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As anybody in the comics community knows by now, yesterday marked the Marvel Now release of Guardians of the Galaxy #1 written by Brian Michael Bendis and Penciled by Steve McNiven. Few had heard of the GotG until recently when plans were announced to make a Guardians movie, and naturally a new comic line needed to be written to re-introduce the series to a wider audience.
To understand the series a bit better before I picked up issues one, I read the Guardians of the Galaxy: Infinite Comic #1 and #2 featuring Drax and Rocket Raccoon (free to read digitally from Comixology). Drax had me intrigued for the new series, but when I started reading about Rocket Raccoon I was completely sold (So completely sold that I drove 2 hours to a comic shop to spend $30 on the Quesada Variant Cover pictured above). That said, between Star-Lord and Iron Man – there is not enough Rocket Raccoon in the first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy.
But before I get into that, here’s a bit more on the story arch that Issue 1 starts up. Peter is visited by his father, the king, who just politely pops by to let Peter know that a council of the galactic empires has decided that Earth is to be off limits for extra-terrestrial interaction. In his own words
“The Earth needs a fighting chance if it’s ever going to be able to be part of our galactic civilization”
Luckily for Earth (and Iron Man) Peter Star-Lord Quill realizes that instead of protecting Earth, this new edict will instead paint a target on it for every enemy of the galactic empire. In a stunning 2-page spread, we are re-introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy as they save the earth from one such enemy.
Like the fight scene at the end of the recent Avengers movie, this ensuing fight scene encapsulates the fighting style and essence of each member of the team. Rocket Raccoon, cursed with what I’m assuming is little-man syndrome, fires of a ridiculously large rocket launcher. Groot simply punches through the hull of the enemy space-ship with his fists yelling “I am Groot” (a better calling card that ‘hulk-smash’ in my opinion), while show-casing Star-Lord’s leadership talents. The fight also demonstrates the team’s devotion to each other, despite being, in Peter’s father’s words “broken”. Rocket Raccoon is willing to risk fur and claw to save Groot, while Drax (in a moment of machismo) attempts to save Gamorra, who has no need of assistance.
The end of the book leaves the story a bit open as to who the ultimate villain will be, but definitely leaves the reader with a promise of more epic battles to come. Though I am typically not one who enjoys panels and panels of fight scenes, the art and story-telling through Guardians of the Galaxy #1 kept my attention and made me want more of each of these crazy characters. Again, my only complaint was the focus on Star-Lord and Iron Man (who I hope will not continue to be a focus of the comic) which is an understandable focus given a) Star-Lord is the team leader and b) this movie needs a tie-in with the Avengers for money making. This looks to be a promising beginning for the guardians, and I strongly suggest everyone give it a try. But if Bendis and McNiven (and Gaiman who will join the party later) are reading this somewhere: we need more raccoon.