Comic Reviews: Guardians Of The Galaxy, Batman, INC, and The Legend Of Luther Strode!
Guardians Of The Galaxy #1
Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven bring the Guardians back to the monthly comic book stage with the first issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, which throws readers right into the thick of the action. While those who didn’t pick up the special 0.1 issue will be just fine picking this up, those who did read that issue last month will benefit from having already met Peter Quill, Star-Lord.
When Brian Michael Bendis introduces us to Quill and co., the team is already in place. That’s right, there’s no “assembling the team” montage in this issue, they’re already large and in charge. Bendis actually spends most of the opening of the issue focusing on the relationship between Star-Lord and his father, the king of Quill’s alien race. He’s come to tell him that Earth is now “off-limits” to other aliens, and like all good Marvel heroes, Quill has daddy issues and doesn’t trust his father (crashing on Earth and leaving his mother will do that to you). Quill decides to head to Earth, and along the way the Guardians run into Iron Man, who’s taken to the stars to explore the cosmos. After defeating a space ship belonging to the Badoon aliens, Quill quickly realizes that his father was lying him, and that he knew if he told Quill that he couldn’t go to Earth that he would. As the Badoons start their attack on the Earth, the Guardians gear up to take them on.
This is one hell of a first issue, and Brian Michael Bendis bucks the trend by having the team already assembled and introducing us to the characters in a quick splash page. Of course, characters like Rocket Raccoon really only need a one-sentence explanation, it’s really refreshing to open a team book and be able to jump right into the plot without needing to be told elaborate backstories for each member. Bendis even cleverly explains away the last Guardian story (the Abnett and Lanning Thanos Imperative) where Star-Lord was left for dead in a clever exchange between Star-Lord and his father. There’s also fantastic little moments that define the relationships between the team members, including between Rocket Raccoon and Groot, which adds a lot of tension to the battle with the Badoons.
Just like with the 0.1 issue, Steve McNiven delivers some powerhouse art in this issue. From the spectacular spaceships to the cool alien bars and hideouts that populate mysterious alien races, McNiven’s pencils deftly handle the different things that Bendis’ script throws at him, even if I’m not too big of a fan of Star Lord’s new costume (I’m a sucker for a cool helmet). Regardless, McNiven is in top form here, and I can’t wait to see what other crazy action he draws next issue.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 wastes no time getting into the action, and it’s a spectacular book that leaves you wanting more. For a group of characters I have a basic working knowledge of, this is the perfect introduction, and appeals to comic readers of all ages. Snag this bad boy up and get on the train for the next big thing at Marvel Comics.
After killing Damian Wayne last issue, Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s latest issue of Batman, INC focuses on the aftermath of the Robin’s final battle, and the results are a little less than I was hoping for. It seems that Morrison, knowing that he’s leaving in two issues, is back to the old “time-jump” routine, as he bounces from Damian’s funeral, to Batman fighting the Damian clone after finding Robin’s body, back to the funeral, over to Knight’s funeral, then forward to Leviathan controlling Wayne Industries, then back to the funeral, all in one issue. It’s not as confusing as Final Crisis, but there were moments where I had to reread pages just to make sure I was understanding the events correctly. However, Chris Burnham continues to shine on this book, and gets consistently better with every issue he puts out. This guy is a machine, and his illustrations of a distraught Batman battling his son’s killer are the highlights of the issue. Batman, INC. is starting to wind down, and I hope that Morrison can end strongly….and coherently.
Goddamn is this book violent. Seriously, keep the kid’s away. Luther’s battle with Jack The Ripper (yes, that Jack The Ripper) is insanely bloody, and one of the coolest of the year. Justin Jordan uses the infamous serial killer to flesh out the mythos behind Strode’s powers, and it really works. Add the fantastic Tradd Moore into the equation, and you have an issue that is not for the squeamish, but damn if it isn’t awesome. For the first time it seems like Luther won’t be able to punch, crush, and rip apart his way through a situation, and I’m really intrigued to see where this goes.