Marvel recently announced a new title heading our way, which both excites and spoils the events of the upcoming Infinity Wars event. While we can see the team splintering currently in the pages of Infinity Countdown, the recent announcement has confirmed that the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them will no longer exist. Instead, they will be replaced with a new team that is tasked with protecting the universe – the Asgardians of the Galaxy.
Obviously, we are no strangers to Asgardians around here, though following Marvel’s initial tease of the new series, they revealed the members of the team, and it wasn’t quite who we were expecting. The new series from Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli will feature Angela, Valkyrie, Skurge the Executioner, Throg, Thunderstrike, and the Destroyer. For those who know their Thor history, they can see that this is a pretty powerful team, though it comes complete with a few interesting, albeit obscure, additions.
Today we are going to take a look at the Asgardians of the Galaxy, and get to know the team a bit better:
First Appearance: [Image] Spawn #9 (1993), [Marvel] Age of Ultron #10 
That’s right, the new star of the Guardians… err… Asgardians, first appeared over at Image Comics. She was originally created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane to appear in McFarlane’s Spawn, and following a semi-recent legal battle that resulted in the rights of the character residing with Gaiman, Angela began appearing in the Marvel Universe. She was soon revealed to be not only the member of a “lost” realm known as Heven, but also the forgotten sister of Thor, Aldrif Odinsdotter. Angela has similar power levels to Thor, with a fighting prowess to match Gamora as the deadliest woman in the galaxy. Angela is actually the only member of the AofU who was a previous member of the Guardians, as she joined with the crew shortly after her arrival in the Marvel Universe. She would later even become the Queen of Hel, though returned as Angela to help Thor and the rest of the Asgardians deal with Mangog.
First Appearance: [Valkyrie] The Avengers #83 (1970), [Annabelle Riggs] Fearless Defenders #1 (2013)
This version of Valkyrie – not to be confused with the Thor: Ragnarok version or the equally similar Valkyrie currently appearing in the new Exiles series – is actually made up of two characters. Brunnhilde is the Asgardian leader of the Valkyrior, warrior goddesses who would escort fallen souls to the gates fo Valhalla. Like the earliest incarnation of Thor, the essence of Brunnhilde was bonded with a human identity, the most recent of whom is Dr. Annabelle Riggs, who will also appear in the series. Valkyrie is no stranger to teamwork, having featured in the original Defenders lineup, the Secret Avengers, and Bunn’s Fearless Defenders team.
Skurge the Executioner
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #103 (1964)
One of Thor’s oldest villains, Skurge is most commonly seen working with Amora the Enchantress and Loki against the Prince of Asgard. However, for the last few years, he has been enjoying the eternal reward of Valhalla following his sacrifice to save Thor and his fellow Asgardians prior to the events of Ragnarok (the comic version, not the movie). It will be interesting to see not only how Skurge has returned from the afterlife, but what he could be doing on this team of heroes. Despite his most recent heroic turn in Hel in the comics, Skurge has always been more interested in destruction than salvation. The character also recently appeared in Thor: Ragnarok, homaging his guns drawn sacrifice from the comics perfectly.
First Appearance: [Thor] Thor #364 (1986), [Simon ‘Puddlegulp” Walterson] Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1 (2009)
Yup, that’s the God of Thunder up there, who has one of the craziest backstories out of our new team of heroes. The first iteration of Throg was actually Thor, who had been transformed into a Frog by Loki (which was referenced in Thor: Ragnarok). He eventually regained his original form, but it was later revealed that Puddlegulp – the human formerly known as Simon Walterson who was turned into a frog by a witch – had assisted Thor during his time as a frog, even gaining his own sliver of Mjolnir that became the enchanted hammer known as Frogjolnir (I swear I’m not making this up). The character of Throg even played a role in Jason Aaron’s recent Mighty Thor storyline, as well as frequently appearing alongside the rest of the Pet Avengers. This will be Throg’s most high profile appearance yet, and he should prove an interesting addition to the team.
First Appearance: [Kevin Masterson] Thor #392 (1988), [Thunderstrike] Thunderstrike Vol. 2 #1 (2011)
The original Thunderstrike was architect Eric Masterson, who was granted his own enchanted hammer by Odin following his time as the host of Thor. Following the death of Eric (and subsequent rebirth and then death again), his hammer was bequeathed to his son Kevin by Captain America. While Kevin was initially able to transform into the body of his father when he activated his hammer – also named Thunderstrike – through training with Valkyrie and the Avengers Academy he was able to modify his transformation into a form that more resembles his normal body. This version of Kevin Masterson isn’t the first comic fans have seen, as a version of this Thunderstrike had previously appeared in the MC2 universe, which takes place in a possible future of the Marvel Universe.
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #118 (1965)
The Destroyer is an enchanted suit of armor created by Odin. The armor has been controlled by many Asgardians over the years, as well as a few Marvel villains, including Loki and Doctor Doom. There hasn’t been any reveal as to who will be piloting the armor of The Destroyer on the team, but chances are high we’ll see either a villainous Asgardian behind the scenes or even a former member of the Guardians watching over this new iteration of the team. The Destroyer appeared in the MCU as well, in the first Thor film, continuing the trend of bringing these popular film characters from the Thor franchise into the new series.
We’ll definitely be checking out Bunn and Lolli’s Asgardians of the Galaxy for more on this interesting new team when the series hits comic stores this September.
Images: Marvel Comics, Image Comics