Guarding the Galaxy: Realm of Kings
Quasar, Nova, the Inhumans, and more help explore what lies beyond the Fault!
Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of their new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!
After the events of War of Kings, the danger of the Fault created by Black Bolt’s suicide run in the T-Bomb at the end of that story became so widespread that most of the major cosmic players got involved in one way or another. The story itself spread out from the one-shot REALM OF KINGS into a pair of limited series called REALM OF KINGS: IMPERIAL GUARD and REALM OF KINGS: INHUMANS as well as the last issues of NOVA and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.
In the kick-off one-shot Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Leonardo Manco sent Quasar into the Fault to record as much data as possible. In doing so, the former Protector of the Universe wound up on an alternate version of Earth where the Avengers had sworn allegiance to the monstrous Many-Angled Ones who feed off devotion. Revealing himself as a being from another place, Quasar became an easy bridge for this group to bust into the main Marvel Universe and let their gods continue feasting and growing.
Thanks to some chicanery from that world’s Vision, Quasar broke free and sped off fighting Iron Man and Thor before getting a good look at their horrific universe as a whole. “Pulsing with corrupt life!” he said. “One giant, twisted organic mass! Their whole universe is a deathless corpse! A cancer trying to metastasize in our reality!” With that, focus shifted back to P.E.G.A.S.U.S. where the Cancerverse’s Quasar landed, impersonating Wendell Vaughn!
Over in IMPERIAL GUARD—by Abnett, Lanning and Kev Walker—new Shi’Ar Majestor Gladiator ordered a group of I.G. soldiers to investigate the Fault with the help of Starjammers Cho’d and Raza. Once inside they faced the Cancerverse’s version of the X-Men. As things looked most grim, the Guard found salvation in three forms: the true Quasar, a Raptor named Talon, and Gladiator’s sudden appearance with even more back-up! Upon returning home, Gladiator flew to the Galactic Council meeting, presenting evidence of the Cancerverse’s monsters and pledged to work with the Inhumans and the rest of the Council to defend their shared universe against the threat.
The INHUMANS limited series by DnA and a variety of artists focused more on the dirty dealings of statesmanship, as Medusa called it, but did send Triton and a few others on a mission into the Fault. Thinking they’d found Black Bolt, the group approached the wreckage of the T-Bomb only to realize their eyes fell on a playback of their king’s battle with Vulcan being repeated on a loop. The Kree who went on the mission soon turned into strange creatures reminiscent of the Cancerverse. This presented an interesting finding: that while the Kree can be changed by the Fault, the Inhumans cannot be.
Finally, over in NOVA, one of Richard’s old villains, the time-traveling Sphinx snatched him and Darkhawk—who stood accused of killing Lilandra—into the Fault on a makeshift world that also included versions of Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, and Namorita plucked from the timestream. They’re there to fight a younger version of Sphinx who wants to destroy his older self and make off with not one, but two reality-shaping Ka Stones. Richard Rider figured out how to save the day, sending everyone back to their respective times except for Namorita, who died along with many other New Warriors in the first issue of CIVIL WAR.
With this threat looming, Nova and Darkhawk headed to Earth to help out at P.E.G.A.S.U.S., but also showed up to take out the fake Quasar after the real one sent a message along that he’d been picked up by the Shi’Ar. Left with a terrible choice, Richard stopped the immediate threat of an invading Cancerverse monstrosity, which gave fake Quasar an opportunity to fly off. With that, Nova himself took off into space leading directly into the events of The Thanos Imperative!
Transmissions from Knowhere
Seeing as how Wendell Vaughn played such a huge part in Realm of Kings, it seems only right to focus on his history this time around. He first appeared as Marvel Boy in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA #217 and moved on to Marvel Man before settling on Quasar as of INCREDIBLE HULK #234. As a young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Wendell gained an assignment that led him to a research facility where the original Marvel Boy’s Quantum Bands were under investigation. When A.I.M. attacked, he slipped them on and found a connection with the energy they utilized. From there he went on to star in his own series, becoming Protector of the Universe in the process. After a great many adventures, he died in the pages of ANNIHILATION: NOVA at the hands of Annihilus himself, but started resurfacing as a disembodied consciousness in NOVA. Meanwhile, Phyla-Vell took over the Quantum Bands for a while, but gave them up when Wendell more fully returned and she herself became the avatar of Death known as Martyr.
Find out what really happened to Adam Magus and the seemingly dead members of the team in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #20-25.
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