One of the things I loved about volume 1 of Annihilation Conquest was the Starlord Miniseries section – which was really about Starlord being forced to lead a rag-tag group of heroes on a suicide mission with little chance of success. Guardians of the Galaxy takes many of the same characters from that miniseries (those who are left alive anyway), brings in some of the other major players from that story, and continues to send them on missions with very little chance of success. This book has everything you could want out of a comic featuring the cosmic adventures of a miss-matched group of superheroes. If you’d like to find out more, you know what to do…
In the wake of the past two invasions, Starlord decides it’s time to form a proactive group of heroes, intent on stopping any future galactic calamities from happening. He’s surrounded by the heroes who just stopped the Phalanx, but he also knows that most of them are not used to taking orders, are not what you would call ‘team’ material. So he enlists the aid of his telepathic friend Mantis, to gently use her powers to persuade them to join his new team. As you can probably guess, this will come back to haunt him.
On the team are Warlock, recently resurrected and the most aware of the breakdown of time and space going on in the universe; Gamora, assassin and love interest for Nova; Quasar, powerful but naïve; Rocket Racoon, who has an incredibly intelligent military mind; and of course Mantis (telepath) and Starlord (gun toting leader of the group). There’s also the periphery characters, such as Groot the tree-like being who’s still trying to regrow from a twig to his normal enormous size, not to mention all the characters who inhabit Knowhere. Yes, the location introduced in Nova vol 2: Knowhere is back here as the homebase of Starlord’s team – which by the way doesn’t start out with the name Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s part of the fun – the humorous suggestions made (mostly by Rocket) as to what they should call themselves. And let me be frank, this book is all about the fun.
Oh sure, there are serious storylines – the Guardians get into trouble almost as much as they actually succeed in their missions. They face off against a crazed religious order, time-displaced future Guardians who seem intent on destroying a past that shouldn’t exist, and the first hints of a Skrull Secret Invasion (they are shape changers, so they can look like anyone) that will carry over into a larger crossover among the Earth-bound Marvel heroes. The artwork is fantastic – Paul Pelletier has a style that’s very similar to Alan Davis (one of my all time favorite artists), and the vibe of this book is very similar to Excalibur (a favorite comic of mine, written and drawn by Davis). As I mentioned in my previous review of Nova vol 2: Knowhere – this space station is very reminiscent of Deep Space 9 or Bablyon 5 – which opens up many opportunities for storytelling.
There was literally nothing about this book that I didn’t enjoy. Even the slight tie-in to the Secret Invasion event (a book I haven’t read) wasn’t overdone and worked very well in a stand alone fashion – I never once felt like I didn’t understand what was going on. After all the Annihilation events, I was looking forward to a break from that, and the inclusion of Secret Invasion here didn’t bother me at all. But this book is also something that a reader could easily step into without needing to read what’s come before – it’s the first volume of this story and this team, and it works very well as a jumping on point for new readers. Though I’ll warn you – this series could prove addictive – you might find you want to go back and read the events that led up to this point, and if you like space-faring stories with great characters, outlandish action, humor… in short, if you’re looking for fun – then this might just be the book for you.