We all get it. Whenever the comics adapt what the movies create, us comic fans get upset for good reason. But is the case exactly the same with Guardians of the Galaxy? To some of you the answer may be simple with a glowing and definitive “Yes, because they’re pandering to the casuals” or “Filthy casuals”, but each case should be looked to its own and I have a big problem with the people (yes, the people) who see the current status quo of the Guardians as unjustifiable. I also wanna look if the the movie counterparts helped the comic version. Let’s start with ’em people problems. Be prepared for spoilers from the new Guardians movie and the brand new comic ahead.
If you are reading this blog or call yourself a comic fan, chances are you haven’t read any Guardians of the Galaxy runs pre-Bendis. Partly, because most of this app is made up of teenagers, but if we were to gather every Marvel fanboy most of them also, wouldn’t have read any pre-Bendis runs. How do I know that? The sales are a pretty clear indicator. Yet, there is this loud noise constantly telling me the movies suck because they are not accurate to the comics or that the current state of the comics is in poor shape, because of how they are trying to copy the movies.
I might even say most people haven’t really read the Bendis runs. And no, I have zero problems with people who haven’t read these comics, who simply point out the differences. The ones who I do find trouble with are the ones who complain about the characters not being accurate to the comics and never really read them. You never truly cared enough about these characters to pick up their comics, what gives you a right to complain about the faithfulness of the films? I really don’t understand what these sort of people are trying to get at. Now, I get it can get annoying seeing the team undergo major inconsistent differences which is why I have nothing against those people. If you wanna judge the comics based on this merit, be my guest.
This doesn’t protain to just the Guardians of the Galaxy, but every superhero property brought to any screen that has “accuarcy issues” despite knowing if the according person actually likes the accuracy to begin with. Now, that we got this part of the conversation covered let’s move onto the 2nd topic. Do the movies benefit the modern comic? To answer these questions I had to go back and make sure to read at least bits and pieces of every run.
Even though we were talking about the mains of the team (Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon & Groot), I decided why not visit the original team? I went back to 90s to read the team’s first solo series! This version of the Guardians consisted of Martinex, Major Vance Astro/Major Victory, Starhawk, Aleta, Nikki, Charlie-27 & Yondu. The team did form in 1969, but it never had a solo series until the 90s. If you wanna start reading this run I say go for it. It informs you very well on the entire history of the Guardians, prior. I would say the series was too “new reader friendly” as they kept telling everyone’s shtick within every single issue. It was an enjoyable comic with a bit too much action for my long-term tastes.
For your information this Yondu was very very very different from the one in the movies. This one hates technology, is religious, meditates, stays calm & collected even within tense situations. As you can see very different from Michael Rooker’s portrayal of the hero. Fun & crazy fact! Taserface is actually the 1st villain the team faces in the solo! Crazy, right? I didn’t even know the character was from the comics. And yes, he…..shoots repulser blasts from his face…..90s. But hey! At least they were also self aware!
While the original ended with a 62 issue run, the title returned in 2008. This time with a brand new roster consisting of all the heroes from the 2014 live-action movie plus, Mantis, Adam Warlock, Phyla-Vell, Bug (da best one), and some others. This run was written by Dan Abnett who I usually find mostly acceptable. Knowing the writer, I didn’t expect much and honestly I was pleasantly surprised. I planned on reading 6 issues, and now I am in progress of finishing the entire 25 issue run. There is a great hook at the beginning of the story that makes you interested for what is to come. It was a fun series, but soon the announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy getting a movie shifted their stories into a new territory.
Bendis would begin his run in 2013 made-up of characters from only the movie line-up plus Iron Man since, he was a MCU draw. The comic was…..forgettable to say the least. It had an awesome first issue, but other than that I forgot what the story was even about. I mean, the first issue was great, I still remember it ’till this day. Peter Quill’s origin was portrayed and it was awesome. Angela joining the team for a while was another thing I remember very well because it was done nicely and so was the first crossover with the All-New X-Men. I felt like this was Marvel trying to make the team more mainstream in comics before they got their own movie, which worked to only an extent.
And you know when companies bring in a new creative team as a lazy excuse to print more #1’s? Well, this time around Marvel didn’t even try. The 2015 Guardians run had the exact same writer stay on just a “different” status quo. I say “different” because it brought nothing new to the table other than to pointlessly introduce the Thing. The run was weird. Peter Quill was no longer Star-Lord, so it was his girlfriend and X-Men, Kitty Pryde, who took up the mantle (which sounds like a failed legacy character).
Her becoming Star-Lord made zero sense since she didn’t even have the name for a year. They also made a big deal out of Rocket Raccoon leading the team, which was again nothing new. It happened in the wicked 2008 run and did it way better. Also, Rocket Raccoon being the leader also lasted for less than a year. Now, this didn’t have to be a disaster that it was until the Grounded storyline that no one asked for. It spanned multiple standalone #1’s for each individual member who no one cared for. Someone thought placing a galactic team on Earth was a good idea. Thankfully this torture ended giving us….
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy! Now, if you want a definition of the comics pandering to the MCU casuals look at that damn cover. The outfits just downright resemble each character’s style in the live-action movie sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And Baby Groot? Really?!?!?! There was one moment in this comic when Gamora asked about Groot’s appearance. And I wanted to scream out…
Now as you expect me to hate the series, I won’t. In fact I like it for what it is. It’s entertaining and the writer seems to know when to pander to the casuals without going to extremes. Except when he does. Star-Lord literally turned on his stereo and you could very much see writer’s unsettle reference to the movies. Other than this annoying scene I had fun! Even the baby Groot thing actually serves a purpose and I think it will lead into some very interesting territory. The opening scene was just awesome, the cliffhanger in this is very good. It teases the answer to something many of us Guardians fans wondered, but never assumed we would actually get an answer to. Overall, the comic is good with some minor issues that I named. Don’t wanna be too hard on this one since it is only issue 1 so, I would have to wait for issue 2 to make a proper verdict as to where this series will go.
But, as a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) shouldn’t I be mad at the changes happening to these beloved characters? Here is something many of us have to admit. The movie versions of the Guardians of the Galaxy are way more superior than the comic book ones. This is coming from someone who really likes Abnett’s run. The characters in the film are just so much better and have more meaning. Here is one example I’ll address. I know Mantis is not bad ass like she is in the comics, but at this point who cares?
Sure, comic book Mantis is a fighter, but so are 95%, if not more, superheroes in Marvel comics making her not stand out at all. The movie one though, I could care less if she is badass or not. When she gets hit by some floating piece of metal (or whatever it was) and Drax yelled, “Mantis! WATCH OUT!” I couldn’t stop laughing and I mean it. I had to literally sit in the theatre, for a half a minute, hold my nose to prevent air from coming out to stop the laughter because it would disrupt the audiences.
The 2 Guardians films brought out an expierience thanks to these characters. Mantis brought out emotion and I am not saying that because the film focused a lot on her power, but this applies to every superhero in the movie. The movies did something the comics couldn’t and that is make me care about characters such as Mantis, Yondu, Star-Lord, Gamora or heroes I wouldn’t usually care for. It also turned me into a laughing machine.
If I had to choose between reading Abnett’s run or watch the 2nd film, I would choose the movie. If this new Guardians is trying to be more like the movies, which is the better option, then I don’t see a problem as long as they do it with subtlety. I have a feeling the writer of the new series will succeed because what they’re doing with Baby Groot seems to be working for the better. So yes, I see no problem with comics trying to go with the better option, but here is where I will agree. Whenever another ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2017) scenerio comes up again, it just shows to prove how much identity the property looses. Even the little things like Star-Lord’s appearence and hair color changed for no reason. Now, when more important things change for no reason it can really feel like a disrespect of the dedicated readers/fans.
That was the New 52. People disliked it because all things the long-time fans read, barley mattered anymore. Keep in mind I love the New 52, but even I knew they screwed up. This can actually be even worse than DC’s 2011 relaunch because it is not even a reboot, therefore changes happen for no reason. Luckily, the tone is the only thing inconsistent in the series with what used to be. The Baby Groot scenario actually works because the writers do address it in a non-New 52 manner.
Overall, the series is too premature to judge it for what it is, but it really is off to a great start with microscopic bumps. I enjoy the works of the writer so I think he can really make this one work. If issue #2 is just as good, I think we’re on the right road. It has potential of being better than the 2008 series and if it can do this, I won’t consider the “movie audience pandering” valid in THIS CASE. Again, even though we’re talking about the Guardians here, it doesn’t mean these mentalities shouldn’t be applied to other Marvel properties. Make sure to give changes to characters that matter, for the better and so they make sense within the sense of continuity. We don’t want another “Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver aren’t actually mutants because movies” scenario now, would we?