“Guardians of the Galaxy” by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven
I’m just going to say right off the bat that this issue is an incredible amount of fun.
We start out in a bar in the middle of the galaxy somewhere. Peter Quill is trying to pick up an attractive young Kree woman when maybe the best date killer ever shows up: Quill’s dad, J’son of Spartax.
J’son wants Peter to stay away from Earth. Given that Earth is his home, and that his father abandoned him on said planet, Quill is none too happy about this, but his father insists that it is only for the safety of the people of Earth. A council of galactic empires has decided that no extraterrestrial being is to set foot on the planet, Quill included. Quill argues that by not allowing him access to Earth puts a great, big, giant target on it.
J’son then reminds his son of his birthright: he is the Star-Lord of Spartax. Quill just shoves that right back in his face, though. He has absolutely no interest in being the prince of his father’s empire.
Suddenly, a familiar face shows up.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the galaxy, Iron Man zips through space on a vacation of sorts when he is suddenly targeted by a Badoon warship. Fortunately, he’s not alone.
Cue fight montage:
No more worse for wear (for the most part), the Guardians make it back to their ship just in time to see the Badoon enter the Earth’s atmosphere. While Star-Lord can’t figure out why his father would leave the Earth unprotected and then announce it to the galaxy, Gamora believes his father may have set the whole thing up on purpose, knowing Peter Quill would never abandon his home.
Great scott! This is a hell of a first issue. These are all characters we’re familiar with, but unlike the 2008 run, they’re no longer a ragtag group of heroes anymore. Sure, they’re still a motley crew, but now they behave like a well-oiled ass-kicking machine. I even like the way they have a more uniform look.
While this issue doesn’t do a whole lot to introduce these characters to new readers (with the exception of Peter Quill), it does have all of the signature thrills the book is known for. I enjoy the addition of Iron Man in this run, if only to serve as a familiar face in this otherwise bizarre story (if the rumors are to be believed, Iron Man will also serve as a link to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, as well).
Brian Michael Bendis already wrote Star-Lord’s backstory in Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1, so I’m curious to see how he integrates the backstory of the other characters into this run. They look like the characters we know, but will they be any different this time around? Also, I’m really looking forward to seeing how Peter Quill’s father will factor into this story, since he is nonexistent in all of the other Guardians material that I’ve read. Sure, it’s not like a half-breed being torn between two worlds is all that new in the sci-fi genre, but at least here, it might add some depth to the Guardians’ leader, who was really just sort of a dick before. Including his father here gives that chip on his shoulder some sense of purpose.
The highlight of this issue for me? The Rocket Raccon/Groot relationship (big surprise). Specifically, after Groot is blown up in the blast, Rocket frantically searches for his buddy while the rest urge him to get back to the ship. At the last moment, he finds him. Well, sort of. He finds a sliver of wood. It’s a moment that is adorable in what could have been a heartbreaking sequence (for those who don’t know, Groot can regenerate as long as there is a piece of him left to grow back from).
In true Guardian fashion, this issue shines because it keeps things simple. I can’t wait to see where it goes.