56 Marvel comic book references in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a veritable museum, packed with references from myriad nooks and crannies in the wider Marvel universe. It follows the eponymous ragtag squad as they encounter daunting foes, traverse numerous interstellar locations, and unravel more than just a couple of mysteries. All the while, it’s hurling Easter egg after Easter egg at the player whether they take the time to explore or not.

Some will be obvious to fans of the MCU films, while others take a more comics-oriented knowledge base. Regardless, like any entry in the ever-widening Marvel universe, Eidos Montreal’s newest release is packed with winks and nods to a vast web of superhero iconography. Below, we’ve compiled a staggering list of 56 said Easter eggs.

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.]

Star-Lord’s Dazzler Poster

Found on the wall in Star-Lord’s quarters. Dazzler, aka Allison Blaire, is a mutant and X-Man whose powers allow her to absorb sound and turn it into light energy — she’s also an international pop star. Dazzler was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in Uncanny X-Men #130 from 1979.

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Nova Corps Firelord Missile

This random debris in the Quarantine Zone is named after a former Nova Corps member and herald of Galactus named Firelord, created by Gerry Conway and John Buscema in 1974’s Thor #225. Firelord’s cosmic staff can also be found in the Collector’s Emporium.

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Nova Corps Adora Cruiser

This ship is named after Queen Adora, the former Queen of Xandar and the original leader of the Nova Corps. She was created by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard in 1978’s Fantastic Four #204 and died in 2006’s Annihilation: Prologue #1.

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Sentry Wreckage

The remains of a giant Kree Sentry robot can be found early on in the Quarantine Zone. Kree Sentries were created by a Kree scientist to defend military outposts and supply depots, serving as giant robot soldiers for the Kree Empire. The Kree Sentries were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1967’s Fantastic Four #64.

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Acanti

The monster that the Guardians are attempting to locate in the Quarantine Zone turns out to be an Acanti, one of a species of giant space whales that the parasitic Brood infested and turned into spaceships. The X-Man Storm once merged with an Acanti to expel a Brood egg from her body. The Acanti were created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum in 1982’s Uncanny X-Men #156.

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Ko-Rel

Star-Lord’s love interest Ko-Rel was a Nova who joined the corps and fought against the Annihilation Wave, an endless horde of demonic aliens led by Annihilus that nearly destroyed the galaxy before being stopped by a coalition led by Richard Rider, the last Nova, and Star-Lord. Ko-Rel was stranded on the planet Drez-Lar as a result of the Annihilation War. After a year, she was found by Richard Rider, and died helping him defeat the Phalanx in Annihilation: Conquest. Ko-Rel was created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning in 2004’s Nova #4, and died in Nova #6 – also from 2004.

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Hala’s Hope

Ko-Rel’s frigate ship is named Hala’s hope, after Hala, the Kree home planet.

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Nikki Gold

In Marvel Comics, Nicholette Gold, aka Nikki, was a woman from the 31st century who was born on the planet Mercury. She joined up with the original Guardians of the Galaxy — who were a superteam from the far future of the Marvel Universe — led by Vance Astro, traveling back in time to the then-present day before dying fighting alongside the Avengers against Korvac. Nikki Gold was created by Steve Gerber and Al Milgrom, and first appeared in 1976’s Marvel Presents #4.

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The Universal Church of Truth

In Marvel Comics, Raker and the Universal Church of Truth worshipped Adam Warlock’s evil counterpart, the Magus, and attempted to “purify” anyone who did not follow their faith, guided by a Matriarch and calling the planet Sacrosanct their home world. The Universal Church of Truth first appeared in 1974’s Strange Tales #178 by Jim Starlin, and have appeared throughout Marvel’s cosmic comics, notably in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy run.

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Lady Hellbender

Lady Hellbender is one of the secondary antagonists of the game. She loves monsters and aims to use her strength and resources to provide sanctuary to rare monsters, and just like in the game, her home world is Seknarf Nine. Lady Hellbender first appeared in 2015’s Totally Awesome Hulk #1 by Greg Pak and Frank Cho.

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Ghilaron Skull

Lady Hellbender’s prized possession, the Ghilaron Skull, is a reference to Ghilaron, a kaiju created for Marvel’s licensed Godzilla comics in 1977. Ghilaron only ever appeared in the comics, never getting adapted to a Godzilla film, and was created by Doug Moench and Tom Sutton in 1977’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters #4.

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Everinnye

Lady Hellbender’s vault has Everinnye Metal, a reference to the dimension of Everinnye, from where Doctor Strange villains the Dweller-In-Darkness and Nightmare originated. Everinnye was first referenced in 1991’s Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #33 by Roy Thomas.

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Badoon

Lady Hellbender has a Badoon Ritual Mask in her vault. The Badoon are one of the many major alien races in Marvel, created in 1962’s Silver Surfer #2 by Stan Lee and John Buscema.

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Dweller-In-Darkness

Lady Hellbender’s pet, and one of the main bosses of the game. In Marvel Comics, the Dweller-In-Darkness is a Fear Lord from the dimension Everinnye; the embodiment of humanity’s collective fear. He was created by Gerry Conway and Rich Buckler in 1974’s Thor #229.

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Jack Flag

While exploring the seemingly abandoned Nova prison, Star-Lord can happen upon another Terran named Jack Flag, who was imprisoned by the Corps for impersonating a Nova Corpsman. Jack Flag was a member of Captain America’s computer hotline network who was imprisoned for violating the Superhuman Registration Act of Civil War. Flag took over the prison, defending it against Blastaar, before being rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy and joining up with them. Eventually Flag found his way back to Earth and teamed up with his hero Captain America, before being betrayed and killed when Red Skull used the Cosmic Cube to rewrite Captain America’s history to make him loyal to Hydra. Jack Flag was originally created by Mark Gruenwald and Dave Hoover in 1994’s Captain America #434.

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Knowhere

The outpost at the edge of the known universe, Knowhere is the decapitated head of a Celestial (giant all-powerful cosmic beings that visit planets to experiment on and judge their inhabitants) that’s been turned into a thriving community. Knowhere was created by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Wellington Alves in 2008’s Nova #8.

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Mantis

Mantis, the Celestial Madonna, was the centerpiece of the Celestial Madonna Saga during Steve Englehart’s Avengers run. She was called the Celestial Madonna as she was prophesied to give birth to the Celestial Messiah, which she would eventually do — his name is Sequoia, or Quoi. Mantis is still strong in her own right, being a powerful telepath and master martial artist. Mantis first appeared in 1973’s Avengers #112 by Steve Englehart and Don Heck, and more recently was a pivotal figure alongside her son in Al Ewing, Dan Slott, and Valerio Schiti’s Empyre event in 2020.

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Blood Brothers

Garek and Rosson, two assassins sent to kill the Guardians of the Galaxy, are the Blood Brothers — two brothers who are invulnerable when they’re close together. In the comics their names are Gh’Ree and R’Hos Blood, and they went by Gary and Ross Blood while attempting to blend in on Earth. The Blood Brothers were created by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich in Iron Man #55 from 1972.

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Darkhawk

In the Nova Criminal Files, you can find the entry for Christopher Powell, aka Darkhawk. Powell can summon the Darkhawk armor, giving him enhanced strength and speed, flight, and energy blasts, with a Shi’ar amulet that connects him to a group called the Fraternity of Raptors. A Raptor amulet can also be found in the Collector’s Emporium. Darkhawk was created in 1991’s Darkhawk #1 by Tom DeFalco and Mike Manley. A new Darkhawk named Connor Young more recently debuted in 2021’s Darkhawk #1 by Kyle Higgins and Juanan Ramirez.

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Moondragon

Another criminal file is for Moondragon, aka Heather Douglas. She’s Drax’s daughter and, in the comics, a frequent member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Moondragon has telepathic powers and has been in a long-term relationship with Phyla-Vell, daughter of Mar-Vell for over a decade (when they both happen to be alive at the same time). In her first appearance, Moondragon went by Madam MacEvil, pretending to be a villain to learn about Thanos. Moondragon was created by Bill Everett, Mike Friedrich, and George Tuska in Iron Man #54 in 1973, and more recently was a key character in Al Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy run that concluded in 2021.

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Ronan The Accuser

Another criminal file is for Ronan the Accuser, a member of the Kree police force known as the Accusers. Ronan has been many things, even Kree Emperor. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1967’s Fantastic Four #65, and died in 2018’s Death of the Inhumans #3 by Donny Cates and Ariel Olivetti.

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Quasar

Yet another criminal file is for Wendell Vaughn, aka Quasar. Quasar’s powers come from cosmic bracelets called the Quantum Bands that allow him to tap into all the energy of the universe, making him nigh-omnipotent. Vaughn first appeared as Marvel Boy in Captain America #217 by Roy Thomas and Don Glut in 1978, and appeared as Quasar in 1979’s Incredible Hulk #234 by Roger Stern and Sal Buscema.

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Yondu

Our fifth criminal file is for Yondu Udonta, who was Star-Lord’s adoptive father in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Yondu in the comics is incredibly different. Like Nikki Gold, he’s a member of Vance Astro’s 31st century Guardians of the Galaxy. Yondu was created in 1969’s Marvel Super-Heroes #18 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan. His most recent appearance was in the 2020 Yondu miniseries by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, and John McCrea.

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Wraith

The last criminal file (there were a lot of these) is for Zak-Del, a Kree known as Wraith. Wraith was a Kree who bonded with a symbiote that made him incredibly powerful. He assisted Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy against the Phalanx, and did not appear again until 2019 where he sought out a being called Knull, an encounter that ultimately led to his death. Wraith first appeared in 2007’s Annihilation Conquest: Wraith by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Marko Djurdjevic and died in 2020’s Web of Venom: Wraith by Donny Cates and Guiu Vilanova.

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Malik Tarcel

The Nova Corps also have personnel files, and several of the Nova Corpsmen in them are references to Nova characters from the comics. The first of them is Malik Tarcel, a Shi’ar who joined the Nova Corps and at one point replaced Richard Rider as Nova Prime. Malik Tarcel first appeared in 2008’s Nova #18 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Wellington Alves, and Geraldo Borges.

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Rhomann Dey

The next entry in the personnel files is Rhomann Dey. Dey was a Nova Corpsman who crashed onto Earth and bequeathed his Nova helmet to Richard Rider as he died. Rhomann Dey first appeared (and died) in 1976’s Nova #1 by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema.

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Richard Rider

The following entry is Richard Rider, known best as simply Nova. Rider was a member of the Nova Corps and one of the few survivors of the Corps when the Annihilation Wave attacked, leaving him as the only candidate for the new Nova Prime. Rider rebuilt the Nova Corps before sacrificing himself in the Cancerverse, a dimension where nothing ever dies, to prevent Thanos from destroying the universe (again). Nova first appeared in 1976’s Nova #1 by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema, returned in 2017, and has recently been a part of Al Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy from 2020. In addition, Rider’s Nova helmet can be found in the Collector’s Emporium.

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Samaya

The last personnel file is for Samaya, listed as one of Rhomann Dey’s recruits. Samaya was a senior member of the Nova Corps who died during the Annihilation War. Samaya first appeared and died in 2006’s Annihilation: Prologue #1 by Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins.

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Captain Glory

During the game, the Guardians are assaulted by the forces of Glah-Ree, also known as Captain Glory, who is attempting to collect their bounty from Lady Hellbender — he also shows up in the Nova Corps’ criminal files. In the comics, Glory was a captain in the Kree Armada who was forced to join the Lethal Legion, a team assembled by the Grandmaster to fight as his pawns in a grand cosmic game. He would eventually rejoin the Kree when they allied with the Skrull Empire, before betraying his emperor in an attempt to reinstate the former Skrull empress R’Klll. Glah-Ree first appeared in 2018’s Avengers #676 by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub, and Pepe Larraz, and died in 2021’s SWORD #7 by Al Ewing and Stefano Caselli. There is also an alternate Captain Glory from another universe, who is the father of Noh-Varr, aka Marvel Boy. That Captain Glory was created by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones in 2000’s Marvel Boy #1.

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Krakoan

When attempting to hail the Xandarian Worldmind, the Guardians have a selection of languages to choose from. The first is Kree, the second is Standard Galactic (displayed as English), and the third, which Rocket prevents Quill from choosing, is Krakoan characters. Unfortunately, the Krakoan does not translate into anything legible, it reads A-F-C-CH-D-E, or the first 6 characters in the Krakoan alphabet. In his now-deleted tweet of the Krakoan alphabet, Jonathan Hickman accidentally swapped the characters for B and F, an error the game seems to have replicated. Krakoan first appeared in 2019’s House of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz, and is an integral part of the current X-Men comics as of 2021.

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Wendigo

When exploring Maklu IV, the Guardians are beset by legions of Wendigo, a race of white-furred humanoids that only scream “WENDIGO.” This is a very different iteration than the comics, where Wendigo are specifically humans that eat human meat in the wilderness of Canada, transforming into the Wendigo due to a curse. The Wendigo first appeared in 1973’s The Incredible Hulk #162 by Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe.

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Fin Fang Foom

The Guardians seek to hunt Fin Fang Foom, the Dragon Lord of Kakaranthara, in an attempt to get back into Lady Hellbender’s good graces. Fin Fang Foom is a gigantic dragon, often seen wearing purple shorts, who has clashed with nearly every superhero and superhero team from Thor to Nextwave and Iron Man to multiple Wolverines. Fin Fang Foom first appeared in 1961’s Strange Tales #89 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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Ruby Thursday

While on Maklu IV, the Guardians stumble into a camp that’s been ravaged by Fin Fang Foom. The sole survivor is Ruby Thursday, a woman whose head has been replaced by a mass of organic circuitry. Ruby is a member of the Headmen, a group of villains whose only similarity was having weird heads, that clashed with the original Defenders on occasion. Ruby Thursday first appeared in 1976’s Defenders #32 by Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema.

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Mantlo’s Bar

While exploring Knowhere, you can see Mantlo’s Bar, a bar named after legendary Marvel creator Bill Mantlo, best known for creating Rocket Raccoon.

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Knowhere Vending Machines

In Knowhere, there are a few vending machines with some comic characters displayed on them. You can see the Celestial Arishem the Judge, who first appeared in 1976’s Eternals #2 by Jack Kirby. There’s another of Lilandra, Empress of the Shi’ar Empire from Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum’s Uncanny X-Men #97 from 1975. There’s a whole vending machine themed after Lila Cheney, the intergalactic-mutant-teleporting-rockstar-thief first created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1984’s New Mutants Annual #1. There’s also a headshot of Nova.

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The Rift

Another place to visit on Knowhere is a viewpoint directly looking at the Rift, the edge of the universe. The Rift is a reference to the Fault, a tear in the universe created by Black Bolt and Vulcan during War of Kings that allowed the Cancerverse to invade the main universe. The Fault first appeared in 2009’s War of Kings #6 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier.

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Collector’s Emporium

Also on Knowhere, you can see the Collector’s Emporium. The Collector is an Elder of the Universe who, as his name would imply, aims to collect and preserve various rarities of the universe, including living beings. The Collector was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck in 1966’s Avengers #28.

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The Ultimate Nullifier

Inside the Collector’s Emporium, there’s a variety of Easter eggs. The first is the Ultimate Nullifier, the most powerful weapon in the universe. It’s capable of destroying whatever its user directs it at — even the whole universe. The Fantastic Four were entrusted with the Ultimate Nullifier by the Watcher in order to repel Galactus’ first attempt to eat the Earth. The Ultimate Nullifier first appeared in 1966’s Fantastic Four #50 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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Hofund, Sword of Heimdall

Heimdall’s sword can be found in the Collector’s Emporium as well. The guardian of Asgard can command the cosmic forces in his sword to be used in combat, making it much more powerful than any old Asgardian weapon. In 2019’s War of the Realms, Daredevil used the sword (with Heimdall’s blessing!) to fight off an invasion of Dark Elves. In current Marvel comics, Lady Sif is the wielder of Hofund and guardian of Asgard. Hofund first appeared in 1963’s Journey Into Mystery #101 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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Brood Queen

Also found in the Emporium is a distressingly empty display of a Brood Queen embryo. The Brood are a parasitic alien race that reproduce by injecting their eggs into unwilling hosts, and taking over their hosts bodies as they hatch. It’s quite gruesome. They also hijack the nervous systems of the Acanti to force them to serve as their spaceships. All in all, they’re a pretty terrifying species, and it bodes poorly for the Guardians that someone seems to have removed the Queen embryo from its display. The Brood first appeared in 1982’s Uncanny X-Men #155 by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum.

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Throg and Frogjolnir

When Thor was turned into a frog by Loki (it’s a long story), he met a clan of frogs led by one named Puddlegulp (another alias he went by was Simon Walterson, after his creator Walt Simonson). Thor was eventually turned back into his normal self, but a piece of Mjolnir chipped off and Puddlegulp found himself able to lift it, becoming Throg, the Frog of Thunder! Unfortunately, it looks like Throg was captured by the Collector, as he’s on display in the Emporium alongside his hammer. Throg’s hammer is called Frogjolnir and is essentially a smaller version of Mjolnir. Throg first appeared as Puddlegulp in 1986’s Thor #374 by Walt Simonson, and as Throg in 2017’s The Mighty Thor #700. Frogjolnir first appeared in 2009’s Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1 by Chris Eliopolous and Ig Guara.

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Cosmic Glasses

Another display in the Emporium is titled “Cosmic Glasses”, and has a pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses are a very direct reference to one of the main architects of the Marvel Universe, the late Stan Lee. He’s appeared in the vast majority of Marvel movies, and is an incredibly important figure for the company as a whole.

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Yaka Arrow

Another exhibit at the Emporium is the Yaka arrow, Yondu’s weapon of choice. The Yaka arrow can be controlled by a high-pitched whistle that only Centaurians, Yondu’s species, are capable of making. The Yaka arrow first appeared in 1969’s Marvel Super-Heroes #18 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan.

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Superhuman Registration Act

A copy of America’s Superhuman Registration Act can be found in the Emporium, described as a prophecy by the monks of Seknarf Five. In Marvel comics, this Registration Act was the centerpiece of the Civil War, a conflict between superheroes that ultimately led to Captain America’s assassination. The Superhuman Registration Act was created and played a major role in 2007’s Civil War by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.

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Mandarin’s Rings

One of Iron Man’s enemies, the Mandarin derived his powers from 10 rings that came from another planet. Each of the rings gave him a different power, ranging from elemental blasts to rearranging matter. The rings were also each possessed by a different spirit, and when the Mandarin was defeated, sought out new hosts to attempt to revive their bodies. The Mandarin’s Rings first appeared in 1963’s Tales of Suspense #50.

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Blade of Ichor

A weapon on display in the Emporium is the Blade of Ichor, known in Marvel comics as Ichors. This blade is a weapon that Angela, Thor’s sister, wields. It’s made of liquid metal, and can take the form of any bladed weapon, or even a whip. Ichors first appeared in 2013’s Age of Ultron #10, and was created by Joe Quesada.

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Cagliostro’s Book

This is a book written by the mystic Cagliostro, serving as his autobiography as well as a trove of arcane knowledge. Baron Mordo would eventually find his way to the book, using it to travel in time before being stopped by Doctor Strange. The book has not been seen since Doctor Strange used it to return to the present. The Book of Cagliostro first appeared in 1973’s Marvel Premiere #12 by Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, and Frank Brunner.

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Kang’s Time Chair

Recently introduced to the MCU in the Disney Plus series Loki, Marvel Comics’ Kang the Conqueror is a time traveler who also was an Egyptian pharoah named Rama-Tut and a mystic named Immortus. The twist is, due to memory loss, neither Kang nor Rama-Tut nor Immortus know which one of them came first! When the three find themselves at odds, they are unable to harm one another because they don’t know if it would cause a paradox. Kang uses many instruments to travel, and one of them is a Time Chair, which can be found in the Collector’s Emporium. Kang was created in 1964’s Avengers #8 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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Eye of the Watcher

The Watchers are a race so technologically advanced, they reached a point where they decided the universe would be better off if they only watched rather than acted. Every Watcher observes a different area of the universe, taking in and cataloging all that occurs. Earth’s Watcher, Uatu, had one of his eyes stolen by a petty villain named the Orb, who used it to see everything the way the Watcher did in 2014’s Original Sin. A Watcher’s eye can be found in the Collector’s Emporium, although it is unclear whether this is Uatu’s or a different Watcher’s eye. The Watchers were created in 1963’s Fantastic Four #13 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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Cosmic Cube

The Cosmic Cube is one of the most powerful items in the universe, allowing its user mastery of the entire universe. It was the object of Thanos’ desire before he sought the Infinity Gems, and the Red Skull used it to rewrite Captain America’s entire history to that of a Hydra sleeper agent. For a few years, the Cosmic Cube took the form of a sentient little girl named Kobik. The Cosmic Cube was created in 1966’s Tales of Suspense #79 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

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The Monster from Planet X

Groot is the last survivor of his planet only known as Planet X. The Collector’s display of a fragment of Groot’s body claims that he used to have Groot as an exhibit, but Groot escaped and the Collector was only able to retain a piece of his body. There’s also an implication that he may be able to grow another of Groot’s species using this fragment, something that actually did happen in 2017’s All-New Guardians of the Galaxy by Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder. Planet X was first introduced in the comics in 2011’s Annihilators #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Tan Eng Huat.

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Snowbird’s Tiara

Narya, aka Snowbird, was a member of Canada’s premier super-team Alpha Flight. She was created by deities of a First Nations tribe as an agent to prevent the return of the Great Beasts. Snowbird is capable of shapeshifting into any animal native to northern Canada, and has some minor psychic abilities as well. She was first created in 1979’s Uncanny X-Men #120 by John Byrne and Chris Claremont.

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Hyde Formula

Calvin Zabo was a very unscrupulous medical researcher who found himself in an embittered rivalry with Donald Blake, a physician who was secretly the host of Thor during Thor’s exile to Earth. Zabo eventually created a formula to turn him into a Hulk-like monster, and called himself Mister Hyde after his favorite book, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The formula allows Zabo to change between himself and Hyde at will. Mister Hyde’s abilities are mostly physical, as he has incredible strength, durability, and healing. Mister Hyde was first created in 1963’s Journey Into Mystery #99 by Stan Lee and Don Heck.

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