Stretching into a nebulous, unspecified future, “100th Anniversary Special: Guardians of the Galaxy” #1 is a fun, light-hearted romp across the history of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Writers Andy Lanning and Ron Marz keep the focus heavily on the team Lanning worked on with former writing partner Dan Abnett, but manage to work in Major Victory and Charlie-27. The writing duo also keeps the story new-reader friendly and upbeat, a perfect compliment for readers of all ages, especially those who may have been hooked by Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offering of “Rocket Raccoon.”
The light-heartedness plays right into the strengths Gustavo Duarte brings to “100th Anniversary Special: Guardians of the Galaxy” #1. His artwork is very animated, bordering on cartoony, which works tremendously for a comic that features a talking tree, a raccoon brandishing firearms with three young alien-raccoon spawn spinning around him constantly and a Cosmonaut dog running a teleportation device. Duarte acknowledges the book’s inherent silliness, celebrating it the whole way through. This isn’t the most technically sound comic, but it doesn’t have to be — and it would be a huge disservice to the joy in these pages if it were. Duarte’s art transmits the fun he had drawing this comic book while Edgar Delgado’s colors join in the celebration. Letterer Joe Sabino transcribes a straight ahead collection of word balloons, but adds some pizzazz and sizzle to them, especially for Iron Man and Silver Galactus. The latter is especially enjoyable given the Kirby crackle surrounding his dialogue.
Of course, the romp wouldn’t be possible without the writers choosing the best characters most fit for the oddball adventure of the Guardians fighting Silver Galactus and his herald. Lanning and Marz have set fun as priority for “100th Anniversary Special: Guardians of the Galaxy” #1 and it carries through. That’s not to say the writers make this comic book a knee-slapping irreverent romp through the galaxy. What they have done here is provide a complete story, filled with fun characters and an interesting opponent. There’s enough here to continue on, but Marz and Lanning find a nice spot to close out the issue.
“100th Anniversary Special: Guardians of the Galaxy” #1 is the most enjoyable, most accessible and most timely of the “100th Anniversary Special” series so far. This issue won’t change the industry, but the on-sale racks are much better for having such a comic as this. With Guardians-mania hitting its apex, it might just be time to pull out all the stops and give this all-ages appropriate amalgamation of all things Guardians of the Galaxy a chance to carry on and build a legacy.