One of my favorite games when I sit down to watch a new comic-book movie is catching all the little references to the larger body of source material. Little things like Bucky picking up Captain America’s shield in The First Avenger, just as his comic-book counterpart was carrying it around in the comics.
|This can't possibly be a reference to that, can it?|
You know comics—there’s no such thing as an original concept. The GotG we know is actually the second major incarnation of the team. The first Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in 1969 and popped up sporadically from the 1970s through the 1990s. They were a 31st-century superhero team fighting a race of alien would-be conquerors known as the Badoon. They played an interesting role in the 2008 GotG series, when they were revealed as one potential future of Star-Lord’s team. They also inadvertently gave the 2008 team their name when Major Victory, a mutant telekinetic who had inherited Captain America’s shield, traveled back in time and joined up with Star-Lord’s gang of misfits. He introduced himself (shortly before passing out) like this:
|Hello, my name is Vance, and I will be your mythos for today.|
|Star-Lord makes his best command decisions based on what will shut Rocket Raccoon up.|
|Oh, look, it's a set photo of Yondu. And some dead guy.|
What, you thought that was the whole team in that trailer? Please. GotG went through team members like James Bond goes through love interests. Here are some members whom you haven't seen, but who might show up anyway.
|Phyla during her Quasar phase.|
|Mantis knows everything and tells the most irritating bits.|
|Not Karen Gillan.|
|Nickname: "Loverbug". Not embarrassing at all.|
|Jack Flag and his unofficial battle cry.|
|I can't read this panel without giggling hysterically. Only Star-Lord gets captured by bad guys who take his pants.|
|No explanation would be sufficient, ever.|
|Star-Lord on diplomacy.|
|Adam and Adam. Don't trust the smiley one.|
10. Adam Warlock. A big player in the Guardians universe, Adam was both a team member and a major adversary. An artificial human created to be perfect (and superpowered, of course), Adam spent most of the 1970s using his “soul gem” and assorted other nifty powers flying around space and alternate universes as a kind of cosmic messiah. (No connection to Mantis, though. Cosmic messiahs just kind of turned up in the seventies.) He’s died and come back to life a bunch of times, and somewhere along the way picked up an evil version of himself, which he can sometimes turn into if you screw up his timeline. This evil version is basically a silver-tinted Adam Warlock called Adam Magus, and he is big, big trouble. In Adam’s run with the Guardians, he started out as their navigator slash mystic advisor slash big gun, and he ended up (SPOILER ALERT) having to sacrifice his “good” future to save his team and the universe. He turned into the Magus, nearly killed all his teammates, and forced Star-Lord to shoot him in the head in what’s arguably the biggest emotional gut punch of the entire series. “Damn it, Adam,” Star-Lord mutters, as he stands alone on a platform, surrounded by the bodies of his teammates. “Look what you made me do.” If Adam shows up, expect to soil your pants, cry, or both.
|Beam me up, Scotty ... er, Cosmo.|
|Skulls. What a surprise.|
Why does he get his own section? Because he’s pretty much guaranteed to show up, even though he wasn’t in the trailer. We know from the advance materials that Ronan is working for Thanos, we saw his bumpy purple face at the end of The Avengers, and if there’s any villain who consistently ruined the Guardians’ day, it was him.
Thanos is a big purple alien who can’t be killed very easily and who is in love with Death. Yes, the skeleton in the robe. He’s got a thing for her. He would get her flowers, except she doesn’t like flowers, so mostly he gets her mountains of skulls. They have a stormy on-again-off-again relationship, and whenever he’s not dead (i.e. spending time with his lady friend), he really wants to be dead so he can be with her. Except he’s really hard to kill, partly because Death gets tired of him and periodically decides she doesn’t want anything to do with him … so he can’t die. This ticks him off. Anyway, Thanos’s major thing, other than being in love with Death, is wanting to kill every living thing in the universe in order to impress her. To do that, he periodically goes after the Infinity Stones, a group of magic gemstones that control things like psychic power, all known energy, or the fabric of reality itself. They can be conveniently mounted into something called the Infinity Gauntlet—a big golden glove with slots for each of the Stones. If you looked closely, you saw it in Odin’s treasure room in Thor. Obviously, the Infinity Gauntlet is just dandy if you want to kill a universe. Which Thanos does.
Here’s Thanos having a fight with his girlfriend. Sums him up nicely:
|You thought YOUR breakup went badly? You didn't have a talking raccoon and a space dog in the peanut gallery.|
Tomorrow: Why I invented the term “nerdsad” for this movie.