Wednesday, July 2, 2008

An "actual" review: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 & #2 (Marvel Comics)

Way back on May 14, 2008, I posted a "pre-emptive, non-review" of Marvel's new Guardians of the Galaxy series which included the following passage:

"Now some dim-bulb currently at the top of the Marvel food chain has tossed together (sorta like a weird space salad) an eclectic grouping of cosmic-spawned characters in the wake of the company’s Annihilation: Conquest event. Sadly, somebody there also gets paid way too much money to approve crap like this, so we are getting: Adam Warlock, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord and a new female Quasar as – you guessed it – “The Guardians of the Galaxy”. None of whom would be recognizable to long-time readers (except Rocket; it's pretty hard to mess up a raccoon). Detailing the visual changes that have gone on with the other characters would prove exhausting."

I had one poster inquire about whether or not I had read the book [I hadn't] and I've also subsequently had someone else mention that my head was scatologically located in another portion of my anatomy, but I spared you guys reading his "nice" missive.Still, I did take a gander at the first issue of the series upon its release and yesterday I bit the bullet and purchased both Guardians of the Galaxy #1 and #2 directly off of the stands of my local comics shop.

Let me make this perfectly clear! I still get a real kick out of my "weird space salad" comment [That's just good reviewing, boys], but I will be the bigger man here and admit that I was wrong in my earlier assessment. Writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, penciler Paul Pelletier (whose work I've previously enjoyed), inker Rick Magyar, and the rest of the creative team have turned in a really entertaining book, that despite trading on the name of an older Marvel Comics series that I've been a fan of for many years, still charts it's own course - - - with me along for the duration.

This is a good comic, and I'm gonna recommend it to others on the basis of that alone. There seemingly isn't a whole lot of traditional "fun-style" comics going on at Marvel these days and any opportunity to lean in that direction should be supported. I also have to toss in here a mention that online previews, which revealed the inclusion of a couple of former Guardians into the mix, really helped win me over. I hope that's not too bad of a spoiler for any of you out there who may be inclined to try out this journeyman series. Let me also add that the new Guardians operations base, Knowhere, is pretty-frickin' cool and they have some very interesting supporting cast members which include former Avenger and Celestial Madonna, Mantis; plus a talking dog who's also a Russian cosmonaut.

That alone outta be enough to reel in some new readers, plus these "ass-kickers of the fantastic" go up against Adam Warlock's old nemesis, the Universal Church of Truth (from his 1970's Jim Starlin period) in the teams first story arc.

One word of caution that I would like to sound is that the buddy humor-style banter between a few of the characters, while hilarious in and of itself, might be laid on a bit thick occasionally, and I hope that aspect doesn't overwhelm the greater plot points. The "new" Guardians have come together as a pro-active cosmic police force in the wake of serious continuity issues introduced in the mini-series that brought them into existence and the sobering nature of what they may be up against is worth exploring without degenerating into "too" much hilarity. Even as funny as some of the dialogue actually is.

And I guess that I'll be around to find out! Who'd-a thunk it?

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