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Imperial Guard (comics)

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Imperial Guard
File:Imperial Guard 1.jpg
The cover of Imperial Guard #1 (Jan. 1997). Artwork by Chuck Wojtkiewicz and Ray Snyder.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceX-Men #107 (October, 1977)
Created byChris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
In-story information
Base(s)Chandilar (Shi'ar throneworld)
See: Full roster

The Imperial Guard (the so-called Superguardians) is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Imperial Guard are a multi-ethnic group of alien beings who act as enforcers of the laws of the Shi'ar Empire; the Superguardians are the personal guard of the leader of the Empire.

Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum, the original Imperial Guard characters were pastiches of prominent members of rival publisher DC Comics' superhero team the Legion of Super-Heroes.[1][2] Many other characters were later added to the roster, not all of whom are based on Legionnaires.

The Imperial Guard first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #107 (Oct. 1977). Since then, they have been featured periodically in the X-Men titles; crossed paths with the Starjammers, the Kree, the Skrulls, Nova Corps, the Inhumans, and the Guardians of the Galaxy; and been featured in a number of limited series, including Imperial Guard (1997), the War of Kings crossover series (2009), and Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard (2010).

More than 50 Imperial Guard Superguardians have appeared in Marvel Comics' titles; the core members number about 20, with the most notable being Gladiator, Oracle, Starbolt, Neutron, Smasher, Flashfire, Warstar, Electron, Manta, Mentor, Titan, Pulsar, Hussar, Nightside, and Fang.

Structure and organization[edit]

The Imperial Guard numbers about 300 members, and is made up of the most powerful and elite soldiers from throughout the Empire, with some of them being Shi'ar and most being from other alien races in the Shi'ar's jurisdiction.[3] The Imperial Guard is led by a praetor.

The Superguardians (who comprise the vast majority of the named characters) are the super-powered personal guard of the Shi'ar leader.[4][5][6] Those closest to the leader are known as the Royal Elite.

The Guard academy trains replacements — called Subguardians — for Superguardians who may be killed or incapacitated.[7] Over time, at least twenty Superguardians have been killed in the pages of Marvel's comics, with many of them being replaced by new versions from the ranks of the Subguardians.

Imperial Guard oath of allegiance[edit]

Concept and creation[edit]

As X-Men creators Claremont and Cockrum were devising a team to battle the X-Men in the first part of the Phoenix Saga, Cockrum suggested modeling their powers and costumes after characters from DC's Legion of Super-Heroes.[9] (Cockrum had had a two-year run as artist on the Legion of Super-Heroes backup feature in the Superboy comic book.)[10]

In a 2002 interview, Cockrum said that he showed the character designs to Paul Levitz, then-current Legion of Super-Heroes writer at DC. Asked if he thought there might be trouble between the companies, Cockrum said, "Not really... I showed the designs to Paul Levitz, and he didn't say, 'You can't do that.' If anything, he said, 'Geez, these costumes are better than the ones the Legionnaires are wearing.' No, I don't think we ever once thought that we were going to get in trouble over it."[11]

The first Guardsmen introduced (with their Legion of Super-Heroes analog in parentheses) were Gladiator (Superboy),[12][2][1] Astra (Phantom Girl), Electron (Cosmic Boy), Fang (Timber Wolf),[13][2][9][1] Hobgoblin[lower-alpha 1] (Chameleon Boy), Impulse (Wildfire), Magic (Princess Projectra), Mentor (Brainiac 5),[1] Midget (Shrinking Violet), Nightshade (Shadow Lass), Oracle (Saturn Girl),[1][2] Quasar[lower-alpha 2] (Star Boy), Smasher (Ultra Boy), Starbolt (Sun Boy),[1] Tempest (Lightning Lad), and Titan (Colossal Boy).[1]

Over time, for various reasons, Nightshade's name was changed to Nightside,[14] Magic to Magique,[15] Midget to Scintilla,[15] Quasar to Neutron,[15] Tempest to Flashfire,[16] and Impulse to Pulsar.[7]

Reception and characterization[edit]

Nick Hemming of Looper.com described the Imperial Guard as perhaps "the most interesting facet of the Shi'ar," describing them as "an elite team of super soldiers who enforce the law within the empire. The Guard has played both friend and foe to Earth's favorite heroes over time, boasting a diverse roster of various species."[5]

Fictional history[edit]


Mission members
Gladiator, Magic, Mentor, Quasar

Many centuries ago, the Phoenix Force entity ends up at some point in Shi'ar space, where it bonds with a citizen of the Empire named Rook'shir, who learns to control its power in conjunction with his blade. He is ultimately overwhelmed by the Phoenix's power and becomes the first known host to succumb to the Phoenix Force's destructive impulses and go insane from the power it embodied, becoming the malevolent force known as the Dark Phoenix. Rook'shir goes on a destructive rampage through the Empire, destroying many planets in the process.

T'korr, Majestor of the Shi'ar Empire, assembles the Imperial Guard for the purpose of stopping Rook'shir;[17] some of the first members are Gladiator, Magic, Mentor, and Quasar.[18] Defeating Rook'shir, the Guard becomes the first line of defense of the Shi'ar Empire.[19]

Phoenix Saga[edit]

Mission members
Astra, Electron, Fang, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Impulse, Magic, Mentor, Midget, Nightside, Oracle, Quasar, Smasher, Starbolt, Tempest, Titan

In X-Men #107 (Oct. 1977),[20] the Shi'ar empire comes into conflict with the X-Men regarding the Phoenix entity, with the Guard battling them at the command of Emperor D'Ken and his sister, the Grand Admiral, Princess Lilandra Neramani.[21][22]

Mission members
Earthquake, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Hussar, Manta, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, Warstar

Some time later, the Guardsmen again come into conflict with the X-Men regarding Dark Phoenix, this time at the behest of Emperor D'Ken's successor, Empress Lilandra.[23][21][24] For this story, new X-Men artist John Byrne and co-plotter Claremont create four new Imperial Guard members: Earthquake (later renamed Quake), Hussar, Manta, and Warstar. These characters have no analogs in the Legion of Super-Heroes.[1]

The Borderers/Deathbird's attempted coup[edit]

Mission members
Blackthorn, Fang, Gladiator, Hussar, Nightside, N'rill'irēē, Oracle, Quasar, Sea Spine, Sp'yxx, Starbolt, Trypthe, Warstar, Webwing

Cockrum returns to the X-Men title in 1981; he and Claremont create a new batch of Imperial Guard members in The Uncanny X-Men #155 and #157: N'rill'irēē,[25] Blackthorn, Sea Spine, Sp'yxx, Trypthe, and Webwing.[14] (These characters also have no analogs in the Legion of Super-Heroes.) Along with Fang, they form the Imperial Guards' Borderers division, a group of Guardsman stationed on one of the Shi'ar's conquered worlds to help its governor enforce Shi'ar law there.

A renegade faction of the Imperial Guard become traitors, deciding to serve Lord Samédàr, Deathbird, and the Brood in their conspiracy to overthrow Shi'ar Princess-Majestrix Lilandra. The renegades include the Borderers (except N'rill'irēē) along with Hussar, Quasar, and Warstar. The renegades battle the Guardsman who remain loyal to Lilandra — including Gladiator, Starbolt, Oracle, Nightside, and N'rill'irēē — and the X-Men. The Imperial Guard loyalists go on a mission to find Lilandra, and join with the X-Men's Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde in battling Samédàr's renegade Imperial Guardsmen. Starbolt is captured, but is later freed on Lilandra's command.[26]

Mission members
Blackthorn, Fang, Gladiator, Hussar, N’rill’iree, Oracle, Quasar, Starbolt, Warstar, Webwing

Lilandra and the X-Men are captured by Deathbird and the Brood. Soon after this incident, Fang is apparently slain when the Brood uses him as a host body for the egg of one of their young on the "Broodworld", former home-world of the Brood. His body is consumed and transformed by the Brood embryo implanted inside him, and the resulting Brood alien is later killed by Wolverine.[27]

After defeating the Brood and the renegades, Lilandra resumes her position as the head of the Shi'ar Empire. Despite most of the Imperial Guard having joined with Deathbird against Lilandra, the team members are pardoned for their actions.[28] For their treachery, however, Quasar, Warstar, Hussar, and Webwing are later banished.

Deathbird's reign[edit]

Mission members
Binder, Chakar, Electron, Gladiator, Kwill, Magic, Manta, Oracle, Tempest, Voltor, Warstar

In Rom Annual #4, Lilandra's sister Deathbird stages a coup and becomes the new Shi'ar Empress.[29] In that same issue, four new Imperial Guardsmen are introduced: Chakar (praetor of the cohort), Binder, Kwill, and Voltor. Along with fellow Guardsmen Gladiator, Warstar, Oracle, Electron, Tempest, Manta, and Magic, they come into conflict with a rogue Space Knight named Pulsar[lower-alpha 3] and an alien named Tyreseus. After a large conflict which also involves Rom and other Space Knights — which leads to the deaths of all four of the new Guardsman — Pulsar and Tyreseus are defeated.[29]

Mission members
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

In the 1990 limited series X-Men: Spotlight on... Starjammers, Empress Deathbird sends the Imperial Guard to Earth to battle the combined forces of the Starjammers and the superhero team Excalibur, so that she can claim the power of the Phoenix Force for herself. The second issue of the series introduces three new Imperial Guards: Black Light, his twin sister White Noise, and Zenith (the renegade brother of the Starjammers' Raza Longknife).[30] Zenith is killed, and the Guard are forced to retreat when Deathbird realizes the Starjammers are led by Lilandra.[30] (Some time later War Skrulls impersonating Charles Xavier and the Starjammers depose Deathbird and restore Lilandra to the throne. Deathbird cedes the empire back to Lilandra as she has grown bored of the bureaucracy.)[31]

Operation: Galactic Storm[edit]

Mission members
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

Five new Imperial Guardsmen are introduced — Glom, Moondancer, Onslaught, Solar Wind, Voyager,[15] and Hardball[32] — in the "Operation: Galactic Storm" crossover (1992), which ran through Marvel Comics' Avengers-related titles. Returning to the original Legion of Super-Heroes pastiche model, writer Mark Gruenwald patterns Glom's powers after those of Matter-Eater Lad, Moondancer's after Dawnstar, Onslaught's after Karate Kid, and Hardball's after Bouncing Boy.

"Operation: Galactic Storm" details an intergalactic war between the Shi'ar and the Kree. The Imperial Guard steals the original Captain Marvel's Nega-Bands from the dead hero's tomb.[33] Using Kree artifacts, including the Bands, the Sh'iar create a massive super weapon, the "Nega-Bomb." Ultimately, the Nega-Bomb device is successfully detonated, devastating the Kree Empire, with billions dying instantaneously (98% of the Kree population).[34] The Shi'ar annex the remnants of the Kree Empire, with Deathbird becoming viceroy of the Kree territories.[35]


Mission members
Gladiator, Manta, Moondancer, Neutron, Nightside, Smasher, Solar Wind, Starbolt, Voyager

In the "Starblast" crossover,[36] Quasar's secretary receives the Star Brand. Once her powers begin to manifest, she becomes the target of numerous alien individuals and groups, including the Dance, the Chief Examiner, and a group of interplanetary marauders known as the Starblasters. Quasar recruits some of Earth's most powerful heroes to stop them when the Starblasters try to push the moon away from Earth’s orbit.

The Imperial Guard are informed about a hijacked Shi'ar craft and later join Quasar. When it becomes clear that the Starblasters are working for the Stranger, Solar Wind, Voyager, and Moondancer opt to help Quasar's team against the Stranger,[37] even though it means they will have to resign from active Guard duty (these three Guardsmen had been captured and caged by the Stranger some years before). After helping Quasar, Solar Wind, Voyager, and Moondancer are forced by Gladiator to resign permanently;[38] their current whereabouts are unknown.

Imperial Guard limited series[edit]

Mission members
Commando, Earthquake, Electron, Flashfire, Gladiator, Mentor, Nightside, Oracle

An Imperial Guard limited series, by Brian Augustyn and Chuck Wojtkiewicz, is published in early 1997; when many of Earth's heroes vanish (sent to the pocket universe)[39] after defeating Onslaught,[lower-alpha 4] Lilandra orders the Imperial Guard to help protect Earth.[40] The first issue of the limited series introduces Commando, a Kree warrior named M'Nell who eventually becomes a member of the Imperial Guard.[16]

Ronan and the Inhumans[edit]

Mission members
Astra, Delphos, Earthquake, Fang II, Flashfire, Gladiator, Hobgoblin, Hussar, Impulse, Mentor, Neutron, Nightside, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, Titan, Warstar

With the death of the original Fang (by the Brood and Wolverine), another Lupak, named Nev-Darr, is enlisted to take his place on the Imperial Guard.[41] (When that one is killed a third one takes his place.)[citation needed]

Ronan the Accuser leads the Kree in a surprise attack against the Shi'ar, using the Inhumans as an army to disrupt the Shi'ar control of the Kree. Ronan seizes control in a surprise attack and forces the Inhumans and their king, Black Bolt, to obey, threatening to otherwise destroy the Inhumans' home of Attilan. He compels Karnak, Gorgon, and Triton to covertly join the Imperial Guard, while Black Bolt and Medusa attempt the assassination of the Shi'ar ruler Lilandra at a ceremony ratifying an alliance between the Shi'ar and the Spartoi. The precog Guardsman Delphos makes her debut during this storyline.[42] Black Bolt manages to defeat Ronan in personal combat;[43] the attempt on Lilandra's life fails because the shapeshifter Hobgoblin dies in her place.[44]

Maximum Security[edit]

Mission members
Hussar, Neutron, Warstar, Webwing

The Intergalactic Council designates Earth as an interstellar prison,[45][46] and the Imperial Guardsmen Warstar, Hussar, Neutron, and Webwing are sent there for their treachery against Lilandra from X-Men #157–158.[26][27] The four prisoners join up with the lone D'Bari survivor Starhammer, who plots revenge against Jean Grey for the crimes committed by Dark Phoenix. Warstar, Hussar, and Neutron are later reinstated with the Guard;[47] Webwing has not yet been seen again.


Mission members
Arc, Blimp, Cosmo, Fader, G-Type, Gladiator, Mammoth, Manta, Monstra, Neosaurus, Oracle, Plutonia, Schism, Smasher, Squorm, Stuff

A number of new Imperial Guardsmen are introduced in the pages of New X-Men in 2001 and 2002 as part of the "Imperial" storyline: Mammoth,[48] Arc, Cosmo, Monstra, Squorm, Stuff,[49] Blimp, Fader, G-Type, Neosaurus, Plutonia, and Schism.[50] Of all of them, only Blimp is a possible Legion of Super-Heroes analog: Bouncing Boy.

In "Imperial," Cassandra Nova, in Charles Xavier's body, contacts Majestrix Lilandra, Xavier's lover. Cassandra drives Lilandra insane and uses her to make the Shi'ar fleet destroy the empire. Mammoth, only introduced a few issues before, is killed in battle with Cassandra.[51] Cassandra forces Lilandra to send the Shi'ar Superguardians to sterilize the entirety of mutantkind, starting with the X-Men.[49] After a battle with the X-Men, the Imperial Guard come to realize Cassandra's treachery and the danger she poses. The Guard fights Cassandra, who defeats them and heads into the X-Men's mansion.[52] Jean Grey, however, using Xavier's consciousness, is able to force Cassandra out of Xavier's body;[53] she becomes pure psychic energy, bodiless and blind. Emma Frost tricks Cassandra into returning to what appears to be her old body, which is in reality the alien polymorph Stuff. Cassandra's essence enters the body and is locked in a self-repeating program in Stuff's synthetic brain.[54]


Mission members
Electron, Gladiator, Oracle, Quasar

At some unknown point, the Beyonder/Kosmos becomes insane and assumes a mortal form, now calling itself the Maker. After the amnesiac Maker destroys a Shi'ar colony, the Imperial Guard manage to imprison it in the interstellar prison called the Kyln. The Maker's madness takes control of several inmates, but is finally subdued by Thanos and several of his allies among the prisoners. Thanos confronts the Maker, and, by refusing to reveal its origins at a critical juncture, manipulates it to psychically shut down its own mind. Thanos instructs the Shi'ar that the body should be kept alive but brain-dead, or the Beyonder essence would go free again.[55]

Emperor Vulcan[edit]

Mission members
Astra, Cosmo, Earthquake, Electron, Fang II, Flashfire, Gladiator, Impulse, Manta, Mentor, Neutron, Nightside, Oracle, Plutonia, Scintilla, Smasher, Starbolt, Titan, Warstar

The Imperial Guard's loyalties are tested when Vulcan, a powerful mutant intent on conquering the Shi'ar Empire, fights the Guard beginning in The Uncanny X-Men #480 (2007). Tragically, Vulcan kills Cosmo and Smasher (and seemingly Impulse, Neutron, and Titan) before he is defeated by Gladiator, who puts out his left eye.[56][57]

Ultimately, however, Vulcan returns and assumes the Shi'ar throne. The Imperial Guard are honor-bound to do his bidding, as documented in the Emperor Vulcan and X-Men: Kingbreaker limited series of 2007–2009.[58][59] Warned in advance of a rebel raid on the strategically important planet Feather's Edge, Vulcan and his fleet ambush the Starjammers. During the battle, however, Vulcan's ship, the Hammer, is destroyed by the Scy'ar Tal. Vulcan and Gladiator attack the Scy'ar Tal leader but are easily defeated.[60]

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 passing down the legend of the M'Kraan Crystal as a sacred gift from their deities, Sharra & K'ythri. The M'Kraan then changed their name to Scy'ar Tal and devoted their culture and society to the destruction of the Shi'ar Empire.

The Scy'ar Tal destroy Feather's Edge by transporting a star to obliterate it. In the aftermath, Vulcan makes contact with the Starjammers to call a temporary ceasefire.[61] Under the ceasefire, the Shi'ar and the Starjammers decide to take out the Finality space station, thus crippling the Scy'ar's biggest threat. Once Havok and Vulcan are in position to destroy Finality, the Eldest Scy'ar tries to stop them. Vulcan severs the connection the Eldest has with his brothers, making him powerless. The Scy'ar become disorganized and the tide of the battle shifts to the Shi'ar. The Shi'ar then proceed to attack both the Scy'ar and the Starjammers. Meanwhile, Vulcan blasts his brother, Havok, into a sun.

Vulcan decides to use Finality to destroy the Scy'ar by using the weapon to place a star in the middle of their fleet. Havok returns and, having absorbed enough power to burn him, decides to end things with Vulcan. While they battle, Rachel Summers and Korvus try but fail to stop the beacon that will initiate the attack by the Shi'ar. The Imperial Guard end Havok's battle with Vulcan by appearing with the Starjammers in captivity, threatening to kill them. Before surrendering, Alex destroys Finality. With Alex and the Starjammers in custody, Vulcan declares that he will return the Shi'ar Empire to its former glory.[62]

Kingbreaker / War of Kings[edit]

Mission members
Arc, Astra, Black Light, Earthquake, Electron, Fang II, Flashfire, Gladiator, Hussar, Impulse, Magique, Manta, Mentor, Neutron, Nightside, Oracle, Plutonia, Schism, Scintilla, Smasher (Salac Tuur), Smasher II, Squorm, Starbolt, Titan, Voyager, Warstar, White Noise

Emperor Majestor Vulcan begins to expand the empire,[59] leading to a war with the Kree. Things start off well for the Imperial Guard when they slaughter a cadre of new recruits to the Nova Corps.[63] Then, the Guard attacks and hospitalizes Ronan the Accuser on his wedding day.[64] The Kree's retaliation, however, leads to the deaths of a number of Guardsmen. First, the Guardsman G-Type appears to be killed by the mutant Xorn in X-Men: Kingbreaker #3[65] (although he or another Hodinn re-appear during "The Fault" crisis).[8] (Impulse, who apparently died during the first encounter with Vulcan, either survived his attack or was replaced by someone from the Subguardian ranks, because he also reappears in "War of Kings".)[64]

The Praetorians were traditionally an honorable sub-cadre within the Imperial Guardsmen for worthy veterans and old guardsmen. Vulcan uses the title to legitimize a personal hit squad made of the most dangerous creatures the Shi'ar Empire has ever encountered. (It not being permissible to join the Imperial Guard due to their criminal histories, these creatures had been kept alive to serve as a Black Ops team tasked with killing the Starjammers.[66] He recruits God-Killer, a member of the Uncreated, to be one of these so-called Praetorians.[66] When ordered to kill Lilandra, Gladiator abandons his post to protect her.[67] During an attempt to return her to the throne, however, Lilandra is assassinated.[68][69]

The Guard recruits a new Smasher, Salac Tuur, in War of Kings #1 (Mar. 2009); tragically, he is killed that same issue by Karnak in a battle between Vulcan, the Shi'ar, and the Inhumans.[64] Magique and Nightside are killed by Kree forces as well.[70] During the war, Warstar is apparently decapitated by the Nova Prime, with B'nee's head completely missing and C'cil's reduced to a smoking mass.[71] A third Smasher is appointed in War of Kings #3; he also dies, killed by Gladiator, that same issue.[72]

Vulcan is seemingly killed during a battle with the leader of the Kree, Black Bolt.[73] With no one in line to inherit the throne, civil war threatens the Shi'ar empire. To avoid further conflict, the Imperial Guard's praetor, Gladiator, accepts the offer to become Emperor; Mentor becomes praetor in his place.[74]

Realm of Kings[edit]

Mission members
Arc, Black Light, Commando, Earthquake, Electron, Fang II, Flashfire, G-Type, Gladiator, Hussar, Manta, Mentor, Mentor II, Moondancer, Neutron, Neutron II, Oracle, Plutonia, Plutonia II, Smasher/Talon, Starbolt, Starbolt II, Titan, Voltar, Voyager, Warstar, White Noise

The Realm of Kings crossover series sees the Shi'ar team up with the Starjammers to investigate "The Fault," a space-time anomaly that not only threatens Shi'ar space, but all of reality. This crisis leads to another spate of Imperial Guard deaths: Starbolt is killed by a group of horrifically mutated creatures from the Cancerverse,[28] and Black Light, Neutron, and Titan are killed in a later battle.[8] The Realm of Kings series ends with the lovers Mentor and Plutonia choosing to bond with Raptor amulets; Mentor is taken over by Strel and Plutonia becomes the Raptor Kyte; both vanish at the conclusion of the series.[8] A new Plutonia is recruited and added to the Guard after this,[8] as is a new Titan.

Infinity crossover[edit]

Mission members
Electron, Fang II, Flashfire, Gladiator, Impulse, Manta, Mentor, Monstra, Neutron, Oracle, Plutonia, Pulsar, Smasher, Starbolt, Subguardian Smasher, Titan II, Warstar

A fourth Smasher is recruited by the Imperial Guard: a human member of the Avengers named Izzy Kane.[5][7] Receiving an all-points distress signal on Earth, she comes with the Avengers to assist the Shi'ar in fighting off a new threat: the Builders. The Builders threaten all the galactic civilizations, leading the Shi'ar to join forces with the Kree, Skrulls, Spartoi, Brood, and Annihilus' Annihilation Wave to resist them.[75]

After many battles and losses — including the death of Earthquake[76] — the Avengers and Imperial Guard earn a convincing victory against the main Builders' fleet. Mentor helps take command of a Builder World Killer and turn it against the Builders. The Imperial Guard and the Avengers free occupied worlds — including Earth, which has fallen to Thanos in their absence. The Imperial Guard helps retake the Peak, the S.W.O.R.D. space station headquarters.[77]

The Trial of Jean Grey[edit]

Mission members
Astra, Electron, Flashfire, Gladiator, Hussar, Manta, Mentor, Oracle, Plutonia, Pulsar, Scintilla, Smasher, Titan II, Warstar

Gladiator kidnaps the time-displaced incarnation of Jean Grey, placed her on trial for the destruction done by the Phoenix Force years earlier. The All-New X-Men team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to rescue Jean from the Shi'ar homeworld, but Jean ends up awakening a new power, enabling her to absorb massive amounts of psionic energy from others and combine her telepathy and telekinesis, which she uses to defeat Gladiator and the Imperial Guard.[78] A fifth Smasher joins the Imperial Guard in All-New X-Men #23 (2014),[79] and Izzy Kane returns to the Earth and the Avengers.[80]

A new Nightside is promoted to the Superguardians in Avengers vol. 5, #35 (Sept. 2014).[81]

Time Runs Out[edit]

Mission members
Flashfire, Gladiator, Manta, Mentor, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, Titan II, Warstar

Mentor and the Imperial Guard escort a pregnant Izzy Kane back to Chandilar (the Shi'ar throneworld), to deliver her Superguardian baby (the father being Sam Guthrie, a.k.a. Cannonball). Cannonball proves himself to Mentor and is accepted as her consort, as they stay for a while on Chandilar after the birth of their baby Josiah.[82]

When the Shi'ar find out that the reason for the "decay of the universe" is on Earth, they decide to destroy the planet.[83] However, the Guardians of the Galaxy manage to warn the Avengers about the attack.[84] Sunspot and A.I.M. use a super weapon to retaliate against the Shi'ar, while S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avengers use a Planetkiller to attack from behind. However, A.I.M.'s weapon overheats and explodes, and the Planetkiller is destroyed by the Annihilation Wave. The Avengers are ready to meet their end, but the Illuminati intervenes, using the controller disk of a rogue planet that shares the same space with Earth, while Iron Man flies to the Sol's Hammer, and uses it, successfully destroying the Shi'ar fleet, including the Imperial Guards.[85] (The Guard are resurrected, along with the rest of the universe, as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch.)

Thanos Returns[edit]

Mission members
Electron, Fang II, Flashfire, Gladiator, Impulse, Manta, Mentor, Monstra, Neutron, Oracle, Plutonia, Pulsar, Smasher, Starbolt, Subguardian Smasher, Titan II, Warstar

Thanos escapes captivity and reclaims his Black Order forces from Corvus Glaive. After retaking command of his Black Quadrant outpost, Thanos discovers that he is dying.[86] Thanos tries to force his father, Mentor,[lower-alpha 5] to find a cure for his malady, but kills him when he is unable to.[87] Soon after Thanos is battered and detained by the Imperial Guard after he invades the very planet station of his father's facility sitting in their territory.[88]

Mr. & Mrs. X[edit]

Mission members
Astra, Flashfire, Hussar, Manta, Warstar

The X-Men Rogue and Gambit decide to get married and enjoy their honeymoon in space, which is cut short by a distress signal from Cerise, who is transporting a package from the Imperial Guard. They run into Deadpool and discover the package contains an egg — the progeny of Lilandra and Professor X. They continue to protect the offspring, which chooses to be called Xandra, from Technet and Deathbird’s Shi'Ar rebellion. A large battle ensues between all four factions, but Xandra is able to create a psychic illusion that she has died, and instead secretly goes into the care of Cerise.[89][90]

A new Magique and a new Earthquake make their debuts in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 5, #1.[91]


Core members[edit]

Code Name (Original name) Legion of Super-Heroes analog Powers and abilities Species First appearance Notes
Astra Phantom Girl Phasing Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Founding member of the Imperial Guard
Earthquake Geokinesis (psionically create tremors and small quakes on the surface of a planet)[4] Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #137 Killed in Avengers vol. 5, #21
Earthquake II Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 5, #1
Electron Cosmic Boy Magnetism manipulation, projection of bolts of electrical energy Shi'ar X-Men #107
Fang Timber Wolf Superhuman senses, strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes; claws and fangs; teleportation; flight; energy projection/matter manipulation Lupak X-Men #107 Member of the Royal Elite; transformed into one of the Brood and then killed by Wolverine in Uncanny X-Men #162
Fang II Starjammers #4[92] Alter-ego is Nev-Darr
Flashfire (Tempest) Lightning Lad[1] Generate and fire bursts of light and electricity Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 At one point engaged to marry fellow Guardsman Oracle[42] (an analog of Saturn Girl, to whom Lightning Lad was also romantically linked); alter-ego is Grannz[93] (Lightning Lad's alter-ego is Garth Ranzz); renamed Flashfire because of the DC Comics character Joshua Clay (Tempest)
Gladiator Superboy (or Mon-El) Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, and durability; psionic abilities; flight[4] Strontian X-Men #107 Commander (praetor) of the Imperial Guard; alter-ego is Kallark
Hobgoblin Chameleon Boy[1] Shapeshifting Chameloid X-Men #107 Killed posing as Lilandra Neramani in Inhumans vol. 3, #4
Hussar Channeling of bioelectricity into other living beings to shock and paralyze Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #137
Magique (Magic) Princess Projectra Ability to create realistic illusions Shi'ar X-Men #107 Killed in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, #15
Magique II Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 5, #1 Replaced the original Magique, who was killed in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, #15
Manta Infrared and ultraviolet vision, photokinesis Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #137
Mentor Brainiac 5 Instantaneous processing of vast amounts of information Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Becomes praetor in War of Kings: Who Will Rule one-shot;[74] taken over by Strel and vanishes after Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5[8]
Neutron (Quasar) Star Boy Superhuman strength, stamina, and durability; capable of increasing the mass, density or gravity of an object[4] Stygian X-Men #107 Killed in battle in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5
Nightside (Nightshade) Shadow Lass Ability to tap into the Darkforce dimension, giving her the ability to conjure absolute darkness within a radius around her or her enemies; displace projectile attacks against her person by opening small apertures into the Darkforce[4] Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Killed in War of Kings #1[64]
Nightside II Avengers vol. 5, #35 Recruited from the Subguardians to replace the original Nightside, who was killed in War of Kings #1
Oracle Saturn Girl Telepathy, mind control, projection of stun bolts, psychoscopic awareness ("Mind-Sight": the ability to expand her over-consciousness to read the impressions left by events in the fabric of time and matter)[4] Shi'ar X-Men #107 Long-time member; part of the Royal Elite;[citation needed] alter-ego is Lady Sybil; originally romantically linked with Starbolt;[20] later engaged to marry Tempest/Flashfire[42]
Plutonia Phasing Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #124 Alter-ego is N'zyr; romantically linked with fellow Guardsman Smasher, then romantically linked with fellow Guardsman Mentor; chose to bond with Raptor amulet at cost of her free will, becoming the Raptor Kyte; current whereabouts unknown
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 Added to Imperial Guard after N'zyr became the Raptor Kyte and vanished[8]
Pulsar (Impulse) Wildfire Energy being: flight, projection of energy blasts Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Seemingly killed by Vulcan in The Uncanny X-Men #480, but reappears later
Scintilla (Midget ) Shrinking Violet Shrinking from normal size to five percent of her normal size (and any size in between) Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107
Smasher Ultra Boy Superhuman strength via cosmic radiation absorption, ability to download additional powers (one at a time) via "Exospex," flight via anti-gravity "flight patches"[4] Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Romantically linked with fellow Guardsman Plutonia; alter-ego is Vril Rokk; killed by Vulcan in The Uncanny X-Men #480
War of Kings #1 Alter-ego is Salac Tuur; killed by Karnak in War of Kings #1
War of Kings #3 Killed by Gladiator in War of Kings #3[72]
Human Avengers vol. 5, #1 Alter-ego is Izzy Kane; left the Imperial Guard to return to the Avengers
Unidentified extraterrestrial race All-New X-Men #23 Replaced Izzy Kane in the Imperial Guard
Starbolt Sun Boy or Wildfire Projection of energy bolts from hands[4] Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Originally romantically linked with Oracle;[20] killed in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4
Titan Colossal Boy Expand his body to giant size, superhuman strength and mass Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men #107 Killed by a swarm of mutated bugs in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5[8]
Titan II TK (sometime during the "Infinity" storyline) Replaced the first Titan, who was killed in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5
Warstar B'nee: electricity generation; C’cil: gigantic, superhuman strength and durability[4] Two symbiotically linked sentient mechanoids[4] X-Men #137 Alter-egos are B'nee and C'cil; their names are an homage to the 1960s animated television program Beany and Cecil; killed (along with the entire Shi'ar fleet) by Iron Man using Sol's Hammer in Avengers vol. 5, #44;[94] resurrected (along with the rest of the universe) in The Ultimates vol. 2, #3[95]

Other members[edit]

Code Name Legion of Super-Heroes analog Powers and abilities Species First appearance Notes
Arc Bio-electrokinesis Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #123
Binder Binding objects Unidentified extraterrestrial race Rom Annual #4 Killed by disintegration in Rom Annual #4[29]
Black Light Dark energy blasts Shi'ar (mutated) X-Men: Spotlight on... Starjammers #2 Twin brother of White Noise;[30] killed in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5
Blackthorn Botanopathy (Communication with and command of plant life like himself) Extraterrestrial sentient humanoid plant Uncanny X-Men #157 Member of the Borderers division
Blimp Bouncing Boy Bio-helium body contained within a specially constructed space suit Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #124
Chakar Flight, superhuman strength and durability Shi'ar Rom Annual #4 Praetor of the Imperial Guard; killed in Rom Annual #4[29]
Commando Nega-Radiation that gives him superhuman strength, durability, and intellect Kree Imperial Guard #1 Alter-ego is M'Nell
Cosmo Flight, superhuman strength and durability Stygian New X-Men #123 Killed by Vulcan in Uncanny X-Men #480
Delphos Precognition Unidentified extraterrestrial race Inhumans vol. 3, #3
Fader Invisibility Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #124
Glom Matter-Eater Lad Giant jaws with the ability to bite through and consume all forms of matter Unidentified extraterrestrial race Quasar #33
God-Killer Telepathy, claws, quills, superhuman strength and durability The Uncreated X-Men: Kingbreaker #2[66] Recruited by Vulcan to his Praetorians faction of the Imperial Guard;[66] later imprisoned by the Nova Corps for war crimes, and finally transferred to Zan Philo's Corps starship Resolute Duty
G-Type Project body's intense energy through wrist-mounted flamethrowers Hodinn New X-Men #124
Hardball Bouncing Boy Rubbery body which gives him superhuman durability and leaping power Unidentified extraterrestrial race Thor #446
Kwill Projection of stun rays Unidentified extraterrestrial race Rom Annual #4 Killed by Tyreseus in Rom Annual #4[29]
Mammoth Superhuman strength and durability Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #117 Killed in battle with Cassandra Nova in New X-Men #122
Monstra Superhuman strength and durability Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #123
Moondancer Dawnstar Flight, long-range tracking Unidentified extraterrestrial race Quasar #33 Alter-ego is Myla; forced to resign from the Imperial Guard in Quasar #57[38]
Neosaurus Projection of consciousness from one exo-body form to another Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #124
N'rill'irēē Superhuman strength and durability; claws and teeth Unidentified extraterrestrial race Uncanny X-Men #155 Member of the Borderers division
Onslaught Karate Kid Skilled martial artist, superhuman strength[4] Unidentified extraterrestrial race Quasar #33
Schism Duo Damsel Ability to divide into two bodies Unidentified extraterrestrial race New X-Men #124
Sea Spine Pheromones contained in her upper epidermis that can stun, poison, or incapacitate her opponents Unidentified extraterrestrial race Uncanny X-Men #157 Member of the Borderers division
Solar Wind Projection of energy blast from chest Unidentified extraterrestrial race Quasar #33 Forced to resign from the Imperial Guard in 'Quasar #57[38]
Sp'yxx Large creature with three heads; superhuman strength Unidentified extraterrestrial race Uncanny X-Men #157 Member of the Borderers division
Squorm Flying, floating Hive of thousands of vastly intelligent tiny worm-like creatures New X-Men #123
Stuff Shapeshifting Extraterrestrial bio-computer New X-Men #123
Trypthe Enormous tripod creature with superhuman strength Unidentified extraterrestrial race Uncanny X-Men #157 Member of the Borderers division
Voltar Razor-sharp blades (possibly replacing hands) with the ability to electrify Unidentified extraterrestrial race Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1[47] Killed while retaking the Imperial shipyards after the war with the Kree in Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1[47]
Voltor Projection of electrical blasts from hands Unidentified extraterrestrial race Rom Annual #4 Killed by Tyreseus in Rom Annual #4[29]
Voyager Teleportation Unidentified extraterrestrial race Quasar #33 Alter-ego is Divad; forced to resign from the Imperial Guard in Quasar #57[38]
Webwing Tentacles with sedative excretion, can capture others in body, flight Unidentified extraterrestrial race Uncanny X-Men #157 Member of the Borderers division
White Noise Sound wave projection and manipulation Shi'ar X-Men: Spotlight on... Starjammers #2 Twin sister of Black Light[30]
Zenith Capability to access and utilize the maximum potential of an energy-wielder's power[4] Unidentified extraterrestrial race X-Men: Spotlight on... Starjammers #2 Brother of Raza Longknife from the Starjammers; killed in X-Men: Spotlight on... Starjammers #2[30]

Other versions[edit]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In this reality Lilandra was the Admiral of the Shi'ar Grand Fleet and leader of the Imperial Guard. She was killed by her brother D'ken before she could try to stop him from taking control of the M'Kraan Crystal.[96]


An alternate, older version of the original Lilandra was revealed in MC2's miniseries, Last Planet Standing. There, the Shi'ar Empire is attacked by the planet devourer Galactus and the Imperial Guard help her and her servants escape right before Galactus consumes the entire empire.

In other media[edit]


The Imperial Guard appear in the season 5 five-part X-Men animated series "The Phoenix Saga" storyline, in the episodes "The Phoenix Saga, Part III: The Cry of the Banshee" and "The Phoenix Saga, Part V: Child of Light."


The Imperial Guard are featured in the 2006 Christopher L. Bennett novel, X-Men: Watchers on the Walls.[97]

See also[edit]

  • Shi'ar
  • Squadron Supreme


  1. Not to be confused with several fictional supervillains also with the alias of Hobgoblin, commonly depicted as enemies of Spider-Man.
  2. Not to be confused with the Marvel character Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), who was introduced shortly thereafter.
  3. Not the Imperial Guard member Impulse, who later changes his name to Pulsar.
  4. Not the member of the Imperial Guard with the same name, who was introduced some years earlier.
  5. Not the character of the same name in the Imperial Guard.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Cronin, Brian. "Comic Legends: Why New Imperial Guard Members in Dark Phoenix Saga?", CBR (APR 09, 2018).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Cronin, Brian. "Wolverine: Every Costume Marvel's Latest Resurrected Mutant Has Worn, Ever," CBR (AUG. 25, 2018).
  3. Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 978-1465455505. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 Austin, Michael. "X-Men: The 10 Most Dangerous Members of The Shi’ar Imperial Guard: The X-Men Comics are filled with powerful and dangerous people. But few are as dangerous as the members of the Shi-ar Imperial Guard," CBR (AUG. 18, 2019).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Hemming, Nick (7 October 2020). "Alien races we want to see in the MCU". Looper.com. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  6. Arrant, Chris. "Marvel Hints at 'Very Cool' (and Space-y) Future for Starjammers & Imperial Guard," Space.com (August 29, 2019).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Avengers vol. 5, #1 (Dec. 2012).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 (May 2010).
  9. 9.0 9.1 "X-Men's Imperial Guard and Cockrum's Legion of Super-Heroes," The Scoop (Gemstone Publishing, Dec. 1).
  10. Spurgeon, Tom (December 1, 2006). "Dave Cockrum, 1943-2006". The Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2009. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Cadigan, Glen (2003). "Dave Cockrum interview". The Legion Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 74. ISBN 9781893905221. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  12. Sanderson, Peter. "Interview With Dave Cockrum," The X-Men Companion (Fantagraphics Books, 1982), p. 82: Sanderson asks Gladiator co-creator Dave Cockrum, "How about the Imperial Guard? Can you give a key as to who’s who? The leader, Gladiator, is supposed to be Superboy...?" Cockrum answers, "Superboy, sure."
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  26. 26.0 26.1 Uncanny X-Men #157-158 (May–June 1982).
  27. 27.0 27.1 Uncanny X-Men #162 (Oct. 1982).
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  43. The Inhumans vol. 3, #1–4 (June–October 2000).
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  48. New X-Men #117 (Oct. 2001).
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  69. War of Kings #5 (Sept 2009).
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  75. Infinity #1–6 (Oct. 2013–Jan. 2014).
  76. Avengers vol. 5, #21 (Dec. 2013).
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  93. Tempest (Grannz) at the Comic Book DB
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External links[edit]

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