Wednesday, 4 April 2018

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Communication Breakdown Review (Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder)

I’ve not been keeping up with the Guardians of the Galaxy comics for a while now because Brian Bendis was writing them up until recently and that dude’s MO is to write a really strong first volume then tank the series for the rest of his run - which is exactly what he did with Guardians! Now that Bendis has left Marvel, Gerry Duggan’s taken over the title and… written the best damn Guardians comics ever?! Seriously, Communication Breakdown might be my favourite Guardians book to date! 

The gang are hired by Grandmaster to steal a precious MacGuffin from The Collector. They also pull off a heist in a Galactus suit, battle a Shi’Ar Raptor who’s after a pair of Nega-Bands and the dark secret of why Groot has remained small is revealed! 

There wasn’t much I disliked about this one so I’ll just get my gripes out of the way first: the story arc revolving around the bloody Infinity Gems once again. Just about every other Guardians storyline seems to be about these damn things - “All-New” my ass! I do get it though - this book is heavily influenced by the James Gunn movies where they feature prominently and there’s a big Avengers Infinity Gems movie about to drop so corporate synergy etc. etc. and Gamora and Drax are intertwined with Thanos who’s obsessed with the Gems - I’m just bored of these things as a story trope. That and Loki stirring shit are both unimaginative plot points here. 

Otherwise, the comic is all aces. The Galactus heist that opens the book is so damn brilliant - now that Marvel Studios have the film rights to the Fantastic Four back, I’d love to see this in the next movie! The reveal behind why Groot isn’t growing was ingenious and is my favourite of the myriad storylines going on here. There’s always something interesting going on so it never gets dull and the humour and light tone is pitch-perfect - a superb balance between action and comedy. It’s a super fun read which is exactly what Guardians should be. 

Aaron Kuder’s art is glorious. The assorted alien races, settings, structures are all skilfully and inventively drawn and Ive Svorcina’s colours are absolutely beautiful - this is a very visually appealing book. It’s a shame Kuder couldn’t draw all of it but the Marcus To fill-in issue was good too. And in the same way Duggan’s mirroring a lot of the movies’ aspects in his writing, the Guardians’ ship, the Milano, is introduced here and looks as awesome as ever. 

Who knew Gerry Duggan’s niche would be Guardians comics? Hats off to the dude for writing such an entertaining and enjoyable comic. Fans of the movies will lap this one up - it really does read like a Guardians movie - and I’d rec this to any superhero comics fans but in particular those who became wary of this title after Bendis ran it into the ground. What a difference a new writer makes, eh?

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