Guardians #4 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Reach for the Stars: Part 4 of 5

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

So I was concerned about the Space Opera aspect of the story taking center stage and this issue the Guardians and Dre’kk find themselves in space, caught in tractor beam, and forced to confront alien intruders on their ship. The odd thing is these are all the elements of Space Opera, but this really does not feel like one. And believe me, from where I stand, that is to its benefit.

Instead, Sumerak refocuses himself on the character interactions. Vince, Charlie, Jimmy, and Martin feel like old friends, with all the good and bad that go along with that. Their interactions and personally neuroses feel earned, not simply written.

Guardians also boasts a surprising sense of humor. Most of it is courtesy of Dre’kk who is both the smallest and most bad ass alien in the galaxy. Think Yoda’s size with Wolverine’s attitude and you are on the right track. Befitting such an attitude, Dre’kk cannot help but make snide, sarcastic comments about his teammates and there is also the undeniable humor of having a creature no larger than a small child be enough of a physical force to reckon with to make his the Alliance’s #1 enemy. I also have to mention, in the humor area, that Sumerak even attempts to use a joke to explain why Charlie has donned a form fitting, midriff exposing white “flight suit.” It does not explain why the gents don’t find themselves in the same position, but hey, at least they gave it a shot.

In sci-fi stories such as this, it would be easy enough to cede the stage to the explosions and dangerous aliens, but the story does not. Thus, while action occurs it never undercuts or drowns the book’s human heart.

Casey Jones’s art continues to be a great asset to the book as well. The clean pseudo manga line work works with both the outer space and human elements with equally strong results. A particular highlight is Jones’s rendering of several familiar alien races as members of the Alliance…or perhaps that was just the Marvel Zombie in me geeking out. David Self’s colors compliment the style quite nicely as well.

The only problem I have leaving this issue is that it seems Sumerak has set up far too much to solve with only one issue left. I have forgotten if this was originally intended as an ongoing or not, but if it was, that goes a long way toward explaining why the set up for next issue hardly seems like a setup for a final issue of a miniseries.