Now that the Guardians of the Galaxy are household names, thanks to director James Gunn’s hit film, people are starting to wonder if they’ll ever bump into Marvel’s other big-league team of heroes — the Avengers. In a recent interview with IGN, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige seemed as enamored with that idea as fans — even if he has yet to commit to bring together the two franchises on the big screen.
“You know, the fun about The Avengers, as we were gearing up to that, was ‘How would Tony Stark deal with goody two-shoes Steve Rogers in World War II?'” Feige said. “The brilliance of Joss [Whedon] was having fun with that. So who knows if and when these guys would ever connect, but it is fun thinking about, how would Steve Rogers react to Rocket?”
Lucky for all the new Guardians of the Galaxy fans, you don’t have to wait for the Chrises Pratt, Evans and Hemsworth to cross paths to find out what happens when the Avengers mix it up with their cosmic counterparts. The comic book versions of these heroes have met up on a number of occasions. Here’s a rundown of five of their most epic encounters:
The Avengers vs. Thanos – Avengers Annual #7
Jim Starlin’s magnum opus focusing on the eternal battle between Adam Warlock and Thanos reached its conclusion in this issue. The comic brought Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together with future Guardians Moondragon, Drax and Gamora to thwart the Mad Titan’s plan to reunite with his ladylove Death by destroying a star. Captain America and company were thrilled to see the artificial being Warlock put a stop to Thanos’ rampage; they’d be less pleased if they realized Thanos’ quest for power was only just beginning.
The Korvac Saga – Thor Annual #6, Avengers #167-177
The original Guardians of the Galaxy — a lineup that included Vance Astro, Yondu, Nikki and Starhawk — first journeyed from their home in the 31st century to present-day Earth to fight the threat posed by Korvac, a computer technician from the future manipulated by the evil Badoon into an all-powerful being. Yeah, this team-up was out there, but it has also stood the test of time as one of the greatest Avengers stories ever told. When going up against a guy that can bend time and space to his will, the Avengers realize they have to prepare for the worst — in this case, that includes complete annihilation.
The Infinity Trilogy – Infinity Gauntlet #1-6, Infinity War #1-6, Infinity Crusade #1-6
While no official Guardians lineup appears in this mega-event, plenty of elements worth exploring post-Guardians of the Galaxy do. Gamora and Drax get some much-needed time in the spotlight, and the Infinity Stones — you know, all those powerful objects that have shown up in most of the recent Marvel movies? — cause a ton of trouble after Thanos pops them into a golden gauntlet. Can’t tell the Reality Stone from the Power Stone? This trilogy, which guest stars all of the Avengers as well as the entire Marvel Universe , will help set you straight!
The Avengers & Guardians Assemble – Avengers Assemble #6-8
Any time Thanos shows up to cause trouble on Earth, Marvel’s cosmic protectors are usually not far behind. The prune-chinned villain appeared on the Avengers’ turf searching for a man-made Cosmic Cube. The device would have quenched Thanos’ thirst for power had a newly reassembled Guardians roster — including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot and Bug — not given the Avengers a helping hand. This marked the first time the present-day Guardians teamed up with the Avengers, thus beginning a relationship that’s still maintained today.
Avenger In Residence – Guardians of the Galaxy #1, Captain Marvel #3
Recently, the Avengers began stationing one member in space at a time, a tradition that began when Iron Man left Earth’s orbit to hang out with the Guardians during the first few story arcs of Brian Michael Bendis’ current series. Tony Stark helped the team fight off a Badoon invasion of London and interrupted the mysterious Angela’s mad dash toward Earth. Carol Danvers, the superhero better known as Captain Marvel, recently took over Iron Man’s seat on the Guardians’ spaceship. Rocket may be incredibly suspicious of Carol’s cat Chewie, but that hasn’t stopped her from partnering with the team in its current series. Once Captain Marvel’s time in space is up, any Avenger could end up boldly going where, well, many Avengers have gone before.