The Marvel Cinematic Universe got a whole lot bigger in 2014 with James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie introduced audiences to the cosmic side of the shared universe as well as characters long thought to be forgotten. While major heroes like Iron Man and Captain America tend to have the biggest fan bases, the Guardians have saved the galaxy (and the universe) just as many times as the Avengers have, if not more. With the sudden resurgence of the Infinity Stones and the impending Infinity War looming over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it’s about time that the Guardians officially join the fold. But before they make their way to Earth to join the war against Thanos, another adventure awaits them in Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) are all returning for the sequel, but this time, they will be joined by Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) — two of the oldest characters in the Marvel Universe. Together, this team can do wonders, but the movies can only show so much. Here are 20 Powers You Didn’t Know The Guardians Of The Galaxy Had.
20. Gamora – augmented superhuman strength
Superhuman strength is one of the most ordinary abilities a superhero can have, and that is typically due to the physiology of the hero. Some humans train their entire lives to reach peak human strength, like Batman, Daredevil, and Black Panther. Then there are other heroes who exist in a different category; Gamora is a part of that upper level — but just barely. She slightly crosses the line for possessing superhuman strength, and the United Nations once classified her as being as strong as Spider-Man. While the web-slinger’s strength has adjusted dramatically over time, Gamora’s strength tips towards the lower-end of the scale in the big picture of the Marvel world.
Her strength, augmented by having mastered 83.4 percent of all armed and unarmed combat techniques in the universe, makes her one of the most dangerous and deadliest people in the Marvel Universe. We see that first-hand in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but it’ll be interesting to see how she fares against her adoptive father Thanos, the Mad Titan.
19. Gamora – precognition
Moviegoers got their first peek at the Time Gem (one of the six Infinity Stones) in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange last year, when the eponymous sorcerer took control of the primordial object to trap and defeat Dormammu. After seeing that, we don’t just want to see the Guardians of the Galaxy come into contact with Doctor Strange, but we also want to see Gamora take control of the Time Gem for herself. Perhaps, then, the heroes will have a better idea of the tribulations that face them.
Gamora came into possession of the Time Gem in the comics when she was working alongside the Infinity Watch. It’s later revealed in Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files #1 that the Nova Corps classify her as having a “village/city” threat level, but when she is in possession of the Time Gem, that threat is amplified to “Universal.” That’s because, with the gem, she obtains precognitive abilities, along with a host of other powers we aren’t aware of. Perhaps that is why people call Gamora “the deadliest woman in the universe.”
18. Gamora – healing factor
No one has a healing factor like Deadpool and Wolverine, but that doesn’t mean other heroes (and villains) out there can’t recover quickly from a puncture wound or a blow to the head. Gamora’s alien physiology hardens her — physically — and her invulnerability protects her from injuries that would otherwise kill humans. Her superhuman durability also allows her to run and fight at superhuman speeds without being negatively affected by the velocity. However, as is the case with any superhero, eventually things will go south, and she may find herself on the verge of dying. That’s when her healing factor kicks in.
Gamora cannot regrow limbs like Deadpool or heal almost instantaneously like Wolverine, but she can recover from apparent mortal wounds. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #3, after first opening up the Sun Dome, the team must close it again before they all die, so while the rest of them bicker about who should do it, Gamora takes command. She wasn’t worried, though, because her healing factor would prevent her from succumbing to the intense heat.
17. Star-Lord – psychic connection to Ship
In the movies, Star-Lord may initially appear to be a run-of-the-mill scoundrel looking to make a quick buck, but that soon changes when the fate of Xandar — and the galaxy — is at stake. After being made the leader of the new Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord takes hold of the Power Stone, but instead of succumbing to its primordial power, his physiology (thanks to his Eternal father, Ego the Living Planet) allows him to bear its energy. The thing is, being half alien has endowed him with more powers and abilities than people realize.
For instance, he is susceptible to telepathic communication and conformity with Ship, a sentient energy form that can take any shape, but she typically takes the form of a spaceship — hence the name. The extent of her powers are still unclear, but she has exhibited all the capabilities of a normal spacefaring vessel. Although she is technically a weapon, Star-Lord’s connection to Ship is unique in all aspects. The empathetic rapport the two share means that when one of them is injured, the other shares the pain, but only temporarily.
16. Star-Lord – total memory recollection
After spending years on the shelf, Peter Quill returned to the Marvel Universe in Thanos’ self-titled series in 2004, and during that story arc, we learn that took down the former Herald of Galactus, the Fallen One — but not without consequence. His suit, Ship, and the Element Gun were all destroyed. Once the battle was over, and the Fallen One was defeated, Star-Lord turned himself and the supervillain over to the Kyln (the prison from the first Guardians of the Galaxy film) for committing galactic-level genocide.
It’s at the Kyln that he stripped himself of his title as Star-Lord and received grafts as well as cybernetic implants to return him to full health. One of the implants’ benefits was the gift of 100 percent memory recollection. Once he escaped the prison, his reputation for taking down the Fallen One is why the Shi’ar Guard decided to draft him, “out of necessity,” and we see him demonstrate his newfound abilities by recalling the conversation that got him into that predicament in the first place.
15. Star-Lord – extensive knowledge of alien customs
Would you believe us if we said that Star-Lord has a genius-level intellect? Good, because he doesn’t, but he does have a seriously extensive knowledge of alien civilizations, thanks to his many years of traveling across the galaxy. His galactic know-how extends beyond alien customs, though — to include mastery of alien weaponry and combat techniques, as well as cosmic entities such as Death and Oblivion. While he’s come about this expertise on his own, his implants certainly helped along the way.
Along with having total memory recollection, Peter’s implants translate virtually all known alien languages, even from complex life forms, into English for him. Although he has retained his knowledge of alien species in recent years, he no longer has his implants. They were removed by the Kree, when they helped him heal on Aladon Prime at the beginning of the Annihilation Conquest story arc. However, Kree First-Tier Admiral Galen Kor gifted him a universal translator when he was put in charge of the team that would later become the new Guardians of the Galaxy.
14. Drax – a green “aura”
In the movies, Drax, aka Arthur Douglass, isn’t immediately after Thanos’ blood. His first target is Ronan the Accuser, the person who murdered his family. Drax wanted revenge, so he allied himself with the rest of the would-be Guardians of the Galaxy to take down the Kree villain. In the end, he learns that Ronan was merely a puppet and that Thanos is the real enemy. In the comics, that’s something Drax had known all along. In fact, he was created for the sole purpose of destroying Thanos. Hence the name, Drax the Destroyer.
Arthur and his family were attacked by Thanos while driving their car, because the Titan thought they had spotted him. Arthur and his wife both die, while his daughter, Heather, survives and is taken in by the Titan god (now Eternal) Mentor, who raises Heather to become the superhero Moondragon. Mentor and Chronos then affixed Arthur’s spirit to a new, powerful body, and named him Drax the Destroyer. As the Destroyer, Drax has a green “aura” that uniquely enables him to defeat Thanos, whereas other heroes would fail at this task. Hopefully, we’ll see Drax use that aura in the upcoming Infinity War.
13. Drax – original powers
Drax the Destroyer is a Silver Age character, which means there are lots of powers that he no longer has, such as the ability to fly — to an extent. He was never able to fly like Thor or Superman, mind you, but he could travel great distances at rapid speeds. He was once able to propel himself through space at a velocity just under the speed of light. When he was on a planet, though, he would “fly” at significantly slower speeds so as to not destroy anything around him. If other heroes were as cautious, perhaps we wouldn’t have so much unnecessary destruction.
Aside from the ability to fly, one of the strongest abilities Drax had were his cosmic, concussive blasts. Imagine the strength of Cyclops’ optic beams, but being emitted from Drax’s hands. Drax has used this ability numerous times against hardened enemies such as Thanos and the entity Death. However, after his resurrection during the Annihilation event, he is no longer able to fly or project cosmic blasts, and he’s shown no such nifty party tricks on the big screen either.
12. Drax – nigh-invincible
The vast majority of superpowered heroes possess some form of superhuman durability. Ordinary injuries that would leave the average human bleeding and helpless tis but a scratch for them. When it comes to the Marvel Universe, though, there aren’t too many heroes that can stack up against Drax the Destroyer in regards to sturdiness. After all, he was created for the sole purpose of defeating one of the multiverse’s greatest threats — Thanos — and that requires more than just brute strength.
According to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Drax possesses the highest classification for durability. His hardened skin allows him to withstand virtually any attack. Perhaps that’s why he likes to fight shirtless, without any sort of armor or protection? What’s more, his Eternal-created body enables him to survive in space for an undetermined amount of time without any need for water, oxygen, or sustenance. However, after his resurrection, he is no longer quite as resistant to bodily harm as he once was.
11. Drax – psychic abilities
On the surface, Drax the Destroyer may appear to be a brute force, someone who has the habit of engaging the enemy head-on. While that’s certainly how he likes to fight his battles, the truth is, Drax is much more capable than people realize. Carrying around a green aura endowed by the Eternals is something that will help him defeat Thanos, but before he takes on the Mad Titan, he first needs to find him. That’s where his psychic powers come into play.
Drax originally had the ability to detect Thanos across vast distances, but after being resurrected in Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #35, he lost that handy little skill. By becoming physically stronger, Drax’s psychic abilities were weakened. Instead, he could only sense Thanos through people that had come into contact with him. Furthermore, Drax has shown the ability to engage in psychic warfare with Thanos. He once tried to stop the Titan from stealing the Cosmic Cube, but when he intervened, Thanos trapped him in the Time-Mind Sync-Warp. Drax eventually freed himself, but was rendered unconscious in doing so.
10. Groot – he is a genius-level intellect
As far as most people are concerned, all Groot says is, “I am Groot,” exclusively in that order, as Rocket so eloquently pointed out. But what if he’s saying more than that? Considering that the average human can only hear frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, while occasionally extending that frequency higher and lower, it’s not far-fetched to believe that humans merely can’t understand what Groot is saying. That’s why most people just hear him saying, “I am Groot.”
We know Rocket can understand Groot in the movies, but in the comics, so can the Inhuman supervillain (and occasional hero) Maximus the Mad. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #17, Maximus retorts Rocket’s claim that Groot is only saying “I am Groot,” by claiming that that big old tree is in fact a genius. “His Highness King Groot is royalty! He comes from an ancient and ennobled sap-line! As befits the scion of an elite royal house, he has received the finest education from the most gifted tutors! His grasp of quasi-dimensional superpositional engineering alone is breathtaking,” Maximus stated.
9. Groot – cosmic powers
In a recent story arc, a young Scott Summers traverses the galaxy with his space pirate father, Chris Summers, aka Corsair, when they come across the Black Vortex, a mysterious object that bestows “incredible cosmic power” upon whoever submits to it. At one point, Scott, Iceman, and Groot were separated from Chris, and were subsequently imprisoned by Mister Knife on the intergalactic supervillain’s “flying fortress.” To escape, Scott used his optic blasts to recreate one of the guard’s fingerprints on the gate’s lock (because that’s apparently something one can do with optic blasts). Unfortunately, they are forced to submit to the Vortex to successfully escape.
Being exposed to the Vortex granted Groot powers that half the galaxy was after: self-sustenance, flight, and bodily augmentation, among other things. He could survive in the vacuum of space without any food (or water/sunlight/plant life, in his case). He could fly across the universe, at virtually any speed, at his own accord. His invulnerable body was also strengthened to the point that he was virtually indestructible. Too bad their newfound powers didn’t last long. Captain Marvel eventually showed up and they reverted back to their old selves.
8. Groot – cuttings
In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Groot sacrifices himself to save the rest of the Guardians from dying in the spaceship crash. While he does, indeed, die, we also see him return at the end of the film as a sprouting tree. But how? If he died, then how is he alive — or, more accurately, reborn? As it turns out, it’s actually one of Groot’s unique powers from the comics.
Groot can die, but if he cuts off a piece of himself before he meets his untimely demise, he can be reborn from that cutting. We see this happen between the events of the Annihilation crossover event — in which he dies, but not before Mantis requests Groot give her one of his branches — and the rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy series in 2008.
As a member of the Flora colossus species from Planet X, Groot possesses cellular regeneration, which means he can grow (or regrow) virtually any part of his body, from nothing more than a sprig to a fully-formed being, or from a normal size to a giant. Since his cuttings retain his memory, that means he can effectually be reborn.
7. Mantis – plant manipulation
Although Groot has the ability to regrow himself using his cellular regenerative powers, that can take quite some time. That’s where Mantis comes in. One of her many powers and abilities is plant manipulation, sometimes referred to as chlorokinesis. She can control various forms of flora, including trees, and accelerate their growth.
Mantis was one of the original members of the rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy team, and in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #1, we see her watering (Baby) Groot, a cutting Groot produced shortly before dying during the Annihilation Conquest story arc. It wasn’t until a few issues in, during the War of Kings event, that Groot had returned to his normal size, and much of that growth was thanks to Mantis’ care.
Her powers are not without consequence, however. While she can accelerate Groot’s growth, there may be ramifications. She once, accidentally, ignited Groot’s internal sap into a flame, thus burning him from the inside out.
6. Mantis – self-healing and astral projection
Mantis is easily one of the most overpowered heroes ever to join the Guardians of the Galaxy, and we just might see her exhibit some of those powers in future Marvel Cinematic Universe outings. While moviegoers may know of her empathetic abilities, such as those demonstrated in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer, casual fans may not know she can also will herself to heal. Unlike Deadpool and Wolverine’s healing factors, Mantis’ regenerative powers are more precise; she can will any part of her body to heal when needed. Furthermore, she retains full control of her central nervous system, thus allowing her to bounce back from virtually any attack.
She also has the ability to travel great distances, from planet to planet. However, she isn’t able to fly, so instead, she projects herself onto the astral plane and travels that way. When she reaches her destination, she recreates her body using the native vegetation of that planet, which also taps into her chlorokinesis powers. And that’s not all…
5. Mantis – precognition
As if having the ability to self-heal wasn’t enough, Mantis also possesses the gift of precognition. Even though her precognition imbues her with knowledge of the future, she refuses to use it to aid the team in any way, for doing so would damage her “cosmic harmony.” For instance, we see her retain her precognitive knowledge of the events of Annihilation Conquest for fear that if her teammates knew the consequences, they would choose to run instead of fight.
Another example of Mantis keeping her knowledge of the future to herself is in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #1, in which the newly formed team begin their intergalactic adventures without a team name, at least one they don’t know yet. Mantis knew that they would eventually settle on “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but she prevented herself from telling them that. She cannot interfere with reality, no matter how small the detail. That’s also why she didn’t tell them they would eventually be betrayed by one of their own.
4. Rocket – tactical genius
The rebooted Guardians of the Galaxy team formed at the end of the Annihilation Conquest, when Star-Lord, along with the aid of Mantis, convinced everyone they worked with during the story arc to continue fighting the good fight in the aftermath of the Ultron-led Phalanx invasion of the Kree homeworld. Since the Kree appointed Star-Lord as the head of the criminal team during the storyline, Peter Quill thought it was best that he continue leading the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy. He is a tactical genius, after all — but so is Rocket Raccoon.
When Star-Lord is absent, Rocket takes over as leader of the Guardians. He is a master strategist and tactician, which is something we see Rocket demonstrate so elegantly in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. In regards to the comics, though, Rocket led the team after Ronan the Accuser banished Star-Lord to the Negative Zone. If it wasn’t for Rocket, the team would have fallen apart.
3. Rocket – acute senses
Despite being an anthropomorphic raccoon in space, Rocket does not possess any superpowers, at least not in the traditional sense. However, he does have abilities that far surpass those of the average Earth raccoon, such as enhanced senses.
He can see in environments and settings that would otherwise be a blind spot for the ordinary person. He can also detect the subtle changes in scent using his heightened sense of smell, which is useful when an enemy is trying to flank him. Not only that — he can use his acute sense of hearing to detect approaching enemies (and allies).
As if that isn’t enough, Rocket’s sensitive paws enable him to identify objects that merely touch one strand of his hair. Aside from his elevated senses, Rocket can also run at speeds greater than the average raccoon, which aids him in combat against stronger foes.
2. Yondu – he can control his yaka arrows by whistling
In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, a squadron of Ronan the Accuser’s army surrounded Yondu (Michael Rooker) after his ship crash landed during the Battle of Xandar. However, instead of surrendering, Yondu called out one of his yaka arrows, and he used it to kill every one of the Sakaarans, including destroying their ship. The best part? He did this all by whistling.
Yondu is a member of the Zatoan tribute, and their native language consists of mostly grunts and whistles, which is why he’s able to whistle at a range of four octaves. (It’s also impressive that he has been able to master the English language, given his origins.) All Alpha Centaurian tribes use weapons similar to Native Americans, such as a 5-foot Centauri bow.
The arrows for the bow are made out of yaka, a special sound-sensitive metal found exclusively on the Alpha Centauri’s homeworld of Centauri IV. By whistling, Yondu is able to fire the yaka arrows and control them while they are in the air. He can even call them back to himself so he can reuse them in the future. Mantis helps out sometimes. (Add that to her already impressive list of superpowers.)
1. Yondu – rudimentary psychic abilities
Being an Alpha Centaurian certainly comes with its share of perks. Aside from being able to control yaka arrows mid-flight, Yondu also possesses a variety of rudimentary psychic abilities. As a natural mystic, Yondu has a form of “sixth sense” that allows him to telepathically engage with another life form. However, there are limits. The more intelligent the species (or life form), the less Yondu is able to interact with them empathetically. Intelligence is a direct correlation to his psychic abilities.
His powers also grant him a form of environmental awareness. He has proven to be in tune with his surrounding environments, sometimes harmonious with an entire planet’s vegetation and wildlife. Apart from communing psychically with other life forms, Yondu has also hardened his mind. He can imbue himself with indomitable willpower if he so chooses, but only if he uses his abilities to do so. That’s what sets him apart from a character like Green Lantern.
What other superpowers have the Guardians displayed over the years? Let us know in the comments.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5th.