Guardians of the Galaxy new 2014 poster

Review by C.J. Bunce

In the past three hours Walt Disney Studios released a new “teaser for a trailer” that premieres Monday, May 19, 2014, and promotes a live Q&A with the cast (details below).  Guardians of the Galaxy won’t arrive in theaters until August 1, 2014, so we still have some waiting to do.  If you missed the first trailer, check it out here.  It’s one of the best previews for a superhero film we’ve seen in years.  But while you’re waiting for the movie, you’ll want to read two great trade editions of a Guardians of the Galaxy series that will give you some background for this motley band of space rogues.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers provides an update to these characters from the Marvel Comics stories of years past.  It collects the four issue “Cosmic Avengers” mini-series and the one-shot “Tomorrow’s Avengers” stories from 2013’s Marvel NOW! line.  Forget about mainstream, title-character superheroes.  The Guardians are exciting and down-right fun.  As a hook to bring these B-level heroes into the fore, Iron Man joins forces with the Guardians to protect the Earth from a nicely orchestrated attempt to eliminate Earth from the Galaxy’s stage prompted by a King from another world.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-1

That King of Spartax visited Earth 30 years ago while he was very young, had a brief encounter with a woman, and a boy was later born—Peter Quill aka Star-Lord.  Quill grows to dislike his dad, who he encounters years later.  Along the way he meets up with Gamora, the daughter of the well-known Marvel villain Thanos, known as “the most dangerous woman in the universe”.  Then there is the very large Drax the Destroyer, killer of Thanos, and a wrecking ball of an adversary. Which leaves the two best characters of the troupe, Rocket, a snarky, cocky, walking and talking raccoon with a vendetta against everything and everyone, and his trustee partner Groot, a brawny, walking and talking tree, whose only speech is the phrase “I am Groot” but who can be interpreted (via inflection, I’ll bet) to be saying any number of things by Rocket (think Han and Chewbacca).  (Can’t wait to see how Vin Diesel gets to play Groot).

Writer Brian Michael Bendis sets up a great introduction here.  He provides a full appendix of sorts with origin stories for Gamora, Groot, Rocket, and Drax.  Artists Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli provide a great space opera feel for the book, with Michael Avon Oeming, Rain Beredo, Ming Doyle, Javier Rodriguez, and Michael Del Mundo providing their own visions for the otherworldly settings for the individual character origin stories.

Guardians volume 2

In Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Angela, Bendis picks up where Cosmic Avengers last left the team, still partnering with Tony Stark, and getting into what makes each character tick, and what buttons the teammates can push to set them off.  Gamora has a price on her head and a bounty hunter on her trail.  Thanos and a Watcher add gravity to the story.  Peter Quill knows something is not right as he continues to try to defend Earth from an impending onslaught from all ends of the Galaxy.  He enlists a beautiful female alien named Mantis for help.  And a new cosmic threat has arrived in the form of Angela, an angel literally torn away from heaven.  Is Angela friend or foe, and what do we make of this S.W.O.R.D. agent Abigail Brand?

Angela is a character from the minds of Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman, probably best known from McFarlane Toys incredible statues of Angela from the Spawn toy line in 1996-1997.

Angela and Gamora

Sara Pichelli adds continuity between Volumes 1 and 2, then hands over the pencils to Francesco Francavilla to wrap up Volume 2.  Normally, a major change in art styles would be off-putting, but here Pichelli and Francavilla’s very different but well-drawn stories complement each other.  The result is a sequel volume on par with the first.

Pick up Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers, here, and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Angela, here, both available from Amazon.com.

And here is the “teaser for the trailer” for this coming Monday’s release of a new trailer for the film:

Don’t miss the live Q&A with the cast including Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, and Director James Gunn, and the exclusive world premiere of the trailer on Monday, May 19th at 9 a.m. Central at this link.