Guardians of the Galaxy #1 brings back epic sci-fi

Posted: March 27, 2013 in Marvel, Reviews
Tags: ,

The cover to Guardians #1 gives us a glimpse of McNiven’s fantastic pencils. Property of Marvel Comics.

By Alex Headley

My favorite Marvel Comics team is back and their debut issue definitely delivers. Brian Bendis and Steve McNiven have crafted an adequate beginning to a new saga of Cosmic Marvel comics and while it’s not perfect, it delivers new concepts to pique my interest and pays just the tiniest bit of homage to what has come before. The book opens up with a focus on Peter Quill AKA the Star-Lord and his relationship with his father. It’s all very personal and dramatic and shows that this book is going to be a little more personal than the last volume, which focused almost entirely on cosmic zaniness. We also get a great little exchange showing off a very roguish Quill that reminds me of Captain Kirk or Malcolm Reynolds. Bendis has definitely done his sci-fi homework and put and effort towards making this feel both familiar to the genre and true to its Marvel roots. Made up profanities, weird aliens and and big laser guns all pepper the book and give it a lived in feeling that is appropriate. Though ‘Flark’ is a much better obscenity than the newly introduced ‘Krutack’, at least in my opinion.

This isn’t just Quill’s book though and Bendis does an apt job of getting each of the team members a bit of action. Rocket Racoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer and Gamora are all here and joining the cast is none other than Iron Man. Stark still seems a bit of a cash grab addition to the cast but I’m willing to see where things go with it, especially if it ensures the book is a priority for Marvel. A Badoon invasion of Earth gives everyone a lizard-alien to shoot at and make a few one-liners in the midst of battle and gets the ball rolling on what seems to be book’s first major arc. Bendis doesn’t waste a lot of time on setup here, only giving us a brief conversation between Quill and his father, the King of Spartax on Earth’s importance in the Galaxy. I don’ know much about the Spartax as they aren’t nearly as popular as the Kree, Skrulls or Shi’Ar.

McNiven delivers some great stuff in this issue, the scenery is especially notable. It’s easy for space centric books to feel empty and bland (you know because it’s space) but McNiven fills the background with lots of pretty lights and distant planets. The battle sequence is good too with lots of dynamic lighting as weapons are fired and things explode all around our heroes. Most important, since he’s obviously the star of the series, of all McNiven’s  Rocket Raccoon is pretty great, the best I’ve seen outside the Rocket and Groot miniseries from few years back. Drax is exactly as he was in the last volume and Groot has gained some pretty lights but is otherwise unchanged. What doesn’t work for me at the moment though are Gamora and Star-Lord’s costumes. They lack any real sense of personality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad a woman swinging a sword and dodging gunfire is actually wearing armor for a change but the lack of her signature cape or skull motif is disappointing. Star-Lord looks like he stepped out of Mass Effect, which isn’t really a bad thing but again it seems like very little of his classic look has made it back. The patterns are there but I miss the bigger helmet and the coat. Iron Man’s armor is fine but his red and gold stands out as super-gaudy around the rest of the team.

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