The Imperial Guard was a legion of super-powered champions from throughout the intergalactic Shi'ar Empire who acted as enforcers of Imperial law. The original Imperial Guard was formed to stop Rook'shir, a Shi'ar who became Phoenix from destroying the empire. An elite corps of the Guard, dubbed Superguardians, protected the ruling emperor (majestor) or empress (majestrix) and carried out their personal directives. The other divisions, the Borderers, aided the governors of conquered worlds in enforcing Shi'ar law.
When the X-Men sought to rescue the Princess-Majestrix Lilandra from her insane brother, then-Majestor D'Ken, they fought members of the Guard on the planet of the M'Kraan Crystal. With the aid of the Starjammers, the X-Men defeated the guard and saved the universe from destruction. X-Men and the Guard subsequently clashed again after Lilandra had assumed the Shi'ar throne and sought to end the universal threat posed by the Phoenix Force, which had assumed the form of X-Man Jean Grey. This time, the Guard defeated the X-Men, but allowed them to return to Earth after Phoenix seemingly committed suicide.
Later, the exiled Shi'ar Deathbird manipulated the Guard into believing the X-Men had kidnapped her sister, Lilandra. Despite the truth being revealed, Deathbird was able to usurp the throne and forced the Guard to aid her in a search for the powerful "Phalkon," which was revealed to be the Phoenix Force, then wielded by Rachel Summers. In the ensuing clash with the Starjammers and Phoenix's teammates in Excalibur, Deathbird and the Guard were defeated. Later, Deathbird and the Guard were captured by members of the shapeshifting alien Skrulls. Deathbird was able to escape and enlisted the X-Men's aid in defeating the Skrulls, after which she abdicated the throne to Lilandra. However, the Skrulls were able to incite a war between the Shi'ar and the Kree that spilled over into Earth space, resulting in the Guard clashing with the Avengers. The war ended after the Kree population was decimated, leaving Lilandra with no other choice but to conquer the remaining Kree.
During the time when many Earth heroes were believed dead after a battle with the psionic being Onslaught, Lilandra dispatched a cadre of Guardsmen to help protect Earth. 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.
After Lilandra came under the mental possession of Cassandra Nova, the genetic twin of Charles Xavier who had usurped her brother's body, she was mentally coerced into dispatching the Guard to kill the X-Men. After a pitched battle, the X-Men were able to convince the Guard of the true threat, and together they defeated Nova and freed Lilandra.
The entire 300 member Guard came together to combat the threat of the Skornn.
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- Fang actually represents a series of members of the same race, each of whom have been designated Fang by the Guard.
- The Imperial Guard has many intentional resemblances to DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes. Gladiator, the Guard's leader is the team's analogue to the Legion'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 "Operation: Galactic Storm". Kree guardsman Commando's real name is M-Nell; a nod to LSH member Mon-El.
- 65 Imperial Guard (Earth-616) Members
- 83 Appearances of Imperial Guard (Earth-616)
- 19 Images that include Imperial Guard (Earth-616)
- Team Gallery: Imperial Guard (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Imperial Guard (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Imperial Guard (comics) at Wikipedia.org
- List of Imperial Guard members at Wikipedia.org
- Imperial Guard at Marvel