Grew up reading comic books in the 90's. Marvel fan at heart. Hulk, the Midnight Sons, and Marvel's cosmic universe are my favorites.
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Guardians of Infinity #1 has hit comics shelves and our Mitch Nissen is here to break down all the action for you in our ComiConverse review.
What’s bigger than the galaxy? Answer: Infinity. Guess what? It needs guarding too.
Enter the Guardians of Infinity.
Get ready for raddest bunch of cosmic heroes the Marvel universe has ever seen!
Since the galactic success of the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Comics has opened up the floodgates and given readers a plethora of Guardians books to choose from. Guardians of Infinity #1 made earthfall in stores last December. It is an over-sized book with two separate stories inside. The first story is an ongoing epic featuring the title characters, while the second feature is a stand alone one-shot showcasing select members of the Guardians. In essence this book is a combination of two previous books from last year, Guardians 3000 and Guardians Team-Up.
The title story is written by longtime Marvel writer Dan Abnett and penciled by Carlo Barberi with inks and colors by Walden Wong and Israel Silva. Dan Abnett is no stranger to the cosmic heroes, having co-written the influential 2008 volume of Guardians as well as Guardians 3000. The second story for each issue will feature rotating creative talents and, for issue #1, it is Jason Latour on writing detail and Jim Cheung, John Dell, and Laura Martin for the pencils, inks, and colours.
Synopsis: Rocket, Groot, and Drax investigate a massive structure at the outer edge of space. Inside they encounter the Guardians of the Galaxy from the year 3016 A.D. otherwise known as the Guardians 3000. With no time-traveling involved, they discover that the structure is trans-temporal, existing outside of time. The two teams of heroes are besieged by an overwhelming hostile alien force.
While retreating, the Guardians encounter yet another group of aliens, a group calling themselves… The Guardians of the Galaxy?
The second story features the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Benjamin J. Grimm and Rocket Raccoon trapped on a planet full of monsters. These monsters, way out in deep space, have been receiving Earth’s television transmissions of Ben Grimm’s old wrestling days. Upon seeing their hero , the Thing, crash land on their planet the monsters are determined to beat the Thing in a wrestling match.
Carlo Barberi and Jim Cheung’s pencils are crisp and detailed. Barberi dances on the edge of being too cartoony but ultimately keeps to a more classic and realistic look. Cheung stays with his usual style and it too is realistic and gorgeous. The inks are sharp and the colors are vibrant for both features. The artwork all around for this book is solid.
The book is oversized and priced at $4.99. Fifteen pages are given to both features, however the stories are five pages shorter than the usual $3.99 books. Abnett’s story, the title feature of the book, feels too short while Latour’s bonus story feels too long.
Abnett has a talent for capturing the scale of cosmic level stories. His half of this book moves fast while at the same time sets up an unique plot with universe-effecting possibilities. The idea of a structure in space existing at all points in time at once is rife with story potential and truly cosmic in scope. It is a story worthy of multiple Guardians teams coming together, but the arc barely gets going before it cuts off.
Three different teams of characters are brought together, one of which we know well, one group we are remotely familiar with, and another group we are being introduced to for the first time. All this while introducing a new landscape, a new enemy, and a new plot. That’s a tall order. Abnett utilizes the space as best he can but it is clear he just isn’t given enough pages.
Latour’s story feels pedestrian by comparison.
His story is a character study of Ben Grimm, addressing the question of what separates the man from the monster?
It’s a wonderful piece of introspection complimented by Cheung’s beautiful art, but it goes on for far too long. The Thing, while having been recently added to the Guardians roster, has had thousands of comic book appearances and even multiple stories exploring the same idea. Here he is soaking up half of the book, valuable real-estate which would be better used for Abnett’s story. There is no connection between the two stories either and Rocket is featured less than Thing is. This is more a Fantastic Four story than a Guardians story.
The artwork all around is superb. For fans of Dan Abnett’s work the writer brings his A-Game, giving us seldom seen characters and a completely new and cosmic story. But half the book is taken away from him even though his feature is the title of the book. Jason Latour’s back-up story, which is just as large as the main story, is a wonderfully insightful piece that will most certainly appeal to Fantastic Four fans. But this isn’t a Fantastic Four book, nor is it the Guardians 3000/Guardians Team-Up double feature. The book is titled Guardians of Infinity, which is misleading. Those who will be buying this book will be expecting a Dan Abnett story but instead will be receiving half an Abnett story and another half they could get somewhere else already.
Abnett has enough characters and enough story to fill the full thirty pages and then-some every month. He should have the full book. It’s his story title on the cover after all.
Fans of Guardians 3000 and the 2008 volume of Guardians of the Galaxy should prepare for disappointment, not for anything lacking in the story, but because readers will only be receiving half of the book they wanted to buy.
Still, half of Guardians of Infinity is better than nothing.
Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow us on Twitter: @ComiConverse
For fans dying of thirst for a cosmic Marvel story this was supposed to be the book for them. Sadly it’s two stories cut in half which have no bearing on the other whatsoever. Only half of the book is Guardians of Infinity. Fans of Guardians 3000 and the 2008 volume of Guardians of the Galaxy should prepare for disappointment.