Guardians of the Galaxy 101: Part 2
Remember about 4 weeks ago when I shared Part 1 of my primer on Guardians of the Galaxy…..well now it’s time for Part 2! As before, I’m giving you comic-based info since I haven’t seen the movie yet, and am largely trying to stay away from information beyond the trailers. And there have been some pretty fun trailers, with excellent soundtracks. Check this extended trailer featuring The Runaways' “Cherry Bomb.”
Hopefully you checked out Part 1 already, so 3 guardians to go…
Drax the Destroyer
Drax actually started life as human musician, Arthur Douglas. While driving across the Mojave desert, Arthur and his family were killed by the titan Thanos (yeah, that guy again) because Thanos thought the human family saw his spaceship.
Some of the other titans realized that they needed a champion to conquer Thanos, so lucky Arthur's spirit was harvested by Kronos, and Drax was "born". Drax's powers include enhanced fighting skills and resilience (at one point he had flight and energy blasts but those were abandoned), and his sole purpose is to destroy Thanos and anyone who gets in the way of this goal.
Annihilation (collected in 3 trades) - The first 2 trades of the series were my introduction to Drax. Watch him interact with a regular human 10 year old girl whose adaptability and grit may actually win his respect.
Rocket started life as a actual raccoon on a planet that serves as an asylum for the mentally ill. (This first miniseries contains early art by Mike Mignola, of Hellboy fame.) The animals on this planet were given humanoid intelligence and mobility so they could care for the inmates. Rocket was the chief law officer, charged with keeping the inmates safe. Rocket joined up with the Guardians and even led them for a while when Star-Lord disappeared.
Rocket is a gifted pilot and tactician. He carries laser pistols but also enjoys heavier artillery...a lot.
If you love Rocket, please consider a donation to the ongoing care of his creator, Bill Mantlo, who suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a hit-and-run accident in 1992.
There is a 4 book mini series in 1985, written by Bill Mantlo and penciled by Mike Mignola (and reprinted in the Annihilation Classic books). In this series, you can read about Rocket and other anthropomorphic animals battling killer clowns (ew...clowns).
Groot is the only known member of a race of extraterrestrial tree beings thought to be extinct.
We only hear him say “I am Groot” (although he was once much more articulate), but his bestie Rocket Raccoon seems to be able to understand what he is really saying. Despite his limited language skills (which may be caused by damage or stiffness in his vocal cords), Groot comes from a noble line and is highly educated. Groot is a selfless team member and has sacrificed himself a few different times. Thankfully, like many plants, he is able to re-grow himself from a clipping or shard.
Groot first appeared in Tales to Astonish vol. 1 #13 (November 1960). Appearances after that were pretty sporadic, The Incredible Hulk Annual #5 (November 1976) and in Sensational Spider-Man #-1 (July 1997). In 2006 appeared in a 6 issue series, Nick Fury's Howling Commandos, and appeared in the Annihilation: Conquest where his heroism led him to join the Guardians of the Galaxy.