating in "Realm of Kings."

Last week, we looked at the "Empires" and their status after all the shake-ups that occurred during this summer's "War of Kings" event.

This week, we take a look at how Guardians of the Galaxy #20-24 will tie into the "Realm of Kings," and the status of the team after losing so many of its members during the recent war.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Who's Who: "Right now, in the wake of the War of Kings, the team is Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Major Victory and Drax, with Moondragon in support," Abnett and Lanning said. "Their fellow team members Martyr, Gamora and Adam Warlock all met unhappy fates at the end of the War of Kings, and Star-Lord, Bug, Mantis, Jack Flag and Cosmo are missing in time to such an extent they may never return to the ‘now’ enough to rejoin the team."

- Rocket Raccoon: Yes, the character that some would say is the best part of the Guardians is a talking raccoon. The character is not only a tactical genius and demolitions expert, but his real appeal is the humor he brings to the comic with what Abnett and Lanning call the "tendency to say whatever he's thinking without self-editing."

- Groot: Another fan-favorite character is Groot, who looks remarkably like a tree and functions a lot like a plant. He tends to sacrifice himself for his teammates, although he always comes back, since he can re-grow from a mere sprig of his former body. His trademark phrase, "I am Groot!," actually means a number of things -- sometimes just a comment on the weather, but sometimes incredibly complex theories. It's just that very few beings can understand him.

- Major Victory: A native of Earth, Vance Astro traveled a long journey to get to the current day Guardians of the Galaxy (including a stint with the old Guardians in the future), but since joining the team, he's used his mutant power to create psionic blasts to help with their missions.  

- Drax: When human Arthur Douglas died, his astral form was turned into Drax for one purpose -- to destroy Thanos. Once his mission was complete, Drax became part of the Guardians team, although his "destructive" side isn't exactly gone. He has huge physical strength and durability, as well as extensive combat experience and weapon skills.

- Moondragon: Originally the human Heather Douglas — Arthur Douglas' daughter — Moondragon was thought to have died during the Annihilation Conquest event. She is now part of the team with Drax, and uses her powers of telepathy and telekinesis to work with the Guardians.

Team Status: "Well, they’ve suffered some serious losses, and they’ve been through the wringer several times, but the crucial thing is... they were proved right!" Abnett and Lanning said. "Though neither Star-Lord nor Adam Warlock are around to see it, the whole rationale on which they founded the Guardians has been vindicated! They warned that the Galaxy was not stable and extreme caution needed to be exercised

to prevent another major crisis from damaging space time,  and that’s exactly what happened during the War of Kings. Maybe now the movers and shakers of the galaxy, especially major players like the Inhuman Royal Family, the Kree Government and the Shi’Ar (all of whom ignored the Guardians’ warnings the first time) will now regard them with greater credibility."

Major Crisis Going Forward: The Fault — the huge tear in space and time caused by the detonation of the Terrigen-bomb at the end of the War of Kings. "It’s such an unknown quantity," Abnett and Lanning explained. "Only time — and the upcoming Realm of Kings one-shot — will reveal what sort of threat it may represent. There is almost no limit to the sorts of menace that might come through that rift. The Guardians will also be pretty busy trying to get galactic civilisation back on its feet after the war."

Where to Find Their Stories: Next week's Guardians of the Galaxy #19 will follow up on the aftershocks of "War of Kings," then November's Issue #20 will begin a five-issue "Realm of Kings" tie-in story.

"Just because the war’s over, it doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped," Abnett and Lanning said. "The Guardians are going to have their hands full mediating the peace between the Shi’Ar and the Inhumans/Kree, as well as policing other forces that are growing in power — like the Negative Zone warriors led by ‘king’ Blastaar.

"And, without spoiling anything, we just want to hint that we’ve got some truly shocking twists coming up soon," they said. "You’ll have barely got over one when we yank the rug out from under you in the opposite direction. Don’t trust anything or anyone! Despite everything we’ve been through — the greatest threat is still to come and the Galaxy is really going to need guarding!"

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