Friday, July 11, 2008

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #3 (Marvel Comics)

Well, the writing team of Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (DnA) really seem to be throwing themselves into the new Guardians series. The third issue is literally chock-full of balls-to-the-walls action from start to finish. The entire effect is somewhat akin to sensory overload with the nascent Guardians team under attack by the powerful Cardinals from the Universal Church of Truth AND a monstrous menace discovered on the Dyson Sphere that they've all transported to while investigating one of those spacial anomalies that drives the new series premise.

Add in another surprise character who's visiting from the old Guardians of the Galaxy book back at the current teams base, Knowhere, and you've got quite a bit to take in this time around.

Even though this Marvel book has quickly won me over, I do have to point out a couple of things which are a bit off in DnA's interpretation of some characters. Mantis, is simply not written as the classic, Avengers character that I recall from the 1970's. I understand the concept of character development, but Mantis originally had specific speech patterns that were unique to her, and even though she eventually ascended to become the "Celestial Madonna", I doubt that she would "read" as an aloof caucasian chick despite the intervening years. And cutting into Gamora's style, she too has green skin now. What's up with that?

Also, Adam Warlock's powers are written as being mystical in nature, and that is a break with the characters established history. Maybe I've just been out of the loop for too long, but the original "Him" version of Warlock and the allegorical cosmic-Messiah of the Roy Thomas/Gil Kane/Jim Starlin heyday seems to be missing in action too. What's up with that?

As regular readers of this blog are well aware, I'm a big fan of 70's-era Marvel characters. I have profiled quite a few of this series extended cast members (Nova, Star-Lord, Warlock, the original Guardians) in my recurring "1970's Flashback's" feature, so I have a vested interest in seeing where DnA takes this book. I am liking what I see thus far, but I do hope that the books creators don't overwhelm us each issue with action that amounts to mass confusion, without providing us with a solid foundation to stick around for; while at the same time making a strong case for how these characters vary from what a few of us "older" readers may remember.

Next issue appears to be a tie-in to the "Secret Invasion" crossover. The Skrulls are part of the greater Marvel Universe where this series plays out, and could be expected to make an appearance, but I really hope that the writers resist the temptation to "reveal" one of the team members as a Skrull imposter. We are barely getting to know them at this point and (unless it's Mantis) I'd already hate to lose somebody. However, that being said, I DO hope that more classic Guardians continue to pop in from time to time along with these new guys.

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