Review: Guardians of Infinity #1

Guardians_of_Infinity_1_CoverWho are the Guardians 1000?! Defending the galaxy is a good gig, but Drax isn’t thrilled with the combat hours (not enough of them) and Rocket isn’t thrilled with the compensation (not enough of it). They’re off on an adventure to supplement both, and Groot is happy to come along. But instead of the perks they want, they’re about to get more trouble than they can handle. Good thing the Guardians 3000 are on hand to help! But what about…the Guardians 1000??!!

Also in this issue, Latour and Cheung tell a one-off story of Ben Grimm and Rocket Raccoon, stuck on a planet where culture is based on Earth-style professional wrestling…but the stakes are life and death! This ain’t kayfabe, brother!

A new series adding another in Marvel’s All-New, All-Different line of Guardians of the Galaxy comics, this one is an interesting time travel spin that I’m still deciding what to think.

Written by Dan Abnett with art by Carlo Barberi, the first story sees a small group of the Guardians, Rocket, Groot, and Drax, heading to a mysterious structure to check it out and loot it. From there, things get weird as they meet with the Guardians of the future, and then wind up meeting an all new group of Guardians who seem like they’re from the past.

The concept is interesting and my gut says for those who are a bit nostalgic for what I’d consider classic Guardians, the group from the year 3000, they may enjoy this series a bit more. But, I think seeing the various groups of Guardians come together is so far all that’s special about this first issue, partially because there’s too many series with these characters. And, with too many series we get inconsistencies in speech patterns and personalities. Drax is the most apparent of this when it comes to speech patterns and personality. Guardians of Infinity #1 suffers because we see some of these characters WAY too much, with even more comics on the way.

The other issue is the action ramps up too quickly. The concept of Groot, Rocket, and Drax looting some mysterious structure is interesting, and at first we get a solid mystery building up, but then are thrown into lots of action with little explanation or time for us to appreciate how the current Guardians and Guardians 3000 gell. Then throw in the Guardians 1000, and we get a whirlwind overload. Too much is thrown at us too quickly, which would probably work better to read as a trade than a single issue.

In a back-up story writer Jason Latour and Jim Cheung focus on Ben Grimm whose time in space hasn’t been focused on nearly as much as it should, and that’s what we get here. Latour does a solid job of expanding on Grimm’s thought process and his draw in space, especially using pieces from the character’s past to highlight why this doesn’t just work, it totally makes sense as a natural direction for the character. Though the circumstances of the situation Grimm and Rocket are in is a bit confusing at times, the characterization of Grimm is the interesting part.

The art by Cheung and Barberi is solid, and they do a great job of keeping the characters familiar and coherent, but also clearly their own styles as well. The numerous aliens too in Grimm’s story by Cheung are solid as well, though some you can tell are riffed off of other things.

This first issue is an interesting concept, but may be Guardians overload at this point. As a second series it would feel a bit more special, but right now I’m just not quite seeing what makes it stand out. Still, it’s an interesting start at least, and a series I’ll at least stick with through the first arc. You probably need to be a die-hard Guardians fan to really appreciate the series, and even then, this might be one comic too many.

Writer: Jason Latour, Dan Abnett Artist: Jim Cheung, Carlo Barberi
Story: 7.4 Art: 7.9 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read