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Whilst he is most known for his portrayal of Lex Luthor in the long-running TV series Smallville, or as the voice of The Flash in the animated DC films, Supa-Star Michael Rosenbaum has also managed to swap the DC Universe for the Marvel one in a super-galactic outing as the crystalline Martinex T’Naga in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. With his face obscured by the VFX equivalent of a talking disco ball, you might be forgiven for not being able to instantly recognise the man behind the effects at first glance.
What a lot of fans of the films may also not know is that Martinex, along with Stallone’s Stakar, and even Michael Rooker’s Yondu, were all officially Guardians of the Galaxy long before Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, Drax and Mantis ever claimed the title as their own.
In fact, much like their earthbound counterparts, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy is a team which has had multiple iterations since their original comic book debut in 1969, and have welcomed a large and diverse array of interesting characters over the years. So why don’t we take a look back at some of Marvel’s lesser-known, but no less fascinating, Guardians of the Galaxy?
The original Guardians of the Galaxy were formed in the distant 31st Century, and featured Martinex from Pluto, Charlie-27, a soldier from Jupiter, and Yondu from Centauri-IV. Joining them from Earth was the 20st century astronaut, Major Vance Asto, who had spent a thousand years travelling to Alpha Centauri in suspended animation. To protect him from aging, Vance’s skin was covered in a copper-alloy bodysuit (which would later be replaced by Adamantium — the same metal that was bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton in the X-Men) and his blood was replaced with a preservative fluid. Vance also possesses the mutant X-gene, and is capable of generating psycho-kinetic blasts of energy.
An original member of the 1969 Guardians of the Galaxy, Charlie-27 grew up on Jupiter, a planet with a significantly greater gravitational force than that of Earth. As a result, Charlie-27 possesses eleven times the strength and muscle mass of an ordinary human. In the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, he was portrayed by Ving Rhames.
Cosmo the Spacedog
Rocket isn’t the only talking animal to join up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Cosmo the Spacedog was a 1960s Russian test animal who was mutated by space rays and ended up at the interdimensional observatory, ‘Knowhere’, where he eventually became the station’s chief of security. As Peter Quill’s version of the Guardians operated out of Knowhere for some time, Cosmo was dragged into many of their misadventures.
In the original 2014 film, director James Gunn included a brief nod to Cosmo by placing him amongst the various exhibits owned by the Collector.
A powerful telepath, genetic scientist and expert martial artist, Moondragon’s illustrious career has included such feats as temporarily restoring Daredevil’s sight, fighting against Thanos alongside the Avengers, mentally enslaving Thor to become her lover, and even taking possession of the Mind Stone for a time. Eventually, Moondragon also found her way to Knowhere, where she assisted Mantis and Cosmo in supporting the Guardians.
Bug began life in the Marvel comic adaptations of the Micronauts toy line, where he was originally known as Galactic Warrior. However, after Marvel realised their design did not at all resemble the original Takara toy, they changed his name and assumed full ownership of the character.
Although not an original member of the modern Guardians team led by Peter Quill, Bug was asked to join by Rocket to stop a war between the Shi’ar and Kree. In an interview with AMC, James Gunn revealed that Bug was originally featured in an early draft of the first Guardians film, but did not make it through to the final version.
Cosmic Ghost Rider
In an alternate reality where Thanos was successful in conquering the whole universe, Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, was one of the last to fall to the Mad Titan, and when he died his soul was sent to hell. The Punisher, however, signed a deal with Mephisto and became the Ghost Rider on a dead and deserted planet Earth. Some years later, Galactus arrived and offered him the Power Cosmic, giving him the chance to seek vengeance on Thanos and turning him into the Cosmic Ghost Rider.
In January last year, Marvel writer and previous Supanova guest Donny Cates relaunched the Guardians series, and included Cosmic Ghost Rider amongst the new line up.
Rosenbaum’s Martinex didn’t get much screen time in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2., but as one of the founding members of the original team he is a character truly worthy of note. Derived from a genetically engineered future version of humanity, Martinex’s crystalline physiology allows him to resist extreme heat and cold, as well as many other more conventional forms of injury. His right hand can project infrared energy, capable of producing heat and his left hand can project microwave energy capable of rapidly cooling objects. In addition, Martinex holds multiple doctorates in physics and engineering, and is an expert in computers and cyborg technology.