Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel)


Rating: 4/5 – The Marvel Universe of the 31st Century done right!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

Guardians of the Galaxy number one ushered in the 1990’s with a solid first issue that does a really great job of introducing the reader to this underrated cast of characters.  I have really fond memories of this series as I picked this title up off the shelf, along with the first issue of New Warriors.  Since I just recently found the last issue of this series, as well as a couple later issues in the run which proved to be pretty darn tough to find, I figured I’d slowly start to re-read this series as I only got up to issue fifty the first time around.  So far four issues in, I’m pretty glad I did.

Before heading over to Image Comics and creating Shadowhawk, writer/artist Jim Valentino took on the Guardians of the Galaxy and had an impressive run for more than twenty issues.  In this first issue he does a great job of introducing us to each character through a heavy use of dialogue boxes and exposition, but not so heavy where it comes off feeling boring and obvious.  At the time, this was my first introduction to these characters so it helped with my understanding of them, and during this reading it was a nice refresher.  Not only that, but Valentino provides a five page history of the Guardians within this issue’s story that also helps an unfamiliar reader.

The Guardians have landed on the planet Courg in search of Captain America’s shield, and they eventually go up against the Stark, a race of aliens who’ve discovered Tony Stark’s technology and have adapted it into their everyday life.  It’s a pretty cool concept, that’s weakened by the leader of the team, Taserface.  Yes…Taserface.  It’s a horrible name that Valentino actually addresses in a later issue’s letter page, but reading it here you definitely feel that 90’s vibe.  If you can get past this cheesy villain, the story is both exciting and engaging.

The art is of course solid as Valentino is able to put so many characters on page while never sacrificing quality.  The costumes hold up pretty well for the time, except for Charlie-27, who’s costume is surprisingly a step above the original.  Valentino’s faces can look a bit weird at times, but with so many aliens and different types of characters it’s understandable.  Overall the art works and his cover looks great!  I’m having a lot of fun re-reading this series from the 1990’s and I can’t wait to get into some of the later issues.  This is solid superhero fun, with a lot of ties to the “present” day Marvel Universe.  If you’re looking for a quality series with an all-star creator, give this series a try.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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