Outer space superheroics with the stars of next summer’s movie

(Panini Books)

REST assured, within a year the Guardians will have transcended beyond the geek fringe to become just as well-known as the Avengers, when the forthcoming Marvel movie brings them to the mainstream.

In the meantime, now is the perfect time to catch up with their comic book adventures in this new series by Brian Michael Bendis, using characters and concepts first brought together by the acclaimed double act of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

The Guardians are an intergalactic team of troubleshooters with no alignment to any of the great space empires, going wherever they need to in order to free the oppressed and safeguard the universe from cosmic crises.

They consist of half-alien, half-human galactic prince Star Lord, the most dangerous woman alive and daughter of Thanos, Gamora, genetically-modified killing machine Drax the Destroyer, flying, talking rodent Rocket Raccoon, and giant amorphic treeman Groot, now joined by Tony (Iron Man) Stark as part of a personal quest for discovery among the stars.

When Star Lord’s estranged father, Spartax King J-Son (yes, really), and an alliance of galactic powers included the Kree Great Intelligence and the Badoon Brotherhood place Earth off limits for alien visitors, it sets events in motion which will have dramatic and far-reaching repercussions for the whole Marvel Universe (in the forthcoming series Infinity).

After arriving on Earth to prevent an invasion by the Badoon Sisterhood, the Guardians are taken into custody by the Spartax Empire, only to be freed by a regrown Groot following his destruction in the initial conflict. The Guardians are loose, and they aren’t happy about how they’ve been treated...

Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until subsequent volumes to see where this story takes us, as this volume stops just three issues in to the new series. What it does include, however, is an updated version of Star Lord’s origin, and a series of vignettes focusing on the different team members as he brings them back together. Perfect for newcomers to the GotG, and a nice series of character studies for long-term fans.

As yet Bendis’ take on the Guardians has failed to hit the dizzy heights of DnA (Abnett and Lanning’s nickname), but it certainly has potential. The dialogue is snappy, the action is suitably explosive, and the narrative looks like having legs. Now if only there wasn’t such a long wait until the next book…