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Guardians of the Galaxy #1


Capsule Review

Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t miss a beat — the lineup has been scrambled, but his Guardians keep on swashbuckling and quipping their way through one space battle after another as if there’d never been a reboot. Nice characterization, as is always the case with Bendis. Artist Valerio Schitti stages dialogue nicely and handles facial expressions well, but I found colorist Richard Isanove’s palette limited and repetitive. Fun to see Star Lord every bit as unsuited to the job of being a king as you might expect, and even more fun to see The Thing having fun as a spaceman, fulfilling his life-long dream. (Now, if I only knew how the heck he’d gotten on the team!)

Approachability For New Readers

Poor. You’ll need an Associate of Arts degree in recent Bendis-era Guardians of the Galaxy history to know what is going on, but even then there will still be plenty of holes, like why is Kitty Pryde standing in for Star Lord, when did Drax get an intellect, and (biggest of all) how the heck did Ben Grimm join the Guardians? Whatever. Just go with it.

Read #2?

Oh yes.

Sales Rank

#9 October

Read more about The Guardians of the Galaxy at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.


Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Invincible Iron Man #1


Capsule Review

Superior art! Justin Ponsor’s colors are particularly nice, luxuriously illuminating Tony Stark’s after-midnight Manhattan penthouse world. David Marquez can draw subtle changes of expression and so he holds up to Brian Michael Bendis’ parades of talking-heads-in-boxes. Panel sequences on some of the two-page spreads are hard to follow. As is common with Bendis books, the characterization and dialogue is strong, while the plot moves at a … languid … pace. Limited action. Nice reveal at the end. The new armor design is a snore.

Approachability For New Readers

Good! If you know Tony Stark from a comic or a movie or a cartoon, you will be instantly up-to-speed.

Read #2?

Yes. Iron thumbs up!

Sales Rank

#1 October

Read more about Iron Man at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Invincible Iron Man #1

Perfect Page: All-New X-Men

I came across a terrific bit of comics storytelling while pursuing my digitally-driven read of All-New X-Men.

All-New X-Men #6

The above page comes from All-New X-Men #6 (2013) by author Brian Michael Bendis, artist David Marquez, and (notably) letterer Cory Petit. (While I’m at it, I should credit color artist Marte Gracia, too!)

What I love about this page is how it uses the unique toolbox of comics to tell its story. The jumble of thought balloons — and the dialogue balloons overprinting the same — beautifully show us the confusion of a telepath suddenly bombarded by the thoughts of everyone around her, even as her teacher tries to guide her through the maelstrom.

I’ve accused Brian Michael Bendis of writing pages that look like an explosion in the Word Balloon Factory, but here’s an example of using that technique to spectacular effect.

As a reader, we can linger on each panel, and read all those individual thoughts, or we can stick with the narrative, and see how our heroes resolve this crisis. Either way, you can’t help but hear what is happening on this page, which is one of the miracles of the silent medium of comics. (And when that last panel goes blank, the silence is deafening).

Now as to why an adult Kitty Pryde is counseling a teen-aged Jean Grey about using her telepathic powers … well, explaining that one is above my pay grade. Suffice to say that All-New X-Men dives directly into time travel and deep continuity to tell a mixed-up story of X-Men characters old and new, which is (usually) delightful for old hands of the series, and almost-certain to form an impenetrable barrier against readers new to the title.

But the plotting and publication strategy of All-New X-Men is neither here nor there (and there’s a whole new wave of X-Men books hitting the beach soon in any case). That page, though. Nice work!

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