Marvel Comics had the clever idea of printing their cartoons, and after reading the latest volume I’m convinced it’s a killer idea. Hear me out: the audio and animation is obviously gone, but the images are sharp and have that cartoony feel you already see in many comics today. Being the fifth volume, this digest-sized comic drops you into the middle of a story, but it’s not hard to catch up and enjoy the ride.
Written by: Mairghread Scott, Eric Karten, Marsha Griffin, Marty Isenberg & Henry Gilroy
Artist: Marvel Animation Studios
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
After a distracting run-in with Ronan, the Guardians just want to get back on track and find the Cosmic Seed before Thanos gets his hands on it! But a chance encounter with Thor will throw the group way off track! Can they ever find their way back, or will the Son of Odin bring their journey to an end? Meanwhile, Star-Lord deals with daddy issues – and his daddy is the head of a galactic empire! Will Peter Quill end up triggering an Asgard/Spartax war? Never mind Groot – we are the World Tree! Plus: Discover the Guardians’ origins.
Why does this book matter?
This digest sized volume collects Marvel Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy #17-19 and material from Marvel Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy #1-4 which are all screen-capture images from the hit cartoon. If comics are more your thing this is obviously a better way to get that cartoon story into your brain.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Even though this is the fifth volume in the series and I’ve never seen the cartoon, I had no trouble diving into this volume. It opens with a lot of drama as Star-Lord picks his father over his teammates, in part because he wants to trust the jerk, but also because he wants to prove his father’s innocence. Problem is, he really isn’t innocent at all. This volume takes Star-Lord all the way to Asgard as he attempts to find the Cosmic Seed and ends up causing an all out war. Star-Lord also meets his dad’s AI lover (don’t ask), goes toe to toe with Thor, and even resolves issues with his dad (sort of).
Many heroes pop up in this one.
It’s clear that a series like this is visually perfect for a cartoon with cool spaceships and space backgrounds littered throughout the volume. It’s obviously more cartoony on the side of the characters, but the CGI spaceships add a nice touch of detail. The translucent AI character is a nice touch and a standout in the book. Thor, Loki, and all the mainstays look perfect too.
The real treat of this volume, and why fans of the characters in general might want to pick this up, is full origins of each of the team members. Nearly half the book showcases each of their origins, with Star-Lord being kidnapped as a kid being a highlight. It’s a reminder that Yondu saved him (so to speak) and taught him all that he knows. Rocket’s is a nice reminder he was once just a regular raccoon and Groot’s surprises with an epic, heroic moment. Drax meanwhile seems to tie well into the film. Overall this was a highlight of the volume and makes up (somewhat) for the open ended conclusion to the main story.
I wanna learn why this AI loves his dad so much.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While Star-Lord’s determination to clear his dad’s name is well told in this issue, it still feels like a smaller part of a larger story. The “to be continued” at the end left me wanting more, but also at loss for much satisfaction. It ends abruptly, but at least that makes way for all the fun origin stories.
Art wise Rocket Raccoon is drawn in a strange way here and there. It’s like his back legs are a deer’s legs bent insanely, which is jarring. Pretty sure his legs shouldn’t be bent that way, which makes you scratch your head.
Is It Good?
This is a fun digest sized book that cleverly uses the animated show to fill its pages. The main story has some fun twists and turns and longtime fans will love the origin stories that fill out the last half of the book. Overall it’s obviously for a younger audience, but fun nonetheless.