Thursday, July 10, 2008

Guardians of the Galaxy #3 Review

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Paul Pelletier

Guardians of the Galaxy continues to be a great, action packed cosmic adventure. There's always a shocking development (which kind of makes it not shocking if you are always expecting it to be shocking, but I digress), some great character moments and the plot seems to always be progressing, unlike other character ladden stories that get too tied up in action and lose sight of the plot or over focus on specific characters and rob the team book of the team feel.

Picking up where we left off last issue, the team is confronted by the Cardinals from the Universal Church of Truth. I'm still confused as to their power levels. They explain they run on the power of "faith", which is collected from by the Church and stored for the Cardinal's use and we're told they can do anything if they believe hard enough. Very vague and hard to classify would be one way to describe this.

My problem comes up with how they deal with our heroes. Starlord is human. He has no powers and his only weapons are the guns he brings with him. He takes several direct hits from the Cardinals and, while heavily injured near the end, walks away relatively unscathed. Warlock, another undefined, but overly powerful character, also takes hits from these Cardinals and is batted around a bit. Are they powerful enough to take on Warlock, but not strong enough to kill Quill instantly? How are other, weaker, characters able to stand up to these guys during the battle?

This isn't a deal breaker nor does it ruin the story for me, but it is something that's been nagging at me and I can't seem to ignore it for some reason.

The battle with the Cardinals didn't end up going too well for the Guardians, but they are "saved" by the anomoly they came to check out, which has somehow formed from the DNA of the colonists and morphed into a monstrous blob-like creature that kills two of the Cardinals and buying the Guardians a small reprieve.

It doesn't last, however, as the Cardinals pin down Starlord and Warlock and proceed to severely injure Peter and another stabs Warlock with some kind of mystic blade. They then teleport away from the installation and it is revealed they only wanted a blood and tissue sample from Warlock to confirm his identity. At the end of the issue, we see that the Church has their own coccoon which they originally thought was Adam Warlock and we're left to wonder what's inside their coccoon. Maybe Magus, Adam's evil alter ego?

Oh ya, the cover image? There's a character that vaguely resembles the amazingly detailed looking Starhawk character that shows up from out of nowhere and attacks both Mantis and Vance. He's cloaked from Mantis' telepathy and she cannot see any future's with him in it, explaining how he snuck up on her. After a brief fight, Starhawk disappears as quickly as he showed up.

As for the giant blob anomoly, the team opens up the sun canopy that the installation was using to protect itself from the nearby star they are harvesting energy from and it incinerates the creature. Gamora had a pretty intense character moment where she was forced to go, unprotected through the searing heat in order to save everyone by reclosing the canopy once the creature was destroyed.

Finally, the narration continues to be a problem for me, as I feel the reality TV style character logs rob any action scenes of any drama or conflict because we already know these characters survive and aren't in any real danger since they are always narrating the issue with random comments. However, this is just a quirk with me and something I've resigned myself to try and get used to as it looks like Abnett and Lanning will be using this style for the forseeable future.

Verdict - Must Read. I love the characters and plot of this book, especially how DnA are drawing on so much past history with the Guardians and Adam Warlock. Add in some great art and lots of great action scenes and it's hard to pass up this new book.

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