Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy

By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Guardians of the Galaxy: Legacy is the first volume of the 2008 comics reboot of the ragtag space-team. The writers, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, or “DnA” as they are known collaboratively, have been writing comics since the mid-80s and have a solid legacy as a team. Together they have worked extensively on Marvel’s “cosmic” (outer-space) line of comics, as well as non-Marvel comics such as Superman/Batman and 2,000 AD (AKA “the people who made Judge Dredd”). Unfortunately for us fans, the two creators have had a lovers’ quarrel or something recently and have gone their separate ways, but are still individually creating fantastic content nonetheless.

The basic idea behind this book is that Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord has watched his cosmic home get ripped almost completely apart, and so he sets out to establish a proactive butt-kicking team to keep his galaxy safe from whatever might threaten it. However, through dialogue hints and precognitive aliens (because what’s a space comic without future-sight?) we know that the team members all accepted their roles suspiciously quickly, and one of them is a traitor ...

Paul Pelletier’s artwork within this book feels like a punch line of its own, while still retaining its scare factor when it needs to. However, it is Rick Magyar’s inking which makes it hard not to keep turning the page. The vibrancy of the bright colours in most scenes makes you feel like you’re having fun despite, you know, the galactic apocalypse. The black pen comes out strong and heavy in the action scenes to give the blows some oomph, but it always feels exciting.

So the book looks great, but if I’m forced to give one reason I fell in love with it, it’s the dialogue. The characters joke and jab, weave in and out of personal interactions and just generally bounce off of each other with a lot of grace and joy. Even the badasses like Drax aren’t presented as purely being a grim, dark, brooding, “I am the night” -type character. Keeping this alive may be James Gunn’s biggest challenge in moving these characters to the big screen, but I have
high hopes.

Yet another thing that I really love about this book is the range of characterisation in its women – beating back the stereotypical comic book “fighting fuck-toy” treatment. Phyla-Vell, codenamed Quasar, is strong and powerful yet feminine, emotional and impressively non-sexualised. Gamora (the green alien chick
in the film), on the other hand, is sexualised, but she owns it – she’s given plenty of oppor- tunities to be more than a sexy green space babe. Whether the other characters are speak- ing about her ability as an assassin, or she is endangering herself to save her team (and the galaxy, of course), Gamora is more than big- boobs-stab-things – she’s definitely the subject of her own story.

If you want to check out the Guardians’ adventures (and I suggest you do, if you like fun and happiness) there are a couple of things you’ll need to watch out for. If you’re new to comics you’ll need to take your time. There are a lot of new concepts thrown at you quickly, including time-travel and alternate universes. I recommend having Wikipedia ready if you want all the trivia. Also, the second half of the book (or last three issues, depending on how you read it) are part of a Marvel crossover event. The writers handle this deftly, but you might find yourself wondering “what is a Skrull, and why are they killing people?!” And lastly: you’ll fall in love with these characters, and not all of them will make it to the big screen. You’ve been warned.
This article first appeared in Issue 19, 2014.
Posted 9:16pm Sunday 10th August 2014 by Brandon Johnstone.