Imperial Guard (comics)

Imperial Guard (comics)

:"For the Mentor who is head of the Titanian Eternals, see A'lars. For the Tempest who is a member of the Exemplars, see Exemplars (comics). For the DC Comics supervillain, see Neutron (DC Comics)."Superteambox

caption=Imperial Guard by Dave Cockrum
team_name=Imperial Guard
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="X-Men" (vol. 1) #107 (1977)
creators=Chris Claremont
Dave Cockrum
base=Shi'ar Empire
Warstar (B'nee and C'cil)
Scintilla/ Midget
Neutron / Quasar
memberlist= List of Imperial Guard members
sortkey=Imperial Guard (comics)
The Imperial Guard is a team of fictional super-powered alien warriors in the Marvel Comics universe.


The Imperial Guard, an army of powerful beings that enforce Shi'ar Imperial law on all planets within the Shi'ar Galaxy, serves the rulers of the Shi'ar Empire (currently Vulcan and Deathbird). The original incarnation of the Imperial Guard were created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum. The team first appeared in "X-Men" volume 1 #107 and its most notable appearance was at the conclusion of the Dark Phoenix Saga, where they defeated the X-Men in the Phoenix's trial by combat, but the team lost to Phoenix from one attack.

Gladiator is the Praetor (leader) of this elite corps of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. The elite corps also protects and carries out the personal directives of the majestor or majestrix (emperor or empress) of the Shi’ar Empire.

The first known encounter of the Imperial Guard when the Imperial Guard battles the X-Men at the command of then-Shi'ar Emperor D'Ken. Gladiator and several members of the Guard fight the X-Men once more when new Shi'ar Empress Lilandra Neramani and Professor Charles Xavier arrange a trial by combat to decide the fate of the out of control Dark Phoenix.

Lilandra's sister, Deathbird, later staged a successful coup and becomes the new majestrix of the Shi'ar Empire. Despite the guards loyalty to Lilandra , they continued to serve the Shi'ar Empire as the Imperial Guard.

Much later Lilandra reclaimed the right to the Shi'ar throne and the Imperial Guard protected her throneworld as usual.

Operation Galactic Storm

The Imperial Guard played an important role in the Kree-Shi'ar War, printed in the "Operation Galactic Storm" cross-over. It started with Warstar trying to kidnap Rick Jones, but he was helped by Captain America,but was later captured by Oracle and some other Guardsmen who were intent on recovering Kree artifacts to aid them in the construction of a super weapon.

Later in these series Oracle, Flashfire and Electron kidnapped the Kree Captain Atlas and Impulse, Magique and Manta did fight with Starfox, the Kree Doctor Minerva and Quasar, but lost the battle.

Also new Imperial Guardsmen were introduced, like Onslaught, Hardball, Solar Wind, Moondancer, Voyager and Glom. This group did fight Quasar and Her to distract them so they could not stop the Nega Bomb.

Thor did fight Gladiator and was about to lose the battle, only to get the upper hand with the help of Living Lightning he managed to knock Gladiator unconscious.

Of the newly appearing Guardsmen Onslaught, Hardball and Glom never showed serving with the Imperial Guard again, probably forgotten by writers.


Starblast appeared in the Marvel series "Quasar" #54-56 when a group of aliens, calling themselves Starblasters, Quasar recruited some of Earth’s most powerful heroes to stop them, who tried to push the moon away from Earth’s orbit.

The Imperial Guard were informed about a hijacked Shi'ar craft and later joined Quasar. When it became clear that the Starblasters were working for the Stranger, Guard members Solar Wind, Voyager and Moondancer opted to help Quasar's team against the Stranger. These three Guardsmen were once captured and caged by the Stranger some years before.

But leader Gladiator denied their request. All three decided to help anyway, even though it would mean they had to resign from active Guard duty. After helping Quasar these three 'former' Guardsmen, as well as the Guardsman Solar Wind were never seen again serving the Shi'ar Imperial Guard and their whereabouts are unknown. Probably all these are forgotten by writers as well.

Imperial Guard Limited Series

During the time when many Earth heroes were believed dead after a battle with the psionic being Onslaught, Lilandra dispatched a cadre of 8 Guardsmen to help protect Earth. These were: Gladiator, Commando, -a new guardsman who used to be a Kree soldier-, Earthquake, Electron, Flashfire, Mentor, Nightside and Oracle. There, the Guardsmen uncovered a plot by a militant Kree faction to exact revenge for Earth's involvement in the Kree/Shi'ar war. The Guard ultimately proved triumphant, but not before the Kree's leader, the Supreme Intelligence, was recreated. Soon after, the Guard foiled an assassination attempt on Lilandra by the Kree Ronan and his unwilling agents, the Inhumans' Royal Family.

In this series Commando was accepted as a worthy Guardsmen. Strangely this new introduced guardsmen who got more 'introduction spotlight' then any other guardsmen, never appeared with the elitecorps again after this series and seems to be forgotten by writers.

Maximum Security

In the multi-series crossover event called "Maximum Security", four members of the Imperial Guard go rogue; Hussar, Warstar, Neutron and Webwing. They are placed on Earth, which the Shi'ar, along with other alien races, had appointed as an interstellar prison. The four ex-Guard help the entity 'Starhammer' attack the X-Men, particularly Jean Grey. After the crossover, Warstar and Nuetron return to active duty with the Guard. The fate of Webwing and Hussar is not made clear.

In this crossover Gladiator serves as Lilandra's advisor.

Cassandra Nova

During Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's run on "New X-Men", Lilandra comes under the mental possession of Cassandra Nova, the genetic twin of Xavier who had usurped her brother's body. She is mentally coerced into dispatching the Guard to kill the X-Men, while Nova stays behind and ravages the Shi'ar empire. After a pitched battle on the grounds of the X-Mansion, the X-Men are able to convince the Guard of the true threat. This is bolstered by Smasher, who is sent to earth as a warning when Lilandra temporarily has a clear mind. The Guard rally to defeat Nova but fall early on under her telepathic assault. The X-Men, with the unwilling recruitment of the shape-changing Shi'ar spy 'Stuff', defeat Nova. Lilandra suffers long-term mental damage from this encounter, even trying to assassinate Xaiver at a later date.

During this storyline, the Guard is called the Shi'ar Superguardian Elite. It is unknown what, if any, distinction exists between the Guard and the Elite, although many old Guardsmen were also members of the Elite.

The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire

As of the Guard's most recent appearance in "Uncanny X-Men #480", the Imperial Guard suffers heavy casualties in battle with Vulcan. Those believed to have died are Smasher, Impulse, Neutron, Hobgoblin, and Cosmo. Titan, Nightside and Oracle are injured, but these 3 have since recovered. Gladiator, Scintilla, Manta, Earthquake, Mentor, Electron, Astra, Starbolt and Flashfire were also fighting Vulcan, all these survived the battle. The status of the rest of the Imperial Guard is unknown as yet.

Emperor Vulcan

Oracle and Titan have since recovered from Vulcan's attack as they both appeared in issue #2 of this mini-series.

The civil war between Vulcan's including his Imperial Guard and those loyal the dethroned Lilandra rages on. Led by Havok and the Starjammers, Lilandra's forces gradually whittle away at Vulcan's forces, which are plagued by defections. The Shi'ar, contrary to Vulcan's expectations, are not happy to have an outsider as their ruler. Vulcan is discouraged by this, but Deathbird convinces him that they will come to accept him.

Warned in advance of a rebel raid on Feather's Edge, Vulcan and his fleet ambush the Starjammers. However, in the middle of the battle, his ship, the Hammer, is destroyed by the Scy'ar Tal (translates as "Death to the Shi'ar"). Vulcan and Gladiator attack the leader of the Scy'ar Tal and are easily defeated, whereupon they retreat deeper into Shi'ar space.

Marvel Girl makes contact with the Eldest Scy'ar Tal and discovers their true origin. The Scy'ar Tal were originally called the M'Kraan. Early in their history, the Shi'ar attacked them, killed a great number of their people, making the rest flee for their lives. Eventually, the Shi'ar settled on their planet, took the M'Kraan Crystal as their own, and passed down the legend of the M'Kraan Crystal as a sacred gift from their deities, Sharra & K'ythri. The M'Kraan then changed their named to Scy'ar Tal and devoted their culture and society to the destruction of the Shi'ar Empire. With their first attack, they destroyed Feather's Edge by transporting a star to obliterate it.

Vulcan leads the fight from a Shi'ar vessel, accompanied by his brother Havok and Gladiator, Titan, Starbolt, Mentor, Warstar and Earthquacke. While Oracle shields their ship from Marvelgirl.

Gladiator assists Havok and Vulcan in fighting 'the Eldest', leader of the Scy'ar Tal and finally the 3 of them managed to win the battle.

Afterwards Vulcan orders the guard to attack the Starjammers. Plutonia, Oracle, Flashfire, Manta and Electron are among the guardsmen who fight the Starjammers.

Resemblances to DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Imperial Guard has many intentional resemblances to DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes. The Guard is headed by Gladiator, who is the team's analogue to the LSH's Superboy and, to a lesser extent Mon-El. Most of the other members are direct equivalents in super-powers and have similar details of costume design to specific Legionnaires (such as Oracle matches Saturn Girl, Electron matches Cosmic Boy, Mentor matches Brainiac 5,and Flashfire matches Lightning Lad), but there are a number who differ greatly from their counterparts or who have no counterpart at all. The original Imperial Guard members seen in "X-Men" #107 were designed by artist Dave Cockrum, who had previously been best known for his work on the "Legion of Super-Heroes", and all had direct counterparts among the Legionnaires. (Nightcrawler was intended to be in a Legion spinoff team book, but Cockrum left the book before he could be introduced, so he brought the character over to Marvel. [] ) Later Guardsmen, beginning with the members introduced in "X-Men" #137, moved away from the Legion pastiche and began introducing characters with no Legionnaire counterparts. New Guardsmen corresponding to the LSH would not be introduced until the 1990s' "Avengers" crossover "".

Collective list of titles

*"Avengers" vol. 1 #345
*"Avengers West Coast" #80-82
*"Captain America" vol. 1 #398
*"Classic X-Men" #14
*"Excalibur" vol. 1 #69-70
*"Exiles" #3-4, 87-88
*"Imperial Guard" #1-3
*"Inhumans" vol. 3 #3-4
*"New X-Men" vol. 1 #117, 122-126, 133
*"Quasar" #32-33, 54-56
*"Rom Annual" #4
*"Starblast" #1-4
*"Starjammers" #4
*"Thor" vol. 1 #445-446
*"Uncanny X-Men" #107-109, 136-137, 155, 157-158, 162, 275-277, 341, 467-468, 477, 480, 482-483
*"What If?" #55-56
*"X-Men Spotlight on ... Starjammers" #2
*"X-Men: Emperor Vulcan # 1 - 5

Other Media

The Imperial Guard appears in the 1990s X-Men TV series. Present in the series are Starbolt, Flashfire, Oracle, Smasher, Titan, Hobgoblin, Warstar, Quake, Hussar, and Manta.

Gladiator, Neutron, Hussar, Starbolt, and Warstar of the Imperial Guard appear in "" as enemies. Apparently some of the guards turned traitor and helped Deathbird take the throne from her sister Lilandra. At the same time the player's team comes to obtain a shard of the M'Kraan Crystal, and defeat the traitorous guards, Shi'ar soldiers, and Deathbird.

External links

* [ feature on the Imperial Guard]
* [ Shi'ar Imperial Guard at]
* [ All the appearances of the Imperial Guard from]

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