My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This slim graphic novel was released for the movie (naturally) and collects the comic reboot (again) of Guardians from 2013 (#0.1-#3) then a series of individual character studies encompassed as 'Tomorrow's Avengers.' Let me deal with them separately since they feel like it.
The 2013 0.1-3 is well worth it. The storyline is solid and relatively simple. The Guardians are back together after the Thanos thing in 2006 (which I'd be lying if I said I remembered much about that). They're talking with Tony Stark to help keep Earth safe. After all, Star Lord is part human and he grew up there. There is a bit of non-linear story telling here but nothing too hard to keep up with. Peter Quill tells Tony his life story, or more precisely his mother's story (which doesn't jive with the movie at all but does with the early series).
Peter's father is a galactic king and has ordered everyone, including Peter, away from Earth (There are reasons and it gives the All-Mother a bit of a moment to shine). Peter sees this as painting a target on earth, especially for aliens like the Badoon which naturally happens just as Peter fears. Naturally neither the Guardians nor Iron Man is going to stand around letting this happen. Let's just say Peter's father J'Son is none too thrilled with this defiance.
The good - the storyline and the art. No lie, Steven McNiven and Sara Pichelli's art is beautiful. If all comic art still looked this good, I'd be collecting more avidly. I would hang some of this on my wall, especially the Peter pissed off ones.
The Bad - there isn't much. I wasn't too fond of how they rendered Iron Man's armor or Rocket's legs but the thing that gets me is typical comic book sexism. I know it's not going to end but seriously why would Gamora be the only one in a black bathing suit under her armor? At one point they're all stripped of their battle suits and everyone is in black skin tight undersuits except her. She's in a French cut bathing suit because that's what all assassin wear (eye rolls). There is one cover variant with Gamora that is a gorgeous piece of art on one hand and on the other she's in something that is little more than three thin strips of cloth that would require her to go Brazilian to wear (assuming of course that her secondary sexual characteristics are human). I just don't see Gamora going for a wax.
Now for the final third of the book, the individual stories has an underlying theme of Peter going to round up his friends again. It really should be the first thing since it predates the other two-thirds of the book but it's just as well it's in the back. None of the stories are strong (Gamora's and Drax's stories are just battle scenes). Rocket's seems like something that might be continued down the road and Groot's had a bit of heart to it. The art is also very variable in this (some of it not particularly good, reminding me of why I don't collect like I did.
Overall, this is a very good graphic novel. Though it is a bit darker than the movie for those who only know that aspect, much fewer jokes.
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