Here’s something I don’t find myself saying too much these days: “Marvel got it right.” And while I will not go into why I’m such a Negative Nancy about the big M these days, I will say that with the All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel has struck gold.
So, we should roll credits already shouldn’t we? Well, lets just give the guilty parties their due first. Besides, the key to unlocking why this is such a stellar comic book lies in the heads that produced these pages. Seeing Gerry Duggan’s name on the cover reassured the fuck out of me that I wasn’t wasting time in giving this book a read. Suffice to say he knows how to write a good comic book script. But then again, what is a good comic book script? It ought to be an engaging, well-paced story that presents unreal characters with realistic characteristics, personalities that are seeking a resolution to a conflict that they find themselves facing. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? This is precisely what sets Duggan apart from several of his peers at the Marvel stable, and this is exactly what Marvel needs to keep doing. That’s not to say that the rest of their books are garbage, but when credit is due, it really ought to be shelled out. Okay, step two, rope in a gifted art team – an individual or team who has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them the right fit for the book that they’re illustrating – and Aaron Kuder and Ive Svorcina have served this book amazingly. A great comic team is a lot like a jigsaw puzzle in that the pieces need to fit together. Who doesn’t love a beer? Probably teetotallers, but even they would agree that a beer shouldn’t be drunk from a baby’s feeding bottle. With All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel has served up a frosty brew in solid glass tankard.
So, what else was so great about this book? Was it the fact that it felt like it was reading a mashup between a comic book script and a comic book movie? Who knows, that might be the next step in comic book technology – the augmented reality comic book…imagine the possibilities! Or have they come up with those already? “Whatevz yo!” My humble and underrated predictions aside, there is a lot to be said about the comic book’s other unsung hero, designer Manny Mederos. When you look at what he’s actually contributed to the book, you might argue that he warrants a credit on the cover page. But Marvel has been making comics for more than 100 years, and their own business practices often manifest themselves in their output, so it would seem that poor Mr Mederos is only trumpeted by niggly bloggers and art enthusiasts who might buy a box set or a DVD (remember those, kids?) simply on the merit of their packaging and menu screens. He deserves more, and I hope that after you check out his work you raise your own glass to him and his efforts.
Let’s wind this up now with a fun summary that wont bore you to clicking onto something a little less mentally challenging or stimulating (if you stop reading now to go get some exercise, I will forgive you, I’m already miles behind on my required daily step count – it’s tough for flabbies like your friendly neighbourhood cheese lover). All-new Guardians could quite fittingly come with the subtitle: ‘Welcome to where the 80s never ended,’ what with its genuinely feel-good, action comedy. As ever, the guardians play by their own rules, and while this ragtag band of misfits aren’t the superior foes of Spiderman, you’d have to argue your point if you classed them in Marvel’s flagship lineup of heroes. The guardians are the lovable rogues and misfit reprobates that a large chunk of readers see ourselves as, not the noble super soldiers, or genius billionaire playboy philanthropists. You’ll see the banter, the pranks and all the things that made the films so great to watch, except for the unspoken thing between Peter and Gamora, or Gamora and Peter, depending on whether you like people opening doors for you or not. The guardians are in outer space, but they’ve still got very human problems and their story is fun and funny, with no sign of preachy SJWs anywhere on the horizon (I go with the urban dictionary definition of SJW, so please consider that before you cast your first stone at me). The guardians are crafty and comedic… they employ stealth, intrigue and deception to achieve their objective…are they ideal role models for younger readers? Fuck no, but comics are art and entertainment, and DO NOT have a lesson in morality and ethics as one of their pre-requisites. For this and several other subtleties that this mediocre blogger has missed, this book deserves your time.
Off you go now, gentle readers, to your own adventures to the internet shops to procure this comic, or to your nearest or dearest comic shop. Take a friend with you, or a sibling or parent, or a sibling figure or a parent figure, or even a child, give them the things you never had and try not to sweat the small stuff, there’s a much bigger picture that you’re a part of, so shine on, you crazy diamonds.