All-New Guardians of the Galaxy
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Aaron Kuder, Ive Svorcina, and Cory Petit
Release Date May 3rd, 2017
It seems that as the seasons change, so do Marvel books. Almost every week we are getting a new title, or just a relaunch of an existing one. But when it was announced that Gerry Duggan would be taking over the Guardians for a new ongoing title I was ecstatic. Yes, it’s yet another re-launch, but after Brian Michael Bendis’s run, I was ready for a change of scenery. The Guardians finally have a writer in Duggan, who has dealt with cosmic comics before. Although Duggan’s run on Nova was far from world shattering, at least he has proven cosmic abilities (I’m looking at you, Bendis). Not only was I excited that Duggan would be able to nail the spacey side of the comic, but his work on Deadpool proves that he is more than capable of writing the humor that seems to continuously be crammed into the pages of every Guardians book.
But after reading this first issue, I found myself going back and searching to find what warrants this “All-New, All Different” title. The story from beginning to end feels like an almost direct sequel to the first Guardians film. I don’t think that’s necessarily Duggan’s fault. It seems like the more successful the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets, the more Marvel forces those characterizations into their comics. With that said, Duggan does seem to have the voices down much better than Bendis. Drax isn’t written to be the buffoon that’s portrayed in the movies, which is something the character has been struggling with in the comics ever since the release of the first film. Rocket Racoon and Star-Lord are as witty as ever, and even Groot, although annoyingly cute, was able to make me chuckle. For any fans of the Guardians franchise hoping for a return to the ways of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, I’m sorry this book wasn’t made for you, but was sadly made in hopes to pull in new readers who enjoyed the films.
In terms of making the book new-reader friendly, Duggan really hits it out of the park. The book feels just as fun and vibrant as its movie counterpart. There’s plenty of jokes and moments that fans of the films will really enjoy; with even some added twists. However, I still can’t seem to get past having a baby Groot and Star Lord who is obsessed with his walkman.
Although I’ve knocked this book pretty hard, I do have to give Duggan credit for somehow pulling me in for at least another issue. We get a Drax who has become a pacifist for reasons unknown, which could possibly lead to an interesting story. More importantly is the problem with baby Groot. Finally, the fact that Groot is not growing is being addressed. We are told by a conversation between Rocket Raccoon and Gamora that “something’s robbing Groot of his strength”. Besides the fact that this could lead to the return of normal Groot, this idea also pulls me in, and wants me to read more.
Even Duggan’s damage control, however, could not overcome what I found to be this book’s biggest problem, the art. Aaron Kuder has worked on many good books such as, Action Comics for DC. But for me it just didn’t really feel like a fit. The aliens on the first two pages were unsettling to say the least, and then there’s a spread with “Galactus”. Galactus is a character that seems to be on some of the coolest looking spreads in the history of comics. Instead of an epic colorful spread with “Galactus”, it felt like an underwhelming spread with a horrible looking green alien. Kuder did seem to settle down about halfway through, drawing some nice panels featuring the Grandmaster, but overall the art put a really bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, Ive Svorcina seemed to be able to carry the slack at times with some nice colors, being colorful when needed, but was also really able to nail the somber tone at the end of the issue.
In the end I think Duggan, given the lackluster art, and forced presence of the MCU, was able to put together a fun book that can go in a lot of interesting directions.
I would recommend this book to:
fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy films.