Bendis had an awfully high bar set for him on Guardians of the Galaxy. I absolutely loved Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s take a few years ago. In fact, their runs on Nova and Guardians still hold up as some of my favorite comics ever. I was so annoyed that Bendis was getting the reigns that I didn’t even read the Point One issue. Couldn’t do it.
But seeing Rocket, Groot, and Gamorra again was worth it. I picked up issue 1. And you know? It was pretty entertaining.
I still don’t like the idea of Iron Man on the team. I get why Marvel is doing it, the book is a lot more commercial if a very familiar face like Tony Stark is on the team. It just bums me out that the old resident Earther, Jack Flagg, lost his place. It’s going to be neat seeing Stark try to deal with the madness of space heroics; I will just miss the bigger cast. In fact, pretty much all my complaints boil down to “this isn’t the last series of Guardians.”
This book has a much stronger Star Lord focus, with Peter Quill’s Spartoi ties providing a lot of the motivation. Quill is the heir to the Spartoi throne, so having him slum around with the Guardians is pretty insulting to his father, the current monarch of the empire. In what seems like a petty move, a galactic of shifty looking aliens decreed that Earth is off-limits. The aliens include the Shi’ar, Spartoi, Brood, and more, but basically they are just declaring open-season on the Earth. The main battle involves the Badoon making a play and the Guardians getting in the way.
Bendis retains a lot of DnA’s characterization. Rocket Raccoon and Groot are the same, and Drax feels like he stepped out of the older series too. It’s too early to tell on Gamorra, and I don’t mind Star Lord’s new heritage-based plot. Overall, the series has a lot of potential.
Steve McNiven won’t stick around long, I’m sure, but while he’s here, the book will look good. Rocket Raccoon is far and away my favorite; it’s hard to keep him cute and cuddly while keeping him heavily armed, but McNiven pulls it off. Gamorra looks fantastic, of course, but that’s one of McNiven’s specialties. I also like the Star Lord redesign. It’s less Warhammer 40k, but more classic Marvel, while retaining elements of both. It’s a great look.