The first of the new Guardians of the Galaxy series is finally on stands! Go pick up your issue today! I’ll be posting my review this Monday.
Star-Lord was created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan. He made his first appearance in Marvel Preview #4 in 1976. He appeared again here and there over the years in Marvel Super Special, Marvel Spotlight, and Marvel Premier. He returned again in Thanos #8-12 in 2004, Annihilation #1-6 in 2006 and a 4 issue run titled Annihilarion: Conquest – Star-Lord leading into Annihilation: Conquest.
Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, is a human-alien hybrid, having an alien father (Jason of Spartoi) and a human mother (Meredith Quill). At age 11, he witnessed the death of his mother at the hands of the Spartoi. Eventually, he grew up to be an astronaut, working for NASA where an alien being known as the Master of the Sun bestowed upon him the mantle of Star-Lord along with a sentient vessel known as “Ship.”
While he has no actual “super powers,” Peter Quill is a master strategist, and is an expert in close-quarter combat, human and alien firearms, and battle techniques. Due to severe injuries he sustained during a battle with The Fallen One, one of Galactus’ former heralds, he received cybernetic implants that enhance his senses and give him 100% recall.
He is outfitted in a Kree heat-dampening-espionage-battle suit, a helmet that improves his vision and regulates his oxygen. He also carries a pair of signature Kree sub-machine guns.
Star-Lord is the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Somebody’s Got To Do It” by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier
Even though the Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 in 1969, I thought it would be best to start with the run that began in 2008 because this is the team that is being assembled for the upcoming movie. I figure we can always get to the old stuff later.
The second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy was written by Dan Abnett (The Punisher, Nova) and Andy Lanning (Nova), with art by Paul Pelletier. The book was a direct result of the 2007-08 Marvel cross-over event Annihilation: Conquest, also written by Abnett and Lanning.
What’s great about this book is that it wastes no time getting to the good stuff. It begins with a snippet from Guardian leader Peter Quill’s (Star-Lord) post-mission debrief log and then thrusts you headfirst into a huge action scene:
Our heroes are engaged in a battle onboard a templeship of the Universal Church of Truth, a group of galactic religious wing-nuts, while trying to prevent the opening of a fissure in space that separates our universe from an unknown evil. Since Annihilation: Conquest, these fissures have begun popping up due to the weakened condition of the universe. After some quick-witted banter, Star-Lord makes it clear: “This is a plain, old school stop-the-bad-craziness-from-happening deal.”
Then, we jump back two weeks, just after Annihilation: Conquest.
As the Guardians fight their way to the fissure, we cut back and forth to the recruitment of Rocket Raccoon (my favorite), Drax the Destroyer, and Gamora.
Hey, remember the unknown evil that lives beyond the fissure?
Then, the team recruits it’s final member, Adam Warlock.
With that, Rocket Raccoon blows up the huge pink space monster (along with the rest of the templeship), Adam Warlock seals the fissure shut, and the Guardians return to Knowhere, a nexus on the edge of time-space that serves as their headquarters, where we also meet the final two members of the team.
Almost as soon as their first mission is over, another dangerous fissure is spotted somewhere else in the universe and our heroes suit right back up and head out to deal with it.
This first issue is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s literally got everything I look for in a super-hero comic. It’s got fast-paced action, the dialogue is razor sharp (and wicked funny), and it’s so damn welcoming to new readers.
What I enjoy most is the rapport among the Guardians. There’s almost a John McClane mix of reluctance and a sense of duty that each of them feels (especially Rocket Raccoon), which keeps the overall tone light, even in the face of certain death. Guardians reads a lot like a summer popcorn movie, which makes me that much more confident about a cinematic adaptation.
If there’s one line of dialogue that sold me on this book, it’s Peter Quill “suggesting an ass-kicking force.” There are more intelligently-written comics out there, but pound for pound, Guardians delivers on fun and excitement in spades.
In 2008, few would’ve believed that by 2012, we’d have 2 Iron Man movies, a Hulk movie, a Thor movie, and a Captain America movie, all amounting to the penultimate comic book movie experience: an Avengers movie. Not only did it happen, but they were all really good!
And Disney/Marvel had no plans to stop there. At 2012’s San Diego Comic Con, they unveiled plans for Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America sequels, and two NEW properties: Ant-man and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Guardians of the What? After a quick Google search, I discovered maybe the oddest comic book team-up I’d ever heard of. A talking, gun-weilding raccoon? A giant, sentient tree? Huh??
The initial thought of a movie about this group of intergalactic protectors in the same cinematic universe as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America seemed way too bizarre for me. How could this ever be for adults? Well, I did some more research and realized the Guardians are pretty freakin’ awesome. They’re essentially a ragtag group of SPACE AVENGERS!
Cue The Guardian Log. As I delve into the team’s history via the original comics, I plan to use The Guardian Log as a diary of sorts, keeping track of characters and story arcs, as well as any tidbits, fun facts, and behind the scenes material I come across, so if you’re new to the Guardians, you’re in luck. So am I. Hope you enjoy it.