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Friday, August 22, 2014
It seems impossible to believe that a C-list superhero team with roots in the 30th century of the Marvel Universe should go on to become the summer’s smash movie sensation, yet the box office receipts speak for themselves – the Guardians of the Galaxy have entered the mainstream.
The unexpected success of this summer’s movie aside, different incarnations of the Guardians have featured regularly in Marvel Comics since the 1960s, with the original team even joining the ranks of the Avengers for a time, and this volume of stories spans their entire five decades history.
Panini have been putting out these definitive collections since the Silver Surfer popped up in the second Fantastic Four film, always to coincide with a cinematic release, but frequently including comics which have never been reprinted before, which makes them even more appealing.
This latest book starts off with the original Guardians first appearance in Marvel Super Heroes #18, when a fledgling team of Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex and Yondu joined forces to combat the militaristic Badoon, a race of lizard-like aliens who had conquered future Earth.
There are a couple of other issues focusing on the classic Guardians, and then we’re into the complete Rocket Raccoon mini-series from the 1980s, one of Star-Lord’s first appearances in the black and white magazine Marvel Preview #11, and the latest, contemporary Guardians’ debut in Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord #1-4 and their own title.
The list of creators featured in these pages is surprising given that the Guardians have not, until recently, been major players in the Marvel Universe - John Byrne, Gene Colan, Chris Claremont, Bill Mantlo, Mike Mignola, Jim Valentino, Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning all contribute – which is perhaps indicative of the appeal of these space-faring outlaws across their 45-year history.
Whereas the perfect comics introduction to the movie characters is definitely included here, the decision to also feature the original Guardians may prove confusing to newcomers looking for the further adventures of the film line-up. That said, there’s nothing wrong with introducing newbies to the scope of the wider Marvel U and encouraging them to sample series which haven’t been fortunate to appear on the big screen.
A solid selection of comics gems which won’t disappoint at any level.