5.19.2008

Guardians of the Galaxy #1

NEIL’S Review

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 hit the shelves on Wednesday and I ran to my local Comic store and snatched up my copy from my inbox and didn’t waste time to read it. I jumped in my car in the parking lot and began flipping pages of stunning art and well written dialogue. Let me slow down… I am way ahead of myself.

First let me introduce you to gdaybloke from Lost Hemisphere who will be joining me in my review today of GOTG #1. gdaybloke has been a supporter of my blog for quite some time and even blog rolled me in an article over on Lost Hemisphere I cant say thank you enough.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Each week there is always a series that I feel is the coup d’ grace of the comic stands, and each week from now on I will begin the Double Feature ongoing series where I ask other bloggers such as gdaybloke who have an interest of comics to tandem review that series. This week it is GOTG #1, next week it could be Final Crisis #1 who knows the point is that along with out love of the VS TCG card game some of us started out as comic book fans and those of us that love our superheroes in this fashion want to share that history of the cards, “the heart of the cards”, with our TCG playing brethren. Well let us begin,

WRITING

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are heading up this ongoing series. These two are excellent writers as I said in one of my reviews earlier this week everything these two touches seems to turn to gold. If you love the NOVA series which many of you seem to do then you will probably enjoy this carpet ride. Maybe you are not a Human Rocket Fan well these two broke bread on Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest and did terrific work there. They don’t let the fans down in GOTG #1. This series featured all of the banter and comedy mixed with action paced dialogue I would expect from the two. Rocket Raccoon is perhaps one of the funniest characters you can visualize in a comic panel and definitely serves as the comic relief. The team dynamic itself is funny as hell.

As a little back history in comics, The Guardians of the Galaxy was actually a team and surprisingly this is not a re-dubbing of that team. The original Guardians were a 31st century timeline that was aside from the Marvel Universe continuity. The first appearance was dating back to 1969. I can’t honestly say I own any of these titles but if I can grab one in the future I will let you know. I will be perusing my comic shops stands.

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ART

Let me first start by saying the cover art to this series was simply nothing short of amazing. This has to become a poster somewhere somehow. Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar turn out some very good visuals, with the level of work I am growing accustomed to in some of the other Abnett and Lanning series I can’t say this was the best in terms of overall feel, but it was very dynamic in depiction. The art suited the general undertones of the writing which is what I always hope any comic tries to balance.

Most of my favorite panels were depictions of Star-Lord in battle which are always done brilliantly.

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PLOT

The premise of these new Guardians being formed is that in the wake of the Annihilation events the universe is barely holding on. It is teetering on collapse. A guilt-ridden Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord wants to put together this rag tag group in order to help restore order, to be a proactive source in the galaxy and defend it from anymore Annihilation type events. This issue doesn’t really have much to do with whom they are fighting just that they are fighting and learning to work with each other, especially to be in a team of alpha personalities. Listen I am not going to complain about the pairing of character of this scale which we will get into. Abnett and Lanning do a wonderful job of painting that flashback image of the group forming and fighting to make us want to see where this ship is headed. We learn a lot about the characters and their feelings after the events of Annihilation Conquest, even get some dirt on the relationship status of a one Nova and Gamora, which should be interesting for cross-over of the two series at later points.

THE TEAM

When I say Rag Tag I do not mean to suggest that any one of these characters could not stand on their own two feet. You have Star Lord, Peter Quill, who seems to be the leader of this merry bunch. Drax the man made to kill Thanos, a task he accomplished in the first Annihilation series. Gamora, oh Gamora, and the visuals that were drawn for her in both the pages of Nova and Annihilation and we know how bad ass she can be. Adam Warlock, this guy could have his own series on any given day of the week, but yet here he is in this team because he seems to understand that part of his new rebirth requires him to be with the team. Rocket Raccoon, he is pure comic relief at its best and the way Abnett and Lanning write a breath of fresh air. Groot and Mantis are also part of the team; Groot was the tree-like being that managed to bring down the Babel Spire in Annihilation Conquest. Mantis was the seer who thought she saw her own death at the hands of Ultron, well she was wrong then, and I am hoping she will be wrong about her little prediction at the end of this issue. She actually predicted that one of the members of the team would betray them and kill them all. She is kind of the Barbara Gordon of the team.

Overall I have to give the series good reviews. I don’t like rating systems but it would definitely be a 9 out of 10.

Gday’s Contribution

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Okay, so I picked up two comics today at my friendly local comic store. Last Defenders #3 and Guardians of the Galaxy #1. One I’m thinking is a lost cause; the other is brimming with the promise of much niftiness. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

I’ll admit to going into Guardians of the Galaxy with mixed thoughts. I’d sipped at the heady cup of excellence that was Annihilation. I’d nibbled at the tasty hors d’ouvre that was Annihilation: Conquest. Could this live up to my expectations?

After reading through it just once, my fears and concerns were allayed. Drax, updated for the current generation with a Vin Diesel makeover, amused me. The simple color change to Gamora’s costume somehow breaks her away from the image of being a refugee from a Heavy Metal magazine. Quasar still irritates me a little, but that’s easily countered by Rocket, and well, this series of titles has probably been the only one in which I’ve actually enjoyed the character of Mantis.

We Who Are About to Die:

Starlord and his dirty dozen-esque squad were, for my money, the best part about Annihilation: Conquest. This is the natural extension – a couple of casualties, replaced by other A:C survivors, working again under the direction of the terminally human Peter Quill, on a series of potential suicide runs.

It’s all the fun of Suicide Squad, in space! How can it go wrong?

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Overnight Delivery:

One of the hardest parts of a cosmic scale comic is, well, keeping it cosmic, while at the same time making it relatable. The writing can go a long way to helping with this (I’ll get into that in a minute), but the art also plays an immense role in bringing the whole story to a new, dynamic state of being.

The art team (Pelletier, Magyar, Fairbairn) do a fantastic job, flickering from the personalized “debriefing” panels to the action scenes to splash pages that boggle and almost threaten to eclipse the story in itself, such as when we’re shown just what powers the capital ship our heroes are fighting across.

Abnett and Lanning’s writing doesn’t disappoint, bringing the reader through a series of emotional peaks and valleys as we get embroiled in fisticuffs starships and then flash to the tale of the team’s assembly.

I won’t spoil the final panel for you, but… hot damn.

Characterization is Key:

Peter Quill/Starlord… Somehow, despite everything going on around him, you get a very real sense that Peter Quill is desperately aware that he has nothing more to offer the team than his humanity. Rocket’s a tactical genius. Drax and Gamora are close combat monsters. Quasar functions on a cosmic level, while Adam Warlock’s… Adam Warlock. Peter is at once fragile yet in command.

We all love Rocket Raccoon for the comedy factor, Drax is the kick-butt-take-names badass, Adam’s the man with a destiny, Quasar’s trying to live up to a legacy and Gamora’s … well, let’s just say her motives are the most suspect, as far as I’m concerned… but what’s a team without a little tension?

In the end, we have a character that readers can empathize with in Peter Quill – a normal guy, trying to do the best he can with what he’s got (even if it’s a talking raccoon with a sapling, a couple of psychopaths and a some cosmic level lost souls).

So did I like it?

As much as I’m a fan of mini-series, of tales told and wrapped up in neat little packages, this is one ongoing series that I’m most definitely looking forward to following.

NEIL'S Response to GDay's Review

I can't argue with anything Gday has put forth about the comic because i agre with him, especially on Adam Warlock's part in this symphony by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. I mean he is definitely going to become a crutch unless scaled back by Abnett and Lanning, he already seems to know whats going to happen and how it is going to happen. On top of that we have Mantis who can foresee everything. It will be a balancing act for Abnett and Lanning, but somehow i feel they are up to par for the task.

Nova is a good case scenario he has all the power of the Nova Force which puts him in equal setting with alot of Cosmic Level beings,but after 13 issues Abnett and Lanning haven't made a mistake. Of ourse they had the technarch virus to scale him down i guess we will see.

If you are interested in being part of a Double Feature then leave a message and I will get back to you on what your favorite series is and promise ot blog roll you. Til tomorrow when I review Batman R.I.P.

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