Comic Book: Guardians of the Galaxy
"Earth Shall Overcome!"
A Marvel Comics cosmic Super Team
, has had two prominent incarnations as listed below starting with the original. If you're looking for the Green Lantern
supporting characters, those are the Guardians of the Universe
for character sheets.
The Classic Guardians
Marvel Cosmic Old School...
The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes
#18 (January, 1969), created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan. They are a science fiction comic series set in the future, the 31st Century. An alien race known as the Badoon have conquered Earth in the year 3007 A.D., leading a telekinetic astronaut from the 20th Century (preserved by 1,000 years in suspended animation) to gather a team of heroes to free Earth. They eventually do, and go on to do other stuff.
The series ran in various Marvel Anthology books in the 1970s
, with guest appearances in The Defenders
and The Avengers
in between anthology runs. The characters' most notable appearance during these early years was in The Avengers
, during The Korvac Saga
The characters vanished into limbo during the 1980s, but were revived and given their own book in 1990. Originally written and drawn by Jim Valentino (with only one fill-in artist, Mark Texiera, for a single issue), Valentino revived the book with gratuitous continuity nods to existing Marvel characters: these included a new Phoenix, Wolverine's evil great-great-great-granddaughter Rancor and her army of evil mutants, a revived Church of the Universal Truth, "The Punisher" militia, Doctor Doom (whose brain was implanted into Wolverine's body), and Mephisto's daughter among other things. The series was popular, but ultimately around issue #28, Jim Valentino jumped ship to go found Image Comics
after the other founders made a surprise offer to let Valentino come with them.
The book was then turned over to Michael Gallagher, who resolved Valentino's various storylines before introducing a new opponent derived from elements of another 1970s sci-fi book (Killraven) into the franchise, causing the Guardians to fight the last Martian, Ripjak. The series lasted for 62 issues (June, 1990-July, 1995). They hadn't seen much use for a long time, before making the occasional appearances in the present day team's series and eventually a revival of the original team starred in a new series called Guardians 3000
launched in Fall of 2014.
Had its own spin-off mini-series: Galactic Guardians
, which featured a lot
of future versions of Marvel characters, including: Phoenix IX
, the Spirit of Vengeance
, Mainframe (the Vision) and Hollywood (Wonder Man).
The Modern Guardians
...Marvel Cosmic New School
"Feels like someone turned the symbolic homage up to eleven."
Years after the original comic ended, a new version, set in the mainstream 616 universe and in the present time, was created by Dan Abnett
and Andy Lanning out of the main characters from their two Annihilation miniseries events
. In it, a few of the protagonists who helped solve the troubles of those series decide that the universe can't take another, and so organize a team to proactively go out and lay the beatdown on whatever troubles threaten to destroy everything.
The new version first appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy
vol. 2 #1 (July, 2008). Their book lasted for 25 issues (July, 2008-June, 2010), followed by The Thanos Imperative
, which closed out the series. This was later succeeded by a vol.3 in early 2013 as part of the Marvel NOW!
relaunch, with Brian Michael Bendis
writing and Steven McNiven on art.
A live-action Guardians of the Galaxy
movie, set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe
, was released in August 2014; and a sequel is already in the works. The Guardians have also made the rounds in several of Marvel's mid-2010s animated shows, including The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers
, and Ultimate Spider-Man
; largely using the movie team for cross-promotion (except for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes
episode, which predated the final movie cast and was instead an adaptation of The Korvac Saga
). The Guardians are now slated to get an animated series of their own
A number of spin-off comic titles were also launched thanks in large part to the movie's promotion and eventual success: solo titles for Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon (with Groot as a regular supporting character), and Gamora; and Guardians Team-Up
, which pairs the team with various Earth-bound Marvel characters. The Guardians are also part of the 2015 Bat Family Crossover The Black Vortex
open/close all folders
- Classic series:
- Original members:
- Major Victory
- Later additions:
- Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara)
- Modern series:
- Core team:
- Drax the Destroyer
- Rocket Raccoon
- Other members:
The Classic Series
This Version Contains Examples of:
- Absolute Cleavage: Very popular in the future — used by the women and some of the men.
- Action Mom: Rancor.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Stark in 3000 were built by Tony Stark to protect the future. Unfortunately after a thousand years, they've gone... a bit wrong somewhere.
- All for Nothing: Vance Astro spent a thousand years travelling to Centauri IV, giving up everything and everyone, and going a teeny bit mad on the way there... only to find mankind beat him to it by several hundred years.
- Alternate History: When they go back in time to team up with The Avengers, they change Major Victory's history, making their future an alternate timeline. The Earth-616 version of Vance Astrovik goes on to become Justice of the New Warriors. Incidentally, this makes him the only person to be an Avenger twice as two separate people rather than just having one person with multiple identities. They've even technically met in JLA vs. Avengers, although we don't see them talking to each other. And for some reason, they have slightly different powers and even different hair colours.
- An Ice Person: Martinex
- Anime Hair: Rancor, being Wolverine's descendant, has inherited his hairstyle, albeit taken Up to Eleven.
- Artificial Limbs: Yondu, after Interface from Force uses his power to transmute matter to turn Yondu's hand to gas. Yondu gets a replacement, and still managed to remain an archer despite missing a hand.
- As You Know: The first issue has Martinex and Yondu reminisicisng over their past adventures. Lampshaded when Martinex points out he was there, and he can remember what happened.
- Ax-Crazy: Yondu tends to go ax crazy at the drop of a hat.
- Bad Future: By and large averted, but the late 21st century sucked, what with the Martian invasion killing off most of Earth's heroes, and the Badoon invasion of the 31st century dramatically reducing mankind's numbers and turning Earth into a crapsack world.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Body Surf: Korvac manages to cheat his first death by doing this, throughout multiple eras of history. It takes four tries for the Guardians to finally catch him.
- But Now I Must Go: Starhawk, immediately after being separated from Aleta, takes off. In the middle of a fight with the Stark.
- Casual Time Travel: The team can hop back and forth between the 30th and 20th century easy.
- Defied in 3000, where the Badoon have found ways to prevent that.
- Cat Girl: Talon is a Cat Boy.
- Catch Phrase: "Earth shall overcome!"
- The Chosen One: The 31st century Star-Lord, like his distant progenitor, was chosen for the role.
- Clingy Costume: In order to survive a thousand-year space journey, Vance Astro had to be vacuum sealed for his freshness. If his suit is breached, he'd age and die in seconds.
- Cool Old Lady: Rael Rider is over two-hundred years old, and she's a Nova Centurion (the last, actually). She's also incredibly snarky.
- Cool Spaceship: The Guardians get around in The Captain America. Except when it's being shot out of the sky.
- Star-Lord has inherited his predecessor's living ship, Ship.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: When the Stark attack the Guardians, they have a harder time fighting them than the scout that attacked the team only the issue before.
- Crapsack World: It's a Marvel Comic. The 30th century is pretty awful.
- The Guardians 3000 version manages to be worse. The Badoon are killing off (or have already killed off) almost every empire out there, and no-one seems to be able to stop them.
- Cute Monster Girl: Despite her ridiculous hair and bad temper, Rancor is actually good-looking when she takes her mask off and stops snarling.
- Cyborg: Michael Korvac, one of the more dangerous enemies of the Guardians, had his legs removed by his Badoon overseers and replaced by a computer bank.
- The Dark Age of Comic Books: It was the nineties, so some of the mores of the era do tend to crop up. Rancor, for example, is a walking poster-child of nineties clichés (ridiculous costume, ridiculous hair, misspelt name, Wolverine-knock off).
- Deadpan Snarker: Charlie gets very snarky when Starhawk's around.
- The Dividual: Starhawk and Aleta, on account of their sharing a physical space. She wasn't even considered a full member of the team for years.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: A story set during the team's earliest days shows Major Victory wigging out when Charlie accidentally makes an insensitive comment, and apologising for it, about being stuck in his space-suit.
- Enfant Terrible: A baby Korvac, possessed by the essence of his future self, graphically kills his own father within seconds of being born.
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: Martinex is a crystalline transhuman from the planet Pluto. His body is composed entirely of crystal, and he never wears clothes.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Nikki believes Reptiles Are Abhorrent. This somehow extends to the disguised Skrull Replica before anyone suspects she might not be human.
- Racial strife between, at least, Jovians and Pluvians is alluded to briefly in the team's first appearance, but this was dropped in later comics and never mentioned again. After the Badoon were defeated, the unaltered humans of Earth were seen to mistreat Charlie and Martinex for their inhuman appearances; this partially motivated the reformation of the team and their return to the stars.
- The reason the Badoon want to kill every other life-form.
- And even in the 30th century, the poor Inhumans still get shafted. Mankind has colonised the Moon, and the Inhumans are forced to live on a reservation, with their movements constantly watched. And then the Badoon came a'calling...
- Fiery Redhead: Nikki. Slight Aversion in that she's not quite a redhead so much as that being from the planet Mercury, the pores on her head are exhaust ports for a high, constant body heat. The result? Actual constant fire that looks like hair.
- Fragile Speedster: Due to his powers, Starhawk is actually pretty physically weak, lacking much in the way of physical mass. In most fights he had to rely on Aleta's powers for strength.
- Future Slang: 3000 is filled with it.
- Gang of Hats: The Punishers. Three guesses what that hat is, and the first two don't count.
- Gender Bender: Starhawk, in 3000, changes gender depending on the iteration, while still being fully-aware of being a different gender. He/she mentions that as confusing as it may be for everyone else, it's even weirder for him/her.
- Green Lantern Ring: The Silver Surfer has acquired Quasar's Quantum Bands.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Starhawk has a Groundhog Day Life.
- The first issue of Guardians 3000 deals with a small one, where the team dies at the hands of the Badoon, implied to have been going on for some time.
- Hand Cannon: Geena gets one from Yondu in Guardians 3000, one that's several degrees more powerful than the larger gun she already had, and won't knock her on her behind to boot.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Starhawk is the son of Quasar and Her, making him half human, half orange-skinned Artificial Being.
- Heavyworlder: Charlie-27, like all of Jupiter's inhabitants.
- History Repeats: In 3000, there's a human named Rider, who's a Nova centurion, the last even, stuck with the Worldmind for company, once more.
- Human Popsicle: Major Victory spent one thousand years, on-and-off, as one, on his way to the Centauri system.
- I Just Knew: Starhawk (Stakar, not Aleta): Starhawk's Catch Phrase was 'Accept the word of One Who Knows.' What he would tell Martinex later is that Stakar was not a precognitive; he was fated to go back in time, and his disembodied consciousness inhabit his infant body to start all over again.
- Lady Land: Planet Stark is a Matriarchy where men are second-class citizens at best. Some male Stark aren't even given names, having to earn them.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: From the end of issue 4 of 3000, it seems the team have forgotten all about Nikki for reasons unknown.
- Last of His Kind: The premise starts here; the Badoon have attacked, and the four originals are survivors of their worlds. Yondu, from Centauri IV in the Alpha Centauri system, eventually discovers that a large number of his people survived and saves them from Galactus.
- Rael Rider, in 3000, is the last Nova Corps member alive.
- Legacy Character: Major Victory for Captain America, amongst others.
- Rancor is a villain legacy for Wolverine.
- The first issue of Guardians 3000 introduces the 31st century Star-Lord, Peter Quill's descendant.
- Issue 3 introduces a descendant of Richard Rider. She is also a Nova.
- Macguffin Girl: Geena, Guardians 3000, who has the ability to trace disruptions to time.
- Mama Bear: Aleta is incredibly pissed off at Stakar for the death of their children. And yet Mainframe expects her to forgive him just like that.
- The Man Behind the Man: The Badoon in Guardians 3000 are being controlled by someone. It turns out to be the Stark.
- Mass Teleportation
- Mutant: Most of the Mutants took for the stars centuries back. Vance Astro happened to miss that particular bus.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Marshach, a friend of the Silver Surfer's in the 26th century, has this reaction when he uses his Reality Warper powers to try and kill the Guardians (who are trying to remove that power from him, since it belongs to Korvac).
- Narrating the Obvious: Given the time the first series was made, it's a given.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Centuries back, Tony Stark launched all his Iron Man technology into space in an attempt to stop the Martians getting it. It crashed landed on an alien planet, and was found by the locals, who eventually figured out how to use it, and became galactic conquerors.
- Not Blood Siblings: Stakar and Aleta are a married couple with three kids. They're also adopted siblings.
- Not So Omniscient After All: Starhawk is the One Who Knows, so when he doesn't know, he tends to react poorly.
- Oh, Crap: In the first issue of Guardians 3000, the fact that Starhawk doesn't know what's going on serves as a big one for all concerned.
- Old Master: The Ancient One, or as he used to be known, Doctor Stephen Strange.
- Only the Chosen May Wield: The shield of Captain America, which is guarded by Mainframe (formerly known as the Vision), who tests the Guardians to see who should wield it. Major Victory eventually gets it.
- Hollywood, formerly known as Wonder Man, initially objects to the idea of Major Victory wielding the shield, but he soon comes around.
- Only You Can Repopulate My Race: Yondu, to Photon. Unfortunately, Photon's an atheist and Yondu is sworn to murder any of his kind who are. Although it was she who was trying to kill him. No one ended up killing anyone, although he caught her off-guard and badly hurt her at one point. (Valentino intended them to eventually get together, but it never panned out.)
- Our Zombies Are Different: The Zoms, henchmen of the Badoon are created using cybernetic implants.
- Planet Eater: Galactus is still around. Averted in 3000, where he's "sleeping".
- Playing with Fire: Firelord, Martinex, and Nikki (Nikki, who was in a relationship with Charlie-27 at one point, and had to immerse herself in water to cool down enough so they could touch).
- Poor Communication Kills: Rather than explain to the Silver Surfer that an old friend of his is possessed by Korvac's power, the team instantly demand to remove it without explaining why. Cue a fight between them and an angry Silver Surfer.
- Power Copying: The Protege can permanently duplicate any powers and skills he sees, all the way up to the Cosmic Entity level. He's also a child. This quickly leads to A God Am I.
- Purple Is Powerful: Major Victory's first outfit, the molecular shell keeping him from dying, was solid purple.
- Put on a Bus: Guardians 3000 just has Vance, Charlie, Marty and Starhawk around, with no sign of the other Guardians. Solicits imply there's more to this than appearances suggest (with Nikki reappearing in issue 4).
- Aleta gets a mention by Nikki in issue 4, when she mistakes Starhawk for her (Justifiable, since they have been known to dress similarly, though Stakar's hair is brown, while Aleta is blond).
- The Reptilians: The Badoon. Also, Scanner the Snark, from Force.
- Rewrite: Despite apparently being set in the same universe as the original series, with the same characters, there are a few differences in Guardians 3000, like the Stark not being a matriarchal warrior society, and instead Tony Stark's tech gone wrong, or the team-members missing for whatever reason, or Galactus "sleeping" when previous depictions of the 30th century showed he was still very much around.
- Secret Test of Character: Mainframe gives the team one of these to see whether they're worthy enough to wield Captain America's shield. Aleta and Nikki fail theirs, Aleta because she won't forgive Stakar for the death of their children, Nikki because her Fantastic Racism lead her to try and murder Scanner the Snark.
- Sharing a Body: Starhawk and Aleta, from their first appearance. They were adopted siblings who encountered a device that made them share the same physical space, so only one of them could manifest at a time. They made the most of it by getting married. Everything seemed okay until Aleta started falling for Vance... and their children were killed
- The Singularity: A-Sentience, in 3000, is a hive-mind of Stark Tech.
- Smart Guy: Martinex
- The Stoic: How Starhawk appears.
- Suddenly Ethnicity: Speaking of Martinex, he's revealed at one point to be of African descent.
- That Man Is Dead: Mainframe is very insistent that he's not the Vision any more.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted in several instances, unlike most of Marvel's heroes the Guardians aren't big on this one. In one instance, Nikki tries to kill Scanner outright.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Time is unchangeable, which is why Starhawk is stuck in his "Groundhog Day" Loop. Time travel also creates alternate timelines, such as when Vance Astro went back in time and prevented his younger self from going into space without erasing himself from existence.
- Guardians 3000 has another one, where Gladiator mentions having met Vance several hundred years ago, before figuring out it must be a Vance from the future.
- Transhuman: Martinex, Charlie-27, and Nikki are all from races of humans genetically modified to live on Pluto, Jupiter, and Mercury respectively. Also Transhuman Aliens.
- Harkovium, the mineral that allows ships to travel faster than light, named after the man who discovered it.
- At least one version of Vance Astro's outfit is made out of adamantium.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Replica (a Skrull)
- The Watcher: Uatu's still alive, still watching, still telling us he's the Watcher and that he's sworn never to interfere, and so forth.
- Worthy Opponent: The one who sent Captain America's shield into space? Doctor Doom, out of respect for the good captain and to stop the Badoon getting their hands on it.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Starhawk is in a stable time loop. He has tried fighting it, but due to Marvel's rules of time travel, it just creates alternate realities while his life continues repeating.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Stark planned to do this to the Badoon, once they were done controlling them.
The Modern Series
Tropes used in Volumes 2 and 3 include:
- Aborted Arc: Drax starts looking for Cammi, but when the possibility of reviving his daughter comes up, he forgets all about her.
- Absolute Cleavage: Gamora in Vol. 2, who pairs it with Sideboob, Vapor Wear, and likely a few other related tropes. Frankly, it's probably a miracle of space-age future science that her clothing manages to stay on her as reliably as it does.
- Amicable Exes: Adam and Gamora have shades of this. It gets creepy when he becomes Magus.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: It is when you're fighting a cyborg-zombie that still has some of its mind left.
- And I Must Scream: Rocket Raccoon manages to stop a rampaging Thanos by threatening to paralyze him in his weakened state and trap him in an environment where he will never be able to attack anyone or even try to kill himself and reunite with Death.
- Anyone Can Die: Issue 19 of Vol. 2 has half the main characters KIA by the time the issue is over.
- Not Quite Dead: 22/23 reveals it was an illusion the whole time, with only Phyla dying in between issues 24 and 25.
- Apocalypse How: Several occur throughout Vol 2.
- A Dyson Sphere has suffered a Class 2, with every living thing in it dead and the surface destroyed by the local sun.
- The Kree-Shi'ar War results in several Class Xs, one of which the team have to deal with.
- One potential future we're shown results in a Class X-2, with the only living things left being a version of the original Guardians, and the Badoon. The end of the issue results in that universe being destroyed completely.
- As Kang reveals, the mere existence of the Magus causes a Class X-5, with every potential timeline being destroyed and replaced with one ruled by the Magus and the Church.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Adam Warlock, a genetically engineered "quantum wizard", asks Major Victory, a time-travelling telekinetic, if he believes in werewolves, while they're on a burning planet falling into a fissure in space-and-time. Never mind that werewolves have long been proven to exist in the Marvel universe. The major just shoots back that at that point, he's willing to believe in anything.
- Archnemesis Dad: Gamora and Thanos
- Arc Words: In Vol. 2, 'The death of the future tense' comes up a lot.
- Ass in Ambassador: Delegate Gorani of the Uuchan delegation to Knowhere skirts this. He's not the Guardians' enemy, but he's not their friend either. For example, when being pursued by the Shi'ar Imperial guard, who plan to kill the Guardians and take over Knowhere, Gorani refuses to do anything to help, and outright suggests Quill let the Shi'ar kill them.
- Ax-Crazy: The Magus gleefully admits to being a psychopath.
- Back for the Finale: In the last issue of vol 2, every member of the original Guardians appears... except Aleeta.
- Back from the Dead:
- Star-Lord and Drax the Destroyer reappear in Avengers Assemble Volume 2 with absolutely no explanation as to how they came back to life since the The Thanos Imperative.
- Moondragon is revived by Drax and Phyla in the series.
- Thanos, after Drax killed him in Annihilation.
- Badass: Everyone on the team gets their moments to shine, but Drax the Destroyer is the resident One-Man Army.
- Badass Adorable: Rocket Raccoon, Cosmos.
- Badass Family: In the 100th Anniversary special, Rocket Raccoon is accompanied by his 3 sons, Uno, Duo, and Trey (whom he insists are just his nephews). They are just as nimble and combat ready as their father while remaining as cute as a button.
- Badass Normal: Starlord; while he used to have all kinds of nifty cosmic powers, these days he's just a guy with a gun and a rad helmet taking on cosmic level threats.
- Bad Future: Adam Warlock may have contained the Fault in time but his actions resulted in every possible future becoming the 'Magus future', where the universe is under the control of the Universal Church of Truth, lead by Magus. It got so bad that Kang the Conqueror is the only one left standing, giving Starlord a Cosmic Cube that might give him the edge over the Magus.
- At one point in vol 2, some of the team go through multiple bad futures.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Crops up at one point with several members of the Church of Universal Truth, who want to worship an Eldritch Abomination... even after it bites off someone's head. They consider it a 'blessing'.
- Berserk Button: Insulting Phyla's dad, Captain Mar-Vell, is not a sensible move.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Rocket is usually genial, cheerful and pleasant. That doesn't stop him from trying to claw out Mentor of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard's throat during a fight.
- Big Damn Heroes: Issue 12, when Wendell Vaughn, the previous Quasar, appears just in time to save Drax from being fed to the Dragon of The Moon by Maelstrom. Subverted quickly when Maelstrom uses Wendell's quantum energy form against him.
- Brick Joke: When Star-Lord and half of his team are thrown through time and encounter the classic Guardians of the Galaxy, he decides to come up with another name for his team to avoid any unnecessary problems with the other Guardians. The name he chose: The Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic, a name that Rocket Raccoon suggested for their team name in the beginning of the first issue.
Star-Lord: All the good names were taken.
- Cassandra Truth: Major Victory keeps trying to tell everyone about the threat of the Badoon. He's only believed once the team encounter some of their handiwork.
- Catch Phrase: "I am Groot!" (It actually means something different every time. We just can't understand the subtle nuances.)
- Rocket has the tendency to shout variants on "Blam! I murdered you!" in the midst of battle, which some of his teammates find disturbing.
- Starhawk is still "The one who knows."
- Characterization Marches On: In the Star-Lord series for Annihilation: Conquest, Groot was capable of speaking complete sentences, and had a regal sense of dignity and pride about him. Starting around issue 10 of vol. 2 he mainly just declares "I am Groot!" with nobody commenting on the change.
- The first person in volume 2 to be able to understand Groot's language is Maximus the Mad during War of Kings (and no one's even sure that he's not faking it). Come volume 3, everyone on the team seems to have no trouble at all understanding the big guy.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The depleted Cosmic Cube
- The cocoon the Church of Universal Truth found.
- The Chosen One: Jack Flag is called this at one point. And then it never comes up again.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Church of Universal Truth runs on their abiding faith in life itself, from trillions of beings all over the universe. Their cardinals focus their belief into all sorts of handy super-powers. It's even their battle-cry.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: Said by Kang the Conqueror in v2 #19.
- Confession Cam: Used throughout Volume 2
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: An entire planet's worth of the Church's best soldiers versus Mantis, Major Victory, Cosmo, Gamora and Martyr quickly turns into this. And then Thanos shows up.
- Continuity Nod:
- In the first issue, as the team fights Church thugs, Gamora and Adam discuss the Church's complicated origins.
- During his fight with Vulcan, Adam (Or more accurately, the Magus) brings up his previous deaths in response to one of Vulcan's rants.
- Mantis and Kang have a history.
- When facing Thanos with a broken cosmic cube, Peter Quill notes he's wielded one before.
- Cool Starship: The Captain America briefly returns in issue 16. And then gets shot down by the Badoon.
- Corrupt Church: The Church of Universal Truth definitely. They use the faith of their followers to empower themselves but are unafraid of bugging out and leaving them to their doom when things get hot. Become even more so under the leadership of Adam Magus in the future.
- Deal with the Devil: Phyla makes one of these with Oblivion to get Moondragon back.
- Description Cut: In the very first page of the first issue, Peter claims their first mission didn't go too badly. Then we get this;
Alien: "BURN THE UNBELIEVERS!"
- Driven to Suicide: One version of the original Guardians launch an attack on the Badoon stronghold, and once they're accomplished their goal they immediately stop fighting and wait for death, because the Badoon have already killed everything else in existence.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Phyla-Vell, killed off screen after fulfilling her obligation to Maelstrom and Oblivion by reviving Thanos.
- Dying as Yourself: Happens to Adam Warlock. Or not, since the Magus was just faking.
- Eldritch Abomination: They're trying to get through the negative space wedgies.
- The Dragon of the Moon is one. It just happens to come in the form of a giant dragon.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Drax the Destroyer is one the receiving end of one.
Matriarch Benzia: ...And I believe you will now feel all the pain you have ever inflicted.
- Foreshadowing: A rather straightforward example can be found in the very first issue of volume 2, where Mantis (who can see the future) states that within nine months a member of the team will betray the others. In the following issues, there are hints pointing towards several of the protagonists as the traitor, until we finally find out it's Warlock. Though technically he didn't betray anyone, he was simply forced to let Magus, his evil side, take over him.
- Forgot I Could Fly: Hollywood, an elderly version of Wonder Man in a Bad Future, is so old he's done this. Seeing the Guardians in action jolts his memory.
- Funny Animal: Cosmo and Rocket Raccoon
- Gatling Good: Rocket Raccoon
- Genius Bruiser: Groot, apparently.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Stuck in a Dyson Sphere with no protection from the sunlight, and the teleportation systems down, with the means to restore the shielding a good distance from their location, Gamora points out she has a healing factor. She succeeds, but gets badly burnt in the process. It takes several issues for her skin to heal, with a few issues more for her hair.
- Great Offscreen War: The final issue of vol 2 mentions that the Guardians of All Galaxies, every potential version of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, fought in a war to prevent the multiverse falling apart because of The Error.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gamora and Mantis. Bug would be the male version of this trope, being VERY handsome under the helmet.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: The classic Guardians in Volume 3 #14, who find themselves replaying their fight against the Badoon over and over thanks to something in the past, and decide to travel back and put a stop to it. A similar phenomenon motivates Starhawk's journeys back in time in Volume 2; in that case, it turns out to be the events of War of Kings opening the way to the Cancerverse.
- Guns Akimbo: "Hi. I'm Star-Lord. I'm with the Guardians of the Galaxy. I'd flash you my business card, but my hands are too full of guns."
- Heroes of Another Story: The Luminals, Xarth's Mightiest Heroes. They don't get on with the Guardians, which isn't helped by the fact that their boss Cynosure is a Jerk Ass.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
- They Who Must Not Be Seen: The Badoon refuse to show their faces to the Guardians. Apparently no-one is 'fit to look upon the beauty of the Badoon'.
- History Repeats: According to Adam Warlock, it doesn't, but it has been known to rhyme.
- Human Popsicle: Again, Major Victory, only this time to travel backwards in time. And through dimensions.
- I'm Having Soul Pains: Moondragon says her soul 'aches' after her latest resurrection.
- Informed Ability: Rocket Raccoon is supposedly a tactical genius. Most of his plans seem to revolve on plastering the enemy with bullets.
- Jekyll & Hyde: The Magus for Adam Warlock.
- Lethal Joke Character: Cosmo may look like a golden retriever in a Russian space suit (for a dog), but he has incredibly powerful telepathic and telekinetic powers. Examples of his powers include taking on Adam Warlock one-on-one, disabling all the rioting denizens of Knowhere single-handedly, and taking out the Cancer-verse Hulk with a single stroke. As in he gave the Hulk a stroke/brain aneurysm. He's also very intelligent, wise, and decisive. There's a reason why he's Knowhere's Chief of Security.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: In the second issue of Volume 3, cut off from any and all back up, the team elects to just each destroy a ship apiece.
- Let's You and Him Fight: When some of the "Modern" Guardians are thrown forward in time and meet the "Original" Guardians.
- Mook Horror Show: A group of Shi'ar goons, having been tricked into shooting the Imperial Guardsman that was with them, are left in a dark, cramped corridor with the Magus. Violent dismemberment ensues.
- More Dakka: Rocket Raccoon's real super power.
- More Than Mind Control
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The Quantum Bands leave Phyla because she's slightly dead, yet Maelstrom has no problem using them, despite being much less alive than her.
- Mythology Gag: In the second issue of volume 2, the team find Vance Astro frozen in a block of ice. They even remark on the similarity, leading to Rocket Racoon's quote at the top of this section.
- While going through dozens of bad futures, there is a brief glimpse of a version of the Guardians fighting an army based on the Avengers, as happened in Avengers Forever, and another fighting Korvac.
- Naked People Are Funny: Peter, after being thrown into the Negative Zone by Ronan, is found by the forces of Blastaar, who steal his uniform. He eventually gets it back, but not before his helmet's been "used".
- Near Death Experience: Happens to Drax when their first mission together goes wrong.
Drax: "We almost died. I saw a bright light. There was nobody in it I wanted to see."
- And again to Drax and Phyla in issues 12/13. They're Only Mostly Dead, but it's close enough as makes no difference.
- Negative Space Wedgie: The rips in the fabric of the universe that keep showing up. There's a really, really big one (which they manage to actually stabilize) by the time the War of Kings story is over.
- Age of Ultron spawns a few more, including the one that brings Angela over from her dimension.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Attempts to stop the War of Kings weren't going well anyway, but Martyr taking Crystal hostage made things so much worse for everyone.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Ultron killing Moondragon turns out to be this, since her turning into a dragon was the work of the Dragon of the Moon, which was taking possession of her again. A few more weeks and it would've been able to manifest fully.
- Maelstrom luring Phyla and Drax to Oblivion's realm turns into a twin case of this. He needed Moondragon to actually be there in order for the trap to work, allowing Phyla to free her. And then, Phyla's relinquishing her Quantum Bands means Quasar is free to give them to Richard Rider, allowing him to save the Nova Corps.
- No Sell: Nothing the team has slows the Magus down for very long. It gets worse with Thanos, who manages to kill an entire planet before they can stop him.
- Subverted when the two Guardian teams meet. Charlie-27 claims he doesn't feel Jack Flag's punch, but later on it turns out to have broken several of his ribs.
- Oh, Crap: A Played for Laughs version. "Can someone help? Drax has gone existential on me."
- When Cosmos tries reading Starhawk's mind, and is startled when he finds nothing. It's an Oh, Crap moment for Starhawk as well, as she realises that means time is catching up to her.
- Issue 11, when Drax realises Phyla's Quantum Bands have left her, meaning they actually are dead.
- Phyla's reaction on seeing Maelstrom has managed to find the Quantum Bands.
- The worst possible kind, in one of the bad futures, when the team find the Badoon have enslaved the Celestials.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Maelstrom is very much this. He'd like you to believe he's a beyond good and evil force of nature. Really he's middle management for Oblivion and a loud mouthed sociopath to boot.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The Zoms return, but they're much more dangerous and much more disturbing, looking like hideous fusions of corpses and machinery. The Monsters look even worse, and at one point the team encounter a Zom tank.
- Outside-Context Villain: Everyone thinks the Badoon are just another bunch of would-be conquerors in a universe full of them. Then they see the Zoms.
- Path of Inspiration: The Universal Church of Truth would like you to think they're this. Just ignore the fact that their worship tends to bring down vast quantities of horrible, blasphemous things no sane mind was ever meant to see.
- Plant Aliens: Again, Groot.
- Plant Person: Mantis, thanks to having married and mated with a Plant Alien.
- Pokémon Speak: Groot. Apparently, some of his chants translate to extremely complex Techno Babble.
- In a backup story in the Annihilators, we discover his entire species talk like this.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Definitely. So much so that Peter had Mantis use her telepathy to get everyone to work together.
- It also costs them when they ask Black Bolt to call off the war with the Shi'ar, because a group of self-appointed heroes, no matter how skilled they are, can't just march in and tell an empire to stop a war. It also gets them into trouble in other instances as well, because even if they weren't self-appointed, most of the team don't get along, several of them have at some point or another been imprisoned, and two of them are known mass-murderers, which makes trusting them a serious risk.
- Safe to say, this trope gets heavily deconstructed throughout the series.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Cosmo is the head of security for Knowhere, and is pleasant and supportive toward the team. Except where Rocket Racoon is concerned.
- Religion of Evil: The Church of Universal Truth, who operate by the motto "convert or die". Founded due to time-travel shenanigans, they've been steadily expanding across the universe over the last few decades. The actual practices don't seem to be evil on the whole, since the Truth they preach is just life itself, but they have conquered whole worlds, and as Gamora can attest, they're not above genocide. Played utterly straight after War Of Kings, when we meet the founder of the Church: The Magus, who uses the Church as a vehicle to summon the Many-Angled Ones to this universe.
- Retraux: A flashback in an early issue of vol 2 shows the Badoon invasion of Earth, with the Zoms and Badoon dressed like something from a bad 60s sci-fi show.
- Riddle for the Ages: We never do find out why Vance Astro was frozen, or what reality he comes from.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Starhawk has a version of this, as crops up in the final issue of vol. 2.
- Running Gag: Jack Flagg hates Cosmic $#*^. Rocket Raccoon comes to echo his sentiments, despite being a friggin' anthropomorphic raccoon.
- Bug's complaining about not being picked first for the team.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: What Groot is really saying part of the time when he says "I AM GROOT!". Also Techno Babble.
- Ship Tease: Peter and Mantis get a lot of hints, but nothing ever comes of it before The Thanos Imperative.
- Shout-Out: The name of the bar on Knowhere is named Starlin's, a reference to Jim Starlin, the godfather of Marvel Cosmic.
- In the first issue of volume 2, the team infiltrate a massive ship that looks like a giant cathedral which is flying into a Negative Space Wedgie. These are obvious references to Warhammer 40K, which features creator Dan Abnett's most celebrated work. The flying cathedral-ship is also named the Tancred, which was the name of a Space Marine-turned-Dreadnought in an Abnett-penned Warhammer 40K comic.
- Skewed Priorities: In the middle of a big fight which isn't going well, on a ship heading toward a Negative Space Wedgie, surrounded on all sides, Rocket insists the team needs a name.
- Space Base: They're headquartered in Knowhere, the severed head of a giant space god on the edge of the universe.
- SpaceX: A variation:
Jack Flag: It's a time-door!
Yeah? Full of Time-Energy? and Time-Swirlies? Jack, just because you put the word "time" in it doesn't — tik
— make it any clearer!
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: IGN summed up Bendis's handling of the team as "the Iron Man and Rocket Raccoon show."
- Squick: In-Universe, when an Eldritch Abomination forces itself into Moondragon's body via the face.
- Stop Worshipping Me: Adam and the Church of Universal Truth. They consider him their messiah, he finds them an unpleasant reminder of Magus. That said, he's not above using them when the need arises.
- Super Dickery: Drax and Phyla go to see Mentor, Moondragons' Parental Substitute, about a way to revive her. Unfortunately, they need her soul, which they can't get to without dying. Mentor instantly kills both of them. It gets them where they need to go, but they're still angry about it when they're revived.
- Superher Heroes In Space: In both incarnations, the heroes mainly stay off-world.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Magus to Adam Warlock.
- Taking You with Me: Starhawk in issue 16, to some Badoon and their zoms, in order to buy everyone else a chance to flee. Complete with Badass Boast.
: Attention, Badoon! None of you will survive the next few seconds. Believe me, I am One Who Knows
- Tastes Like Purple: According to Cosmo, Mantis' thoughts smell like flowers.
- Tempting Fate: When the subject of the Magus comes up, Adam Warlock is incredibly insistent he prevented that reality from happening, causing Rocket to ask if their mission is going to become 'one of those time-travel things'. Fortunately, it doesn't. But then, at the end of the issue, we see a figure frozen in a block of ice, a familiar shield just visible underneath the surface. Capped off by what Quill says over this.
Star-Lord: "That kind of stuff always ends in pain, heartbreak and tears before bedtime. Sure glad we dodged that bullet."
- Time Crash: Vol 2 has a running plot around one, called The Error, which is what causes Starhawk to travel back in time. Later on, she mentions that time itself is falling apart at the seams. As it turns out the cause is Thanos' resurrection.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: In particular, the Guardians Of All Galaxys (the 30th century team, and all alternates thereof) live Meanwhile, in the Future, operate on San Dimas Time, and have Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory. So they only know about things happening in 2010 "after" they've happened.
- Took a Level in Badass: The Badoon are in the middle of this in Vol 2. When the team faces off against some zoms, Rocket doesn't believe the Badoon could be capable of such things. Vance Astro claims that in just a few years, they're going to be even more dangerous.
- Verbal Tic: Bug. His tic is literally 'tik'.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Drax
- Wham Shot: During War of Kings, Adam goes up against Vulcan. In the middle of the fight, his face suddenly turns purple...
- During an escape attempt from the Church of Universal Truth, Maelstrom leads Phyla to a cocoon hidden in one of the Church's bases. She starts to open it, thinking Adam Warlock is inside. It's not. It's Thanos.
- "What Now?" Ending: After The Thanos Imperative, the group disbanded with no leader.
- When Trees Attack: Groot's kind of like a space Ent. Who can grow back if you smash him apart.
- Wolverine Publicity: Marvel seems to be trying to raise Rocket Raccoon to this status.
- Worthy Adversary: Played with. The Magus doesn't have a high opinion of the Guardians, constantly mocking their efforts, but he does at least acknowledge that they almost managed to stop him, and that he respects that.
- You Are Too Late: After a desperate attempt to get back to the twenty-first century and stop the return of the Magus, it turns out that Adam Warlock can't be saved. He's been the Magus for months.