Friday, May 5, 2017

Tie-ins, Part XXIII: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2015)



A scattershot history of Guardians of the Galaxy, Part 5



Welcome to the Marvel Age (of restarting at 1)!


"untitled"
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils/Inks – Valerio Schiti
Letters – VC's Cory Petit
Colors – Richard Isanove
Assistant Editor – Kathleen Wisneski
Associate Editor – Jake Thomas
Editor – Nick Lowe
Editor-in-Chief – Axel Alonso
December 2015

Don't fret, it's already been replaced. There is already a new #1.

Two days ago, to be exact.

Because? New movie. Groot is now a baby again. Can't have the Thing and Venom in the book, might confuse movie audiences.

Marvel has recently become a comic book empire ruled by tie-ins, crossovers and "events" to the point of there being no real value in following any series they put out.

And even when they do something "right" like the recent Secret Wars which would allow them to wipe the slate clean and start over, they make Cap a Nazi or Iron MAN a WOMAN or something just as wrong-headed and we are back to the drawing board of how to sell these characters.

Back in the day, you didn't have to worry about any of that. You just told a good story. Once you did that editorial didn’t yank the rug out from under you six months later as your good story started to really heat up. You didn’t have an Event that was going to mess up half your supporting cast or your city or your universe or whatever.

Comic book companies made money selling stories, not selling you a product.

Rather than say "all that has changed now," I'm going to concentrate on the good in this issue. For one thing it is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who occasionally writes a decent tale. He bats about .50 with me. Sadly, the other half of the time I can't stand his stuff. But that's me.

We start off strong, showing villains plotting together.



Annihilus and the Brood queen list all the threats that the Guardians have knocked down over the past story arcs, and rather than being intimidated by the heroes successes, the pair decide the universe is left for them to carve up between them.

We fade out and check in on our heroes tooling around the Milky Way Galaxy, centering in on the one I had the most problem with being in the group: Ben Grimm. The Thing.



With an ease that I did not think possible, Bendis makes his transition from the defunct first family of Marvel to the Guardians as simple and fluid as a world class figure skater. Yes, Ben HAS always trained and dreamed of being a pilot. It was his dreams from the very beginning. Bendis is winning me over here.

He laments that "Everybody out here is trying to kill me," in typical grumpy Thing fashion as a giant Chitauri space whale thing starts shooting at him. Appears the Chitauri have a long memory for those who wrong them.



Luckily for Ben, he's not out here alone.


 
Although I don't have a clue who these guys/gals are. Oh, I see it now. That's kinda handy. Those logos floating in mid-air there.

The Chitauri are foolhardy and instead of turning tail and running at the sight of the Guardians, decide to double-down on their misfortune. They send a wave of space bikes after them as well as move in for the kill.



Rocket and Kitty Pryde (as the new Star Lord) decide to oblige them.

  
Kitty phases right through the blasts aimed at her and the ship that is firing them, and as those loyal X-Men fans know, when she phases through technology, it tends to explode.


Love this graceful series of panels.



And while Kitty shows off with her new teammates, we use Rocket and Drax's conversation to turn our attention to Peter Quill, Kitty's fiancĂ© and newly minted ruler of planet Spartax. 


Bored beyond belief, Peter's day is fill with trade negotiations, budget meetings and bureaucratic red tape. Yet he is so invested in the good of this planet that even when he attempts to walk out of a meeting…


…he finds that just isn't possible. Duty has ensnared the space pirate.


Dismayed, Peter sits back down and we turn back to our team.

Since no story is complete without a MacGuffin, we find the Guardians clustered around one found on the Chitauri's wreckage. A discussion ensues about whether it's a bomb or not.


The Thing's humorous jibe turns a bit serious as the device in front of them seems primed for danger. And no one wants to be the one that opens it.


But Kitty has a suggestion…and we all know who that will turn out to be.
 


It's pages like these that increase a book's running length. Many times I feel they are padding but here they are exactly what we are looking for. Love this stuff. It's Peter, by the way and of course they are going.

Meantime, Peter is being sexually assaulted by the long-necked pink alien that looks a bit like a female version of Cecil the Sea Monster. 

 Exactly like this only pink

She's a visiting dignitary who wants him to "procreate with me right here, right now," but luckily for him Kitty shows up just in time to stop her advances.

Since catching him with another female…(can we really tell that?)…Kitty acts all aloof, which is totally bogus given that THIS Peter Quill seems like a well-mannered schoolboy compared to how the movie Peter Quill is played. Peter asks about the package instead of approaching her.



Right about then, something falls from orbit and destroys a docking platform. And look who it is:



The gangs all together now! Who has been so rough on our green-skinned, deadly goddess?



Oh, yeah her. I guess we are in for a scrap next issue. Why? Not sure.

I liked most of this book. Everything except how "goody two-shoes" Peter ends up being. He isn't rough enough to have been a guy that spent years with Yondu's crew of space pirates. Otherwise it's all fine and good. If there were more of these in the quarter-bin, I'd pick them up.



And that wraps up my week of giving you the skinny on Guardians. Keep a lookout for those background characters, possibly an appearance by Darkhawk (the fanboys wish, anyway) and hopefully a great moviegoing experience.

Race you to the concessions stand.

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