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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ makes a landing — is it worth a look?

by  in Comic News Comment

This week saw the arrival of Guardians of the Galaxy #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, John Dell and Justin Ponsor. The series spins out of the events of Bendis’ Avengers Assemble arc, but at the same time sets up a new story and mission for Starlord, Rocket Raccoon and the rest of the team.

So does the comic soar or make a crash landing? Here are a few opinions from around the web to tell you just that ….

David Pepose, Newsarama: “Part of the problem is that Brian Michael Bendis takes it for granted that we know who these characters are and why they’re together. If this is your first time reading about Starlord or Gamora or Drax, you’re going to be scratching your head at their very, very limited bits of characterization — Gamora’s a badass, diving into the fray twice in one issue (the first time is somewhat unclear why), while Drax just scowls and says tough guy things like “almost admiring” the barbarism of the Badoon. Things blow up and lasers are fired, but it’s all pretty haphazard and feels tacked on.” (4/10)

Joey Esposito, IGN: “Because of that grand scale, artist Steve McNiven gets to step in and do some great work with some massive splash pages and double-page spreads. The introduction of Gamora, in particular, is a standout page that sums up the character with one pose with no assistance required from Bendis’ words. Equally impressive is the double-page spread that introduces the whole team together; it’s a finely detailed piece of work that is as explosive as you’d expect from this kind of book.” (8/10)

Iann Robinson, Crave Online: “John Dell’s inks help define and give depth to what McNiven is doing. The faces are inked so the emotions come out, but Dell never takes it too far. The inks are heavier in the outlines, which helps give the forms weight during the space scenes. Colorist Jason Ponsor is the final piece of the puzzle. He’s very reserved with the color work until he needs to go bigger. Even from panel to panel he works with light colors on close ups or forms and then goes huge with explosions. His background color themes work particularly well during the space battle.” (8.5/10)

Noel Thorne, WhatCulture: “There’s only one minor detail that took me out of the issue and was also something that bothered me about the #0.1 issue – Star Lord essentially says he’s only interested in protecting Earth and the way #1 plays out, it seems the action is going to be Earth-focused. The series is called Guardians of the Galaxy, not Guardians of Earth – I’d’ve liked to have seen Earth taken out of the equation altogether and have the Guardians go to some alien world on the other side of the universe. But hey, this is early days, we’ll get there eventually, I’m sure. Like I said, it’s a minor quibble.”

Geoff Arbuckle, A Comic Blog: “If Marvel wanted to roll these guys out with enough time to build a built-in audience for their movie next Summer, it’s best to keep the initial exposition at a minimum. There will be time down the line to go deeper. Instead, just have the series hit the ground running and get things going. That’s what was done here and I think we’re better off for it. It’s not bogged down with retelling histories or spending a lot of time just showing the characters’ personalities and staving off a more exciting, action-packed story so these characters can get a real good treatment first. Bendis gives us enough for the characters through the action. As I said, there will be more time later. For now, let’s just blow some space stuff up and show us some really interesting characters that resemble raccoons or trees who can only every introduce himself. This is the heart of the Guardians so let’s just go for it and treat this like a true first issue of a series.”

Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “While there’s plenty to gripe about in Guardians of the Galaxy #1, there is no mistaking that Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven have shown up to tell their story of the Guardians, not to interpret Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians. Taken for what it is — an offering for uninitiated movie buffs and lapsed comic fans enthused by the upcoming feature film of the same name — this comic book offers quite a bit to enjoy, but needed to be just a little bit longer in order to completely satisfy. This is a good, solid start, but it needs a little more punch to secure the readers’ interests.” (3.5/5)