Imperial Guard #1

Issue Date: 
January 1997
Story Title: 
Imperious Wrecks !

Brian Augustyn (writer), Chuck Wojtkiewicz (penciler), Ray Snyder (inker), Brad Vancata (colorist), J. Babcock (letterer), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

To replace the heroes that are believed slain after the Onslaught crisis, Lilandra has sent a team of eight Imperial Guardsmen to observe and aid earth. Even though they would prefer to fight in the war that currently endangers their own homeplanet, the Imperial Guard follows their Majestrix’s order, but at least they come up with the idea to sent the X-Men to Shi’Ar space to help in their stead. While on earth, the Guardsmen usually keep a low profile, but as a new group called Underground Militia publicly speaks against earth’s superhuman population, Gladiator decides to oppose them. A fight starts and surprisingly the Militia, led by a man named Primus, have special weapons with which they easily defeat the Imperial Guard.

Full Summary: 

Even though he is unsure if anyone will receive it, as the Shio’Ar Empire is currently at war, Mentor records a holomessage. It is the 26th day of the Imperial Guard’s mission on earth, and they will continue to follow Lilandra’s order to secretly observe and aid the planet earth, but actually the hearts of the eight guardsmen are at their homworlds. Mentor continues with the report of an event earlier that day.
(Flashback to a few hours before)

Wearing holoplasmic disguises that make them look like usual humans, the Imperial Guard was in Manhattan as they suddenly became witnesses of a battle between a new organisation called Underground Militia and the remaining Avengers Quicksilver, Hercules and the Black Widow. The Avengers were clearly outnumbered and so the Guard decided to help. Switching off the holographic emitters Oracle, Gladiator, Flashfire, Mentor, Nightside, Electron and new member Commando entered the battle and quickly the tide turned. The Underground Militia decided to retreat into the swewers, while the heroes were kept busy with a falling building and rescuing some bystanders. Before Hercules could thank the Guardsmen they had already disguised themselves again and blended into the crowd. Later Mentor gets in an arguement with Gladiator, thinking that exposing themselves to the public like they did, violates Lilandra’s order of secrecy. Gladiator turns him down as hee is acting commander, and actually he is currently more worried of the Empire’s fate.

In some secret headquarters below New York, Primus, the leader of the Underground Militia is satisfied with their progress. “Phase One“, namely making earth’s supoerhumans look untrustworthy, has been accomplished. Tellis, one of his followers is concerned about the appearance of the Imperial Guard, especially Gladiator is very powerful, but Primus states that their new weapons could even deal with the Hulk.
In the Imperial Guard’s hideout, Gladiator again watches the last transmission the received from Empress Lilandra. The Majestrix reports that the homeworld is under attack, but insists that the guardsmen stay on earth, because the planet may need the heroes since the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are currently believed dead after the Onslaught crisis. Lilandra feels very responsible cause when she first met the X-Men, she unknowingly released Xavier’s dark side for the first time. (Uncanny X-Men #106) Oracle too is worried, but she has an idea. She suggests to ask the X-Men for help, they could travel tp Shi’Ar space, while the Guard is honor-bound to remain on earth. Gladiator immediatly departs (to contact the X-.Men in Uncanny X-Men #341).
Two days later, the team still is in their loft headquarter. The days have been very quiet but finally the stress of being confined to the limited space surfaces as Flashfire and Commando start an arguement. Flashfire defies the Kree soldier who was pressed on the team and picks on him for worshipping a small shrine with the image of the Supreme Intelligence. Commando has enough of being the outsider and fights back, right as Gladiator returns from his solo mission. The leader immediatly puts Flashfire into his rightful place, he as senior officer should know better than to tease a new recruit. Suddenly a transmission comes in from Earthquake, who guards their spaceship, which is hidden at the bottom of the East River. The ship’s sensors picked up a broadcasting of the Underground Militia holding a speech at Washington Square Park. Gladiator decides to confront the militia and asks Earthquake to meet the rest of the team there.
At the park, Primus publicly talks about the danger of superhumans, and that the population shouldn’t trust them. He wants the people to make their own decisions instead of relying on super heroes like the Avengers to endanger them by dragging aliens to earth. The Imperial Guard arrives and Gladiator attempts to defend earth’s heroes in front of the crowd, but not before long a battle starts. The Militia uses their poowerful weapons and they are able to defeat the Guard one by one. Especially Gladiator is easily defeated as he is weakened by an unknown cause.

Characters Involved: 

Commando, Earthquake, Electron, Flashfire, Gladiator II, Mentor II, Nightside, Oracle (all Imperial Guard)

Black Widow, Hercules, Quicksilver (all Avengers)

Lilandra, Shia’Ar Majestrix, in a holographic transmission

Primus, Tellis (both Kree Underground Militia)

Story Notes: 

During the story Gladiator leaves to contact the X-Men and sends them to the Shi’Ar Empire to help in the war against the Phalanx. These events transpire in Uncanny X-Men #341.

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