Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the mightiest alien empire in the Marvel Universe, descended from birds: The Shi’ar Imperial Guard
Appearances in Heroclix: Wizkids Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine and the X-Men, Galactic Guardians: Annihilators, Galactic Guardians, Mutant Mayhem
First Appearance: X-Men #107
Notable Members: Gladiator, Smasher, Manta, Hussar, Starbolt, Warstar
Created by: Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
The Imperial Guard first encounter the X-Men when the mad Emperor D’Ken uses them to obtain the M’Kraan Crystal. They later battle the X-Men in a trial by combat for the life of Jean Grey aka the Phoenix.
They return to Earth while gathering Kree artifacts to aid in constructing the Nega Bomb. Among these artifacts is Rick Jones, due to his past connection with Captain Marvel. They also defend the Nega Bomb once it is constructed against Quasar and Thor. Several guardsmen later resign from active guard duty in order to aid Quasar in a mission against the Stranger.
After some of the Earth’s mightiest heroes are killed while battling Onslaught, Lilandra sends a cell of guardsmen to help protect the Earth. This cell uncovers a plan by militant Kree to take revenge for the Earth’s involvement in the Kree/Shi’ar War. Though the guardsmen prove victorious, the Supreme Intelligence is still resurrected. A short time later, the guardsmen also foil an assassination attempt on Empress Lilandra by Ronan and his unwilling agents, the Inhuman Royal Family.
Four members of the guard are temporarily imprisoned on Earth, which at the time has been deemed an interstellar prison by many of the advanced alien races. Later, when Cassandra Nova takes over the mind of her brother, Charles Xavier, she also goes into space. She takes control of Lilandra and decimates the Empire, while sending the Guard to kill the X-Men. This fails, however, when the X-Men are able to explain the threat of Nova to the Guard. They use the Shi’ar spy “Stuff” to trap Nova’s mind and save what remains of the Empire.
During Vulcan’s one man war against the Shi’ar Empire, many members of the Guard are killed or maimed. After Vulcan becomes Emperor, the Guard is splintered between those loyal to the Empire and those loyal to Lilandra. As the war continues, however, more and more members of the Guard defect to Lilandra’s forces, led by Havok and the Starjammers. These forces temporarily unite to defeat a threat from the outside, the Scy’ar Tal. Once the Scy’ar Tal is defeated, however, Vulcan immediately orders the Guard to turn on the Starjammers and Raza, Ch’od, Havok and Polaris are captured.
Vulcan feels confident in his strength and begins to use the Guard as conquering soldiers to expand the Empire. He also recruits an elite group of guardsmen to pursue the remaining Starjammers. No longer content to simply conquer scattered worlds, Vulcan becomes more aggressive in his expansion. Gladiator leads the assault against the Inhumans, crashing the wedding of Crystal and Ronan the Accuser. Gladiator manages to overpower Black Bolt and capture the fugitive Lilandra before retreating. The Guard continues on, battling the Nova Centurions and handily defeating them.
Gladiator’s loyalties continue to be strained by continued orders from an Emperor he does not like or respect. The breaking point comes when Vulcan orders Gladiator to kill Lilandra. Gladiator finally turns on his emperor and helps Lilandra escape. This victory is short lived as Lilandra is later murdered by Talon, a member of the Fraternity of Raptors. Black Bolt and Vulcan then battle each other and seemingly kill each other in a massive blast. This leads to Gladiator finally becoming Majestor of the Shi’ar Empire.
During the war with the Builders, Gladiator leads the Imperial Guard and the Shi’ar armada in several battles with Builder forces.