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Rocket Raccoon And Groot #1

ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT #1

Capsule Review

I love Groot and Rocket, but I didn’t much like this book. Skottie Young’s script is strong enough, but we would have been better served if he had illustrated the book, as well — Filipe Andrade’s broad-stroke and abstract style didn’t do enough to bring to life the weird characters and vistas of the story’s outer space setting for me. The story also suffered for pushing our very likeable heroes into the margins for most of the page count. And not to lay the body solely on this book’s doorstep … but what the heck is going on with the Guardians of the Galaxy anyway? This Marvel re-launch has a fist-fill of Guardians books (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of Infinity, Drax, Star-Lord, Venom Space Knight), and I’ve read them all, and liked most of them, but I’m having a bugger of a time figuring which book comes when, or how they all fit together. That seems a missed opportunity. Cross-overs with earthbound Marvel continuity seem limited — at least so far — so why not knit the Guardians book into their own tight little sphere? Right now, I can’t tell what’s happening without a score card … and Marvel hasn’t given me a score card!

Approachability For New Readers

It’s fine, so long as you aren’t trying to make sense of the Guardians-verse as a whole.

Read #2?

No.

Sales Rank

(#15 January)

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Rocket Raccoon And Groot #1

 

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Guardians of Infinity #1

GUARDIANS OF INFINITY #1

Capsule Review

It might normally be unwise to spread the Guardians of the Galaxy’s success over multiple books … but the business is what it is, and this book gets a pass because it is (firstly) entertaining, and (secondly) written by Dan Abnett, who helped to make the modern Guardians into stars a decade ago. Abnett gets right down to it, with Rocket, Groot, and Drax investigating a space station, allegedly with the vague idea they are guarding something, but more directly, so far as Rocket is concerned, to see if it might have something worth stealing. The characterization crackles. Carlo Barbari’s art is a little on the scratchy side, but it gets the job done. Bonus points for roping in the original Guardians. And even more bonus points for a rare backup story that might be better than the main feature, where writer Jason Latour and penciler Jim Cheung put Ben Grimm in an alien gladiator arena, ostensively to battle a bunch of pug-uglies, but really to learn what it is that makes the heart of a warrior beat. (Or at least the heart of a wrestler). Good stuff.

Approachability For New Readers

It all starts in the middle and doesn’t tell you much of what’s going on, so … not so great. But fun.

Read #2?

Sure.

Sales Rank

#6 December

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Guardians of Infinity #1

Venom Space Knight #1

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT #1

Capsule Review

There are two types of comic readers in my audience — the kind that will greet with a yawn the news that a double-amputee Flash Thompson inherited Spider-Man’s old Venom suit and then joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, and those that will wonder how Marvel has so thoroughly jumped the tracks. I actually think there’s a pretty good book here for both camps. This Flash Thompson is a distant (DISTANT!) echo of the Steve Ditko original, and he may not be OUR Flash, but he is A Flash … a jock with a soft spot in way over his head and afraid to show it. This Venom suit was purged of its worst impulses in a previous Guardians of the Galaxy run, so there aren’t any evil overtones in this book — just a Flash Thompson well past his bully phase, determined to do good, thrust into outer space adventures and making it up as he goes along. Writer Robbie Thompson’s plot is similar to the adventure we saw in Drax #1, but the quips are better here, and there is more meat on the bone, with Venom meeting grouchy aliens and picking up a robot companion that can “… speak three million languages, and (is) fluent in 217 forms of torture.” Artist Ariel Olivetti’s digitally painted interiors class the book up quite a bit. This is a frothy book and it won’t make you think too hard, but it provided some space opera fun.

Approachability For New Readers

OK. The text slug at the beginning helps and the flashback image showing our hero playing football will assure old vets that, yes, this really is THAT Flash Thompson. Readers who don’t care about Marvel ancient history can just buckle in for a fast-paced and pulpy adventure that tells us everything we need to know as we go.

Read #2?

Sure.

Sales Rank

#29 November

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Venom Space Knight #1

 

Star-Lord #1

Star-Lord #1

Capsule Review

Hey everybody, it’s Young Peter Quill! What we have here is Peter’s origin story … a new one, sort of, and while this young Peter has plenty of rough edges, he’s no where near the psychotic jackass he used to be. This Peter is a scrappy kid, the square peg, too smart for the room but thinking with his fists — he feels like a slightly more Young Adult fiction version of J.J. Abrams’ young Captain Kirk from his Star Trek reboot. None of these are bad things. Writer Sam Humphries makes us care for Peter as he works as a grease monkey in an experimental space program, stealing simulator time to polish his piloting chops, and scheming for a way to jump the line of more qualified astronaut candidates competing for that big space ride. Of course, Peter’s headstrong ways get him into trouble. You can draw a pretty direct dotted line from this kid to the Star Lord we’ve seen in recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics and movies. Artist Javier Garron provides solid storytelling and uses exaggeration to good effect. It’s a comfort food kind of comic book — the beats are predictable, everything goes as you’d expect — but it is still fun enough.

Approachability For New Readers

Good. One of the few actual origin stories in this crop of new Marvel #1s. There’s no mention of the Guardians of the Galaxy or a tie-in or a flash-forward or anything like that, which seems like a missed opportunity to ground new readers coming here from the film, but whatever.

Read #2?

Yeah.

Sales Rank

#44 November

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Star-Lord #1

 

Drax #1

DRAX #1

Capsule Review

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Writers CM Punk and Cullen Bunn set out to entertain us for a few pages, and accomplish nothing less. Also, nothing more. If it were possible to fold laundry while reading a comic book, this book would be an ideal candidate. There are a couple of laughs, a lot of smashing, some decent characterization (mostly), and nothing to tax your intelligence. Scott Hepburn’s art is as workmanlike as the rest of the package. If you like Drax, read it. If you don’t like Drax, don’t read it, and say that you did. Either way, you’ll wind up in the same place.

Approachability For New Readers

It’s fine. Drax has more intellect here than in the movie, and Ben Grimm’s appearance is just as much a mystery here as in every other Guardians book, but it’s largely familiar faces doing familiar things.

Read #2?

Sure. There’s always more laundry to fold.

Sales Rank

#40 November

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

 

Drax #1

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