Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1

Guardians of the Galaxy HC Vol 1Guardians of the Galaxy HC Vol 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Hollywood Buddy Read with my Shallow Comic Readin’ pals!

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Cosmic comics typically aren’t my bag. I usually prefer my Sci-Fi to be of the live action variety. There have been a few exceptions. Remender’s Fear Agent, Marvel’s Annihilation, Hickman’s Fantastic Four and a few others over the years. I’m really happy to add Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy to that short list. I had low expectations for the film and was super-stoked that it ended up kicking ass. Pretty much the same can be said for this book. Bendis has been hit and miss, hard not to be when you’ve written nearly every character in the Marvel Universe. But, he nails the Guardians bunch. The first couple of issues hooked me quick. Bendis is clearly aiming for fans of the film and that’s a good thing. Rocket and Groot do their thing and continue to be my favorites of the crew. How can you not help but fall in love with a crotch-grabbin’, shit talkin’, man-murderin’, genetically altered, space raccoon?

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I thought the addition of Tony Stark to the mix was unnecessary at first glance and more of a publicity stunt, but Iron Man actually worked for me here. The Gamora angle was well played and his back and forth with Rocket was spot on. Seeing him interact with someone besides Thor or Cap was actually kind of refreshing.

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The later issues focus on the introduction of Angela. They were alright. Never really that into her as a character, even when she was originally introduced in the 90’s comic juggernaut, Spawn. But even this weaker section of the book was entertaining and I’m in to see where this is going.

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I loved the art earlier in the book. Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli nailed it. Their shit POPS. I really wish they’d continued on with the series. Francesco Francavilla took over for about the final third of this collection and I wasn’t as happy with his work. I love Francesco’s Batman, Hawkeye, and other “street-level hero” stuff he’s done. Not sure sci-fi is really his calling. Not horrible mind you, just not as good at the first couple of issues. A few other artist provide a couple of 3 or 4 page shorts focusing on the individual characters that are something of a mixed bag ranging from ok to pretty good. The Gamora/Angela story was pretty bangin with some sweet art.

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Overall, I don’t think fans of the film or other Guardian’s stuff will be disappointed. Bendis writes the shit out of the dialogue in this one and is dead on with the characterizations. Easy recommend to the average comic reader whether you’re an old head fan or comic noob. It’s just a fun little read. I’ll be picking up Vol. 2.

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This picture’s not from the book, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s so fuckin’ bad ass.

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Review: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick , David López (Artist)

Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, MoreCaptain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

I wasn’t a fan of the first volume one of Captain Marvel. I thought it was angsty and full of too much forced Girl Power.
Just my opinion…doesn’t make it true.
The title grew on me, but it never blew me out of the water.
Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much when I cracked this open.
First things first, I’m into comics for the explosions, crazy superpowers, and funny dialogue. And if I happen to learn a moral lesson along the way? Bonus.
But.
You’ve gotta entertain me.
This 
was entertaining.

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Carol seemed like a real person to me this time around, and not just a cliché female superhero for women to rally around.
She’s a Star Wars’ junkie, and she loves her mangy quasi-evil cat, Chewie. In fact, when she can’t find anyone willing to care for the beast while she’s in outer space, she sticks it in a crate and takes him with her.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy show up for a little bit to help out when a mysterious enemy attacks her, which I personally loved!
Rocket and Chewie don’t exactly get off on the right foot, though. I mean, usually when Rocket starts screaming, “Kill it with fire!“, it’s not a good sign.
I think there’s more to this than meets the eye…

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Did I mention Carol’s obsession with Star Wars?
Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it made me giggle…

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The rest of the story is kind of Paint by Numbers, with Carol helping a group of folks who are getting evicted from their planet by Star-Lord’s father J’son. He claims the planet is poisonous…and is only trying to help them out.

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It was pretty good, and there was (naturally) a bit of an evil overlord twist to the reasons Pete’s dad wanted them gone.
It’s not the bestest plot evah, but it was fun to read.
So. Yeah, this was kind of perfect for me.

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Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3: War Of Kings Book 2 by Dan Abnett

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3: War Of Kings Book 2Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3: War Of Kings Book 2 by Dan Abnett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Oh. My. God!
Shit gets real in this volume!

In the last volume, Phyla made a deal with the Devil…or, more accurately, the Dragon of the Moon..in order to restore Heather to life. Since then, she’s taken up a new name, Martyr.
And, to go along with the new name, she also seems to have a bit of a new personality. A evil crazy one.
But Phyla isn’t the only one who makes some iffy deals…

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There is just so much cool packed into this volume, I don’t even know where to start! The Guardians are split into groups and sent in different directions in an attempt to stop the Shi’ar and Inhumans (now leading the Kree) from ripping the fabric of time with their War.
Star-Lord tries to talk sense into Medusa and Balck Bolt, while Adam Warlock takes on Emperor Vulcan.
*lots of crazy shit happens*
Time and space are coming apart, and half of the Guardians are sent into the future to figure out where it all started, and the other half are left to figure out how to stop it now that it’s begun.
*insert MORE crazy shit happening*

THAT ENDING!
Oh my God! I’d love to finish this review, but I need to find out what happened!

PS –
Since I read this as digital issues, I didn’t get to read Marvel Spotlight: War of Kings. So sad I missed out on it!

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Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 4: Realm Of Kings by Dan Abnett

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 4: Realm Of Kings

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 4: Realm Of Kings by Dan Abnett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh well, what the heck. *shrugs*
I’ve been looking for an excuse to use this GIF for weeks.

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This was pretty decent ending to Abnet’s Guardians, and now I’m sad that there isn’t more to his run on this title. So, I guess I’ve just got to go back and re-read all of the stuff surrounding the Realm of Kings storyline. And the stuff after that.
Eventually, I’ll catch up. I’m not delusional. I know that will never happen.

You see the panel below?
That’s Star-Lord, Thanos, and a cosmic cube.
For reals.
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t Drax already kill that guy?
Yep.

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And Thanos isn’t even the only problem! As annoying as an all-powerful Avatar of Death is, has anyone ever stopped to considered what would happen without one?

What happens when Life wins?

Hint: It ain’t pretty.

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Ok there’s a ton of stuff that happens in this volume.
Dead team members turn out not to be not quite as dead as we thought they were at the end of the last volume.
Yay!
And then maaaaybe a few of them manage to get killed…again.

Oh, and hey! Looks like Drax is gonna be a grandpa!
Or something…

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My point is that things happen. Lots of things.
Some of these things usher in huge changes for the universe, and some of them are more personal. More touching.
There is still humor in this last volume, but maybe not quite as much as in volume 3. I can’t in good conscience say that this was as awesome and enjoyable as the ones in the past, but it was still really good.

Plus, there’s the bonus Realm of Kings one-shot.
Hello, Cancerverse! I love the evil Avengers! And if you haven’t had a chance to read about these guys yet, you just don’t know what you’re missing.

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Review: The Trial of Jean Grey (GotG & All-New X-Men) by Brian Michael Bendis & Stuart Immonen

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean GreyGuardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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***This is the first of the “Green Theme” Buddy Reads with the Shallow Readers, criteria being: Drax and Gamora are both green.***

I might be tempted to almost call this 4.5, but 4 seems like its not an insult.

I’ve been following the All-New X-Men, where the past in the present have to be smacked in the face with who they became, and what they did and are doing. It’s a great idea, especially since Bobby may be about the only one who doesn’t have serious drama to look forward to.
Kitty is the perfect leader of this group, because she was the young teen alongside grown up versions of most of these people, so it’s fair to say she can relate to them, and actually knows them as well.

The GOTG, well if I have to explain them, you’re obviously living under a Rock…in North Korea. (Don’t hack me Kim!)

They’ve added a new female ‘Angela’ to the team, and she seems to be a warrior and a half, who both Gamora and Rocket have crushes on.
Rocket Raccoon is by far the funniest thing to happen to Marvel in a long time. There’s one scene with Tony Stark recording a message to send to them, now that he’s back on Earth, and he decides to erase it and try again, only for Rocket to inform him it’s live. The expression on Tony’s face is priceless, as the Guardians were the one gang where Iron Man/Tony Stark wasn’t the cool guy or the funny one, he was the outsider trying hard to fit in and be loved. I LOVE that Bendis has the gumption to write a major character like Tony as kinda the “hey guys, I’m cool too!” character he is there.

Guardian, (Purple Mohawk Alien head of the Sh’iar Guard) decides that with Jean Grey now alive, she should be put to trial for genocide when the Dark Phoenix destroyed a solar system. To break it down, by the end of the book, that’s about the worst decision he could have made.

The GOTG discover that Jean Grey is alive, and go to investigate, but show up just in time to be too late…in Canada.

Gamora: What is a Canada?
Peter Quill/Star-Lord: It’s cold and distant; you’ll love it.

This leads to the X-Men/GOTG team up. Realize that the X-Men are from the past (1960s) where Neil Armstrong has yet to walk on the moon…and Beast is losing his shit about space travel and aliens. It’s fun to see.
The interactions are great, because Bendis writes both books usually, so he knows the characters very well.

The interplay between Bobby and Rocket is hilarious. Rocket getting mad for being called a raccoon, Bobby being excited to talk to a talking raccoon (like a Disney movie he says…funny and a plug for the parent company lol) and so forth.

Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be space and the Shi’ar if a certain band of space pirates didn’t show up…yes you know the ones…

This leads to a well done touching moment between a father and a son, only this time, the father gets the same son back for the second time.

So now we’ve got 3 teams all together going up against Guardian and the Shi’ar, which makes for an awesome throwdown, all the while with Jean in captivity, and being made to see what damage she caused as the Dark Phoenix.

Add to the mixture, J-Son, Peter’s father, showing up and pretending to be caring about Jean and the Phoenix, but having an ulterior motive of course…

So the 3 teams make their way to the Shi’ar homeworld, and shockingly, a battle ensues…

I won’t go into any more specifics, but we see some very new developments, and some major left turns.

But we get some perfect mixture of humour and serious throughout the book, and some gorgeous Stuart Immonen artwork. (I had been very upset when he left All New X-Men, so I’m very happy to see him here again).

There’s also some solid flirtation between Kitty and Peter, who make a decent connection, and of course, some great bits with Groot talking to trees, and making Rocket weirded out…especially back in Canada, when they run into real raccoons.

This is a fantastic, and sensible crossover (for one that involves time travellers stranded, space aliens, talking trees and raccoons, and a gigantic space cosmic entity made of energy…) and I highly recommend it, entertaining, funny, and a good story too, with definite future ramifications.


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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen (Illustrator)

Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean GreyGuardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If all crossovers were this much fun, I wouldn’t be such a whiner baby about them!

So, the Shi’ar Empire (specifically, Gladiator) has decided that poor little Jean Grey needs to stand trial for the sins of her future self.
Dear God, has he never heard the saying, Don’t poke the bear?
Guess not.
So, Gladiator pokes the bear.
And the bear pokes back.

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Of course, by the time we get to that part, even most of the other Shi’ar don’t feel sorry for Gladiator.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The story switches back and forth between the (All-New) X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Each issue compliments the previous one, while still telling a coherent story (my opinion, of course).
GotG is such a fun tongue-in-cheek title that I think it kept what could have been a melodramatic story…fun.
Peter & Company find out about a plot to kidnap Jean, and race to earth to stop it.
Oops. They, unfortunately, arrive a bit too late.
So, they graciously agree to take the rest of the (All-New) X-Men halfway across the galaxy to rescue their friend.
And that kind of fucks up Gladiator’s plan, because everything hinges on the fact that Earthlings don’t have access to interstellar space travel.
Hi-jinks ensue, things happen, and the (Marvel) universe may never be the same.

The future is changing.
And I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Angela by Brian Michael Bendis

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: AngelaGuardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Angela by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m giving this 4 stars entirely based on the awesome Bendis-banter!
But there’s also a lot of stuff wrong with this volume.

What I loved was the dialogue. It’s just plain fun.
Peter, Rocket, and Tony’s interactions with everyone kept this volume from sinking like a stone. I just don’t think you can beat Bendis’s writing when he’s on his game. I’m a huge fan! Huge!
I also liked Angela’s backstory. The idea that there’s a planet called Heven out there, and that humans are creatures of myth on it?
Very cool.
The Gamora/Tony hook-up was funny, as well.
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And Tony getting a bunch of useless that would have been nice to know that ten hours ago! advice from Rocket Raccoon was the icing on the cake!

Hmmmm.
Ok, I hate to do it, but I don’t want you to go into this one with sky-high expectations. ‘Cause this thing is suffering from quite a few issues, and (quite frankly) they almost ruined my unicorn and rainbows experience.
Lucky for me, I’m easy to please…
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