“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.