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Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 cover Marvel NOW!

If you’re nervous about a comic featuring talking trees and raccoons, relax: Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is an extraordinarily accessible, incredibly enjoyable entry point into a Star Wars-esque world that will hook you and never let you go.

Bendis’ Star-Lord, a.k.a. Earthborn Peter Quill, is one part Luke Skywalker and one part Han Solo. Son to the king of Spartax (think space kingdoms), rife with daddy issues and prone to hanging with dangerous aliens like Drax the Destroyer and Gamora the assassin, Peter’s got a soft spot for his mother’s home world that most of the galaxy does not share.

And that’s where it gets interesting, because dear old Dad has made Earth the forbidden fruit of the galaxy, which means it now has a big target on it. As a result, Peter and his deadly pals will have to step up to the plate against all the baddies of the galaxy.

Bendis does a great job of making this foreign world with unfamiliar characters feel familiar by using the aforementioned Star Wars angle as a common language for his audience. When first we see Peter Quill, he’s chatting up a dangerous Kree woman in a sleazy, alien-filled bar that looks like it’s right out of a Mos Eisley cantina storyboard.

The story quickly progresses to a deep space dust-up that somehow ropes in Iron Man, and culminates in the obligatory team splash page that you have to expect out of an introductory issue.

Tony Stark’s inclusion in the comic feels a bit shoehorned in this introductory issue, as it smacks of editorial influence pushing a familiar character either as an enticement for casual fans or a tie-in to Iron Man’s rumored inclusion in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film. Whatever the reason, here’s hoping he plays a more significant role in the coming issues.

At least Stark’s deep space armor looks great, thanks to the efforts of artist Steve McNiven. He pencils an exciting, highly detailed book, and Justin Ponsor’s colors really make it pop. Guardians of the Galaxy has all the realism, imagination and variety you could hope for out of a space book.

Even Rocket Raccoon looks badass – for a rodent.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is a crash course in intergalactic awesome, written with a Star Wars spirit and perfectly welcoming to first time readers.

9 out of 10

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