With all the months of buzz and anticipation surrounding the Guardians of the Galaxy movie having come to a head with the film’s release a few days ago, Marvel has predictably (and understandably) been capitalising with tie-in merchandising in various forms; the more interesting element of this was the release of two new solo titles last month, expanding the GOTG comic-book content presently available.
Having not seen the film yet (I’ll see it in my own time, thank you), I did take the chance recently to catch up on some GOTG comics that I’d had on my to-do-list for a while, including Galaxy’s Most Wanted and The Trial of Jean Grey, along with several standard GOTG back issues, all of which have made for thoroughly good reading.
Last month’s Legendary Starlord #1 and Rocket Raccoon #1 were almost certainly put out to coincide with GOTG movie fever. And neither of them are quite as enjoyable reads as the main GOTG title tends to be, though both also have their pros and cons.
Starlord is one of those characters with a spotty continuity, a character handled by various writers and a character that has perhaps yet to have a ‘definitive’ writer provide a definitive statement to express who Peter Quill is exactly. A sometimes fun character to be sure, perhaps the Han Solo of Marvel Cosmic, he can be enjoyable to read, even if the father issues have been at times over-emphasised at times; but he can also lack likeability as a character sometimes. Which is fine; a character doesn’t have to be likeable to be readable or relevant. But I am waiting for someone to put forward a definitive Peter Quill.
I’m not sure Legendary Starlord #1, written by Sam Humphries with art by Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco, manages to do that. It’s an enjoyable read. The art is a particularly winning factor, particularly the textured and atmospheric depictions of space which really are a pleasure to the eyes and makes reading that much more flowing and accessible. But it leaves me no clearer on whether I particularly like Peter Quill as a character or not.
It also feels a little like its playing into the film version of Starlord, which it really shouldn’t be doing; my opinion always is that film adaptations should be paying homage to the comic-book source and not vice-versa. The flirting with Kitty Pryde is also probably more cringe-inducing that enjoyable.
Nevertheless it’s an interesting read and I may have to come back to see where it goes. Rocket Raccoon #1, released at the same time and written and drawn by Skottie Young, is a mixed bag. I enjoyed it less than Legendary Starlord #1, but that might be partly due to my inability to connect with Young’s very idiosyncratic style of drawing, which despite being highly lauded by numerous critics, is very much an acquired taste; it might be a style I need to get used to, need to let ‘grow’ on me.
Strangely the dynamic is therefore that the tone of the writing here is somewhat adult but the style of artwork feels more childish. And where the visual qualities of the Legendary Starlord issue aided the book’s accessibility, Rocket Raccoon #1’s visual style somewhat did the opposite. I also can’t decide whether the idea of Rocket’s ex-girlfriends teaming up to seek revenge against him is a good enough story device to initiate a solo title with, though I’m sure plenty of readers would consider that a fun premise.
Both books may have been produced to appeal to incoming interest from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie rather than to existing comic-book fans; however Rocket Raccoon #1 feels more like that. Which isn’t necessarily a criticism, only an observation. And love them or hate them, without doubt both Starlord and Rocket are characters more than capable of carrying a solo title.