Artists: Steve McNiven & Sara Pichelli
I was never a Guardians of the Galaxy fan prior to this series, and besides the fact the Guardians of the Galaxy movie is coming out next year, I still needed some persuation to try this series. It has however since became one of my favourite series, and I've loved learning about the character's, and look forward to seeing what's next for them.
The Guardians of the Galaxy, and Iron Man (Tony Stark) have been captured by J'son of Spartax's army, and placed as prisoners of war. They are however missing one member, Groot. Meanwhile J'son isn't happy with the Badoon leader, Y-Gaaar over the Badoon's attacking Earth.
This was a phenomenal issue, and probably the best issue in the series. Now that statement was a very hard call, as the emotional point one issue was brilliant as well, but the excitement, and action in this issue just seemed to top that slightly. Brian Michael Bendis has been doing a great job of this series, as he has with his Marvel NOW! series in general, as although Age of Ultron has been extremely poor, All-New X-Men has been fantastic, and Uncanny X-Men has also had good feedback. He's also been doing well with other recent series', and projects, with Daredevil: End of Days being a tremendous series from start to finish, and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man coming up leaps and bounds quality wise. Bendis handled this issue brilliantly, showing that allow he may have upset fans with previous stories that he can be a good writer. It was however the dialogue, and mainly the brilliant witty conversation that I loved about this issue, which added another level of fun, making this series, which is already fun, even more so. The action was also handled perfectly, and although there could have been a little more of it, it was very entertaining, and explosive, and although I did expect some action, the way it started was unexpected, and truly amazing.
The artwork is also once again outstanding, with both Steve McNiven, and Sara Pichelli doing a tremendous job. Once again McNiven drew the sequences that featured the Guardians, and Pichelli drew the ones that featured J'son. Although Pichelli's art is amazing, it has to be McNiven's that appeals to me more, as his style is perfect for this series, and the detail he puts into the character, and especially Rocket Raccoon, who I assume will be the hardest to draw is fantastic. The way he lays out his artwork is also brilliant, adding yet more drama to this issue, as well as adding a bit of mood to it. He also draws some of the most exciting action sequences that I've ever seen, with them being both dramatic, and explosive. He also did an excellent job of drawing the enlarged Groot, and the way he handled the character's facial expressions to this, as well as other things was amazing, and I especially loved the innocents in Groot's eyes. Now I haven't forgotten about Pichelli's art, as although it doesn't feature as much as McNiven's, it too was amazing. The detail in her art is amazing, and I just love the way she draws the meeting room, and all the character's in it. She also does a great job with the character's expressions, or lack of them, and in general she dis a great job, and she will be a fitting replacement to McNiven, although I do hope he will eventually return as artist at some point.
Near the start of the issue we see the captured Tony tried to get a distress signal to the Avengers asking for help. Now it wasn't revealed whether or not the Avengers recieved this message or not, but the implication that the Avengers may make an appearance at some point has all but been confirmed, and it lookd more of a matter of time, rather than an if. It is however interesting that the connection has been made/shown this early, as I thought it would take longer, giving the Guardians time to shine on there own. At the same time this doesn't confirm that the Avengers will appear any time soon, which gives the Guardians plenty of time to accomplish that. The sequence itself was also very dark, and moody, and you could tell that Tony was in a bit of distress which was interesting, and the overall mood made the sequence that much more exciting.
Later in the issue we see another meeting between J'son, and his council of alien races. During this meeting J'son is very angry with Badoon leader, Y-Gaaar, saying that he knew that Earth was a no go zone, and that he should control his people. This was a very interesting argument, and I loved how J'son's character showed through, showing that he's a real dictator like character, that doesn't like getting his own way. I also liked how Y-Gaaar came back, not taking J'son's aggression lightly, saying that normally that would be enough to start a blood war. Overall the heated sequence was very entertaining, and interesting, and I look forward to seeing more from this council, and whether or not there will be any cracks in it.
Groot hasn't been used much in the last couple of issue, apparently getting injured, but he returns this issue, and in a big way (literally). Groot is one of the most emotional character's, yet he can only say, "I am Groot!" It's this that makes Groot so brilliant, as although I've only read up on him since getting this series, it's amazing how a character with next to no dialogue can show so much emotion, yet McNiven's art does this perfect. I also love the fact that Groot can change size, and this was shown during this issue, as after turning very small a couple of issues ago he re-grows during this, getting extremely big. Talking about individual character's, there hasn't been one issue so far that has shown each character equally, as this issue has little impact from Drax the Destroyer (besides in the background), and that's been the same for other character's in the past. Now I understand that with such a big cast of character's (which is supposedly going to get bigger) that it's not easy to do, but I would love it if Bendis could do this, as long as it doesn't take away from the story.
I said earlier about the amazing dialogue, but the part of dialogue that appealed to me the most was the interaction between Tony, and Rocket. I just loved how both personalities collided (in a friendly way), with Rocket being a bit patronising, and Tony coming back by telling him not to, "be snippy." I just found this funny, and so to Tony's character, and although it didn't last long, it was entertaining. Besides that Rocket was actually a bit toned down, as in the last couple of issues he's been a bit too much in your face, and although that isn't a bad thing, it's nice to get a break from it. He does however continue to use his catchphrases, using a similar one from last issue by saying, "Blamo! Murdered You!," and although these weren't used as much this issue they still felt repetitive, and the novelty seems to have worn off. Besides that I did find Rocket very witty, and funny, which I love about his character.
This was an outstanding issue, and my personal favourite in the series so far, being just slightly better than the point one issue. It had fun, as well as explosive action, and even some emotion. It also saw the return of Groot in a big way, and a hilarious conversation between Iron Man, and Rocket Raccoon. Due to all this I'd easily recommend this issue to anyone, as well as the rest of the series so far, and can't wait for the next issue.