Review by Ian Keogh
As Guardians of the Galaxy first became a surprise cinema hit, then a mega-successful movie franchise, it puzzled why the comics never entirely embraced that prestige. Gerry Duggan’s version does. It’s the same core team as in the films, with the same personalities as in the films, and the same sparkling dialogue as the films, which makes for fulfilling entertainment.
This hardcover combines the content of paperbacks Communication Breakdown, Riders in the Sky and Infinity Quest, but for better or worse restores the running order of the original serialised comics. That provides a different tone from the paperbacks, as for a while each chapter concerning the main plot is followed by what’s in effect a solo outing explaining a character’s motivations. In Drax’s case it’s a change of heart and he’ll no longer be violent, while Gamora has a private agenda, and there’s eventually a revelation about why Groot is small and cute, as indeed he is in the second film. Duggan also embraces Groot’s earlier continuity as a would-be planetary conqueror, so the warning is not to expect any consistency of tone, just to go with the flow as the emotional range spreads.
Another effect of restoring the original running order is this being a collection all over the show artistically. Aaron Kuder and Marcus To draw the most, Kuder’s energy levels and details being higher, but To’s lack of any flash might mean he’s under-rated, when he’s actually an incredibly accomplished storyteller. The other names credited for artwork come with their own hallmark of quality from Frazer Irving’s gloomy expressionism on the Gamora solo to Greg Smallwood’s joyful extrapolation of Rocket and Groot’s investigations.
The Nova Corps was devastated in both film and comics, and this Guardians run features the reformed version prominently, a highlight being Rocket rooting out the bad eggs while collating information for later use. Duggan begins with the Guardians in one of their jails and ends with the first Nova seen in Marvel continuity, and in between offers Ant-Man, Warlock and Ultron. The fun is resolutely had.
If you enjoy Duggan’s Guardians the likelihood is you’ll also enjoy his involving them in the subsequent cosmic adventure of Infinity Wars.
Despite this being strangely absent on some online sites, it’s easily found on others as of writing.