Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #4
Guardians of the Galaxy #4 is essentially an interlude issue. Now that the first storyline is over and the team have escaped captivity they’ve decided to do a bit of celebrating. But as usual it’s not long before trouble finds them.
The opening scenes of the team relaxing in a bar are filled with surprising realism, to say the majority of the team are freakish aliens. The team feel like a real group of friends, they’re laughing together and talking as anyone would when letting loose. It was fun seeing them relax after much of the series so far has put them in danger. When the action does arrive a little later it’s suspenseful and exciting but I did feel like it ran on a little longer than it needed to. Instead the best parts of the issue I found were the quieter more reflective moments, surprisingly in the form of Iron Man himself Tony Stark.
When Tony was announced to be apart of the team I assumed he was being tossed in there just to bump up interest. But writer Bendis Michael Bendis has taken real care with his character without having him overshadow the rest of the group. Tony proves that he deserves a spot on the team as he’s become the readers’ easiest relateable character. He’s a human who’s out in a strange unfamiliar new world. For a man who’s used to being the smartest person in the room it’s amusing to see him struggle to work out how to use technology that’s everyday to the rest of the team. It’s a change of pace for his character that works phenomenally well at humanising him while still allowing him to serve as a source of humour.
The artwork by Sara Pichelli is brilliant. Facial expressions in particular are phenomenally rendered and add heaps of personality to every scene. Characters grimace in pain or sneer with resentment, everyone comes to life. That detail spreads to everything else too, the characters’ clothing also impressed me as every tiny feature is realised. The bar scenes are especially enhanced via Justin Ponsor’s colour work, they’re lit with soft neon colours that compliment that lighter tone. Meanwhile the ship interiors swap to cold cool greys that equally fit the more serious direction that those moments take.
Guardians Of the Galaxy is a very fun book. If anyone is missing the lighter hearted Bendis take on the Avengers that we had for so many years, then it’s right here in Guardians. Sure save for one member it’s an entirely new team but that high-spirited camaraderie is exactly what made his Avengers run so appealing. But he’s not simply swapped out one team for another, the tone is the same but the personalities of each team member shine through and they’re very different than anyone back on Earth. Four issues in and Bendis has totally sold me that he’s the right guy for the job. If you want a dark humourless sci-fi story then you should stick with Hickman’s Avengers, which is pretty great in its own way. Meanwhile Guardians of the Galaxy #4 continues the tone of the series: it’s a warm and amusing story sprinkled with tense excitement but never taking itself too seriously. It’s easily one of Marvel’s best books right now.