This review contains spoilers.
I really krutacking like this book and, seeing as I'm a guy that tends to enjoy only a select few cosmic stories (here's looking at you, Green Lantern), that's saying a helluva lot. Writer Brian Michael Bendis is welcoming me to Marvel's cosmic universe with arms wide open. While this isn't as emotionally compelling as the point one issue, it does a fine job introducing us to the team in a delightfully fun manner (though some characters don't shine as much as others). Bendis doesn't dive into these characters as much as DnA did in the previous run's premiere issue, but he still does a thorough job getting their personalities across and already has me wanting more of the team.
The plot moving this book is light so far, but the focus was clearly on giving us the basic rundown of each character and then tossing a whole lot of fun our way. It's not long before the team encounters Tony Stark and a huge battle emerges. The art team here really sells the scene and throws you right into the crazy space action. The panels look great as laser blasts tag aliens, Groot smashes like a tree-boss, and Rocket Raccoon makes use of yet another ridiculously large weapon. Iron Man's introductory panel is nothing short of stellar. I found myself gazing at the planet behind him for at least a solid minute -- everything from the detail on the surface to the atmosphere kept my eyes glued to the page.
While Steve McNiven's illustrations makes the book look fantastic, I couldn't help but be distracted by the eyes (most notably in the opening scene between Star-Lord and his father). The shapes and distance between them seemed to fluctuate a fair amount. Certainly a minor complaint, but it did stand out to me.
Another minor complaint, but Drax ditched those awesome blades for some kind of energy axe? I get it goes with the sci-fi theme and can dish out way more damage (not to mention is less violent), but those twin knives increased his badassery so much. This weapon instead gives the impression that he's more of a lumbering brute -- and maybe that's exactly what he is now. I guess we'll see in time. Additionally, I'm not a fan of the excessive use of circles in the new costumes, but what's done is done and the circlefest is here to stay.
It seems safe to assume Stark took his most advanced armor to space, yes? So, how is he taken out by the blast while others around him are a-okay? I understand his shields were just under half, but that's still quite impressive for a dude who has stood up to a nuclear blast before. Different armor, I know, but I imagine Tony would bring something durable on his deep space mission, no?
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY comes out of the gate with an entertaining chapter that's loads of fun and looks exceptional. However, so far the overall narrative is fairly light and has a bit of a bland opening . Regardless, Bendis has managed to make this new reader friendly (even if you haven't read the point one issue) and does a more than able job establishing the basics with each character in an amusing fashion. This issue is definitely worth checking out if you're curious about what is sure to become Marvel's biggest cosmic team. We're off to a very good start, Bendis... now let's dive deep into this story!