The unbelievable success of Marvel’s most out-there film franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy, has sent countless new fans seeking out the very best Guardians of the Galaxy comics. However, these potential converts may be surprised to find out that the list of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy’s greatest adventures is actually quite short. That’s because the current version of the team has only been around for a decade or so, and before that the team name was used by a completely different group of heroes from the future. Even after Star-Lord formed the modern unit, it still took a number of years for the Guardians to really enter the Marvel mainstream.
Due to the relatively small amount of Guardians of the Galaxy story arcs out there, the team’s recent history has been crafted by only a handful of creators, which has helped to give their storylines a real consistency. Writing duo Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are primarily responsible for defining the modern Guardians, while Brian Michael Bendis spent more than four years as the team’s primary author. These individuals, and a few others, have combined to produce the very best Guardians of the Galaxy comic books in modern history.
Issues: Guardians of the Galaxy #11-13, All-New X-Men #22-24
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli & Stuart Immonen
With Brian Michael Bendis writing both Guardians of the Galaxy and All-New X-Men, it was inevitable the two series would crossover. The first instance was The Trial of Jean Grey, in which the teenaged Jean Grey, brought forward in time by a zany mutant plot, was put on trial for the crimes her future-self committed in this timeline’s past. This is the sort of insane narrative that can only come from comic books, and it forced the Guardians to step in and defend their mutant allies.21532Is this the best?
Issues: Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha and Omega #1, Guardians of the Galaxy #24-25, All-New X-Men #38-39
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis & Sam Humphries
Artist: Ed McGuinness &Valerio Schiti
Like many comic book arcs, The Black Vortex centers around a titular cosmic MacGuffin. This crossover once links the Guardians of the Galaxy with the All-New X-Men, as Bendis was writing both titles at the time.
The Black Vortex is a device that can unlock anyone’s true cosmic potential—essentially, a massive power upgrade. Several members of both teams end up taking a trip through the Vortex14632Is this the best?
Issues: Guardians of the Galaxy #20-25
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Realm of Kings marked the conclusion of Abnett and Lanning’s lengthy run on the title that defined the modern Guardians of the Galaxy, and it was epic in every sense of the word. This final tale features the Universal Church of Truth, a plot to resurrect Thanos, and some of the finest action sequences in the team’s history. The Guardians are at their most heroic in this grand finale.11329Is this the best?
Issues: Annihilation #1-6
Writer: Keith Giffen
Artist: Andrea Di Vito
Marvel’s best cosmic crossover, Annihilation, pre-dates the formation of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy by a number of years. However, it also features prominent roles for characters like Star-Lord and Drax the Destroyer, and it helps lay the groundwork for the current team’s eventual origins. Annihilation centers around an invasion from the Negative Zone led by Annihilus, and it had major implications for the Nova Corps in particular.14890Is this the best?