Next year, the main event of the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes down in Avengers: Infinity War. It has been confirmed that the film will feature the first crossover between the two super-teams: the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m expecting that next month’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is going to lay some groundwork for the big culmination, so to get ready for that, I figured I’d look back at a classic issue of Avengers that features a meet-up between two very different iterations of these teams.
Avengers #167 is written by Jim Shooter, penciled by George Perez, inked by Pablo Marcos, colored by Phil Rache, and lettered by Joe Rosen. The Avengers in this issue are Captain America, Beast, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Vision… with Wasp, Yellowjacket, and Nighthawk also involved, but in a different conflict, but we’ll get to that. I haven’t read much of this specific run, but I am of course familiar with all of these characters. It’s the Guardians that threw me for a loop, though, as this is my first time reading an old school comic with the classic team in place. We’ve got Major Vance Astro, Yondu Udonta, Martinex T’Naga, Charlie-27, and Nikki on deck here.
The plot starts simple, and then gets way more complicated once we find out why the Guardians are crossing paths with Earth’s mightiest heroes. We kick off the action with Nick Fury contacting the Avengers, because a huge unidentified object is entering their orbit. Everyone assembles and, after some tension between Iron Man and Cap that seems to have been brewing for a while, the Avengers board the craft. Beast is the first one to cross paths with the Guardians and, after a misunderstanding, he throws down with Charlie-27 and Nikki. They hit each other with fists and insults until the rest of the Avengers arrive and settle the issue, as a few of them have already met the Guardians and consider them to be allies.
Interesting bit – unlike the modern roster in the current storyline, these Guardians are from the distant future.
Once the fighting stops and everyone catches up, the Guardians inform the Avengers that they are battling through time with cosmic villain Korvac, who making his way to the present to perhaps kill Vance as a young man on Earth, which would prevent the formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy… this leaving the cosmic playing field open for Korvac’s villainy. Together, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy plan to stop this…
…and then we cut to a fashion show.
In a final scene I didn’t even a little bit see coming, the Avengers/Guardians storyline falls by the wayside as the Porcupine and his masked goons, who have somehow come to terms with the career move to work as hired goons for a man who calls himself Porcupine, invade the aforementioned fashion show. Wasp, Yellowjacket, and Nighthawk save the day, only for a mysterious and creepy strange to teleport away (maybe?) with a woman in the audience. From the text at the bottom that alludes to more Guardians involvement, it seems as if these hilariously unrelated stories will converge. As of now, it was pretty fun as it, because the dramatic shift in story at the very least kept me on my toes. So we don’t get resolution, but rather the start of what might be an intriguing and surprising storyline. The classic Guardians are a fun and interesting bunch, but the most engaging aspect of this comic was the friendships, rivalries, tension, and nuances within this Avengers roster. It’s fun to watch the two teams interact, and just gets me more and more excited to see such a meeting on the big screen, as different as the line-ups are.