Guardians of the Galaxy

3 Sep

Marvel is nothing if not brilliant at marketing. On a recent trip to my local comic book store, I was informed by the owner that all the first issues of Guardians of the Galaxy had sold out. But if I was interested I could get some companion comics that helped to introduce the characters. On the rack were some copies of Rocket the Raccoon and Star-Lord, before the release of the movie, these two would be considered B-list characters within the Marvel Universe but now their books are selling out.

This is genius of course because the newest Guardians of the Galaxy comics just began to be released in 2013. Long enough ahead of the movie for the purists to be able to read up on the characters and lord their knowledge of them over their non-reading friends but not too far away from the movie’s release date to turn away new readers who would want to dive in after watching the movie.

Anyway, what does that introduction have to do with anything? Basically, I’m saying that because of the recent movie, the Guardians of the Galaxy are today’s hot item and, if my comic book store’s shelves are anything to go off of, there are plenty of new people diving into the comics of Guardians of the Galaxy. And I’ll admit, I’m one of them.

So, I’m here to help you do that with me. Let’s get started.

HISTORY

It may come as a surprise to people (I know it did to me) that the current Guardians of the Galaxy team was introduced to the Marvel Universe in 2008. The original team was introduced to readers in 1969 and appeared sporadically in several different titles, including Thor and the Avengers, as a 31st Century team outside of the core Marvel Universe. The original team finally got their own self-titled in the early 1990s under writer Jim Valentino. Valentino’s writing revived a series that had fallen stagnant over the past decades and drew in a lot of fans but the series lost its popularity after Valentino left Marvel to found Image Comics. The original team’s self-title was canceled in 1995.

Fast forward to 2008 and the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them. Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning brought together a group of cosmic characters that had been bouncing around the Marvel Universe since the 1970s. Including Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, Gamora and Groot to help serve as foils in their far-reaching story arc Annihilation: Conquest. To do this they changed the setting of the story from the 31st Century to our current time to help tie into the Marvel Universe proper and voilà! The modern Guardians were born.

HOW TO GET STARTED

Here, I’m going to introduce you to what you need to get into the 2008-2010 comics, mostly because that’s what the movie used for inspiration and that’s what I’m guessing most people will want to read. Also, it’s what I’m reading right now so it’s what I can speak to. There’s also a 2013 series, as I mentioned earlier, but I haven’t started that yet.

To get into the 2008 series I highly suggest reading the Annihilation: Conquest story arc, which Abnett and Lanning used as a launch platform for the 2008 series. Annihilation: Conquest is in itself a sequel to the Annihilation story arc so if you really feel like diving in you can also start with that, which will help give you some back story on some of the title characters such as Nova along with the enemies, the Kree Army. But, it’s not necessary.

If you plan on jumping into the comics without read Annihilation then you’re going to be rather confused as the series assumes you’ve already read the Annihilation titles and doesn’t really do a good job of backing up and explaining how the characters met each other, why the Nova Corps are suddenly defunct or why the Guardians are even assembled for that matter.

ACCESSIBILITY

With the 2008 Guardians you’re getting a rare chance to jump into a series from the get go, and more rarely, one that doesn’t assume the readers knows everything about the characters. Unlike core characters like Iron Man, The Hulk or Thor, the characters we meet in Guardians are mostly B-list or even C-list characters and as such the writers are aware that people new to the game are not going to know all there is to know about them simply because they’ve been around since the 1970s. True, the prelude to the series in Annihilation does assume we know about the villains and some of the title characters, in this case we’re using that as an introduction piece and so by the time you make it to the actual Guardians comics you should be well-versed enough to not have any trouble understanding the story lines and characters.

On the accessibility meter I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Anyway, there you have it. Hope you’ve enjoyed the read and that I’ve been helpful. Cheers.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: