The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?

Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 20-something new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.

If there’s one thing I’ve always prided myself on when it comes to comics, it’s been my knowledge of the Marvel Universe. So it pains me to say that I’ve never really read a Guardians of the Galaxy comic….EVER. Especially the more recent series that came out of Marvel’s cosmic Annihilation event. Up until the start of the Marvel Now imprint, if someone had asked me who the G of the G was, I would’ve told them Vance Astro and Charlie 27 ’cause that’s who they were when I was kid. So more than any other Marvel Now title, I had no expectations regarding the characters when reading the first issue….but this is technically not the first issue. This is issue #0.1. Why make the distinction? Simple. This is not about the Guardians of the Galaxy. This book is only about their leader, Starlord. Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven bring you the origin story of Peter Quill. For a reader such as myself, I thank them very much for that. Like the old editorial saying goes, if this is the first GOTG story you ever read, it’s the perfect “jumping on” point.

The story begins 30 years ago in the Mountains of Colorado. A woman who lives alone out in the country gets an unexpected visitor when J’son,  a humanoid alien from the planet Spartax, crash lands in her yard. She nurses him back to health while he fixes his ship. In a quick series of pages, their entire relationship takes place as they learn from each other and become intimate. All is happy until he has to leave to continue his battle amongst the stars. He leaves just before she finds out that she’s pregnant. We jump ahead 10 years to when that boy, Peter, is now 10 years old. He’s a rough little kid who stands up for a girl at his school against a bully and gets suspended for it. He gets home just in time to see alien assassins kill his mother. He’s able to find his mother’s shotgun and fight them off. Then the creatures blow up his house. He narrowly escapes and is found by the authorities who believe there’s been a fire. The destruction of the house leaves Peter with nothing except his father’s gun.Turns out that’s all you really need to begin your journey into the stars and your job to protect the earth as we jump again to the present and find out that Starlord has been bringing Tony Stark up to speed. It appears that Tony has joined the Guardians and the fun is about to begin….in the official #1 for this title next month!

I’ve always been a sucker for an origin story. For the most part during the Marvel Now imprint, we’ve been dealing with well established characters. So there’s been no need for origins. Sure, there’s been a few characters here and there, like Nova. But this would be the first issue of the Marvel Now that’s focused on the origin of a character that isn’t new in some sense. As mentioned in the preamble, Guardians of the Galaxy has been around for awhile and there was a previous series with this particular line up. So why the need for the origin? Well, the Guardians are kind of like the Greatful Dead in that they’ve had a small, cult following for years but have never been a huge mainstream success. And since there’s about to be a movie detailing the exploits of this team coming to theatres in the next couple of years, it looks like it’s about time they upped the status of these characters in the comics world. So Bendis brings us a story that we can sink our teeth into with this telling of the GOTG leader’s origin. And he gives it that “epic” feel without doing much with it. Basically, Bendis is hitting some pretty regular story beats here but the characterization is what makes them feel fresh. Peter isn’t enamored by stories of how cool his dad was. He downright hates him. His journey into the stars has nothing to do with finding him. Instead, it’s to make sure that his dad’s mistakes don’t hurt anyone on earth again the way they did Peter’s mom. The kid’s tough and even as an adult, he’s got a bit of a ‘tude. I like that. Quill’s the kind of hero I can get behind.

The art by McNiven is better than most of the stuff he’s done recently. He’s able to keep you interested when most of the time, the story is just two people sitting around the house, talking. The subtle use of expression and body language is well executed here. On top of that, there is an instant likability to young Peter and I think it has as much to do with the look of him as it does with his personality. And like I said, not a lot of big action moments happen in this story until the 3rd act. It takes a very good artist to make talking heads compelling. The colours provided by Justin Ponsor and the inks by John Dell do a great job making it all come alive on the page. If this is the art team for the run of the series, we are in for a treat!

If this entire issue makes up the first 10 to 15 minutes of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, I’ll have no complaints. The story was compelling, the visuals were beautiful and characters were interesting. What else could one ask for? Pick up your copy of Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 wherever you buy your books. AND DO IT TODAY!

So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are wrth your time which are a waste of it.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

 

Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 did the unthinkable – It caused me to want to see the movie when it comes out.

Recent Marvel Now Reviews:

That Old, Uncanny Feeling (My Review of Uncanny X-Men #1)

Secrets, Secrets Everywhere! (My Review of Secret Avengers #1)

Covert Space Stuff and Small Town Blues (My Review of Nova #1)