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The Best Guardians of the Galaxy Comics for New Readers

Over the past five years, the Guardians of the Galaxy have quickly become one of Marvel's most popular, visible franchises  following the breakout success of their Marvel Cinematic Universe films. The cosmic superteam have defended the Marvel Universe from various threats across the stars for years, often led by Star-Lord and taking inspiration from their MCU counterparts.

For anyone looking for a good starting place to begin reading the Guardians of the Galaxy's  comic book adventures, here is a selection of some of the team's most accessible that are still worth reading for long-time fans.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Avengers

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Leading up to the release of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli teamed up to launch a new volume of the ensemble's comic book adventures and more directly integrate them closer to the heart of the Marvel Universe while maintaining their signature space-faring sensibilities.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers collects the first story arc of Bendis' best-selling run, including a prologue revising the origins of Star-Lord and Iron Man joining the team as a provisional member in a mission that also unveils the Armored Avenger's latest deep-space armor.

Annihilation

Annihilation cover

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Before the Guardians of the Galaxy officially came together, the Marvel Universe set the stage for their arrival by bringing together several disparate cosmic characters in Annihilation. The story is one of Marvel Comics' most acclaimed crossover and completely reinvigorated the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe in a set of miniseries written by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Keith Giffen and illustrated by Mitch Breitweiser, Scott Kolins, Ariel Olivetti, and Ken Walker. The story saw  the longtime Negative Zone villain Annihilus turn his attention to the cosmos, unleashing his ravenous wave of insects to consume and conquer the stars.

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The crossover was compromised of several miniseries focused on different characters, including Nova, Silver Surfer and Super-Skrull while positioning other Marvel cosmic figures to eventually serve as what would be the foundation of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy. The storyline has been collected in two omnibuses, with the first detailing the devastating launch of Annihilus' plans across the Marvel Universe and the second following the heroes picking up the pieces to finish the fight.

Annihilation: Conquest

Annihilation Conquest cover

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After the success of Annihilation, the crossover received a sequel with much of the same creative team in Annihilation: Conquest. The cosmic epic had the still war-weary heroes face a new threat as Ultron takes his plans for total domination to the stars, leading to a new cosmos-spanning conflict for the fate of the Marvel Universe.

From the ashes of war saw a new version of Star-Lord and the formation of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy to turn the tide of battle against Ultron, the Avengers robotic foe. Similarly collected in two deluxe volumes, the first as Nova, Quasar, and Star-Lord drawn into the conflict while the second had the newly formed team take the fight to Ultron and his Phalanx.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Final Gauntlet

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Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw's recent relaunch of Guardians of the Galaxy kicked off with a funeral of sorts as the various cosmic figures throughout the Marvel Universe gathered for the reading of the deceased Thanos' last will and testament. However, things quickly go horribly wrong, with the Guardians scrambling to locate the reborn Mad Titan wherever he may appear next.

RELATED: Rocket Raccoon Is Finally Back - But What’s Wrong With Him?

Guardians of the Galaxy: Final Gauntlet collects Cates and Shaw's thrilling iteration of the team, from classic characters like Star-Lord and Groot, to more offbeat, inspired choices including fan-favorite characters like Beta Ray Bill and Cosmic Ghost Rider. The relaunch balances Marvel's extensive cosmic history while including popular elements from the films to provide a new reader-friendly incarnation of the team.

Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino

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Before the modern incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy was formed to stop Ultron in Annihilation: Conquest, the team had originally been a group of cosmic heroes defending the Marvel Universe in an alternate future. Originally created in the 70s, the team received a revival series in 1990, featuring particularly noteworthy work by Image Comics co-founder Jim Valentino.

The aptly titled Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino Vol. 1 collects the beginnings of the revival series as they search for Captain America's long-lost shield, face the twisted legacy of Tony Stark, and includes time-displaced team-ups with several classic Marvel characters including the Fantastic Four and Doctor Strange.

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