Gladiator started off as the leader of the Imperial Guard, but eventually became Majestor. But, before we get into all of this, Shiar culture has to be addressed. At the top of the Shiar Empire is the Emperor also known as the Majestor or Majestrix. The Shiar were introduced to X-Men comics via the mad Emperor D’Ken chasing his sister Lilandra into hiding. Lilandra befriended Professor X and used his love of foreign women to get the X-Men to accompany her back into space. There, we first meet the Imperial Guard as D’Ken uses them to protect the Empire. The Imperial Guard failed and D’Ken tries to destroy the M’Krann Crystal so that it will destroy existence. The Phoenix intervenes and D’Ken is plummeted into a coma.
Over the years, Gladiator took over the Imperial Guard as he was a super-humanly strong military tactician. Being a Strontian, Gladiator’s people are super strong and powerful. Unfortunately, their powers work if they are absolutely devoted to a cause. If you break their concentration, confidence or beliefs, you can drop them to their knees like a little girl. Lilandra get assassinated following the whole debacle with Vulcan and Gladiator steps up to become Emperor in her void. Functioning as Emperor, Gladiator banishes his son to Earth as punishment to set an example for the Empire. While still keeping an eye on his kind on Earth, Gladiator also takes part in the Galactic Council.
Smasher was killed by Vulcan, but again it’s a unit designate and not a person. The current Smasher is a member of the Avengers, but the past characters have had quite a history. They participated in the Dark Phoenix Saga and helped to bring down Cassandra Nova. The first Smasher is killed by Vulcan, the second is killed during Operation: Galactic Storm and the third dies for betraying Gladiator. The fourth Smasher is the first member of the Guard from Earth. We’ll talk more about Izzy Kane when we get to the Avengers Project. However, I do have to mention that she’s had a son with Cannonball. So, it all ties back together.
Oracle has been of two minds. She’s either played as passive or she’s the hidden force that helps the Imperial Guard to save the day. We’ve seen Oracle possess Rick Jones to overthrow the Kree, she’s mentally wiped Captain Atlas and she helped to overthrow Vulcan. Recently, she’s helped a teenage Jean Grey to escape the Imperial Guard after she started to realize that she’s been using her telepathic powers in an unethical fashion. Will anything come of this? Probably not.
Mentor is a cyborg that has taken on new brutality in recent years. When Gladiator became Emperor, Mentor became the leader of the Imperial Guard. In recent military excursions, Mentor has been seen building up multiple levels of the Guard to engage in military operations throughout the galaxy. If the Kree can handle 1 Smasher, then throw 1000 at them. So on and so forth, Mentor took on the Kree, Inhumans, Skrulls and Thanos’ army. Mentor has been upping his mental ability to function more as a military tactical engine rather than trying to be an individual. The results are frightening.
Warstar is more of a unit designate than a person. Two Shiar recruits are symbiotically connected to battle armor and sent out to defend the Empire. The unit pictured above was famous for taking part in the hunt for the Phoenix on the Blue Area of the Moon. He’s a cool John Byrne design, but there hasn’t been much use for the character outside of background dressing. It helps to influence the military influence of the Empire, but there’s not a ton of room for character development.
Astra is an intangible member of the Guard that’s been kind of a douchebag for most appearances. She fought Excalibur to steal the Phoenix Force. But, she also protected Lilandra from the Kree when the opportunity arose. Outside of that, she has furry boots. Furry, furry boots.
Manta can only see heat in infra-red and she experiences memory differently than other species. The character debuted in 1980 and that’s all that has been offered up.
Titan fought for D’Ken, Lilandra, Deathbird, Lilandra again, Vulcan, Lilandra once more and Gladiator as a member of the Imperial Guard. He can grow big and he makes the Legion of Super Heroes rip-off argument that much more concrete. Other than that, there’s nothing here.
Fang is famous for his ties to Wolverine. His first appearance is noted for Wolverine beating him up and stealing his uniform. Then, Fang helps Deathbird to overthrow Lilandra. Unfortunately, the Brood intercept the plot and betray everyone. Fang survives a bombing by the Brood only to become infected with a Brood sleazoid. Fang dies on the Brood home world, while Wolverine is shown having survived infection due to his healing factor.
Starbolt is an energy based alien that served the Imperial Guard for years. Unfortunately, he was killed during the Realm of Kings crossover while exploring The Fault.
Hussar uses a whip that can electrocute and paralyze people. She participated in the Dark Phoenix Saga, Operation Galactic Storm and Maximum Security. Unfortunately, she’s fallen out of favor in recent times.
Electron fought Rom once. That’s cool and that’s all that matters about him.
Neutron just kinda made a comic book living hanging out in backgrounds. He served Lilandra and Vulcan. That is all.
Pulsar is made of pure energy. Vulcan destroyed his containment unit, but he survived. The end.
Stuff is famous for functioning as a spy for Empress Lilandra. Stuff was used to contain the Cassandra Nova personality, after Nova mentally destroyed Lilandra and ruined the Shiar. Lilandra would spent the rest of the decade acting out of character. Then, she died. Stuff became a whipping boy to contain Nova until Morrison needed her again.
Hobgoblin was the designate for two different members of the Guard. The first one was murdered while impersonating Lilandra. The second member was slaughtered when Vulcan began his assault on the Shiar Empire. He shape shifted and screwed over the Kree once.
The Shiar Death Commandos are an offshoot of the Imperial Guard. Introduced during the better half of Claremont’s third bite at the X-Apple, the Death Commandos assassinate 99% of Jean Grey’s relatives. Somehow, the Shiar Empire got a wild hair up their ass that the Phoenix was going to return. That’s when we got to see Alien Black Ops and it’s pretty cool. The scene where they brutally take down the Greys during a family party is one of the most haunting sequences from the X-Books since 2000. Because of the Death Commandos, Rachel Summers and Cable are the only ones with ties to the Greys left alive.
There are tons of other smaller clout members, but I’m going to give them the same reverence that Marvel shared with them. They’ll all die in anonymity.