By Brian Michael Bendis, Nick Bradshaw, Jim Starlin, Dan Slott & Giuseppe Camuncoli
All-Comic has got your Free Comic Book Day 2014 covered! This round, we’re going to look at Marvel’s free Guardians of the Galaxy issue. For a free comic, this is a pretty cool issue that’s perfect for both seasoned readers and noobs. Well, at least the Guardians stuff is good. The rest? Not so much.
This issue is split into three stories. The first story is essentially an introduction to the Guardians. Tony Stark explains to Flash Thompson exactly what to expect as the Guardians’ newest member. The last issue of GOTG failed to tell readers why Agent Venom was now on the team, so it’s nice for regulars to have that clarified. Even though this story is just a summary for new readers, Bendis writes it well enough for everybody to get something new out of it. The art by Nick Spencer is an awesome compliment to the Guardians’ crazy sci-fi style. Just looking at the detail of characters like Groot is a testament to how committed Spencer is.
The next story is a preview of Jim Starlin’s Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, which is an all-new original graphic novel coming in August. The story is a little jumbled and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Perhaps the graphic novel will shine some light on the subject, but for now, we’re just left a little confused. Starlin’s art is wonky, with characters looking stiff and occasionally out of place. This is definitely not a good way to sell people on an expensive graphic novel.
The last story is a preview of the upcoming Spider-Verse, a Spidey event that claims to contain every Spider-Man ever. The Marvel 1602 version of Spidey is featured here, performing at the Globe Theatre in London. Suddenly, Morlun shows up and that’s when everything goes to crap. Morlun is universally hated, as are the majority of things Straczynski did during his Spidey run. To be fair, everything is written well enough and Camuncoli must have been in rare form when he drew this, because this is some of his best work yet. Even crappy Morlun looks badass. Still, we’re veering into shaky territory and the future of Spider-Man is no longer looking so bright.
This issue is a bit of a mixed bag. Bendis’ Guardians material is just as good as it always is. It’s the other two stories that aren’t exactly exciting. Oh, well. At least it was free!