The best Guardians of the Galaxy comics & where to find them

Christopher Baggett
Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy from Marvel Comics

If you’re curious about how Marvel Comics handles the Guardians of the Galaxy, here are the best stories to start your journey with. 

It’ll probably be a while, if ever, before we see the Guardians of the Galaxy in the MCU again. The series ended on a high note in 2023, with a critically acclaimed finale by the current steward of the DCU, James Gunn

Marvel won’t keep you waiting for comics, though. There’s been some presence of the Guardians in comics fairly consistently since 2008, long before the MCU was even a universe. 

There’s been a lot of changes to the team over the years, with characters coming and going and arcs evolving to resemble and differentiate from their film counterparts. If you want the best idea of who the Marvel Comics Guardians of the Galaxy are, these are the best stories to start with. 

The best Guardians of the Galaxy comics

From the team’s formation to a war with Thanos, these are the best Guardians of the Galaxy comics. 

Annihilation Conquest Star-Lord cover art
Star-Lord goes on a mission with a proto-team of Guardians in this Annihilation: Conquest tie-in.

Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord

If you’re looking for the modern origin of the Guardians of the Galaxy, here’s where you want to start. While the various characters met and worked together through the Annihilation event and its sequel, Annihilation: Conquest, it wasn’t until this story that they first teamed up. 

They’re still not the Guardians of the Galaxy, but they’re close. Set in the shadow of the Phalanx Conquest, this four-issue mini-series resets Star-Lord’s character arc to make him a more approachable protagonist and introduces a ragtag team that includes Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Mantis, and more. 

The Star-Lord of Conquest still won’t necessarily be recognizable to MCU fans, as Peter is depicted as more of a traumatized war veteran in these stories. But these lay the foundation for later stories and team-ups as the team takes shape. 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy cover art
Star-Lord reforms the Guardians of the Galaxy in earnest in Legacy.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy

The Guardians of the Galaxy team fans know and love starts to finally take shape with Legacy. This makes for arguably the definitive line-up and story for the modern Guardians, which writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning masterfully defined by contrasting them against the previous iterations. 

See, before Annihilation & the MCU popularized them, the Guardians of the Galaxy were actually a team of heroes in the year 3015, with their biggest connection to the modern era being their leader, Vance Astro, a mutant from 1988 who found himself in 3015 after a space flight gone wrong. He leads the Guardians and eventually even carries Captain America’s shield. 

Astro finds himself falling back in time to the 20th Century yet again, where he meets Quill and his new team, consisting of Rocket, Phyla-Vell, Drax, Gamora, and Adam Warlock. Astro inspires them with tales of his time with his own team, which leads to the decision to take on the Guardians name. 

War of Kings
A brutal cosmic war expands as the Guardians try to bring peace in War of Kings.

War of Kings

Guardians of the Galaxy quickly became fan favorites under Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, but War of Kings made them household names. This was the event where the Guardians were dragged into a massive war that also tied them into the X-Men titles. 

In War of Kings, the Shi’ar and the Kree go to war, led by the twisted former X-Man Vulcan and the Inhumans, respectively. The fate of the galaxy is on the line as Vulcan and Black Bolt, two beings with the potential to become unstoppable powerhouses, are on a collision course. 

The Guardians don’t feel like a huge part of the conflict, but it’s hard to deny just how big War of Kings feels and how important it was to Marvel’s then-popular cosmic stories. This is arguably the last time the Guardians feel like a unit of war-bound soldiers, too, as the MCU popularity would take centerstage a few years later. 

Star-Lord: Grounded cover art
Grounded sees the legendary Star-Lord become the non-descript Earth-Lord.

Star-Lord: Grounded (2017)

There have been multiple attempts at Star-Lord series over the years. For my money, none better suited the character than 2017’s mini, which was tied into the Grounded event, which saw the Guardians members stranded on Earth when the team briefly dissolves after their ship breaks down.

Star-Lord finds himself in the most unusual place of all, stranded on a planet he’s from but doesn’t know. The book provides an opportunity for some unique interactions, too, including Peter as a bartender, working community service, and running into characters he normally can’t, like Old Man Logan, Daredevil, and The Shocker. 

But the real beauty here is Star-Lord Annual, which bridges the gap between Star-Lord’s Earth adventures and the Guardians’ return to form beautifully. Stranded on a mysterious planet, Star-Lord must contend with an unknown terror and his own dread that something is coming for him. It’s a beautiful, done-in-one story that really highlights how Star-Lord can be a great character, in my opinion. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Communication Breakdown
A ragtag Guardians adventure turns into an Infinite Gem quest…again…in Communication Breakdown.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy: Communication Breakdown

By the time of 2017’s All-New Guardians of the Galaxy run, you have a very MCU-adjacent team. The line-up consistently matches the one from the movies, and the characterizations are more in line with what fans know. 

With Communication Breakdown, though, there are some changes. Gamora is in the midst of a mysterious quest, Groot is effectively trapped in a baby form, and Drax has become a devout pacifist. 

The story ends up leading into a dark period for the Guardians, as the endgame of this adventure is ultimately the Infinity Quest arc, which sees Gamora kill Thanos and break bad once she gets all the Infinity Gems. But in the immediate, Communication Breakdown is an absolutely killer arc with some of the best Guardians storytelling to date. 

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About The Author

Christopher Baggett started writing about comics on the Internet when he was 14 years old. Since then, he's written professionally for a host of sites, including ComicsBeat, Comic Book Resources, and The HomeWorld. He's most knowledgable about the legacy heroes of the '80s and '90s that he grew up with and believes Wally West is the best Flash - and he'll fight anyone over it. For tips, news, press and more, contact Christopher at