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Published January 13, 2014

There was a time (like six whole years ago) when the Marvel universe had not completely taken over the big screen. Sure, there was X-Men, but it wasn’t the huge, unified entity that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now.

However, while Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are more or less household names now, there are plenty of superheroes that aren’t as well known – for example, the Guardians of the Galaxy who will be in their own film come August. You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel’s cosmic titles aren’t known quite as well as a lot of their others, which is why we’re here to fix that.

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Marvel’s two big cosmic titles are Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, there are plenty of cosmic incursions into “regular” titles like X-Men. And on top of that, Guardians of the Galaxy, like all comic book teams, has dealt with various line-up changes.

In 1969, the original Guardians of the Galaxy was formed. However, this team is from an alternate Marvel timeline (Earth-691), while the most well-known incarnation of Guardians of the Galaxy, and also the one that will be appearing in the film, resides in Earth-616 and is made up of: Peter Quill (Star-Lord), Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Groot.

A quick run-down of the characters:

Peter Quill: the son of a human mother and alien father, Peter Quill becomes Star-Lord, an interplanetary policeman, and the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He is an excellent marksman and fencer, and his suit grants him superhuman strength, flight, space travel and an element gun.

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Gamora: the adopted daughter of Thanos and the last of her species. She’s also green and awesome: she’s known as The Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe. Her abilities include superhuman strength, speed, agility, healing and durability, and she’s also a highly skilled martial artist, gymnast and assassin.

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Rocket Raccoon: a friend of Star-Lord, and an expert marksman, master tactician and field commander. Yes, he is an anthropomorphic, intelligent raccoon.

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Drax the Destroyer: Formerly known as Arthur Douglas, Drax’s family was murdered by Thanos. To combat Thanos, Kronos placed Arthur’s spirit in a powerful new body: thus, Drax the Destroyer was born. His powers include enhanced strength and resilience, flight and the ability to shoot energy blasts from his hands.

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Groot: a sentient, walking tree. Or at least, tree-like. He can absorb wood to feed, heal and strengthen himself, control trees, and has a genius level intellect. He’s also resistant to fire, which is lucky, considering he’s pretty much made of kindling.

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If you’re interested in checking out the team, here is a list of comic books that might help:

The 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy, written by Dan Abnett.

Buy Guardians of the Galaxy – Volume 1: Legacy (v. 1) on Amazon

Perhaps Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite.

The Marvel NOW incarnation, written by Brian Michael Bendis. Check out our review of Guardians of the Galaxy #2.

Buy Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers on Amazon

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