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31st August 2016

The Imperial Guard, the best line of defense of the Shi’ar, is made up of super powered champions who are sworn to protect and defend the Shi'ar galactic empire. Its 300 members are drawn from both the Shi'ar race and alien races governed by the Shi'ar. Usually the Guard assists the governors of conquered planets by helping to enforce Shi'ar imperial law.

There is an elite corps of the Imperial Guard called Superguardians that protects the ruler of the Shi'ar Empire, and executes his or her orders. This elite corps is the team that the X-Men have met on several occasions. The leader or Praetor of the corps was traditionally Gladiator from its inception over 400 cycles ago to the recent present, when Gladiator became Majestor Kallark the First and ruler of the Shi'ar Empire. A soldier by nature, however, Gladiator still joins his Guardsmen in battle on a regular basis.

Many other versions of the same super-type exist, called Subguardians, in a Guardsmen academy setting or on less-prestigous assignments around the empire. When a Superguardian dies or otherwise becomes unavailable, a Subguardian is chosen to replace them in the elite Imperial Guard. Because many Subguardian types are identical to their Superguardian counterpart, it is possible for Guardsmen to die behind-the-scenes and be replaced without us knowing about it unless the change-over is specifically identified in the text. This article will attempt to identify all confirmed or presumed replacements as they happen.


Starbolt, Scintilla / Midget, Flashfire / Tempest, Impulse / Pulsar, Fang, Oracle, Mentor, Gladiator, Neutron / Quasar, Smasher, Titan, Electron, Astra, Nightside, Hobgoblin, Magique / Magic, Manta, Warstar, Earthquake, Hussar, N’rill’iree, Webwing, Blackthorn, Voltar, Zenith, Black Light, White Noise, Onslaught, Solar Wind, Moondancer, Glom, Voyager, Hardball, Commando, Delphos, Mammoth, Stuff, Squorm, Monstra, Arc, G-Type, Neosaurus, Plutonia, Fader, Blimp, Star-Lord

First appearance: X-Men (1st series) #107


War of Kings: Warriors #1

Hundreds of years ago, Emperor T'Korr oversaw the Strontian people as they tested young recruits to undergo the Gladiator process and become a member of the emperor's new Imperial Guard. Only Kallark survived the training and completed the mission given by his empire: execute the high council of his own people in order to demonstrate true, unquestioning loyalty. [Gladiator]

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #479

The original Imperial Guard was created from the empire's greatest champions over 400 cycles ago. They were formed in response to the threat of Rook'shir, a rogue manifestation of the Phoenix Force in a criminal host. [Gladiator, a Mentor, a Magique, a Neutron]

Untold Tales of Captain Marvel #1-3

Deathbird, regent of the Shi'ar, led a squad of Guardsmen into Kreespace to locate Brood pirates and the lost flagship of the Kree Admiral Devros. Attacked by Skrull raiders, Deathbird and the Guard were rescued by Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree, whose ship, the Pama, was also searching for Devros. Political issues prevented both parties from acknowledging their true mission, but they parted peacefully. After the Pama had a disastrous encounter with the Brood-infested Devros and lost most of their crew, the survivors Mar-Vell, Yon-Rogg and Una were rescued by Deathbird. It was only Deathbird's respect for Mar-Vell's valor that kept the Shi'ar from taking the Kree as prisoners, instead escorting them back to Kree-Lar. [Oracle, Smasher, Fang, Starbolt]

In Between

  • For quite some time, Charles Xavier was receiving visions of an alien spaceship in pursuit. Finally the Shi’ar princess Lilandra arrived on Earth, but before she could explain anything, she was kidnapped by Eric the Red. Both disappeared through a stargate, with the X-Men close behind. [X-Men (1st series) #105]

Chronology continued

X-Men (1st series) #107-109

The X-Men followed the kidnapped princess Lilandra through a stargate and arrived on a barren planet in front of the massive M’Kraan crystal. Having no idea what they stumbled into, they found themselves surrounded by the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. The X-Men only wanted Lilandra turned over to them, but Gladiator stated that she was considered a traitor for having opposed her brother, Emperor D’Ken. A fight started as D’Ken orders Lilandra’s death; although they were completely outnumbered the X-Men held their own, as Nightcrawler surprised Hobgoblin with his image-inducer mimicking the Guardsman‘s horrifying appearance, Cyclops and Impulse knocked each other out with their similar powers and Wolverine forced Fang to hand him over his costume, after his own was burned away by Starbolt. The Guard began to wear the X-Men down, but unexpected help arrived in the form of the Starjammers and not before long, all assembled Guard members lay defeated. Later the Starjammers, X-Men and D’Ken entered the M’Kraan crystal where exposure to a nightmare field left the Shi’ar Emperor insane and catatonic. By right of birth, the throne fell to Lilandra, although she first had to be cleared of her criminal charges for treason.
[Astra, Electron, Fang, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Impulse, Magic, Mentor, Midget, Nightside, Oracle, Quasar, Smasher, Starbolt, Tempest, Titan]

X-Men (1st series) #135-136

After the Shi’ar witnessed Dark Phoenix absorbing the sun of the D’Bari system, killing five billion people, Lilandra called a meeting of her ministers and advisers. Gladiator was also present. The council decided that Phoenix must be destroyed for the sake of the universe. On Earth, the X-Men were beamed aboard Lilandra’s flagship.

X-Men (1st series) #137

The X-Men believed they had suppressed the Dark Phoenix personality, but the Shi’ar feared that it might resurface and insisted on vengeance for the D'Bari. Xavier challenged Lilandra to an Arin’Nn Haelar, a duel of honor, and the Empress reluctantly accepted. The Blue Area of the Moon was chosen as a battlesite, and both the X-Men and an equal number of the Imperial Guard were beamed down. The Imperial Guard soon gained the upper hand; with teamwork Earthquake and Hussar quickly defeated Storm, and Manta was able to discover Nightcrawler in the shadows by using her infra-red vision. One by one, the X-Men were taken out and the shock of seeing her lover struck down triggered Phoenix’s transformation into Dark Phoenix again. She realized herself how great a threat she was, and used her last strength of will to commit suicide.
[Earthquake, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Hussar, Manta, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, Warstar]

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #155-157


Lilandra’s sister Deathbird allied herself with an alien race named the Brood and had the Shi’ar Empress kidnapped.A fake trail made it seem that she had been brought to Earth. The Shi’ar ministers informed the X-Men about the kidnapping and gave them 24 hours to find the people responsible before invading the planet. Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde remained as hostages aboard the Shi’ar flagship for further leverage. There, the two X-Men soon discovered that Admiral Samédàr was part of the kidnapping conspiracy. They alerted Oracle who telepathically checked the truth of their story, and she in turn informed other trusted members of the Guard. However when Samédàr was exposed, most of the present Guard members (Webwing, Fang II, Hussar, Warstar, Quasar and Blackthorn) still sided with the admiral against the X-Men. A fight started, and the two X-Men along with loyal Guardsmen Gladiator, Oracle, Starbolt and N’rill’iree were soon outmatched. In the meantime, however, the rest of the X-Men had freed Lilandra, though Deathbird and her allies were able to escape to outer space. Without his allies‘ support, Samédàr was easily put into custody.

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #158

Following the battle, Xavier was struck by a mysterious mental illness; Oracle tried to help as she probed his mind, but she sensed that the cure could only come from Xavier‘s mind himself. (he woke up in #160)

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #162

Shortly afterwards, Lilandra and the X-Men were captured by Deathbird and the Brood. Wolverine soon discovered what the alien insectoids had in store for them as he witnessed Fang being transformed into a Brood by an implanted egg.
[Blackthorn, Fang, Gladiator, Hussar, N’rill’iree, Oracle, Quasar, Starbolt, Warstar, Webwing]

In between

  • On a solo mission for the Empire, Gladiator attempted to capture a spaceship of renegade Skrulls, but they escaped to Earth. Thinking the Skrulls were disguising themselves as the Fantastic Four, Gladiator attacked and defeated the superhero family. When the Skrulls, posing as X-Men, then appeared, Gladiator was irritated as his "friends" attacked him. Together with the help of Spider-Man and Captain America, the Skrulls were exposed and quickly captured. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #249-250]
  • After the X-Men returned from Brood space, Gladiator informed Lilandra that in her absence Deathbird had usurped the Shi’ar throne. Although she knew that it would strengthen Deathbird’s position, Lilandra decided to stay with the X-Men to watch over Xavier’s recovery. Her last act as official ruling empress of the Shi'ar was to put Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, on trial before the intergalactic council for saving the life of Galactus, the world-devourer. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #167, Fantastic Four (1st series) #261-262]
  • Both Lilandra and later Xavier joined the Starjammers and fought the Shi’ar Empire under Deathbird's rule.

Chronology continued

Rom Annual #4

Gladiator remained with the Imperial Guard when Deathbird became the new Empress, even though he had his doubts about her. When a member of a race that was forced to join the Shi'ar Empire came into possession of Spaceknight armor, the Imperial Guard mistakenly attacked Rom. After the misunderstanding was made clear, Rom and Gladiator teamed up to face the culprit, and on facing him, Gladiator came to realize that even though the Shi'ar provide their conquered species with everything, they lack one thing - freedom.
[Electron, Flashfire, Gladiator, Magic, Manta, Oracle, Voltar, Warstar]

X-Men Spotlight on ... Starjammers #2

Deathbird followed an old legend about a power source called “Phalkon“. The Starjammers interfered and battled a small part of the Imperial Guard that acted as her personal body guards. New guardsman Zenith, able to absorb energy, got killed in battle as he tried to leech off Binary’s unlimited energy levels. Later after “Phalkon“ turned out to be nothing else than the Phoenix Force, Deathbird commanded the entire Imperial Guard to fight the combined forces of the Starjammers and Excalibur so that she could claim its power for herself.
[Astra, Black Light, Blackthorn, Earthquake, Electron, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Hussar, Impulse, Magic, Manta, Mentor, Midget, Nightside, Oracle, Quasar, Smasher, Starbolt, Tempest, Titan, Warstar, White Noise, Zenith]

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #275-277

Deathbird and her Imperial Guard were attacked and defeated by the X-Men and the Starjammers, and Lilandra was named Shi’ar Majestrix again. However, Xavier and the Starjammers had been replaced by a group of Warskrulls, trying to gain control of the Shi’ar Empire through telepathically controlling Lilandra. During the festivities Oracle and Gladiator discovered the ploy, but were captured by the fake Xavier before they could alert anyone. Oracle was used along the real Xavier and Psylocke as a power source for the Skrulls‘ power-duplicating machine, while Gladiator under mental hold ripped off Deathbird’s wings. Wolverine discovered the truth and the X-Men exposed the Skrulls. Deathbird was no longer interested in the throne and so Lilandra became Shi’ar Empress and the Imperial Guard’s commander again.
[Bolt, Earthquake, Gladiator, Oracle, Smasher, Tempest, Titan, Warstar]

Operation: Galactic Storm crossover

[Captain America (1st series) #398-400, Avengers West Coast #80-82, Quasar #32-34, Wonder Man #7-9, Avengers (1st series) #345-347, Iron Man (1st series) #278-279, Thor (1st series) #445-446]

  • When the Shi’ar and the Kree, two of the biggest alien empires went at war, the Imperial Guard was divided in smaller teams to perform different tasks.
  • Warstar, Oracle, Tempest and Electron captured Rick Jones and through a mindscan the Shi’ar learned the location of the Psyche-Magnetron and the grave of the first Captain Marvel. While entering the hidden cave with the required Kree technology, the Guardsman were engaged in battle with the Avengers West. They managed to grab the needed equipment and escape, although Warstar was captured.
  • On Saturn's moon of Titan, Manta, Magique and Impulse tried to open the grave of Mar-Vell to steal his famous Nega-Bands, but Quasar and Starfox interfered. Magique cast up illusions of the whole Imperial Guard, but the Avengers finally saw through them and defeated the Shi’ar. In the meantime two Kree, Captain Atlas and Doctor Minerva, fetched the bands.
  • Hobgoblin morphed into a mere crewman aboard a Shi’ar ship that invaded Earth space and was captured incognito by the Avengers. The Shi’ar aboard were taken to Project PEGASUS, where also Warstar and the two Kree, captured by Quasar and Wonder Man, had been incarcerated.
  • Nightside and Scintilla broke into PEGASUS and freed their teammates. Posing as Minerva, Hobgoblin made Atlas accompany him aboard a Shi’ar ship, where the Kree was outnumbered by the Imperial Guard, who then claimed the Nega Bands of the late Captain Marvel for themselves.
  • Quasar tried to follow the Shi’ar ship but was kept busy by Starbolt and Neutron in battle. He abandoned Neutron on the fringe of space before quantum jumping back to the conflict.
  • The rest of the Imperial Guard tortured and mindscanned Captain Atlas aboard their ship and learned more Kree scientific knowledge. After a short while Quasar returned and attacked the craft, but the Nega Bands had already been teleported to Shi’ar space. Quasar tried to free the captive Kree, but he was attacked by a group of new guardsmen: Glom, Solar Wind, Voyager, Moondancer and Onslaught. The quintet recaptured the Kree scientist who was detained on a prison world.

  • Shi’ar scientists used the Kree knowledge to build a huge Nega-Bomb out of the Bands and the parts of the Psyche-Magnetron.
  • The Avengers split up and the group that was sent to negotiate with the Shi’ar encountered Gladiator. Eric Masterson, the stand-in Thor, was able to defeat him in battle. Gladiator was hurled through a stargate that was fused shut after him, leaving the Guard leader stranded light-years away.
  • On Chandilar the Avengers were introduced to another Imperial Guard strikeforce, responsible for Lilandra’s safety: Astra, Smasher, Hardball, Hussar, Titan and Earthquake. They even helped them to fight the invading Kree super team Starforce, but when Lilandra ordered a death sentence, the Avengers opposed the guard.
  • During the battle the true villains were revealed: Lilandra's chief advisor had been replaced by the Skrulls. No longer possessing a vast empire on their own, they were responsible for cultivating the growing enmity between the Kree and Shi'ar, posing as important politicians on both worlds.
  • Even though the villains were exposed, it was too late to stop the launch of the Nega Bomb, which killed 90% of the Kree population. Later it was revealed that the Kree’s Supreme Intelligence provided Shi’ar scientists telepathically with the idea and design of the bomb. It’s purpose was to jumpstart Kree evolution again in a darwinistic sense, what does not kill them, makes them stronger.

[Astra, Earthquake, Electron, Gladiator, Glom, Hardball, Hobgoblin, Hussar, Impulse, Magique, Manta, Moondancer, Neutron, Nightside, Onslaught, Oracle, Scintilla, Smasher, Solar Wind, Starbolt, Tempest, Titan, Voyager, Warstar]

In between

  • Neutron was lost in Quasar's Quantum Zone for many months, before encountering another of Quasar's foes in the Zone, the Russian Presence. The two joined forces to seek revenge on the Avengers. [Quasar #45-46]
  • Following a request from Adora, the queen of Xandar, Gladiator tested earth hero Nova in battle. Richard Rider passed, but he was not to happy being toyed with. [Nova (2nd series) #1]

Chronology continued

Starblast crossover

[Starblast #1-4, Quasar #54-56]

When a group of aliens, calling themselves Starblasters, tried to push the moon away from Earth’s orbit, it was only a diversion to capture Quasar’s girlfriend Kayla Ballantine, who unknowingly was in possession of an energy source called the Starbrand. Quasar recruited some of Earth’s most powerful heroes, but to follow the Starblasters' ship, they were forced to “borrow“ a Shi’ar cruiser. The Imperial Guard were informed about the hijacked craft and teleported aboard to deal with the situation. A battle engaged, but after both sides had taken some casualties and the ship was in danger of being destroyed, the two teams called a truce. The Imperial Guard agreed to drop Earth’s heroes off at their destination. When it became clear that the Starblasters were employed by the Stranger, Guard members Solar Wind, Voyager and Moondancer opted to help Quasar and his team, as they themselves had been captured and caged by the powerful alien years ago. Gladiator denied their request, but the three Guardsmen left anyway, even though it would mean resigning from active Guard duty. In the end Quasar and his friends were able to free his lover with the help of a hero team from the universe within the Starbrand that Kayla was carrying.
[Gladiator, Manta, Moondancer, Neutron, Nightside, Smasher, Solar Wind, Starbolt, Voyager]


Starjammers (1st series) #4

When the Uncreated, an alien race of militant atheists, slaughtered many worlds of the Shi’ar Empire, the Imperial Guard prepared to battle them, but unexpected help arrived with the Starjammers. Using a holographic image of their god and creator, whom the Uncreated believed slain, the aliens were driven off.
[Electron, Fang, Gladiator, Nightside, Oracle, Scintilla, Smasher, Starbolt, Tempest, Titan]

Imperial Guard #1-3, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #341 

After Lilandra received news that many of Earth’s heroes were believed dead in the aftermath of Onslaught, she dispatched a team of eight Guardsmen to protect the planet, even though it weakened her own forces, who had to encounter the Phalanx. Honorbound to stay on earth by his word to Lilandra, Gladiator tried to help his native galaxy by alerting the X-Men to the threat that the Phalanx posed to the Shi'ar Empire. He publicly appeared in New York, soon gaining Cannonball’s attention and a fight started. Surprisingly the young X-Man was able to defeat Gladiator by using his weakness against him. Sam absorbed the full force of his punches with his blast field, making the Shi’ar doubt his power and then he easily knocked him out of the sky. The other X-Men arrived, but before they could react, Gladiator threw some teleportation field on them, that transported them right into the Shi’ar galaxy. Whilst on Earth, the Imperial Guard encountered the Underground Militia, a group of militant pink Kree, who posed as humans and tried to recruit an army to gain revenge on both Earth and Shi’ar for having killed the Supreme Intelligence during Operation: Galactic Storm. Little did their leader Primus know that the Supreme Intelligence was telepathically influencing him into building a Nega Reactor. This power, combined with the ultimate potential of humanity in the form of Rick Jones, gave the Intelligence the ability to re-assemble itself. The Imperial Guard came too late to stop this process, although they saved Earth from being hit by a Nega-energy release similar to that which killed 90% of the Kree population. The guard tried to battle the Supreme Intelligence, but it teleported away. Being a Kree himself initially made Commando, a new member conscripted to the Imperial Guard only shortly before, somewhat of an outsider in the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. When his true loyalties showed in battle against the Supreme Intelligence, though, Commando was accepted whole-heartedly into the group.
[Commando, Earthquake, Electron, Flashfire, Gladiator, Mentor, Nightside, Oracle]

Hulk Annual '97

During their stay on Earth, Gladiator and Oracle learned that a former fugitive from Shi’ar justice was hiding on the planet, stuck in the form of a child and had no memory of his former life. Their hunt brought them into confrontation with the Hulk.
[Gladiator, Oracle]

In between

  • With Earth’s heroes returning from the pocket universe they had been transported to, the Imperial Guard were free to go back home to the Shi’ar galaxy.

Chronology continued

Inhumans (3rd series) #3-4

Since Oracle and Tempest (Flashfire) were planning to get married and retire from active duty, new members were introduced to the guard. Only a few days after she was included, the precognitive Delphos already proved her worth to the team, as she foresaw an assassination attempt on Empress Lilandra. Even with all possible precautions taken, the act was carried out by the Inhumans, who were under the control of Ronan the Accuser, seeking revenge on the Shi’ar. However, it was not Lilandra who died but the shape-shifting Hobgoblin, who had replaced her for the ceremony.
[Astra, Delphos, Earthquake, Fang, Flashfire, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Hussar, Impulse, Mentor, Neutron, Nightside, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, Titan, Warstar]

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #387

When the Intergalactic Council decided to turn Earth into a Maximum Security prison planet, criminals from many different alien races were sent there. Among them were the former Imperial Guard members who had sided with Deathbird and Lord Samédàr, and had been tried and convicted for their crimes. These former Guardsmen had allied themselves with a lone D`Bari calling himself Starhammer, who sought revenge on Jean Grey for the crimes of Dark Phoenix.
[Hussar, Neutron, Warstar, Webwing]

Thanos #10

The Imperial Guard investigated the destruction of Shi'ar colony Eru 7, finding the immensely powerful but catatonic entity known as the Maker. Oracle scanned her mind and determined her guilt, so the Shi'ar sentenced the Maker to the custody of the Kyln. Over time, the Maker's madness proved so powerful that scanning it caused Oracle to go mad temporarily as well. [Gladiator, Oracle, Electron, Quasar]

New X-Men (1st series) #117

Having taken over Professor Xavier’s body, Cassandra Nova decides to visit the Shi’ar Empire posing as Lilandra’s trusted consort. A few Imperial Guard members accompany Lilandra when she picks up “Xavier“.

New X-Men (1st series) #122

Cassandra Nova attempts to take over the Shi’ar from within and telepathically takes down the crews of Lilandra’s fleet. Shortly before Lilandra falls under Cassandra influence too, she manages to send the Imperial Guardsman Smasher to warn Earth. After a straining travel though space, Smasher arrives, violently impacting on the pastures of a rural farmland. Unfortunately for Smasher, the group of Earthlings he tries to warn before passing out has little hope of heeding his warnings – they are a herd of cattle.

New X-Men (1st series) #123-126

With Lilandra and Chief Adviser Araki under mental hold, Cassandra is in control of the entire Shi’ar Empire. She makes Lilandra order the Imperial Guard to kill the X-Men and every other mutant on earth and creates a fake story of a fatal virus that affects their sanity. The Imperial Guard, or Superguardians as they are now called, do as told. They capture Cyclops and X-Men ally Xorn in China. At the same time, new Imperial Guard member Stuff has assumed human form and is hiding among the students at the Xavier Institute to spy and alert his fellow Guardsmen when the time is right for ambushing the mansion.

The attack happens right in the middle of Phoenix holding a press conference. Nearly a dozen Guardsmen arrive at the estate at once. While Jean gets the reporters and untrained students to safety in the Danger Room, the other try to fight of the Imperial Guard. Emma Frost is soon defeated and chained, however the other X-Men manage to take Neosaurus, Monstra, Manta, Squorm, Fader, Arc II and Blimp out of the battle. Yet they are too drained and exhausted to stop Gladiator who makes his way through the reinforced walls of the Danger Room. The X-Men try to reason with him, that it is not them but Lilandra who is acting insane. The Guard’s leader refuses to believe them at first, but when Plutonia uncovers Smasher at the crashsite and he confirms the X-Men’s story, Gladiator changes his mind. He and the Guardsmen still able to fight decide to protect the school from the approaching Cassandra.

Meanwhile in space, Cyclops advises Xorn how to use his powers to free themselves and deal with their prisoner G-Type. Since Cassandra caused the ship to self-destruct, the two mutants use their remaining seconds to grab the comatose Lilandra before they teleport down to the mansion where they find Gladiator and his fellow Shi’ar already defeated by her.
Elsewhere on the grounds, some of the new students band together. They overcome Stuff and Oracle of the Imperial Guard, manage to free Emma Frost and liberate a cell sample of Cassandra Nova that the Beast was storing in his labs. They telepathically force Stuff into mimicking Cassandra’s body from it and the powerful enemy gets defeated by a clever ploy. Emma Frost pretends to have switched sides and presents Cassandra-in-Xavier’s body her “real“ body. Cassandra falls for it, and once having left Xavier’s the Professor can claim his body back. By the time Cassandra realizes that she has been tricked into entering an alien’s body it is already too late, and her essence gets locked in a self-repeating program in the synthetic brain.

[Arc II, Blimp, Cosmo, Fader, G-Type, Gladiator, Mammoth, Manta, Monstra, Neosaurus, Oracle, Plutonia, Schism, Smasher, Squorm, Stuff ]

New X-Men (1st series) #133

The Shi’Ar have decided to withdraw all their operatives from Earth. Several Imperial Guard members are seen helping in the evacutions.
[Gladiator, N’rill‘iree, Starbolt]

Thanos #8-12

As Oracle recovered from her madness, she confirmed that the Maker was actually the Beyonder, an even greater threat than the Shi'ar believed. Gladiator falsified treason charges to be sentenced to the Kyln as an inmate to remain on guard. When the Maker did become cognizant again, she initiated a prison riot and was only defeated through the intervention of the Mad Titan, Thanos. Another inmate escaped during the riots: The Fallen One, a former Herald of Galactus who not only preceded the Silver Surfer's tenure in that position, but also originated it. Gladiator reclaimed his position as praetor of the Imperial Guard and drafted his fellow inmate Star-Lord. As Thanos confronted the Fallen One for his own purposes, the Imperial Guard remained in reserve to see who survived, and if they needed to eliminate the victor. [Gladiator, Star-Lord, Astra, Earthquake]

X-Force (2nd series) #5-6

Gladiator and the Imperial Guard sensed the resurrection of the creature known as the Skorrn on Earth. They traveled to the Milky Way to confront the creature, but found Earth's heroes had already banished the entity once more. [Gladiator, Smasher, Starbolt, Oracle, Fang, Flashfire; Gladiator, Starbolt]

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #477, 480

The Imperial Guard confronted Vulcan, ex-X-Man and enemy of the empire, when he arrived in Chandrilar air-space. Vulcan was a brutal opponent who killed or severely wounded several Guardsmen. Gladiator finally defeated the Earthman and reluctantly took him into custody instead of executing him. Scintilla balked at the idea, but orders had come from Chancellor Araki to imprison Vulcan instead. [Gladiator, Starbolt, Impulse, Smasher; Scintilla, Oracle, Nightside, Mentor, Neutron, Cosmo, Titan, Hobgoblin, Astra, Electron, Manta, Plutonia, Earthquake, Fang, Flashfire]

Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #485-486

Araki had been part of a Secret Order that had restored D'Ken to power, leading Gladiator and the Imperial Guard to serve the mad emperor again over Lilandra. D'Ken had seemingly found a champion in Vulcan who, through an obscure Shi'ar law, was risen to the position of royalty. After helping D'Ken secure his Empire from Lilandra's loyalists, D'Ken married his sister Deathbird to Vulcan in the light of the M'Kraan Crystal. The ceremony was also intended as an execution for their prisoner, Charles Xavier, and a trap for Lilandra, the Starjammers and their X-Men allies. During the confrontation, however, Vulcan murdered D'Ken and declared himself emperor by right of blood and conquest. Gladiator was uncertain of this, but he deferred to Deathbird's support of Vulcan. [Gladiator, Starbolt, Nightside, Earthquake, Electron, Warstar, Magique, Mentor; Gladiator, Warstar, Mentor, Starbolt, Earthquake, Manta]

X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1-5

As the Shi'ar civil war raged between Vulcan and Lilandra, the Imperial Guard remained at Vulcan's side while the Starjammers and Major-General Ka'ardum led a third of the fleet under Lilandra's command. In battle, they were interrupted by the Scyar Thal, a race dedicated to the destruction of the Shi'ar, who murdered an entire world with billions of inhabitants by dropping a star on them. Vulcan and Havok negotiated an uneasy peace to deal with the threat. Vulcan of course betrayed the Starjammers, turning the Imperial Guard on their allies while he tried to claim the Scyar Thal's Finality weapon. Havok destroyed Finality, but the Imperial Guard captured most of the Starjammers and Vulcan won Ka'ardum's loyalty as well. The Shi'ar civil war was effectively over. 
[Gladiator, Oracle, Titan, Nightside, Warstar, Starbolt, Manta, Scintilla, Mentor, Earthquake, Electron, Plutonia, Flashfire]

X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4

Vulcan began an aggressive policy of expansion for the Shi'ar Empire, using the Imperial Guard to conquer the Z'Nox and executing representatives of the Galactic Council who attempted to make him justify his actions. As Lilandra and the remaining Starjammers continued to elude him, Vulcan created his own Praetorian Guard of insane and merciless criminals to hunt them down. When the Starjammers came to rescue their comrades from the Shi'ar underwater prison, the Imperial Guard and Praetorians were ready. Gladiator was stunned that Vulcan had released his insane cousin Xenith as one of his guard. In the battle, Raza of the Starjammers was claimed as the new host of a Klyntar symbiote, one of the Praetorians. Lilandra mortally wounded Empress Deathbird, but Raza was left behind as the Starjammers escaped. With Deathbird comatose, Vulcan's reign was now completely unchecked by any moderating influences.
[Gladiator, Manta, Titan, Oracle, Nightside, Warstar, Starbolt, Scintilla, Mentor, Electron, Plutonia, Flashfire, Smasher]


War of Kings crossover

[War of Kings #1-6, War of Kings: Ascension #1-4, War of Kings: Warriors #1-2, War of Kings: Savage World of Skaar #1, Nova (4th series) #24-26, Guardians of the Galaxy (2nd series) #14-15]

While Vulcan had been busy conquering the Shi'ar Empire, the Kree Empire also came under new management. The Inhumans of Earth returned to claim their birthright as creations of the Kree, and the royal family of Attilan under Black Bolt became rulers of the Kree. Acting custodian of the empire, High Accuser Ronan was to be wed to the Inhuman princess Crystal to seal their union. However, when Attilan pursued some Skrulls from Earth across Shi'ar borders for vengeance, and later offered asylum to Lilandra and the Starjammers, the Kree drew the attention of Emperor Vulcan. Vulcan had the Imperial Guard launch a surgical strike on Hala during Ronan and Crystal's wedding, seriously wounding the groom and kidnapping Lilandra back into his clutches. With this act of war, the War of Kings began.

The Shi'ar fleet began efforts at conquest across the Kree borders. Nega-bombs were deployed to eliminate worlds too difficult to claim and conflict broke out between two galaxies. Gladiator led the Imperial Guard as brutal but honorable soldiers in various campaigns in disputed space. Xenith led her Praetorians in being brutal only.

Several third-parties attempted to intervene during the war, to their own regrets. The Xandarian Worldmind dispatched the recently reactivated Nova Corps on peacekeeping efforts. These rookie Novas, encouraged by subliminal influence and directed by an unstable Worldmind, found themselves hopelessly outclassed against the Imperial Guard. Dozens were taken as prisoners of war by Gladiator and Xenith, but when Gladiator was called to another battlefield, Xenith slaughtered the Corpsmen without mercy. A select few Nova Corps members survived after Rich Rider reclaimed his role as Nova Prime and cleansed the Worldmind of its insanity. Rather than participate in the Kree/Shi'ar War, Rider merely evacuated his peacekeepers from a battleground they had no hope of influencing.

The Guardians of the Galaxy also intervened on the conflict, due to their ongoing efforts to preserve the very fabric of space itself. The incursion from the Negative Zone by the Annihilation Wave, as well as subsequent subspace disturbances during the Phalanx invasion, left known space-time in a fragile state -- another prolonged war could rupture the universe even further. Unfortunately, Star-Lord's delegation was dismissed out of hand by the Inhumans, and Adam Warlock got into a fight with Vulcan himself. Warlock teleported away, but was tracked back to Knowhere by a "witch-mark" branded on him by the Superguardian Magique. At the same time, Star-Lord's delegation of Guardians teleported back from meeting with the Inhumans before realizing the impulsive Martyr had kidnapped Princess Crystal in the transit field as they left. The Inhuman Elite and Imperial Guard both materialized in Knowhere hunting Guardians, leading to a disastrous three-way skirmish that solved nothing.

Meanwhile, with Lilandra his captive, Vulcan prepared to bring her back to Chandrilar for trial and execution. The Starjammers and a cadre of Guardians led by Rocket Raccoon attacked the flagship and tried to recover Lilandra from Vulcan and the Superguardians. In the midst of the conflict, Praetor Gladiator finally had enough of his mad emperor and switched sides to support Lilandra's claim to the throne.

Gladiator and the Starjammers brought Lilandra back to the Aerie to reclaim her empire. By this time, the Shi'ar war machine was starting to break, the result of Vulcan having led too many simultaneous campaigns, overworking and overtaxing his people to support his war. A group of loyal delegates supported Lilandra bid to retake the throne at a senate hearing, and the people began crying out for their former Majestrix. Unfortunately, the path to renew her vows before the temples of Sharra and Kythri was overcrowded with pro- and anti-Lilandra protesters. During the street riots that followed her return, Lilandra was assassinated by an agent of the Fraternity of Raptors, a secret lodge of covert agents serving the greater Shi'ar Imperium. Gladiator and the Starjammers murdered Chancellor Araki and his Death Commandos in revenge, but the damage was done -- no royal alternative to Vulcan's rule remained.

In the end, the War of Kings came down to a battle between Vulcan and Black Bolt themselves. The Inhumans had launched a T-Bomb full of weaponized Terrigen at the Kree Empire, powered by Black Bolt and his voice. Vulcan intercepted the bomb and the two kings fought aboard the weapon. Princess Crystal defied her king’s orders and neutralized the Terrigen elements, making them inert. She tried pulling him to safety with Lockjaw, but a mortally injured Vulcan carried the battle to its end, and both kings were seemingly lost in the reduced explosion of the bomb.

[Gladiator, Neutron, Plutonia, Manta, Smasher Salac Tuur, Squorm, Starbolt, Mentor, Astra, Hussar, Earthquake, Hobgoblin, Impulse, Flashfire, Titan, Scintilla, Schism, Nightside, Magique, Black Light, Electron, Arc, Warstar, Fang, White Noise, Voyager, Short-Lived Smasher, Oracle, Fang]


WoK: Who Will Rule? #1

After Vulcan and Black Bolt disappeared into the Fault, both were declared dead and the Kree & Inhumans officially became wardens of the Shi'ar Empire. Princess Crystal was to be declared regent of the Shi'ar but, during the funeral procession for Lilandra, the Imperial Guard intervened. Led by Mentor, they did not acknowledge Vulcan's death or the legitimacy of the surrender and the Inhumans' authority. They were prepared to stage a military coup, and fighting broke out with the New Inhuman Elite. Gladiator ended the fight by taking up the scepter and becoming Kallark the First, Majestor of the Shi'ar. [Gladiator, Mentor, Starbolt, Neutron, Hussar, Impulse, Titan, Smasher, Black Light, Plutonia, Squorm, Fang, Manta, Schism, Astra, Warstar, Earthquake]

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1-5

With the empire in an uproar after the deaths of Lilandra and Vulcan and their defeat by the Kree, the Imperial Guard fought to preserve order and prevent uprisings across the galaxy. Majestor Kallark initiated an investigation into the Fault in order to determine if it was a threat to the Shi'ar. Newly appointed Praetor Mentor selected a team of Superguardians to accompany him and the Starjammers (Ch'od and Raza) into the Fault. During the quest, they encountered grotesque monstrosities from the far end of the Fault and former Avenger Quasar, who was desperately fleeing from his own excursion to the Cancerverse on the other side of the rift. As they fought through the Cancerverse's envoys, the Guard also discovered the new Smasher on their unit was actually Talon of the Fraternity of Raptors, seeking to revive two of his fellow Raptors by retrieving their amulets spewed out of the Fault. In dire need of firepower, Mentor and Plutonia agreed to become the permanent hosts to the Raptors' parasitic amulets, unleashing Kyte and Strel. Finally, Oracle managed to use Quasar's quantum link to tap into the M'Kraan Crystal itself and send a distress call to the Shi'ar, prompting a rescue mission by Gladiator and the rest of the Imperial Guard. However, Starbolt, Black Light and Neutron were ultimately lost along with Mentor and Plutonia. This excursion prompted Gladiator to assemble before the Galactic Council and alert them to the oncoming threat of the Cancerverse.
[Gladiator, Mentor, Neutron, Warstar, Titan, Flashfire, Plutonia, Voltar, Electron, Earthquake, Fang, Hussar, Manta, Commando, Starbolt, Oracle, Smasher/Talon, Voyager, Moondancer, Commando, Arc, G-Type, Black Light, White Noise, New Mentor, New Neutron, New Plutonia, New Starbolt]

Thanos Imperative #1

The combined forces of the universe assembled against Lord Mar-Vell and the undying hordes of the Cancerverse. Gladiator and the Shi'ar were joined by Medusa and the Kree, Blastaar and the Negative Zone, the Nova Corps, Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer, Galactus and the Abstracts, as well as Thanos himself. The Imperial Guard fought on the edge of the Fault while others took the battle to the Cancerverse itself. [Gladiator, Hussar, Warstar, Smasher]

Thanos Imperative Devastation #1

After the war with the Cancerverse, Cosmo of Knowhere presented himself before the Shi'ar throne to recruit Gladiator into a replacement unit for the fallen Guardians of the Galaxy, known as the Annihilators. [Gladiator, Warstar]

Avengers (5th series) #5

As a fleet of refugee cultures fled from the Builders' attacks, they crossed into Shi'ar space and started a conflict. The Shi'ar Imperial Guard's Superguardians were on hand to fight back against the fleet, but Superguardian Smasher was among the casualties. A Smasher subguardian, recently appointed Izzy Kane of Earth, heard the Imperial all-points distress signal and arrived with her Avenger teammates to reinforce the Superguardians. After the battle, Majestor Kallark appointed Izzy the official Superguardian of the Smasher-class. [Gladiator, Smasher, Oracle, Mentor, Starbolt, Warstar, G-Type, Manta, Neutron, Titan]


Infinity crossover

[Infinity #1-6, Avengers (5th series) #18-23, New Avengers (3rd series) #9-12, Avengers Assemble #18-19, Captain Marvel (7th series) #15-16, Wolverine and the X-Men Annual #1]

The Builders' fleet proved to be a threat to all galactic civilizations. Gladiator and the Imperial Guard joined forces with the Kree, Skrulls, Spartoi, Brood and Annihilus' Annihilation Wave to fight back the Builder armies of Alephs and Ex Nihilii. Smasher, Superguardian of Earth, also brought her team the Avengers to the table.

The first major offensive came at the Battle of the Corridor, where the allied fleet cornered the Builders in a narrow span of navigational space. Early success in the battle was overturned when the Builders revealed they kept the majority of their fleet cloaked at all times. The allied fleet was hopelessly outnumbered and driven into retreat. They fought back at a farming colony that served as a rendezvous point, and won largely thanks to the leadership of Gladiator. Unfortunately, the victory was costly, for an Ex Nihili committed suicide on the colony, spreading a plague that created a hundred million refugees. Kamikazi drones then struck the Shi'ar and their allies at the Behemoth Ringworld, causing even more damage.

Many galactic races fell after that, such as the Kymellians, the Centaurians and even the mighty Kree. Directed by Captain America of Earth, however, the Avengers and Imperial Guard led an assault on the main Builders' fleet that was a fantastic victory. Mentor of the Guard helped take command of a Builder World Killer and turn its firepower against the Builders. Not only were several captive Avengers rescued, Star Brand used his own Builders' system-based abilities to annihilate what remained of that section of their fleet. When the Avenger Thor killed a Builder with one blow on Hala, broadcast for all the galaxies to see, he rallied the Kree and other species back to the fight and turned the tide against the Builders.

The Builders War truly ended after Captain Universe, the Great Mother, eliminated all her children. Out of spite, the last Builder gave a final, world-razing command to the Aleph units. The Imperial Guard and Avengers led a series of missions to free occupied worlds and destroy the last remaining Alephs, a difficult but not insurmountable task now that the Builders were no longer directing them. When it was discovered that Earth had fallen to Thanos in their absence, a grateful cosmos united behind the Avengers to free their world, and the Imperial Guard helped retake the Peak, the SWORD satellite.

[Gladiator, Smasher, Oracle, Mentor, Starbolt, Manta, Warstars, Flashfire, Pulsar, Titan, Kid Gladiator, Subguardians Smasher, Warstar, Titan, Fang, Starbolt, Oracle, Neutron, Impulse, Electron, Flashfire, Manta, Plutonia, and Monstra]

All-New X-Men (2nd series) #22-24; Guardians of the Galaxy (3rd series) #11-13

After learning that Jean Grey of Earth was somehow alive again, Gladiator marshaled the Shi'ar Empire, the Imperial Guard and the Death Commandoes to bring her to justice. Reasoning the time-tossed Grey was either guilty of the destruction of the D'Bari star system or her death sentence might prevent that crime from taking place, Gladiator intended to put her on trial before galactic civilization.

Naturally, the X-Men opposed the kidnapping of one of their members, and joined forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Starjammers to rescue Jean. Meanwhile, Oracle sat as Jean's defender as they prepared for trial, and read her mind to confirm this Jean had never connected with the Phoenix Force. When J-Son of Spartax interrupted the trial for his own selfish reasons, Jean took the opportunity to escape from the Guard. In a confrontation of Gladiator and the Imperial Guard against the X-Men and their allies, Jean Grey demonstrated a newfound psychic power that the Phoenix never had. Oracle argued with Gladiator to stop his actions, as this Jean Grey clearly was divergent from the one who wielded the Phoenix Force. Gladiator relented, and the X-Men were allowed to leave Chandrilar with Jean and their comrades.
[Gladiator, Oracle, Mentor, Manta, a Smasher, Pulsar, Titan, Warstar, Scintilla, Electron, Plutonia, Astra, Flashfire, Hussar]

Avengers World #17

When Earth's Superguardian Smasher discovered she was pregnant by her boyfriend Cannonball, Mentor and the Imperial Guard arrived to escort her back to Chandrilar to deliver her Superguardian baby. Cannonball followed after the Guard and confessed his love for Izzy. He proved himself as a champion to Mentor, and was accepted as her consort as the two came to live on Chandrilar. [Mentor, Smasher, Warstar, Manta]

Avengers (5th series) #35

Eight months later, Sunspot and Manifold arrived on Chandrilar to recruit Cannonball and Smasher back into the Avengers. Starbolt and the Imperial Guard arrived at the presence of an unauthorized teleport, but allowed Superguardian Smasher to deal with the situation after learning who the arrivals were.
[Starbolt, Smasher, Hussar, Nightside, Manta]

Avengers (5th series) #41-44 

Mentor of the Imperial Guard finally recognized the galactic contraction caused by the Incursions and reasoned Earth was the cause for it. He presented his findings to Gladiator, who reluctantly rallied the Galactic Council into a fleet to eliminate the planet. Oracle begged Gladiator to reconsider, on behalf of Shi'ar honor and the debt still owed the Avengers from the Builders War. Mentor nevertheless maintained there was no other way and Majestor Kallark, for the sake of his empire, continued with the assault on Earth. He commended Smasher for choosing to stand with her people as the Galactic fleet arrived to destroy her planet. The Avengers would not go down without a fight, however, using AIM heat sink technology and a captured Builders Worldsweeper to decimate the alien ships. Gladiator's flagship finally fell when Tony Stark unleashed Sol's Hammer, a weapon of annihilation that killed Gladiator, the Imperial Guard and the entire fleet of ships with a weaponized solar flare.
[Gladiator, Mentor, Oracle, Smasher, Flashfire, Warstar, Titan, Manta, Starbolt]

In between

  • Through a series of events, the Incursions ended, the multiverse died, and a single planet called Battleworld was formed. Reed Richards and T'Challa the Black Panther survived Earth-616's destruction and, using the power of the Molecule Man and the Infinity Gauntlet, restored their world and the multiverse, with many small changes as a result. The events leading up to the final Incursion played out differently, and Gladiator and the Imperial Guard were not killed trying to destroy the Earth.

Ultimates (2nd series) #3:

The Imperial Guard investigated the dead world of Archiopia which suddenly flourished with life again after countless cycles. Their scans revealed that Galactus had been transformed from World Eater to Life Bringer by the Ultimates of Earth.  
[Gladiator, Smasher, Mentor, Oracle]