29th Jan2020

‘Guardians of the Galaxy #1′ Review (Marvel Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Al Ewing | Art by Juann Cabal | Published by Marvel Comics

gotg-1-cover

How many times can you reboot a book I hear you cry. Well, this being Marvel/ Disney, quite a few times as it turns out. The days of tight continuity and ongoing books are pretty much gone now, and it seems to me comic book runs are treated like TV shows. Each issue is treated like an episode, the trade paperback is the box set, and every number 1 is a season premiere. That issue 1 sales bump is always good for the bottom line, right? Cynicism aside, it is also a chance at renewal, at replacing a stale creative team with a new one full of ideas. So there’s that. With this reboot/ relaunch, I think it’s genuinely going to be the latter. Al Ewing is pretty good with developing and understanding characters, and Cabal’s art looks promising at first glance. Plus, who doesn’t love these characters?

The scene is set right from the first panel, with a nod to the recent conflict, and current cease fire between the Kree Imperium and the Utopian Kree Faction. That apple cat is swiftly turned on its side, I can tell you that much. Over to Halfworld, where the Guardians are sitting down to dinner, a Turkey dinner at that. Ewing straight away is making sure we get his take on the Guardians, that they are no longer the outsiders, the misfits, but are now a family, a band of brothers. Things have been calmer of late, and just as Peter Quill (Star-Lord) muses over if they could stay like this forever, Nova arrives asking for help. This causes a split because the gung ho members of the team, always up for a scrap and those like Gamora who feel things have changed, they have changed. Nova leaves empty handed.

Though not for long. Two of the oldest serving Guardians, Star-Lord and Rocket, can’t leave things like that, so sneak off by themselves. Peter, in typically ham fisted fashion, apologises to Gamora by text. Off to The Rock, the Nova Corps HQ, only no Novas are left after the recent Universal Church conflict. Richard (Nova) Rider’s team so far consists of himself, Moondragon, Phylla-Vell, and Kree Marvel Boy, as well as Rocket and Peter. Not exactly a top tier superhero task force. The worst of it all is that, as Richard reveals, there’s no one left to call on. Galactic crisis after galactic crisis has taken its toll, and just at a time when the Kree are plunged into civil war, the Skrulls are expanding, the Shiar are plotting, there is no one left to help. No one but this group.

So who was the big bad at the beginning of the issue? None other than a reborn Zeus. The Greek Gods have returned from an alternate dimension, more powerful than ever, and they want to make some noise. While Nova and Phylla run interference with Zeus, Peter and the others sneak into the Gods floating city world, one that can blink in and out of our reality. The plan? Damage enough stuff to cause trouble, then disappear. Maybe these are the Guardians after all. These are definitely the Guardians, judging by how fast a great plan sees the proverbial hit the fan. Things go wrong quick, as the reborn Olympian gods get their hands on the singularity bomb that was to be used to blow up their city. Not good.

What is good, is that one Olympian is actually not on the side of Zeus. He’s one of the good guys, and may just tip the balance.

Yep, Al Ewing and Juann Cabal delivered, and all the hype was justified. A juggling of the status quo, some great character development and interplay, referencing recent events but not making them essential to this story, and a story that built up to a nice reveal. The art was fab, with some lovely double page spreads with some gorgeous detail. I do love a clean line, and Cabal has that in spades.

Lovely to read and to look at, what a fantastic first issue this was. Highly recommended.

****½  4.5/5

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