By Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder & Ive Svorcina
The biggest issue with All-New Guardians of the Galaxy is that it doesn’t feel particularly new at all. Its main purpose seems to provide a launch for a new ongoing series that shares the same team dynamic as the movies, of which the second one is currently airing in cinemas, and provide a jumping on point for new readers. We largely get reminded of what the team does and their respective roles in this issue as well as establishing a basic plot, without too much info-dumping on the way, which always helps. There’s also Baby Groot along for the ride, so if you liked his character in the movies, then it looks like you’re going to have to get used to him playing a role like this.
There’s nothing really inventive here that we haven’t seen before from another Guardians comic and All-New Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t do anything to justify its name. Whilst there are some great quirks, a fantastic Scarface reference, and some nice twists and turns in the storyline, it all feels a bit too reliant on the dynamic of the characters. Without Star Lord, Drax, Gamora, Groot and Rocket being as well-established and as fun as they are when working together, the book simply wouldn’t be as entertaining as it was. And that’s in part because Duggan knows how to play to the strengths of the characters, creating interesting mysteries in the process. Drax looks set to adopt an interesting mystery in the story to come, and on top of that, there’s also a mystery at the end teased for Groot too. It looks like Duggan might be set to answer why Groot’s shrunken rather than just simply doing it to match up with the character in the movie.
The artwork from Aaron Kuder is unique from the other Marvel books on shelves as he brings his own distinctive style to the characters. The alien characters that feature here, as well as the planets themselves, feel appropriately alien and very wacky, with a brighter approach in tone than previous volumes have been. The sheer variety of colors on display from Ive Svorcina really help showcase just how ‘out there’ this book has the potential to be. Although everything feels relatively constrained right now, the playful hues give the impression that there are more outlandish adventures to come. The aliens themselves here are far from the norm you’d expect to see in other Marvel books and this further plays in the book’s favor.
An interesting choice by Marvel is that All-New Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be a twice-monthly series, so it remains to be seen how the different artists will shake up the tone and feel of the book going forward .For now, whilst it doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table that readers haven’t encountered before, the issue successfully provides plenty of fun, engaging action that makes the most out of the great character dynamics, setting up a larger mystery to come.