This two part limited series is an official tie-in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and an official prelude to the, you got it, Guardians of the Galaxy film that will be released in theaters come August 1st. While this wasn’t a title I walked into my local comic store expecting to grab, I ended up grabbing both issues knowing full well it may be of interest to some of my readers. Also, I’d like to get acquainted with the characters before the film. Odd enough, this is only a two-part series encompassing the background to Nebula and Gamora in the first issue and Rocket and Groot in the second, despite the fact that there are many individual characters that may warrant a ‘prelude’.
Part One: Nebula and Gamora
With Nebula taking the protagonist’s role, instead of Gamora, it twists what we currently know of the MCU character, immediately throwing her into the action. She is presented as a servant of both Ronan the Accuser and Thanos, and a peer/rival to Gamora. Throughout the issue is the common motif that she, Nebula, is “falling.” Literally she is falling – falling to the surface of an alien planet that is, and we are led to believe she is in immediate danger. Interspersed throughout the fall are memories of previous missions, each time involving Gamora either helping or hindering her, and each time she fails her mission, endangering her life. What she lacks in the strength of her flesh, Thanos makes stronger by way of metal. We learn that throughout it all these past failures help her to endure her missions further, but in her current mission she willingly loses something quite literally close to her.
The pencilling by Wellington Alves was nothing special and rarely lacked, but the color scheme provided by Jay David Ramos was disturbingly dull in a universe we’d expect to be extremely vibrant. The story felt not so much like a prequel to the film, as much as it felt like backstory character development, but perhaps I’m wrong in my assessment. Both Nebula and Gamora are after the “orb”, which may or may not be the item that Peter Quill (Star Lord) thieves in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer.
Part Two: Rocket and Groot
Although the second issue isn’t nearly as dramatic and ambitious in character scope as the first issue, it’s a far more fun read. Rocket’s sarcasm and Groot’s incessant “I am Groot,” make for a delightfully entertaining experience. The adventure told us little about the characters other than what we surmised from the available trailers. The two are outlaws, but not without heart. They have their own sense of morality, and that takes them wherever it needs to take them – so long as they get paid. I particularly loved how they incorporated Groot’s powers as a means to both save the day and get the job done efficiently: a handy thief.
The dialogue was a bit childish in my opinion, more so than the first issue anyway, and that’s a pet peeve of mine in comics. I don’t want the characters to curse, but they can still come across as realistic. Some of Rocket’s lines fell into that category, while other times he was expressed very well. The artwork again was nothing to write home about, but the color scheme was just a tad more exciting.
Seeing that the two issues are completely devoid of having any relation to the other’s story or tone, (aside from being a movie tie-in) one would surmise that you need not actually buy both to enjoy the other. But that would leave a great big hole in our completists hearts, wouldn’t it? The limited two part series may not entirely set the stage for the film, but perhaps the two contrasting tones are what we can expect from the incoming James Gunn flick. Either way, I look forward to it. The covers were just lo-fi terrible however.