Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review

"I'm hooked on a feeling....I'm high on believing..."

These lines from a Blue Swede song is likely where you first heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the overpowering marketing blitz by Marvel and Disney for the movie release of their sci-fi epic with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker and Karen Gillan....

...but, what do you know about the history of this super-group and the Guardians of the Galaxy movie?

Early Comics

The earliest bits of the Guardians of the Galaxy came in the 1960s...with Tales To Astonish #13 (November, 1960) in a story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, about an alien invader Groot who was going to take over the Earth, but his plant form was bested by termites....and in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969) by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, that dealt with astronaut Major Vance Astro from the 20th Century ending up traveling to Alpha Centauri in suspended animation, and gathering together misfits chrystalline Martinex from Pluto, massive Charlie-27 from Jupiter, and archer Yondu from Alpha Centauri to make a prison break and fight the alien Badoon.

The team then returned in Marvel Two-In-One #4 and 5 (July-September, 1974 by Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema), getting help from the Thing and Captain America against the Badoon in the 31st Century, and returned again in a run of the Defenders (#26-29 in 1975, also by Gerber and Buscema), adding cosmic mystery Starhawk and his wife Aleta to their ranks, and even getting a short run in Marvel Presents (where Mercurian Nikki joined the group...).  After this run, the team popped up again in Thor Annual #6, Avengers #167-177, #181, Ms. Marvel #23, Marvel Team-Up #86 (with Spider-Man) and back to Marvel Two-In-One #61-63, #69, and later, even had their own title for a time (62 issues and 4 annuals in the early 1990s).

But What About Now?

It all started with Annihilation, a 2006 crossover, featuring Galactus herald Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four mimic Super-Skrull, human guardian of Xandar Nova, alien villainess Nebula, alien assassin Gamora and Kree Ronan the Accuser (as well as Drax the Destroyer and Thanos)....all cosmic heroes and villains with odd pasts from various parts of the modern Marvel Universe versus Annihilus, all under the writing of Keith Giffen and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the later two who gathered interstellar heroes again, including Quasar, Star-Lord, the Wraith, Moondragon, Mantis and Rocket Raccoon in Annihilation Conquest, which let to Star-Lord founding the 21st century Guardians of the Galaxy!

For those keeping track, the main movie characters first appearances were in:

Drax the Destroyer and Thanos - Iron Man #55 (February, 1973, created by Jim Starlin)
Star-Lord - Marvel Preview #4 (January, 1976, created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan)
Rocket Raccoon - Marvel Preview #7 (Summer, 1976, created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen)
Gamora - Strange Tales #180 (June, 1975, created by Jim Starlin)
Nebula - Avengers #257 (July, 1985, created by Roger Stern and John Buscema)
Ronan the Accuser - Fantastic Four #65 (August, 1967, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)

Note that most of the characters didn't appear on their premiere covers!

It's all connected...

Well, the Guardians of the Galaxy movie is a story about a group of misfits and outcasts who gather together and find the better parts of themselves when confronted with the ultimate evil...and end up saving the day (and, well...the galaxy).  This is a constant theme in movies and TV (from the Magnificent Seven and Star Wars to Firefly and Farscape...even Footloose and Raiders of the Lost Ark)  and oh so many more!

It is also the story of comic creation (as you can see by all the people who gathered together over the decades to create the comics....which lead to the movie)...and, a basic plot common to many stories (especially those of Guardians of the Galaxy co-creator, Arnold Drake), that everyone has something to contribute, and we can all be heroes, if given the chance, and have a darn good time doing will you if you go to see the movie! 


  1. I thought it was fun. The only drawback for me is Marvel's same old formula. I wish they mix it up a little.

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