Let’s take a look at the 2008 run of Guardians! Volume 1’s cover is pretty iconic even if the roster is certainly a little different from the film’s. Good ole Groot is still around, but he evidently could not make the cover. No loss there and Warlock is really the team’s power hitter anyway. It’s a cosmic adventure so the plot is very dynamic and keeps on changing throughout the run so a static summary can be a little tricky. Try and keep up!
The Guardians disbanded a long time ago, but Starlord wants to bring them all back together again to save the universe. There are quite a few threats that have risen up like the Badoon, Blastaar, and the Skrulls so the universe really needs the team. That being said, none of the members really like Starlord and by the end of the collection, they like him even less than usual. I didn’t think that was possible, but he does have a way with teammates. Can he keep the team together long enough to make a real difference or is he going to die first?
Debatably, the plot that takes up most of the collection is the Skrull one. The Guardians are currently based in Cosmo’s home. It’s a large Celestial head that also houses a small army of other people who aren’t thrilled that Starlord has decided to open up shop here. As tensions rise, someone is murdered and there seems to be a Skrull on board. The problem is that there is no longer a way to detect them (Even Professor Xavier could not do so in Secret Invasion) so everyone is a suspect. Drax quickly becomes the lead suspect because he keeps disappearing from time to time and even shows up with a bomb. It’s a rather drastic strategy that he uses and I don’t think I actually buy it (Involves everyone “dying” for a quick minute) but Drax was never one for subtlety.
That storyline wasn’t my favorite, but Skrulls can always lead to intriguing plot developments. We even saw Adam Warlock take on Cosmo. I’m confident that Warlock would have won had he kept on going. Another plot involves the Church of Universal Truth. These guys are fairly powerful and they believe that Adam Warlock is their chosen champion from prophecy who will lead them to conquest. That’s why they are a little confused. Adam Warlock may have appeared, but they still hold the cocoon where he is supposed to wake up from. One of the Warlocks is evidently a fake, but which one?
This was definitely my favorite plot. The church warriors have very cool designs and could actually fight quite well. Their powers stem from their belief so the stronger their convictions are, the stronger they become. Warlock was able to fight on par with these guys, but the other members didn’t fare so well. The Guardians were able to escape though and now Warlock is aiming to become their leader. We’ll see if his plan ends up working.
The reason why the members are separate is due to a plot twist from the Skrull arc. The reason why it seemed odd how the Guardians would all be willing to come together so easily..is because Starlord had Mantis telepathically mess with everyone’s minds to make them want to join up. Obviously this is very unethical and a terrible move on the leader’s part. No matter what his hopes and aspirations for the team were, there’s never a good excuse to invade someone’s mind like that. The team is right to be upset with Starlord so they are all having their own adventures. Unfortunately, I’m sure that they will join up again, but Starlord should definitely be kicked from the team after something like that.
Another plot involves Phyla and Drax going to stop an evil magician who had kidnapped Moondragon. The guy’s a decently tough sorcerer and he puts up a good fight. I’m confident that he could probably beat Drax, although I’m not sure about Phyla. Phyla was Quasar for a while and her energy abilities are second to none. When you consider her super speed, flight, and energy projection, she’s easily one of the Guardians’ strongest members. Even better is the fact that the real Quasar returned at the very end so we may see him more in the next few volumes. I was always a fan of that guy so it’ll be great to see him back.
Starlord’s plot involved being trapped in the Negative Zone along with Blastaar and being forced to act as a delegate for him. Starlord has to try and get the prisoners to team up with him to face off with Blastaar, but prisoners aren’t the most trust worthy of people at times. It’s a pretty interesting battle and Blastaar is definitely a tough opponent, although I see him lose a lot more than he wins. Things don’t go all that well for him this time either.
The PC (Politically Correct) police jump in at the end though with Moondragon’s pairing with the new Quasar. I don’t believe that this is a new development, but in the older comics, she was interested in characters like Warlock and a few others. Being a flirt’s a bad character trait, but the twist of her being bi, or in Iceman’s case, ignoring his whole comic industry, is always regrettable. DC and Marvel have definitely been adding in more gay characters in their comics and hopefully this isn’t too frequent. It will likely increase as the agenda goes further and it’s too bad. How many more characters will be turned gay or bi are the years go on? I feel like the number is only going to increase and that’s terrible. As a Christian, I still don’t believe in the gay movement and seeing it in the comics is no fun.
As far as the characters are concerned, Adam Warlock is still my favorite. He believes that the Guardians should not have a boss and delegating with other groups slows them down. His personality has changed somewhat and he’s a lot more eager to fight at all times. Mix this in with his great character design and he’s easily the best character here. I liked Quasar a lot as well and it’s great to see him return. Every character returns at some point so the waiting is the tough part. ( A few exceptions) Rocket Raccoon is all right I suppose, but he still can’t fight all that much, which is always a little dicey when in battle. He talks a good game though.
Groot…is Groot. He doesn’t have a whole lot of personality anyway. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I liked Gamora or Drax this time though. Gamora’s scene with Nova really says it all and technically that’s not even out of character. We’ve seen her have flings with many different characters, but it just makes her look so bad. There’s no way I can take her seriously after such a scene. As for Drax, I still miss the real incarnation of him. This warrior version just doesn’t do it for me. He’s barely even pretending to be a hero at this point and really just does whatever he feels like doing. If he was a little stronger, then that could maybe have helped him as a character.
For the most part Starlord’s a decent character. He’s charismatic, which is important for a leader, but he did mess with the minds of his teammates and that’s a big no no. He didn’t seem like the type of guy who would pull something like that. I suppose he was desperate, but it will make you lose a lot of respect for the guy. Mantis is just as guilty for agreeing to such a thing of course. She can fight a little, but she typically just acts as a communications officer so you won’t see her in the field all that much. Cosmo is cool since he’s a Dog, but he sure does like to play all of the angles and doesn’t take the right side often enough.
The art is very good. It’s like a mix of the current art with some early 2000’s where the colors were very bold. I didn’t like the cover art so I’m glad that it didn’t look like that in the actual comic. Iconic or not, the live action style just doesn’t work for any comic book. It doesn’t feel right if you ask me. This way, we can still get a lot of good action scenes and easily read through the adventures.
Overall, This was a good Guardians comic. There was certainly a lot action throughout. The Moondragon part at the end is regrettable, but besides that, the setup is certainly getting ready for a big volume 2. I look forward to seeing Warlock’s plot play out and Oblivion actually stepping into the ring will be great. After all, cosmic entities usually talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. It’s about time one of them decided to stretch his muscles a bit. I hope Nova appears some more because he only got a very brief cameo here. After seeing his teenage days, it’ll be great to see him in his prime. Maybe we’ll even get some cosmic guest stars since Marvel has so many of them at their disposal. Will the Guardians actually get back together or is the group gone for good in their own title!? As you ponder this question, just remember that the group needs Warlock to survive.