Looking At The Villains Of Guardians Of The Galaxy By Looking At The Comics

Ian Melton writes:

The anticipation for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy is getting a bit crazy as the movie prepares to open in the US at the end of this week.  A lot of the plot has actually been kept on lock down and most people are going to be enter the movie mostly spoiler free, even hard core comic fans.  One of the main reasons for that is that Guardians of the Galaxy is not a straight story adaptation.  To be honest my excitement for the movie is very high because unlike X-Men Days of Future Past or Captain America The Winter Solider, Guardians of the Galaxy is not straight adaptation of a particular storyline; if you'd read the original versions in comics you knew a lot of the key elements of the plot.  Looking at Guardians though there is a lot we do know that can help make comic book fans and even non-comic book fans excited about the movie.  So what do we know? (Mild spoilers but think of this as primer material…)


1.    The main villain is Thanos (first appearance Iron Man #55, 1973 and seen in the credits scene in The Avengers).  Now that doesn't mean the final part of the movie is going to a giant show down with Thanos, what that means is that he is the "general" of the bad guys.  The villains, Ronan, Korath, Nebula, and the Sakaaran will be who the Guardians are going up against, but Thanos is the overall villain and the glue linking this part of the Marvel Universe to the core Avengers part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Thanos is who Ronan answers to, and in turn Korath and Nebula and the Sakaaran "foot soldiers" answer to Ronan.  The material out so far, like the Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude comic book mini-series, shows us that all the bad guys live in fear of Thanos, the galaxy lives in fear of him, and he is being set up as THE big bad for the future.


2.       Ronan (first appearance Fantastic Four (Volume 1) #65, 1967) is still Kree (who as a race first appeared in the same issue), but he is working for Thanos not the Kree Supreme Intelligence.   The Kree part of his origin is still there but to what degree we may or may not find out in the movie (can't expect to find out everything in one movie), but one core rivalry form the comic books is not present here: Kree vs. Skrulls.  Now the Skrulls, like the Shiar, may belong to Fox's movie universe (though whether the Kree don't as all belong to those rights is unknown ), so here Ronan's hatred is directed at the Xandarians, and in turn the Nova Corp who protect them.


3.       Korath is also still Kree and like in the comics is not Ronan's equal, though Ronan keeps a look similar to his Kree Accuser armor, where Korath's look is not like his comic book look at all (first showing up in Quasar #32, 1992).  Korath's comic book appearance is very similar to Rona's look, different color scheme mostly, but his background of creating cybernetic warriors explains his cybernetic implants and plays into the next villain.


4.       Nebula is the most closely connected villain from the comics with ties to Thanos. Debuting in Avengers #257, 1985, she claimed to be the granddaughter of Thanos during a time when he was "dead" and her claims were later refuted by Thanos when he returned to life (though the Thanos Rising mini-series suggests that Nebula may not be lying).  In the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Nebula is a "daughter" of Thanos, along with Gamora, and Gamora was the favored "daughter" of the two.  Nebula's cybernetic appearance in Guardians (which is very similar to her cyborg retool in the comics going back to Silver Surfer (Volume 3) #72) is due to her past "failures" as an agent of Thanos, failures that took place while Gamora was successful.   This envy, jealousy, and hatred of Gamora is a lot of the motivation we'll see for Nebula in the movie and takes material in the comics and retools it just enough to keep very close to the original material but give us an all new story.


5.       The Sakaarans (pronounced as "scar" "ans") are the last villains set up in the movie and their use as "cannon fodder" is to be expected.  They first debuted in Incredible Hulk (Volume 2) #92, 2006, and details of them are scarce in any material released.  Their appearance is very different and almost spider-like in everything seen so far, and any use of "earth based" powers similar to Skaar (son of the Hulk and Caiera, a Skaaran) has not been seen yet.  All that is know for sure is they use ships called Necrocraft and answer to Korath, Ronan, and of course Thanos.  (One does have to wonder how many alien armies Thanos has… the Skaarans, the Chitari …)


6.       The Collector, last seen in Thor The Dark World credits teaser (and first appearing in comics in Avengers (Volume 1) #28, 1966), is set up in Guardians to not be necessarily a villain or hero but the one entity who is powerful to stand up to Thanos.  In the comics the Collector has been in conflict with Thanos before over objects of power (The Thanos Quest #2, 1990) but is always eager to add new things to his "collection" like the Orb that is the crux of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  The Collector's status as one of the Elders of the Universe (a group of cosmic beings who are the last members of their species and are immortal) is unclear, but his desire to add more things to his collection, as he did in Thor the Dark World is very clear.

In addition the Collector's base of operations is Knowhere (a location first seen in Nova (Volume 4) #8, 2008) which is an established part of the Guardians of the Galaxy cannon (in the comics the team was based there.  In Guardians of the Galaxy it is the where the Collector is based and a battle in the film will take place there (we know that from the Lego set named Knowhere Escape Mission).  Knowhere, in the materials for Guardians of the Galaxy so far (gotta love children's books) have only said that it is the giant head of an alien.  In the comics though Knowhere is the head of a Celestial, and as far as Marvel Comics go you can't get more cosmic then the Celestials (look at Uncanny Avengers this year).  This puts the Celestials (first seen in Eternals (Volume 1) #1, 1976) as something that could be fodder for future movies.

So having looked at what we know so far for Guardians of the Galaxy about the villains from information and materials put out so far, as well as the comic books, we will next look at the heroes.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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