Following the blockbuster debut of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn’s hit entry into the MCU that brought Marvel’s cosmic universe to the theaters, the cinematic lineup of heroes experienced a sudden burst of popularity. This propelled the Guardians to the forefront of the Marvel Universe both in the comics and the film universe, with the sequel only cementing their place as one of the hottest properties that Marvel currently has to offer.
However, there was an influx of new characters introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, including the original Ravagers, who helped explore Michael Rooker’s character of Yondu a bit further, for reasons obvious to those who have watched the film. The new characters were brought to life by big names like Sylvester Stallone, Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, Michael Rosenbaum, and even Miley Cyrus. So it makes sense that we might be seeing more of this squad in Gunn and Feige’s developing cosmic side of the MCU. Today we are going to learn a bit more about these original Ravagers and their interesting history from the comics.
The Original Ravagers, as they’ve come to be known, were actually the original Guardians of the Galaxy, having debuted years before the current cinematic iteration. The first appearance of these Guardians occurred in 1969, almost forty years before Star-Lord formed his team to defend the galaxy during the Annihilation: Conquest event in 2008. The team was a far cry from Groot and Rocket and the rest, with their adventures actually taking place in the far future of the 31st century as they battled the alien race known as the Badoon.
The original team is led by the time-lost 20th century telekinetic astronaut Vance Astro (eventually armed with Captain America’s shield, no less), joined by representatives of the planets in the galaxy, who were each the last of their kind. Original members of the team included Yondu Odontu from Centauri-IV (who we aren’t including in today’s examination), Charlie-27 from Jupiter, and Martinex T’Naga from Pluto. Later members include the genetically enhanced Nikki from Mercury, as well as the powerful being known as Starhawk, who was composed of the husband and wife duo of Stakar and Aleta, both from the planet Arcturan.
It’s this classic team and their appearance in the MCU that we are going to take a look at today, so we’ll all be more prepared for the larger role they are set to play in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Stakar Ogord was played by Sylvester Stallone in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Through him, we learn of Yondu’s exile from the Ravagers due to his work with Ego, resulting in Star-Lord’s abduction as a child. In the comics, his origin and powers could definitely be considered confusing, as he was granted his various powers by a Hawk God from an alternate reality. These powers include energy manipulation, flight, invulnerability, and precognition, which has resulted in the nickname “One Who Knows.” It’s unclear how much of his comic character will show up in the cinematic version, but James Gunn has stated that he has big plans for Stallone in the MCU. Considering the comic character is fated to reinhabit his younger self everytime he dies across the generations, that could mean Stallone could potentially pop up in multiple eras of the MCU.
Aleta Ogord was played by Michelle Yeoh, appeared briefly during the funeral scene at the end of the film, as well as during the post-credit scene. In the comics, Aleta was with her adoptive brother Stakar when they encountered the Hawk God, who merged the two into the cosmic being known as Starhawk. While merged, Aleta’s consciousness was kept in Limbo, and she eventually fell in love with Stakar. There was a time that Aleta served alone as Starhawk, though Stakar always returned to the role due to his repetitive life-cycle. When Aleta was separated from Stakar she retained her own Arcturan abilities which enabled her to create solid-light constructs. In the film we clearly see that Aleta and Stakar are separated both physically and within the Ravagers, which could be a nod to the tragedy that befell their children; a tragedy Aleta blamed Stakar for which permanently damaged their relationship.
Martinex was introduced in the film alongside Stallone’s Stakar, played by Michael Rosenbaum, though it was a little hard to tell through the CG. Martinex hails from the planet Pluto, and his crystalline body enables him to live in the extreme temperatures on the planet. It also enables him to project those extreme temperatures from his hands, making him quite powerful He’s also a brilliant scientist, making him an even more valuable asset to the team. Martinex has been a loyal member of the original Guardians and even led both the main team and his own offshoot, known as the Galactic Guardians. Rosenbaum is no stranger to comic book roles, having played Lex Luthor on TV for The WB’s Smallville, as well as voicing a number of animated DC characters, most notably the Flash for the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series.
— Ian Joyner (@IanJoynerArt) May 29, 2017
Like Aleta, Charlie-27 appeared near the end of the film to honor the death of his former teammate, Yondu. Played by Ving Rhames, the hulking Jovian (hailing from Jupiter) has eleven times the muscle mass of a normal human, due to his people being engineered to withstand the heavy gravity of Jupiter. He was a soldier and space pilot for the United Lands of Earth Space Militia and joined with the classic Guardians after he discovered the Badoon had conquered his planet and murdered his people. Charlie-27 is often considered the heart of the Guardians and has appeared in almost every iteration of the future team over the years. His presence with such a big name actor bodes well for further inclusion in Gunn’s cosmic MCU, presumably with a larger role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 that may springboard the team to bigger things…
Mainframe made a brief appearance in the post-credit scene that reunites the group, voiced by Miley Cyrus. This version of Mainframe is actually a future descendent of the Avenger known as Vision, who we were first introduced to in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since GotG Vol. 2 would technically occur before the events of Age of Ultron we can assume that Mainframe will not share the same origin as the comics, unless the rumors that the Original Ravagers are time travelers turns out to be true. Mainframe was originally found by the Guardians during their search for the legendary Captain America’s shield. It was the operating system for the planet where the shield was found and was tasked with protecting it. Mainframe joined with the Guardians following that encounter, and eventually the Galactic Guardians under Martinex.
Krugarr was the CG alien creature introduced on Aleta’s ship alongside Mainframe, and is a member of the long-lived race known as the Lem. He might be the most interesting character included in the Original Ravagers, especially considering his connection to another super-powered member of the MCU. At some point in Krugarr’s past (in the comics it was in the 22nd century) Krugarr was recruited and trained by Doctor Stephen Strange to become the new Sorcerer Supreme, which allowed Strange to take over the role as the Ancient One. We’ve obviously just been introduced to Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, so it’s unlikely we’d see that connection to Strange revealed, presuming time travel is not a factor. In the comics, Krugarr has mastered the mystical arts and is equipped with the Eye of Agamotto (which holds the Time Gem in the MCU) and the Cloak of Levitation, both of which currently/previously belonged to Doctor Strange.
We should also be talking about founding member Vance Astro, though the character is extremely unlikely to show up in the MCU considering he is both a mutant and an alternate future version of another character (Vance Astrovik AKA Justice of the New Warriors) that could cause a tricky rights issue. Plus he wasn’t introduced along with the rest of the OG Guardians, so we can assume he won’t be included in any future plans. As for the various future connections the members of the team might have, we’ll have to see if any time travel might be used to explain the Original Ravagers in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, or if they will be left behind to focus more on the cosmic mythology Gunn and Feige are creating.
Images: Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios