In the 31st Century, the Guardians of the Galaxy are freedom fighters formed by a diverse group of beings. The home reality of the Guardians of the Galaxy has been designated Earth-691. The founding members are Vance Astro (later Major Victory), Charlie-27, Yondu and Martinex. The team was founded to fight the Badoon race, who had conquered the Sol system and the Alpha Centauri system among others. The Guardians became the leading force of the resistance movement against the Badoon.
The original Guardians of the Galaxy were created by writer, Arnold Drake, and artist, Gene Colan, in their first appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes vol 1 #18 (1/1969). Mike Esposito was the inker for this debut. Drake and Colan created the founding members being from the 31st Century reality called Earth-691.
After the cosmic Annihilation series written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, a group of established cosmic heroes were brought together by Abnett and Lanning as the Guardians of the Galaxy in the present day reality called Earth-616. This version of the team officially earned their name in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 #1 (7/2008). This premiere issue was written by Abnett and Lanning and drawn by Paul Pelletier (pencils) and Rick Magyar (inks).
Earth-691 Guardians of the Galaxy
During the reign of the Badoon in the 31st Century, Badoon soldiers occupied planets such as Earth as they continued their oppression. The Guardians of the Galaxy staged a rebellion on Earth aided by Captain America and the Thing who traveled from the 20th Century to the 31st Century. Several months later, the Guardians traveled to the 20th Century to gain information on a failed Badoon invasion that occurred in that time period.
While on this mission, the Guardians met 20th Century heroes, the Defenders, and team-up to fight a mutated eel. The Defenders returned with the Guardians to the 31st Century to fight the Badoon empire. The Guardians are later joined by Starhawk. Both teams worked together to eventually defeat the Badoon's oppressive regime.
The Defenders returned to their own time period while the Guardians and other surviving rebels of the war rebuilt their civilization. The Guardians eventually left Earth as space explorers and adventurers and recruited Nikki along the way. During these adventures, the Guardians learned that the Silver Surfer prevented the Badoon invasion of Earth in the 20th Century. They also learned about Starhawk's other half, Aleta.
The Guardians aided by Thor from the 20th Century encountered one of their greatest foes, Korvac, which led to a significant story arc known as the Korvac Saga. The Guardians had followed Korvac to the 20th Century and fought side by side with that era's mightiest heroes, the Avengers, against Korvac. The Guardians were all granted honorary Avengers membership after this event.
After staying in the 20th Century for some time, the Guardians continued to have various adventures with other heroes such as the Thing and Spider-Man. Vance Astro even met his younger self (actually parallel counterpart) and inadvertently unleashed young Vance's own latent psychic abilities.
This results in young Vance Astrovik in walking a path different from Vance Astro. Young Vance grows up to be Justice of the New Warriors and later the Avengers. The Guardians eventually returned to their own time period and decide to embark on a quest to recover Captain America's lost shield. This quest for the shield sets the stage for significant events in the lives of the Guardians. After finding Captain America's shield, Vance Astro was able to safely remove his life-preserving suit and change into a different uniform. Vance changed his name as well to Major Victory.
The group also acquired a few more members such as Firelord, Replica, Hollywood (Earth-691 Wonder Man), Talon and Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara from Earth-616). Martinex took a leave of absence from the group to form the Galactic Guardians in an effort to expand the Guardians operations. He recruited Firelord, Replica, Mainframe (Earth-691 Vision), Spirit of Vengeance, Hollywood and Phoenix IX.
The Galactic Guardians completed several missions before Martinex eventually returned to the Guardians of the Galaxy. By the end of this series, Starhawk, Firelord, Replica, Talon and Yellowjacket had left the group for their own reasons and the remaining Guardians embarked on another mission in the past.
The series ended with the group composed of Charlie-27, Nikki, Major Victory, Martinex, Aleta, Yondu and Hollywood. The Guardians make their most recent appearance with this lineup in New Warriors vol 1 #68. No sign of the Guardians has been seen since until Major Victory and Starhawk suddenly appears in the second volume of the Guardians of the Galaxy series. No indication as to the whereabouts of the other Guardians.
Earth-616 Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians of the Galaxy of the mainstream Marvel reality has recently been formed after the events of the Annihilation Conquest. The previous lineup is Adam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer, Quasar (Phyla), Gamora, Starlord, Mantis, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. After a Skrull infiltration of their headquarters on Knowhere, it was revealed to the Guardians that Mantis had been asked by Peter Quill to use her mind-control powers on the team's members in order to help the team function better.
As a result of this news Phyla together with Drax go in search of Moondragon, Warlock accompanied by Gamora leaves the group and Star-lord also leaves which in turn brought Mantis & Groot to have been moved to active status & the team is lead by Rocket Raccoon.
With Peter Quill's return from the Cancerverse, he once again leads a team of Guardians, consisting of Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. During his trip through space, Tony Stark joins the team for a short time, before Angela after being displaced from her own universe assists the Guardians during Thanos' invasion of Earth.
Major Story Arcs
Star-Lord heads to Hala to see if the warning signal he gave went through to Ronan only to be sent to the Negative Zone by Ronan. Star-Lord comes across Blastaar and is enslaved so he can be used to make the personnel at 42 to surrender as he plans on invading earth but he thwarts his plan and brings back Jack Flag with him.
Meanwhile The Guardians are fighting off the Badoon from a colony and learn from Major Victory that the Badoon in his timeline conquered the Human race, Drax and Phyla are looking for Cammi but instead find out Moondragon is still alive and eventually go to Mentor to see if he can help them but he kills them instead stating "It was absolutely essential". Adam Warlock and Gamora went to find the Matriarch and tell her that she is their Messiah and will prove it by stopping the war that is coming.
After Mentor kills Drax and Phyla they are found on Oblivion where Phyla loses her Quantam Bands and Drax infers that they are dead after learning this development. They are quickly ambushed by Maelstrom and Phyla was fed to the Dragon of the Moon, but before Drax was fed, Wendell Vaughn (aka: Quasar) comes to rescue him and fights off Maelstrom as Phyla bursts out of the Dragons belly with Heather but made the deal to be Deaths avatar.
War of Kings
Upon learning of the upcoming war between the Shi'ar Empire, with their new Emperor Vulcan, and the Kree, now led by the Inhumans and their King Black Bolt. All of the Guardians reunite and are joined by Moondragon and Jack Flag who returns with Star-lord from the Negative Zone.
The Guardians split into two teams in an attempt to talk the Inhumans and the Shi'ar out of the War of Kings, but both were unsuccessful. This led to both attacking the Guardians on Knowhere. During the skirmish, the Guardian's prisoner, Starhawk, is able to escape. She (having changed genders because of time travel) takes several of the Guardians to her future to show them the dangers the war will have on the universe.
Starhawk's future is a bleak one. As a result of the War of Kings, a massive, expanding fissure is opened known as the Fault. The Guardians meet the future Guardians (similar to the 691 Guardians, composed of Starhawk, Martinex, Charlie-27, Yondu and Vance Astro) who live in a small bubble of a universe since the Fault has consumed their universe. They are all that remains besides the Badoon, who have taken over the remainder of the universe.
Starhawk explains that the Fault is caused by Black Bolt and had brought them there to prove the damage she had earlier claimed. With their time machine destroyed, the only hope is to send a message back to the past to warn the other Guardians. The Badoon attack and they make a plan to send their message. The Badoon had enslaved the Celestials and made them into what they called the 'Celestial Engine' which protects the remainder of the universe from the Fault. They planned to relay a message to one of the Celestials who could then send the message to Knowhere.
They are able to relay their message and this causes the Celestials to break their alignment. The 691 Guardians say their goodbyes and the others wonder if this is truly the end, for this future has nothing left to save. Instead of being obliterated, this causes the 616 Guardians to be sent adrift in time. It also causes them to age strangely, with the exception of Jack Flag, who seems to be fading from existence.
They arrive in another distant future with a new set of Guardians (Killraven, Charlie-27, Nikki, Hollywood and Starhawk). This future is extremely similar to War of the Worlds, and the Guardians protect and supply the survivors from the extermination of Martian invaders. Starhawk is sent the information on what is happening from the other versions of himself. With this information, they are able to form a plan to return the Guardians to their own time and a way for the future Guardians to defeat the Martians.
Hollywood had spoken of the advanced weaponry of the Avengers located under the mansion, but the Martian Command Node was blocking the entrance like a force field. Since Jack Flag was diluted, this gave him the ability to pass through it. Once inside, the future Guardians had all the weapons they needed to defeat Earth's attackers. But before the other Guardians could use the time machine, they slipped through time once again.
The team fell through several alternate futures before arriving at one ruled by the Magus and the Universal Church of Truth. While being attacked by the followers of the Church, they were rescued by an unlikely ally: Kang the Conqueror. He took them to limbo, where he had an army of Starhawk's from destroyed realities assisting him. He explained that Adam Warlock would become the Magus and all possible futures were becoming Magus futures. He gave Starlord a Cosmic Cube and sent them back to their own time, moments before Adam's transformation.
They arrive at the right time, but it is too late. In order to stop the expansion of the Fault, Adam had overlapped time with an unused future, the one in which he became the Magus. Once transformed, all the Guardians engaged him, to which the Magus seemed to have no problem in handling all of them. Starlord was able to turn Magus back into Adam Warlock, but only briefly. At Adam's request, the only was to stop the Magus was to kill him, which Starlord regrettably did.
The battle was costly and Adam was not the only member of the team to be lost. In battle with the Magus, several other members lost their lives fighting him, including Mantis, Cosmo, Major Victory, Gamora, and Phyla. They returned to Knowhere, having paid a high price for their victory. Magus, however, survived the battle. He faked his own death at the hands of Starlord to by time for his plan to create the Fault. He also faked the deaths of Mantis, Cosmo, Major Victory, Gamora, and Phyla. While trying to escape, Phyla unwittingly opens a cocoon containing Thanos, to take back his rightful place as the Avatar of Death. Thanos kills Phyla but is defeated and captured by the remaining Guardians with the help of the Cosmic Cube.
The Thanos Imperative
After the Magus detonates a multitude of the Church's planets to open the Fault, the Guardians and Thanos form an uneasy alliance. They all travel to the Cancerverse, the Fault-connected universe currently invading theirs under the leadership of a corrupted Captain Mar-Vell. The Guardians show off their might by defeating the Defenders of the Realm, corrupted versions of the most powerful heroes of Earth, but the Cancerverse is void of Death and they regenerate. Thanos is able to kill them since he is the Avatar of Death. They then join together with the Machine Resistance and learn the true goal of Lord Mar-Vell: turn their universe into another Cancerverse.
They learn of the Necropsy Site where Death was originally killed, but Thanos seemingly betrays the team, offering himself to Mar-Vell while the Guardians have their hands full with the Revengers. As he is being killed, Death appears and destroys him. After this, she begins the destruction of the Cancerverse. The Guardians are teleported away in the nick of time, but Starlord along with Nova remains behind to ensure Thanos does not escape, sacrificing themselves for the greater good of the universe. When all is said and done, the team has lost Adam Warlock, Phyla Vell, Drax and their leader, Peter Quill, the Starlord.
Earth-9997 - Earth X
Having accidentally traveled to Earth-9997 from a future nearly identical to that of Earth-691, the Guardians (Vance Astro, Martinex, Charlie-27, Starhawk and Yondu) injured Uatu and began interrogating X-51, demanding to know why the world was the way it was. He explained the differences in their histories to The Guardians which prompted them to travel to Earth where they were assaulted by Karnak of the Inhumans.
Later while seeking out Reed Richards they found themselves in conflict with both The Heralds and the Negative Zone warlords Annihilus and Blastaar but the fight was eventually cut short when they were all arrested by Jack Muldoon, Peter Parker and Luke Cage. Soon afterwards Arno Stark, the Iron Man of 2020 approached Vance with an idea that could turn their war against the Badoon in Humanity's favor but would only help them if Vance would let Arno join The Guardians.
Towards the end of Paradise X, The Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man 2020 depart for the 31st Century but not before Killraven has a chance to speak with them. It is presumed that Iron Man 2020 activated the Mutant X-Gene within the people of the 31st Century which in turn gave The Guardians of the Galaxy and the rest of Humanity the power to crush the Badoon once and for all.
Earth 9812 - Avengers: Forever
In a world where the tyrannical Terran Empire and their all-powerful Galactic Avenger Battalions have conquered the Universe, a group of travelers from the 31st Century who call themselves The Freedom Fighters (Vance Astro, Aleta, Starhawk, Nikki, Yondu and Charlie-27) seek to change the past and free the future.
Immortus briefly disguised the time-displaced Avengers who were fighting in The Destiny War as The Guardians to ensure that the presence of Captain America, Wasp, Giant Man, Rick Jones and Hawkeye did not affect that future timeline. On January 1st, 3001, Peter Quill and a small splinter group of his Guardians briefly visited this timeline as they were being flung across the Multiverse.
What If? AvX
In this reality, the Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, Rocket Raccoon and Gamora) detected the Phoenix Force coming towards them and after several failed attempts to make contact with it, they attempted to move out of its way but were intercepted and obliterated by it, but not before managing to send out a distress signal to all inhabited worlds in the quadrant including Earth.
The Guardians of the Galaxy show up in Season 2 Episode 6 "Michael Korvac". The team is lead by Star-Lord (Peter Quill), and consists of Rocket Raccoon, Adam Warlock, Quasar (Phyla-Vel, Captain Marvel's daughter), and Groot.
A James Gunn directed movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Guardians of the Galaxy consists of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel).