Compared to DC, Marvel’s cosmic universe has always lacked. However, since Marvel's dip into beefing up their cosmic universe, way back in 2005, during the Annihilation event, I have been hooked. Marvel finally seems to have a handle on their cosmic situation for the first time. So for the most part, I've neglected the Guardians of the Galaxy all those years when they showed their faces in the space opera, I told myself to jump on reading about the Guardians whenever I had the chance. So with the movie hitting theatres this past summer (and blowing away the competition) and Brian Michael Bendis writing the current incarnation, I decided this was as good a time as any to review the current iteration of the team.
[Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) VOL.1: COSMIC AVENGERS collects issues #0.1, #1-3, and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: TOMORROW'S AVENGERS #1.
Peter Quill, A.K.A. Star-Lord, leader of the Guardians has been informed by his father J-Son, King of the Spartax planetary system, that Earth is off limits from any and all threats in the known universe. Anything that should disrupt this, would lead into a galactic war. Iron Man joins the story due to wanting to know more about the galactic threats to Earth and gets into a battle with the Guardians who themselves are fighting aliens heading to out home planet. What has made Earth so important all of a sudden? Where did this "off limits" rule come from? Either way, Quill and his team of Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Iron Man are here to protect the galaxy and find out what is going on.
Brian Michael Bendis writes a pretty good action book, with mixes of character and world building between the three issues. The Guardians know the consequences of what’s going on, but spend the book fighting off the alien horde, which gives readers an idea of the team chemistry during the action. Groot being a lumbering powerhouse golem figure, Gamora being the most dangerous woman in the galaxy as she is known as, Drax mowing through soldiers with ease, Rocket being the sarcastic smart-ass announcing each and every kill he makes, and Iron Man some how getting involved yet wonders if his being there is no coincidence. It's a bit straight forward, but fun. And while this is all happening, we get flashbacks to how and why the off limits law is put into play, giving readers the idea Bendis is slowly planting the seeds for future stories.
To offset the heavy action and dense story telling, new readers like myself get caught up to speed with the #0.1 issue telling the origin of Peter Quill and Tomorrow's Avengers #1 as the semi-origins for the rest of the Guardian crew. This gives us more an idea of what and who these characters are, especially Peter and the conflict with his father, which I think is a great emotional issue.
Art duties are mostly handled by Steve McNiven, who does wonderful work. His work from Marvel's Civil War and Mark Millar's Nemesis are leading examples of his super detailed style and bold splash pages. He does issues #0.1 and #1-3 with Sara Pachelli doing some fill-in pages in issues #2-3. Pachelli isn't quite up to McNiven's level, but her art is great in it’s own right; Michael Avon Oeming, Ming Doyle, Michael Del Mundo, and Yves Bigerel do the “Tomorrow's Avengers” issue.
I guess any problems here might be that this book is all about setting up the main plot and settings, so very little in terms of story progression happens. Two issues alone are origin tales and issue 3 has the Guardians mostly fighting while we get the juicy main plot brewing in the background. So most of this book is set up.
Either way, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.1: COSMIC AVENGERS is a very action packed, sci-fi story with some good character developments early on for new readers. Though Volume 1 is mostly set-up for the future series to come. If you are a new reader itching to try out this series because of the hype, this book will not disappoint.