Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #4


detailOne of the most fun series to come out of Marvel NOW! has to be the new iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy.  While issue four doesn’t push the story forward too far forward or deal much with the implications of Quill’s huge revelation to the Spartax people, there is still fun to be had and showcasing of how badass this team can truly be.

Opening in a bar, readers are introduced to the Guardians celebrating their recent escape from Spartax custody, thanks to Groot.  Bendis injects a fun atmosphere, as we get to witness each member have his or her own moment in the spotlight.  Whether it is Rocket drinking heavily and delivering great lines, the innocence that Groot conveys from his joyous expressions, or even the flirty behavior between Gamora and Tony Stark, this book is constructed to make the reader have a good time.  When Spartax soldiers come for the Guardians in a scene reminiscent of the original Star Wars cantina, Bendis uses a lack of dialogue to convey the tension, and hilarity ensues once they are found out.  Seeing Peter Quill still try to pick up his potential date while in the background fighting continues is a funny sight to behold.

Gamora receives a big focus in this issue, and she is certainly up to the task.  Tony Stark’s expression of pain after their physical “encounter” is a priceless image, and a funny way of showcasing that this woman truly is a force to be reckoned with.  When she is attacked, readers get to see her put her fighting skills to the test.  Though injured, Gamora fights back with ferocity against the adversarial bounty hunter.  This could be an interesting development going forward, as at this pace it seems that soon everyone in the galaxy will have a reason to want the Guardians dead or captured.  The banter at the end of the issue is another plus, as Bendis’s greatest strength is his ability to have the teams he writes have a witty rapport and believable bond between them.

Penciler Sara Pichelli does a beautiful job with her duties on this issue.  Her facial expressions are some of the best parts of the story, whether it is Drax’s excitement at getting to fight, Tony Stark’s post coitus face of pain, or even Gamora’s genuine happiness at seeing her team members save her life.  Justin Ponsor utilizes colors to make a vivid picture that jumps off the page, especially in the bar scenes which feature a lot of multicolored panels.  His use of red shading over a hologram of Pepper Potts really stands out in contrast to Tony Stark’s dark peach skin color and the blackened room that he is located in.

Although the story is simple and effective, after last issue’s big ending reveal by Quill, we don’t really see any ramifications yet from that twist, either politically with the galactic council or to the Guardians besides a few royal guards searching them out.  Hopefully that will be tackled in future issues because it held huge ramifications for Spartax.  Also, the fight scene between Gamora and the bounty hunter can get a bit confusing in some panels.  There doesn’t feel like there is any continuity sometimes to the fight, which can make it hard to follow what is going on at points.  On one page with panels crossing over, I was puzzled with how to read the panels in order, and it took a few seconds to finally put together the correct sequence.

So far, The Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of the most entertaining books to read from the Marvel Now launch.  This series really hits home how family doesn’t have to just be the ones you share blood with.  All of these team members have been rejected by their respective societies in some way or other, but they have each other to lean on and protect from whatever is out there.  With famous author Neil Gaiman co-writing the next issue with Bendis, the road ahead is looking bright for the Guardians of the Galaxy.


Guardians of the Galaxy #4 gets a 4/5


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