This week I have a special goody treat for you. This review is on that super space team that Marvel owns with a special cult following. You know the one, it consists of a band of merry misfits featuring a giant monster with a heart of gold, a bombshell who does kills more than a frag grenade, and a psychopath. They travel the depths of space on pirate adventures, thumbing their nose to the authorities who seek to shut them down. No matter what the peril, their fearless and charismatic leader gets them through, with a winning smile. It’s “
The Starja—“Guardians of the Galaxy”. This of course comes ahead of the announced “ Starja—“Guardians of the Galaxy” movie; which surprised even the most devout fans, even the ones that read about Nova when he was in “New Warriors”.
For non comic book fans who are interested in the movies, a brief history of this team of “Star Guardians of the Jammers”. This all goes back to September of 2005 when a green alien space murderer by the name of Drax dropped down onto our planet in a mini-series called “Drax the Destroyer: Earth Fall”. Then “Annihilation” happened, a series that assembled a giant tree monster, a psychotic raccoon, space Xena, Drax, and a character named Star Lord, aka Peter “I-am-not-Corsair” Quill. Also there was the aforementioned Nova, but he has his own series so he can wait his turn. Yes, all of this happened and it sold enough copies for Marvel to, not only begin serious development on a movie, but to relaunch the series with the art work of Steve McNiven and the writing talent of Brian Michael Bendis.
Whenever Marvel puts Bendis on a book they usually do it to much trumpeting and fanfare. It’s very telling. They no longer put Bendis on stories that he would write well, or that he pitched a great story for; it’s always the book they want to revitalize. Don’t get me wrong, Bendis still writes some good stuff, his dialogue is up there with Joss Whedon banter. But this is the trend with Brian Michael Bendis: a spectacular first issue, something with a lot of flash and pizzazz; an amazing first arc with enough of a storyline that it looks well thought out; a second story arc that is… okay; a third story arc that got lost and everything goes downhill from there. So when I tell you that this book is good, I want you to enjoy every color splashed page of it because things go south very quickly from here. Since it is still the first arc, the story is crisp, simple on the surface but with a sinister undertone. Undertone! And it’s sinister. It’s almost enough to make you believe this series is going somewhere. All of the back and forth between characters varies from “knee slapping hilarious” to “edge of your seat nervous”. Plus, for some odd reason Iron Man is in this, and he is written fantastically; he is the same smooth talking, quick witted scoundrel that Robert Downey Jr. perfected in the movie—oh I get it now, shameless cross promotion. But that doesn’t detract from how pretty Tony Stark’s face is drawn, how pretty everyone is drawn by the incomparable Steve McNiven.I want you to look at the art. I want you to really take in every facial detail. I am a happily married heterosexual man and I got one look at Peter “No-relation-to-Cyclops” Quill and I felt like he could protect me, like he could save me from a kidnapping. That’s the thing about McNiven art. Some artists draw really great figures or compelling action, McNiven seems to specialize in making heroes. His women are alluring without being floozies, and his men are heroic without being roid-a-saureses. Every time he draws a close up I want to throw money at the book. If you couldn’t tell, Steve McNiven is one of the best artists in the field right now. Which begs the question: why “Guardian Jammers of the Stars”?
Not that I’m a cynical person but “Jammer Galaxy for Guardian Star” isn’t a top tier book, or at least it wasn’t until Marvel decided it needed a movie. There are stories out there that don’t need a promotion blitz to be appealing. If you judged “Invincible” quality purely on its sales and not on its advertisement, the one thing that could be inferred is its consistency. Not to say that “Jam Guard Star For” isn’t good right now, but I grow anxious when I think about the future.
“Guardians of the Galaxy is 88% Invincible.