The allures of being a space pirate are many. Adventure, excitement, the ability to explore vast worlds, and incredible amounts of money are all there for the taking. What could be better than engaging in fierce fire fights, speeding through space, and living by your own rules? Sadly, however, the life of a space pirate is far more dangerous than the likes of The Guardians of the Galaxy let on. The Starjammers, a motley creu of spacefarers and warriors, are a prime example of incredibly dangerous the depths of the Marvel Universe truly are.
1995’s Starjammers (by Warren Ellis, Carlos Pacheco, and Cam Smith) is a four-issue miniseries following the exploits of the titular team. The Starjammers originally debuted in X-Men #104 (by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and Sam Grainger) and became a supporting team for the X-Men. While the team has changed over the years, Warren Ellis’ story featured Corsair, Hepzibah, Ch’od, Keeyah, and Raza. It began with a bang as a Shi’ar warship known as The Vengeful Wing chased The Starjammers to the Mother’s Ruin star system. Not amateurs by a long shot, The Starjammers evaded the Shi’ar by hiding on the skin of a nearby star. As The Starjammers returned to their base, it seemed as if life would continue on as it always had for the intergalactic pirates. But a lethal encounter with an unknown alien species plunged both The Starjammers and the Shi’ar into truly hazardous waters.
The X-Men’s Starjammers Faced The Shi’ar And A Dangerous Alien Race
Known as The Uncreated, the aliens began to destroy entire planets within the Shi’ar empire. Chandilar, the Shi’ar home planet, was in the sights of The Uncreated, which forced Lilandra, Empress of the Shi’ar, to mobilize her people to war. Forced into the conflict entirely against their will, The Starjammers come face to face with both a mobilized Shi’ar army and The Uncreated. As The Starjammers learned more about the destructive aliens, Corsair was left to make an impossibly difficult choice. As The Shi’ar readied themselves to engage The Uncreated, Corsair ordered The Starjammers to emit a massive projection of The Uncreated’s god.
The shock of seeing the entity propelled the aliens to taking their own lives, thus ending the conflict before it began. Corsair spoke with Lilandra and convinced her to leave The Starjammers, as well as the neighboring planet, alone. The story presented within Starjammers does a fantastic job at showing just how truly unpredictable and dangerous life amongst the stars truly is. Life can be ended within a second, without warning, by creatures no one had ever seen before. A single decision can save or destroy an entire planet’s worth of people. A single wrong move can result in catastrophic consequences, with the possibility of interplanetary war hanging in the balance.
The X-men’s Starjammers Provide a More Realistic View of Life in Space
It is common knowledge that the Marvel Universe is populated with beings such as the Kree, the Skrulls, Galactus, Annihilus, and more, proving it to be a terrifying place to live. But while large-scale conflicts are fairly uncommon, it’s the utter unpredictability that Starjammers highlights that sheds light on the actual danger of living deep in space. Living as a space pirate requires a greater knowledge of battle tactics and political diplomacy than many would consider. Facing every problem head-on with guns blazing is a short path to an early grave, an issue Corsair foresaw when he had Hepzibah’s weapon systems disabled without her knowledge. If she had opened fire against the Shi’ar there was no telling the repercussions that action would have created.
The Guardians of the Galaxy depict life in space as madcap party punctuated with bouts of bankruptcy and high-octane action. While these aren’t inherently inaccurate, Starjammers portrays a much more grounded representation of life in space. It’s a surprisingly intricate story, more hard science fiction than lighthearted superheroics, but one certainly worth the price of admission. As tempting as it may be to live among the stars, all things considered, living a safe and simple terrestrial life isn’t quite so bad.