Guardians of the Galaxy #1 review – the start of a bold and grand new epic

With seemingly some big cataclysmic, world changing event every other week, it’s hard to filter through the hype with Marvel Comics these days. Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is a book you’ll want to seek out as it captures the wide-scale adventures and eclectic personalities of the much beloved Abnett and Lanning run.

Thanos is dead. Beheaded in fact so resurrection seems highly unlikely. Starfox has called a meeting of all the cosmic heroes including the Starjammers, Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, Moondragon, Darkhawk, Cosmic Ghost Rider and the Imperial Guard to hear Thanos’ last will and statement.

And Thanos wouldn’t be Thanos without having some contingency in place even in the event of his death. That contingency plan is insidious regardless if it’s true, but it’s more than enough to sow seeds of dissent and chaos.

Meanwhile, Star-Lord and Groot are headed to Knowhere in hopes of some rest and relaxation. But in true Guardians’ fashion, they quickly find themselves pulled into the conflict.

Writer Donny Cates quickly establishes a terrific premise and doesn’t drag out the reveal of the new roster. There’s a nice mix of new characters and former members returning to the fold.

Count me among the disgruntled fans who were disappointed when Brian Michael Bendis took over the Guardians. The free-wheeling anything can happen dynamic of the Abnett and Lanning run was replaced by everyone trying to be a comedian. Cates also brings back some of the characters who were best used during the DnA era.

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I’ve been lapsed in my Guardians reading, but it seems like this current iteration of Groot can not only speak, but has the attitude of teen Groot. That works out just fine in the movies, but I prefer the kinder, more childlike version.

One thing I really loved is how Cates gives the team a purpose. They’re not just thrown together over one battle and then decide to stay together. They’ve got a mission and one that could theoretically last for an extended period of time.

I’m not too familiar with artist Geoff Shaw’s work, but he’s got a strong sense of storytelling. Some details like hair and head shapes are a bit soft though yet it’s not such a big deal as his pages have a real spark of excitement and movement. Colorist Marte Gracia does solid work with strong primary color use. Guardians is a cosmic book and doesn’t need to look dreary after all.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 was a strong kick off for a series that’s lost its way over the years. With the new team and mission, Cates and Shaw have an easy winner on their hands and I’m looking forward to seeing how they establish this new era.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Photo Credit: Marvel Comics

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