Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 1

Guardians of the Galaxy - Cosmic AvengersSummary: There’s a new rule in the galaxy: No one touches Earth! No one! But why has Earth suddenly become the most important planet in the galaxy? That’s what the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to find out! Join Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot and – wait for it – the invincible Iron Man, as they embark upon one of the most explosive and eye-opening chapters of Marvel NOW! These galactic Avengers are going to discover secrets that will rattle Marvel readers for years to come! But while London deals with a brutal invasion by the Badoon, the fate of the Guardians may have already been decided millions of miles away! Why wait for the movie? It all starts here!

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Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 1, by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli 7.0

I knew nothing of the Guardians of the Galaxy until maybe a year ago. While I enjoy superhero comics/graphic novels, I’m not a great fan of the mainstream stuff, which is short on plot, heavy on mind-numbing actions sequences and low on originality – they tend to rehash the same damned stories and characters over and over again.

Or reboot the characters. !@#$

So I felt no interest whatsoever when I first heard that Marvel was producing a big screen adaptation of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, which I had never heard of before. At least with the familiar stuff I might get the satisfaction of seeing a faithful interpretation of something I love. But, with this unknown entity, I couldn’t be bothered to care.

Still, after its massive success at the box office, I decided that I should perhaps familiarize myself with this pop culture entity, so I picked up the lone graphic novel that they had at my local library. Subtitled “Cosmic Avengers”, it’s a collection of three volumes from the series along with some one-shot comics that were collected together.

The book ably sets up the characters for novices like me, explaining who all the characters are just enough that you can move on to the story. The problem is that, with only three volumes in this book, there’s not enough story to develop – especially given that this is a Marvel book, which means incessant action sequences in lieu of plot.

So it gave a sense of what he series has to offer, but there’s so little meat on it that I have no interest in continuing any further. Do I really want to “read” countless pages of wanton destruction just so that I can get a few scraps of plot along the way? No, I don’t. And there’s just not enough for me to care about this crew more than any other superhero team.

One thing I did find interesting was Rocket Raccoon. Firstly, there’s the fact that he’s a seemingly brilliant character who is also über deadly. And he’s a raccoon. Nice and quirky. However, I was stunned by the fact that he kept blurting out “Blam! Murdered you!” whenever he shot an adversary. Yes, because these “heroes” kill instead of incapacitate.

Let’s face it: in this day and age, it’s far too demanding to stop madmen and dangerous creatures without destroying everything. Not everyone is Superman. And not everyone is so clever. It’s always just easier to destroy, isn’t it? In any case, it made me wonder what kind of society we live in that our “heroes” make a joke of murder – and that we love them for it.

I’m sure it was meant to be funny, perhaps even satirical. But when you think of it, it’s kind of disturbing. There’s a psychotic quality to a society that would find human life so disposable that it would mock its willful annihilation. But it’s hardly surprising coming from a violent culture that fetishizes guns and destruction, raising its children on a daily diet of pain and death.

I’m sure that apologist will say that I’m just one of the loathsome political correctness police, but think about it for a moment: The reason that so-called free speech advocates defend humour about violence (incl. rape) is because it’s never happened to them – they are so detached from the torment that is inflicted on its victims and the people around them that they can make light of it.

But physical and psychological violence takes a toll on people well after the initial act. The healing process is not only arduous but sometimes unending – some are scarred or damaged for life. This has repercussions in society through their behaviour, when they overcompensate for their wounds in ways that aren’t entirely healthy. This creates dysfunction not just in the victims but in society.

And the cycle continues. Because dysfunction is at the heart of apathy.

All this to say that Rocket Raccoon made me wonder where we’re at. Is our society so dysfunctional, so traumatized that this is what it’s come to? And what do we need to do to stop the cycle from continuing endlessly, until we’re broken and incapable of functioning properly? Because, let’s face it: the connecting threads of society is caring about the whole’s welfare, not just the individual’s.

Further leaving me with mixed feelings about the book was the fourth and final volume, an unrelated book called “Tomorrow’s Avengers”, which consists of 3-4 page comics each featuring one of the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy. These are as vacuous as they are action-filled and serve no purpose but as “try outs” for new artists and writers. And it’s the kind of crap that bores me in comics.

So would I read Guardians of the Galaxy again? Between the hoaky title, incessant action, generic characters and limited development, I feel no need to pursue it any further. I am suddenly curious to see the picture, to see how it translated to the big screen, but that’s about it. And I’m not in any rush to see it. I will see it at some point in the future. Someday. Whenever. Whatever.

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