Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2023)
“Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is the perfect entry point for fans of the comics and the films to jump into the action along with the crew. If you’re looking for roughneck heroes with hearts of gold doing what they do best, search no further.”
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2023)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Creative Team: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing (writers); Kev Walker (artist); Matt Hollingsworth (colorist); Cory Petit (letterer)
Release Date: Wed, April 12, 2023
The Guardians of the Galaxy have been a comics mainstay for years, with many and varied incarnations populating their 50+ years publication history. In the modern era, the crew with which fans are most likely familiar is the lineup seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Cinematic Universe films, which, in turn, took inspiration from the comic book lore. In both cinema and comics, the team is often portrayed as a family of do-gooding outlaws, helping the helpless in their own rule-skirting way.
That’s why it’s appropriate that when we meet the heroes at the beginning of the recently-relaunched Guardians of the Galaxy #1 from Marvel Comics, they are literally in a town on a planet reminiscent of a prototypical spaghetti western version of the American Old West, complete with a poncho-wearing Star-Lord (Peter Quill) and Mantis whooping it up onstage at a dance hall. Joining them in tow are GOTG mainstays Drax, Gamora, and Nebula (but where are Rocket and Groot?) as they attempt to save the townsfolk, both from the local gang and an impending threat from above. The Guardians haven’t been heard from in quite some time as the story opens, and the question one of the townsfolk asks—where have they been?—is hinted at by the issue’s end.
It was a smart move by Kelly and Lanzing to drop readers in the middle of the action and in an Old West-esque town, as it lets the Guardians’ unique, rough-around-the-edges personalities shine through. Whether it’s Quill’s sass or Gamora’s hard exterior or Mantis’ sometimes-inappropriate ebullience, even a new reader instantly knows who these characters are by the issue’s end. It’s something that the duo have perfected to an artform, distilling characters to let their root personalities shine, be it Kang, Captain America, or Clayface.
And those personalities wouldn’t shine without the deft linework of Walker, whose art captures the characters’ personas perfectly—not just in facial tics, but in body language as well. Gamora’s head tilt and battle stance lets you know exactly who she is without her uttering a word, while Mantis’s open arms and wide stance gives you an indication of the warmth of the bubbly hero. This extends to both the design of the inhabitants of the planet and the terrain—all have their own unique looks and could only exist on Galilee IV. Hollingsworth’s color augment the tone of the book, perfectly mixing the grit and grime of an Old West town while letting the colors of the fantastical heroes shine and slightly juxtapose to the environment’s sometimes-muted colors. Petit highlights again why he’s one of the best letterers in comics, letting the quieter moments have their time, while amping up the words explode across the panels in conjunction with the bombastic action.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is the perfect entry point for fans of the comics and film to jump into the action along with the heroes. If you’re looking for roughneck heroes with hearts of gold doing what they do best, search no further.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is on sale now from Marvel Comics. Issue #2 goes on sale Wednesday, May 17th.
From the official issue description of issue #1:
One year ago, the Guardians of the Galaxy were destroyed. Their optimistic future shattered by the betrayal of one of their own. Now they ride the space lanes of a lawless corner of the galaxy, trying to outrun their tragedy. Can they rediscover their heroism and humanity on the bleakest frontier? Can they forgive the failures of their past? Or will they fade into the dark, eternally unforgiven? Writers JACKSON LANZING and COLLIN KELLY (CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY) team up with artist KEV WALKER (PREDATOR) for a Guardians story like no other!
And the description of issue #2:
The Guardians are caught in the middle of a civil war! Will the Guardians be able to stop it, or was it already lost from the start? Grootfall is coming, and it does not take sides…!