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Guardians of the Galaxy Reading Order

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First appearing in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (Jan. 1969), the Guardians of the Galaxy is a superhero team that originated from an idea Roy Thomas had about “super-guerrillas fighting against Russians and Red Chinese who had taken over and divided the USA.” Thomas didn’t have the time to research it so Stan Lee gave it to Arnold Drake. He took it and placed it in space.

Penciled by Gene Colan, the first story introduced us to an alternative timeline of the Marvel Universe known as Earth-691, in the 31st century. The members of the Guardians of the Galaxy were Major Vance Astro, an astronaut from 20th century Earth who spends a thousand years traveling to Alpha Centauri in suspended animation; Martinex T’Naga, a crystalline being from Pluto; Captain Charlie-27, a soldier from Jupiter; and Yondu Udonta, a blue-skinned “noble savage” from Centauri-IV.

Together, they fight against the Badoon, a reptilian alien species, determined to conquer Earth’s Solar System. The team grew as the fight went on. And when the Guardians defeated the Badoon, the evil Korvac became their main foe. They traveled in time, developed into a multiple-team organization, and simply continued to fight… up until Guardians of the Galaxy #62 (July 1995).

In May 2008, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning introduced a new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy following the Annihilation: Conquest event–the old team appeared as guest stars during the series and got a new title, Guardians 3000.

The new roster united Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Phyla-Vell, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Adam Warlock. Together, they play an important part in the Annihilation storylines that relaunched the Cosmic Universe of Marvel.

With the movie coming out, the team was pushed to the front, and, in 2012 with the launch of the Marvel NOW! initiative, Brian Michael Bendis became the main writer of the series (drawn by Steve McNiven). New members joined, spin-offs were developed, and guest appearances in other titles multiplied. The Guardians of the Galaxy became big players in the Marvel Universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy Reading Order

I. The Guardians of the Galaxy of 1969

Even if Arnold Drake wrote the introduction issue, it’s writer Steve Gerber who took charge after that. The Guardians of the Galaxy were popular from the start, but Marvel didn’t give them an ongoing series. In fact, they disappeared for five years after the first issue, reappearing in Marvel Two-In-One and Defenders before finally getting their series, Marvel Presents (starting #3). After that, they made guest appearances, notably in The Avengers #167–177 for the Korvac Saga.

The 1960s Guardians of the Galaxy Epic Collection

The same stories were previously collected in:

Some iconic issues are also available in Avengers: The Korvac Saga (collects Avengers (1963) #167-168, #170-177 & Thor Annual #6).


After that, the Guardians of the Galaxy disappeared again, this time for a whole decade. Following the popularity of the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Tom DeFalco decided to exploit the renewed interest in that kind of story by reviving the Guardians of the Galaxy. A new team of Guardians was created by writer/artist Jim Valentino.

Those classic Guardians of the Galaxy issues by Jim Valentino are also available in one omnibus:

With Guardians of the Galaxy #29 (Oct. 1992),  Michael Gallagher took over the series and continued until its cancellation with issue #62–with Kevin West as penciler. During that period of time, they also launched a spin-off four-issue miniseries, Galactic Guardians (July-Oct. 1994).

It was again the end for the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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II. Guardians of the Galaxy of 2008

The 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy was not based on the original roaster or even the stories. It was more inspired by the 2008 relaunch. But before we talk about that, let’s just note that the different members of the new Guardians (movie) already appeared–not together–in the past. Those stories have been collected in one big volume. It’s for the curious fans more than anything because some characters were quite different before.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Solo Classic Omnibus
    Collects Incredible Hulk (1968) #271, Annual #5; Iron Man (1968) #55; Captain Marvel (1968) #27-33, 43-44, 58-62; Strange Tales (1951) #180-181; Warlock (1972) #9-11, 15; Avengers (1963) #219-220, Annual #7; Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2; Marvel Preview #11; Marvel Spotlight (1979) #1-2, 6-7; Marvel Premiere #61; Rocket Raccoon (1985) #1-4; Star-Lord Special Edition & More!

The Annihilation Saga

The Annihilation Saga was the start of the new Marvel Cosmic Universe. It’s a huge story, a series of events that started in 2006. This has already been covered in the Marvel Cosmic Reading Order, The Modern Saga. Read the article for a full understanding of that era, I’ll only list the GotG books below.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning used existing characters and united them to create the new Guardians of the Galaxy during the Annihilation: Conquest event–I would recommend starting from the first Annihilation in order to meet some of the characters before.

The new roster united Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Phyla-Vell, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Adam Warlock. 

New Epic Collection (ongoing)

Previous collections

The Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett & Lanning was also collected in the following books:

For the fans of Rocket Raccoon & Groot:

*The two storylines are also collected in Rocket Raccoon & Groot: The Complete Collection.

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Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy

With the movie announced, it was time for Marvel to revamp the Guardians of the Galaxy and put them under the spotlight–as part of Marvel NOW! To do just that, the biggest author of the era, Brian Michael Bendis, took charge. His version of the team was based on the one that will become familiar to MCU Fans, and was introduced in Avengers Assemble before the launch of the new ongoing GotG series.

Guardians of the Galaxy by Bendis Omnibus & Hardcover Editions

Before we take a more detailed look at the collected editions, let’s start with the big one:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis Omnibus
    Guardians Avengers Assemble (2012) #1-8; Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #0.1, 1-27; Guardians of the Galaxy Annual (2014) #1; Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers (2013) #1; All-New X-Men (2012) #22-24; Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy) #1; Guardians of Knowhere (2015) #1-4; Guardians Team-Up (2015) #1-2.

There also is a three-volume Hardcover collection:

Guardians of the Galaxy by Bendis Trade Paperback Edition

And now, the same Guardians of the Galaxy stories by Brian Michael Bendis, but with more details in the trade paperback collection.

That’s when Agent Venom joined the team.

Around that time, several spin-offs were launched:

 #24-25 are part of “The Black Vortex” storyline that is fully collected in:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex
    Collects Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha #1; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 #24-25; Legendary Star-Lord #9-11; All-New X-Men #38-39; Guardians Team-Up #2; Nova #28; Cyclops #12; Captain Marvel #14; Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Omega #1.

Dan Abnett and Gerardo Sandoval bring back the original Guardians with the Guardians 3000:

Secret Wars 2015Secret Wars! The event that rebooted the entire Marvel Universe took place here (click here to know more about that massive event).

All-New All-Different Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy

Following Secret Wars, the Marvel Universe was rebooted. A lot changed, but Brian Michael Bendis was still in charge of the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was the All-New All-Different Marvel!

Before jumping back into the Guardians, there are some solo adventures to read! (not by Bendis)

Like before, we start with a hardcover collection:

And now, with more details, the trade paperback collection. In bold are the main must-read stories by Brian Michael Bendis, the rest is for completists.

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All New Guardians of the Galaxy, from Marvel Legacy to Marvel Fresh Start

In 2017, Brian Michael Bendis left the title and Gerry Duggan took over as the main writer on the series. But first, the Guardians of the Galaxy assist Captain Marvel, the Ultimates, and the other space teams during the Secret Empire crossover event.

  • Secret Empire: United We Stand
    Collects Secret Empire: United #1, Secret Empire: Underground #1, Secret Empire: Uprising #1, Uncanny Avengers (2015B) #24-25, and All-New Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1.

Gerry Duggan wrote a trilogy of sorts that was collected in:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy by Gerry Duggan Omnibus
    Collects All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy #1–12, Guardians Of The Galaxy (vol. 1) #146–150, material from Free Comic Book Day 2017 Guardians Of The Galaxy.

All-new Guardians of the Galaxy 1 Communication Breakdown

Guardians of the Galaxy by Gerry Duggan in paperbacks:

This story led right into Infinity Countdown, then Infinity Wars, as the Infinity Stones are back. You can find more about this crossover event in our Infinity Wars Reading Order.

  • Infinity Wars by Gerry Duggan: The Complete Collection
    Collects Infinity Countdown Prime #1, Infinity Countdown #1-5, Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock #1, Free Comic Book Day Amazing Spider-Man/Guardians of the Galaxy 2018 (Guardians of the Galaxy Saga), Infinity Wars Prime #1, Infinity Wars #1-6, Infinity Wars: Fallen Guardian #1, Infinity Wars: Infinity #1, Thanos Legacy #1 (B story).


Guardians of the Galaxy by Donny Cates

After Gerry Duggan, Donny Cates took over the Guardians of the Galaxy with artists Geoff Shaw and Cory Smith. It’s Volume 5 and it’s an extension of Cates Cosmic series–see Cosmic Ghost Rider.

The whole 12-issue Volume 5 by Donny Cates is also available in one book:

Guardians of the Galaxy by Al Ewing & Juan Cabal

Donny Cates left after 12 issues and Al Ewing with artist Juan Cabal took over.

Issues #16-18 are part of the Last Annihilation event (see reading order):

  • Last Annihilation
    Collects Guardians of the Galaxy (vol. 6) #16–18, Cable Reloaded #1, The Last Annihilation: Wiccan & Hulking #1, The Last Annihilation: Wakanda #1, S.W.O.R.D. (vol. 2) #7

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Cowboys

One year ago, the Guardians of the Galaxy were destroyed. Their optimistic future shattered by the betrayal of one of their own. Now, they ride the space lanes of a lawless corner of the galaxy, trying to outrun their tragedy. Can they rediscover their heroism and humanity on the bleakest frontier? Can they forgive the failures of their past? Or will they fade into the dark, eternally unforgiven?” Writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly team up with artist Kev Walker to relaunch the series as a space western.

Last Updated on April 26, 2024.

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