Guardians #3 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Reach for the Stars Part 3

Written by: Marc Sumerak
Artist: Casey Jones
Colored by: David Self
Lettered by: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

There are two reasons that I am thankful for online preview materials, be it several pages or the first book. The first is Runaways. I nearly wrote off the entire Tsunami line as titles I could have not cared less about until I read the 10 page online preview at marvel.com. The other is this title. If I was uninterested in Runaways, I was aggressively uninterested in Guardians. I mean, it sounded like kiddie wish fulfillment. But I read the full preview on Mile High and that did wonders for changing my mind.

Thank goodness for online previews.

The book, if you have not been checking it out, is essentially the classic archetype of 5 childhood friends coming back together”¦for one final intergalactic battle. Alright”¦that last part is a little different. Think the tone and tenor or Stephen King’s IT (or Dreamcatcher”¦if you must) and you get the idea.

This issue finally proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Vince Armstrong is, in fact, not insane. The alien of Vince, Nick, Charlie, Jimmy, and Martin’s childhood has returned and is less than pleased to find that those 5 “Guardians” he spoke to so many years ago were little more than kids playing a game.

The conclusion of this chapter leaves me nervous for the rest of the book. Up until now, the flavor of the book had begun King-like, as I mentioned above. Since IT ranks somewhere in my all time top 10 books (see, I’m not a literary snob), that was definitely a good thing. This issue’s ending allows for the introduction of a more space opera tone, a shift that would leave me less than thrilled. The strength of the book thus far has been in its relationships and I would hate to see that swallowed up by blasters, star ships, and death rays.

But all that is fears for the future. For now, I am quite pleased with the book. The dialogue while not Mamet or Sorkin-esque is definitely strong and realistic. The characters have different voices which is a must in an ensemble book of this nature. I like the alien designs as well. Besides the ironic enjoyment of Dre’kk being the universe most diminutive, but still (apparently) most dangerous figure, it gives a certain internal logic to the story. If Dre’kk is so small, why wouldn’t he assume that people his own size who claim to be champions of Earth are in fact that, and not just little kids?

The coloring (referred to as “Easter egg colors” on another site) is a hard sell. It has been seen in a few Marvel books of late: Runaways, especially early on, Invaders, and all the way back to Daredevil: Ninja. On Daredevil, it felt too airy, too empty. Here, however, I think it works nicely. Casey Jones’s style allows his faces to be expressive without the inking or more typical comic book palette. I wouldn’t say that they should use the Easter egg approach on Daredevil, for example, but here it is a fine fit.

The Final Word: While I do fear for the future direction, this miniseries remains my sleeper choice of the summer.