Friday, March 1, 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1

I wish Marvel had cooked up a different title for its team of cosmic heroes, since (to me) the title belongs to the team from the distant future (which first appeared in the '60s in a one-shot appearance, and then returned years later in their own title, which had a healthy run).

But that ship has sailed, and now the Guardians of the Galaxy are a contemporary team made up of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon and Groot (with Iron Man joining the team for a while, at least, and perhaps Nova will be along eventually).

This "Point One" issue is dedicated to retelling the origin for Star-Lord - which is probably good, because it was last told during the character's first appearance in 1976 in Marvel Previews magazine.

The original was a great tale (well worth tracking down) written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Steve Gan. It managed to combine science fiction with - believe it or not - astrology.

Star-Lord's next appearance, not long after, was by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne, and it stuck with the science fiction, taking the story in more of a Robert Heinlein / Edgar Rice Burroughs direction.

But don't worry if you missed those, because this issue by writer Brian Bendis and artists Steve McNiven and John Dell does a fantastic job covering the backstory, including a story of romance, tragedy and a heroic young man.

The art is wonderful - fresh, lively, with a great kinetic sense and powerful designs. Outstanding work!

Of course, it's all a setup for the regular series and a new issue #1 (advertised in the back of the book as starting on Feb. 27 - uh, that was last Wednesday, guys).

The series will also continue the buildup for the new movie now in the works - and judging by this one, it's going to be a series to watch.

But I still wish the team was using a different name. Isn't "Defenders of the Galaxy" available?

Grade: A


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