Story: Dan Abnett, Jason Latour
Art: Carlo Barberi, Jim Cheung
What They Say:
Who are the Guardians 1000? Defending the galaxy is a good gig, but Drax isn’t thrilled with the combat hours (not enough of them) and Rocket isn’t thrilled with the compensation (not enough of it). They’re off on an adventure to supplement both, and Groot is happy to come along. But instead of the perks they want, they’re about to get more trouble than they can handle. Good thing the Guardians 3000 are on hand to help! But what about…the Guardians 1000!?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the things that I had enjoyed the most pre-Secret Wars was the Guardians 3000 run. As much as everyone loves the present day Guardians team, I grew up reading the other team in the far future and getting a new taste of it was great, even if it was utterly chaotic and just blended into the Secret Wars event and I found myself not sure of what it was actually doing since I never figured out where they appeared in those event books. So when it was revealed that they’d be a part of the opening arc of this book I was pretty much all in, especially with Abnett writing it. The opening issue here is pretty much standard Abnett style when you get down to it for this team and it’s given some solid style from Barberi.
The focus is primarily on the present day team as it narrows down to just Rocket leading Groot and Drax on an investigation of a structure at the edge of the galaxy. It’s really a treasure hunt run that he doesn’t want to fill them in on and that makes a good chunk of the humor and interaction as they arrive and investigate the unusual and seemingly empty piece. The dynamic between the trio is definitely fun and you can get a good sense of the way they operate and jostle with each other while also being serious and careful so as to not cause real problems between each other. Rocket’s intentions are pretty much what you’d expect and seeing the way the others kind of give in and adjust their own expectations to go along with it all is fun.
It does turn into a good bit of chaos while walking through it they end up stumbling into some of the members of the 3000 era team, which has its own confusion. Realizing that this is a connection between times is fun and it’s what leads us into the past, introducing us to the Guardians of the year 1016. Before that there’s just a lot of action and fighting with a bunch of unknown types that are after the 3000 team and now the 2000 team, but it’s the kind of sequence that works to keep things moving. It’s best use at this stage is to really get a look at Barberi’s work and see how he handles the action and the layouts for it. It’s all very solid stuff without being too flashy or over exaggerated, The end result is a solidly put together piece that takes what Abnett has put together and runs with it. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to really show some creativity as it goes on if Abnett lets the weirdness fly.
Part of the appeal of this book for a lot of folks is that there’s a backup feature in it. The opening one here gives us a tale from Latour and Cheung that focuses largely on Ben Grimm with a healthy dose of Rocket along the way. It’s a solidly fun little self-contained story that focuses on the pair being stranded on a world that, though the wonders of broadcast television, idolizes Ben from his wrestling days. Wrestling continues to be a big part of the comics audience, especially with Marvel, so it’s a fun piece to add here while also drawing back to Ben’s past when he was trying to get beyond the whole hero thing. It’s not a particularly illuminating story, but it is one that lets Ben have some really good introspection time with the internal monologue has has while tying it to the fun of working with Rocket. What sells it even more though is Cheung’s artwork as it’s just spot on perfect here in presenting a range of aliens, proper use of layouts to draw it all out right, and some great dynamic moments with the fighting itself. Definitely more fun than I expected it to be and it’s a good reinforcement of why I’m liking Ben out in space for awhile.
Guardians of Infinity delivers with what I’m looking for here so far with the use of the 3000 era team, though hopefully we get a lot more of it. Pairing up the two teams, even pared down as the present day crew is for this story, definitely offers a lot of fun while also throwing them in the direction they have here. There’s a whole lot of unknowns right now and in terms of story there’s not a lot selling it because the focus is on the characters and just being thrown into a weird unknown situation while introducing a whole other Guardians team. We’ve seen a range of them over the years and even the Guardians 3000 book did a lot of timeline changes as it reacted to the Secret Wars shenanigans. There’s a lot of potential here to be sure and I’ll definitely stick with it to see if it can achieve it.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: December 2nd, 2015