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June 2, 2014 / Jett

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers

The Guardians of the Galaxy have lingered in the background of an alternate Marvel universe since the 1960s. Having been brought into the main fold and backed by a major motion picture set for release later this year, this eclectic gang of space vigilantes are finally poised to be Marvel’s next big thing. In anticipation of the film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers made my reading list.

Spread across five issues, Cosmic Avengers explores the origin of Peter Quill, the events that lead to Iron Man joining the team, as well as a battle with the Badoon that hits particularly close to home. I love how this book starts, as it does a great job of laying down the groundwork for Star-Lord’s deep-rooted daddy issues that lead to intergalactic warfare. Beyond that, the book loses momentum pretty quickly.

Part of the problem comes from the supporting cast. Drax is a bad ass guy who doesn’t speak much. Gamora is a bad ass girl who doesn’t speak much. Groot is a bad ass tree that can’t speak much. And Rocket Racoon is a bad ass animal that probably speaks too much. Very little is done to flesh these characters out, which makes them feel hollow. Even the charismatic Tony Stark is sorely underutilized here, as he’s only good for a snappy comment or two.

I also take offense to the plot progression after issue #1. Once the war really kicks into high gear, it boils down to a simple slugfest of heroes mowing down waves of nameless soldiers. During the one major point of adversity, the way in which it’s resolved is highly predictable and not that interesting. Written by Brian Michael Bendis of All New X-Men fame, I was expecting more.

Art duties for the main issues is handled by Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli. The work is well done, though nothing here really wowed me. As for the final issue in this book, Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers #1, art is handled by a series of different artists with varying art styles. I’m not mad that it doesn’t share the look of the main series, but I just not a fan of any of the artwork contained in this issue.

With refinement, I can see how the Guardians of the Galaxy could be huge for Marvel. Unfortunately, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers only shows us glimmers of what makes this series cool. Instead, we get a largely straightforward affair propped up by an uneven ensemble cast. I’ll give the gang another shot with the movie, but I don’t see myself being overly enthused to continue with the comics after reading this.

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