In Review: Guardians Team-Up #2

I can't continue to put down more for a jokey book with art like this.

The covers: A pair of covers are vying for your attention and dollars for this issue. The Main cover is by Stephane Roux. It’s an excellent image of, going from the foreground to the background, Spider-Woman, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Hawkeye, Groot, Manifold, Drax, and the Black Widow. They all look ready for action standing on some rocks with a star field background. The coloring really makes this pop, being primarily in light violet, giving it an otherworldly feel. Really nice. The Variant cover is by Paul Renaud with all five of the Guardians joined by the Scarlet Witch, the Hulk, Black Widow, and the All-New Captain America and Thor. The layout has all of the characters seeming to appear out of a dimensional portal about to start fighting, with Rocket, naturally, already firing. The coloring is much bolder on this than the Regular cover. Nice, but only one of the Avengers on this cover are in this issue…”Caveat emptor.” Overall grades: Main A and Variant B-

The story: A young Gamora is struck down by an energy staff from her father, Thanos, who says, “On your feet, Gamora. Gamora! Get up!” Doing as ordered, she sits up and finds herself in the present, the memory waking her. She is being held prisoner by the Chitauri, being lead by Nebula. She’s been captured because Nebula has been hired by someone to bring her in. She’s not saying who her employer is, nor is she saying what’s happened to the Guardians. The second and third pages show what’s happened to them and some of the Avengers: they’re lying unconscious in a crater in the Brooklyn Mall, haven been taken out by the aliens last issue. The police and EMTs have arrived but they don’t know what to do, especially for that raccoon, which wakes up, prompting one officer to pull his gun. Brian Michael Bendis has some fun lines between the heroes, but I found it to get repetitive with its schtick. Rocket and Star-Lord are always spouting something funny, and that got old. The Avengers are playing the moment straight, and they were an odd contrast to the Guardians. The storyline with Gamora is played very seriously, and I like it, but the arrival of the heroes (and be honest, is that really a spoiler?) brings more humor, rather than drama. Not for one moment did I doubt the ending of this issue. This comes off as a fairly generic comic because of that. Overall grade: C+

The art: The visuals last issue, by Art Adams, are what compelled me to purchase the first issue of this series, but now that the art has switched to Stephane Roux & Jay Leisten, I’m not feeling the love. The art is fine, but it’s not exceptional. I liked the Gamora visuals: she looks good, as does Nebula and the exceptionally creepy looking Chitauri. When these characters arrive at their destination I was extremely unhappy with the antagonist/employer. She was designed poorly, and seemed like a poor copy of a Dominator from DC Comics. The Guardians and Avengers don’t look good. If it weren’t for the coloring, I wouldn’t be able to tell the male characters from each other. They’re all the same face with different hairstyles. A good job is done on the female characters more so than the males, with Gamora being the standout. Rocket is dreadful. His head is often too big for his body, as shown initially on Pages 4 and 6. What’s seen of the final setting is good, but too often it disappears to focus on characters fighting. This is just average artwork. Overall grade: C-

The colors: This is the category where the book excels. The coloring by Brett Smith is really, really good. Page 1 has some exceptional blue and orange work, with the backlight of the final panel on the page strong. I like Smith’s choice in making space purple–a unique color that makes the setting seem even more foreign. The double-paged spread of 14 and 15 is really bright and powerful, with yellows and oranges setting the characters’ costumes off. This is the most eye catching image of the book because of Smith’s coloring. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit provides sounds, dialogue, and a scene setting. I like that Petit was allowed to have some of the dialogue in italics. I always like when letterers do this, as it allows the reader to hear the characters’ stress more clearly. Nicely done. Overall grade: A

The final line: I can’t continue to put down more for a jokey book with art like this. I was spoiled by Art Adams last month, and his loss is the book’s and mine. I’m out. Overall grade: C+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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