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Friday, April 8, 2011

Comic Review - Guardians of the Galaxy 1-6 (2008)

Title/Storyline
Guardians of the Galaxy 1-6

Publish Date/Year

2008

Creative Team

Story: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA)
Art: Paul Pelletier

Publisher
Marvel
Story
Hot on the heels of two COSMIC LEVEL wars in the Marvel Universe namely the Annihilation Wave (led by Annihilus from the Negative Zone) and the 2nd Wave (by the Phalanx under Ultron's lead),their davatating attacks on the universe had caused a rip in space-time itself called the Fault.

Star-Lord decides to form a proactive strikeforce with a rag-tag team of unlikely "heroes" to protect and
save the universe from any new cosmic scale threats that may rupture the Fault and destroy the Marvel universe space-time continuum. The team comprises of the following:
- Adam Warlock
- Drax the Destroyer
- Gamora
- Phyla-Vell (the new Quasar)
- Rocket Raccoon
- Groot
- Mantis as telepathic support

They establish their HQ in a space station called Knowhere (that is actually a head of a dead Celestial - yeah, spooky) that enables them to travel to anywhere in the universe. It's run by an intelligent, telepathic Russian dog called Cosmo who acts as its chief of security.

In the very first issue, they encounter the Universal Church of Truth (UCT) when they go about attempting to heal the Fault at various locations in the marvel Universe - resulting in them being labelled as among the UCT's top enemies/heretics.

In their next location at healing the fault, they come across a being frozen in ice with Capt. America's shield in hand! This time dislodged stranger is none other than Vance Astro (Major Victory) of the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the future (yeah, I know, I know, for non-fans, this sentence makes absolutely no sense at all!).

They bring Major Victory back to Knowhere and as they deal with shape-shifting Skrulls apparently having infiltrated Knowhere (coinciding with the Secret Invasion event) - Starhawk, Vance's team mate from the future, attacks! Why is this original Guardian of the Galaxy here in our reality back in the 20th century?

Issues 4-6 ties in directly to the SECRET INVASION with Knowhere being sabotaged, the entire facility is under lock-down and doubts are sown, especially with a rival group of universal protectors called the Luminals (can everyone say Green Lantern clones, or actually they are more like the Darkstars) to cause suspicion that some members of the Guardians of the Galaxy may actually be Skrulls!

In the aftermath of the Secret Invasion, the Guardians find out that Star-Lord had directed Mantis to
telepathically coerce the heroes into joining the team in the first place, resulting in most of the team members
going separate ways!

Rocket Raccoon decided to continue what Star-Lord had begun and started a search for new members to fill the ranks incl: Bug (from the 70's series Micronauts)

Art
As I had mentioned in my earlier review of War of Kings, Paul Pellettier is one of the strongest artists who constantly delivers some of the best visuals in the industry without relying on any of the flashy computerized coloring software, just fundamentally strong & solid pencil & ink-work. I said it before and am saying it again - under-rated & under-appreciated!

Overall
Altho' this had been said by many before me but I have to say it again: the Team of DnA consistently delivers some of the best stories for Marvel, especially the cosmic stuff.

They have done wonders with so many of the 2nd and 3rd stringers in the Marvel stable of characters - such as:
- Groot
- Mantis
- Rocket Raccoon
- Bug
- Killraven (he appears in a later Guardians of the Galaxy arc)
- The Badoon (the reptillian conquerers from the original Guardians of the Galaxy's future)

They not only tell great stories with great pacing but they incorporate so much of the rich Marvel lore into their
stories and build on them (eg: the Universal Church of Truth from Jim Starlin's Adam Warlock/Thanos/Magus stories in the 70's).

For those who, like me, were weaned on Marvel stories during our formative years, reading kick-butt stories from DnA that feature these fairly obscure characters are a real treat. Moreover, these stories actually have an impact on the rest of the Marvel Universe.

I unreservedly recommend this series (not the one from the 90's by Jim Valentino), which only ran for 25 issues unfortunately, to both long-time fans and newbies. The only caveat is that newbies may not be able to piece some of the more complex relationships between the many ideas & concepts that DnA used in their story-telling, but one good thing is that Marvel has been printing so many of the Essential books that even newbies can pick them up at affordable prices and get caught up on the history of these characters.

I would suggest newbies to read the following:
- Anything with Adam Warlock from the 70's.

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