The Marvel NOW! hype machine continues to churn out more "Guardians of the Galaxy" product as the Brian Michael Bendis-penned series fights to elbow its way into the spotlight. In the course of one month, we've received the first official issue, a Point One issue and a trio of Infinite Comics. The latest of those Infinite Comics features layouts by "Infinite Comics" pioneer Yves Bigerel and finished art by Michael Del Mundo, and turns the spotlight on Gamora, outlining her past while giving her some Badoon to beat up.
Bendis, Bigerel and Del Mundo are in lock-step on this issue, which feel more like an animated storybook detailing the adventures of Gamora than it does a struggle to mix panels and progression. The previous offerings in the "Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comics" line were adequate enough, especially for free, but this is a well-executed Infinite Comic from Marvel that spectacularly informs the reader of Gamora, her motivation and abilities. Bendis doesn't burden the most dangerous woman in the universe with drippy dialog or sappy narration, he simply drops her onto a planet to kick some Badoon square in the teeth.
The backgrounds are sparse and rugged, but the story explains those conditions quite nicely, freeing Bigerel and Del Mundo to devote their time and talent to Gamora in action. Said action leads straight into "Guardians of the Galaxy" #1, providing prequel-like backstory to how Gamora and Star-Lord came to be where they were and showcases what was going on beforehand. The action and subtleties afforded by Infinite Comics are used nicely in this story, giving the overall tale some resonance and Gamora some substance. Granted, Gamora's not going to be the most well-known heroine Marvel publishes, but this is a solid story for the adopted daughter of Thanos.
Almost exactly a year after the debut of Infinite Comics, the concept still seems to be fledgling. In some instances, like this issue and the first one by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen that featured Nova, it works beautifully. Some other installments in the Infinite Comics concept struggle to be little more than digital flip books. With one more "Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic" on the horizon, starring Groot, I'm hoping we get an effort more like this one.
While the roster of Guardians has varied through the years, the four characters selected for the Infinite Comics treatment match the four characters set to co-star with Star-Lord in the 2014 feature film. Coincidentally (or perhaps not so for my conspiracy-loving friends) Marvel has also spun out news and/or rumors of casting matches near each of these releases. The Drax issue was on the heels of Chris Pratt being announced as Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon's Infinite Comic came out near the confirmation that Dave Bautista would be suiting up as Drax and "Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic" #3 hit within days of swirling rumors that Zoe Saldana was in negotiations to portray Gamora. Marvel is set to make "Guardians of the Galaxy" their next big thing and you could do a whole lot worse than jumping onboard with this stellar free Infinite Comic to get a sample of what you might be looking forward to.