Pick of the Week

February 18, 2009 – Guardians of the Galaxy #10

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 4.9%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

We’ve talked about this book a great deal, and it was only a matter of time before the stars aligned and Guardians of the Galaxy became Pick of the Week. Still, I can’t help but think how unusual it is for me to like a book like this. On the surface, were you to describe this book, it’s characters, plot, and general themes, I don’t think a single word in that description would make me even want to check it out. In a world where I spend a lot of time extolling the values of comic books, this book is just plain silly, and seemingly goes against everything I want in a comic book. This would all but guarantee I never paid a whit of attention to this little silly Marvel book. Oh, but what about Abnett and Lanning?

Somewhere there’s a mythical retirement home where Marvel properties go to die. Occasionally, a Brian Michael Bendis, or an Ed Brubaker will tour the grounds, wag a finger at one of the seemingly dead characters, and bring them along for some fun. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, on the other hand, went way, way into the basement at the far end of the grounds, and loaded up a moving van full of characters, concepts and corners of the Marvel Universe most thought best left forgotten, and staged a wholesale resuscitation of cosmic Marvel. The unique thing about how they did that was, instead of making things more real, and gritty (speaking of things that need retirement, can we lose gritty from the comic lexicon for a while?), they decided to make it more fun. I’m not talking fun, like bad old self-referential jokes, but fun like new, good self-referential jokes. I’m telling you, this doesn’t make sense, but it turns out that Abnett and Lanning are just ridiculously talented, and I’m glad I didn’t let that bus on the way out of the retirement home pass me by.

I knew this was Pick of the Week on page 3. On page 3, Blastaar (seriously, I like a comic book with Blastaar! I’m supposed to be the indie one!), fights his way into the prison in the negative zone, looking all badass, when he’s confronted with Skeleton Ki, who informs him that he was the one responsible for getting into the place. Blastaar looks at him, considers it, and pats him gently on the head. I laughed. I laughed a lot. It would not be the only time I laughed reading this issue either. I laughed at the tiny version of “I am Groot,” following much more powerful exaltations. I laughed at Reed Richards, who after hearing of grave danger from Starlord, asked “Who are you again?” You get the point. One thing I didn’t laugh at was the re-introduction and use of Jack Flag in this story. You might remember Flag from Warren Ellis’ first issue of Thunderbolts which was my Pick of the Week, and the last issue of his Thunderbolts I liked.

This is also part of the “War of Kings” storyline, which is fine, because I’ll be reading most of it. However, if that’s not your bag, so far, it seems like you could just keep reading this title on its own. But if you’re reading Nova, and liking it, there’s no reason not to check this book out, and vice versa. I would argue that the stuff going on in Captain America and the Avengers books is all well and good, but the books like Nova, Captain Britain, and Guardians of the Galaxy is where the real fun is being had at Marvel these days. It feels new and fresh, and reminds me a very much of the feeling I had back in 2000 when this new guy Bendis started writing a few titles here and there. I’m not saying the styles are that similar, but the anticipation of the books coming out, and the fun of reading them is like that.

Brad Walker is the penciller on this issue, and I can’t say I’ve ever heard that name before. The art’s not bad by any stretch, but I’d be lying if I told you it was stunning. It’s good, passable, functional comic book art. It isn’t flashy or showy, but it gets the job done. While it didn’t really grab me one way or another the first time through, on second look, it’s actually pretty impressive. For one thing, there’s a giant cast of characters, spanning time and space, yet not once was I lost reading this book. That’s a feat in itself, but the other point that impressed me is the excellent character acting going on. The facial expressions and body language are very strong in this issue, and while there are great dialog lines, they wouldn’t do much good if the art wasn’t keeping up. But the artwork does keep up, and enhance what was in the script. It may not strike you right away, but juggling everything going on in this issue, while managing to keep things clear for the reader is a skill that’s going to get Walker a lot of work. Additionally, he throws in some pretty dramatic camera angles and panel layouts. Overall, I’ve got no complaints about an artist doing his job, and doing it well.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a book that is innately aware of what it is. There’s a perfect balance of self-referential humor, action, and drama. Too much of any of those would wreck that balance, and the whole thing would fall apart. But Abnett and Lanning have more than proven themselves up to the task of keeping these plates spinning, and keeping us entertained as they did it. Like Jack Flag, “I hate this cosmic stuff,” but for some reason, this works for me, and I’m sticking around as long as they’re serving it up.

Josh Flanagan
Yes, yes. You’re Groot. We understand.


  1. Thanks for the review! This book is on my ever-growing ‘need to read’ list.

  2. Great pick – mine as well.

    I thought the art was even stronger than your assessment. I was really impressed at how the non-human faces were portrayed. Who can draw a tree, raccoon, and space-dog in ways that seem really expressive?

  3. I really should start reading this in issues other then trades

  4. I just finished reading this a moment ago and thought it had a shot at being the pick. "Is one of them a tree?", made me laugh out loud.  Good pick.

  5. No Four Eyes #2?  I thought this issue was a sure thing after reading it.


    the Tiki 

  6. I can’t believe this beat out this week’s Hellblazer.  I def gotta get on this series. Ten issues shouldn’t take me long to catch up on. Think I’ve got a buddy who collects em.

  7. I picked the last issue as my potw over GL. This issue was much furhter below that issue imo… laughs weren’t as hard and the story not as exciting. Still love the book though.

  8. definitely four eyes #2 was my POTW

  9. This sounds great!  I enjoyed A&L ‘s "Nova" story in "Annihilation" very much, and once I catch up with Nova, I may have to try GotG as well.  

  10. Josh you are a man of goo… No great taste. I have been reading Nova, Guardians and Captain britian all since Issue one and your old folks home analogy could not be more dead on. I hesitate to say it but I want to say that Abbenet and Lanning can do no wrong, they have revived characters that i thought had gone the way of Scarlet- Spider. I’m very much looking foward to War of Kings as it seems to be the next annilation for the cosmic side of Marvel. It’s funny b/c as event weary as I am, I find that the Cosmic Events are Alwasy Timed perfectly where i dont feel they are butting up against each other and they aren’t years apart with titles swinging in the wind with nothing to do. If you still dont believet that these guys have it just think of this they made Nova cool, NOVA! i never saw that coming but they did it.

  11. @English : Josh is a man of goo?! Is this his superpower? Eww…

  12. I love Guardians. I have been reading it since issue one and month in and month out it is one of my most anticipated books. Plus who cannot like a book with a raccoon?

     I credit GOG for making War of Kings an interesting cosmic marvel event that I would have never been otherwise interested in.

  13. I’m not a big fan of cosmic stuff either, which is why I’ve strayed away from books like this, but I know there’s part of me that really wants to read books like Nova, as long as they’re well written.

  14. yeah… I’m just going to go a head and disagree. This wasn’t good.

    I think there is a weird nostalgia thing among comic readers. We all like what we liked as kids…. Cool, whatever. Think about this intellectually, it’s just not good, I know that’s not a great analysis but it the plain truth.

    Conor once made a remake about X-3 being a bad movie with a few scenes in it comic fans would like. That description is apt to this book…. Some stuff that fans will like but over all JUST BAD.

    To paraphrase the big bald iFanboy said; why accept anything less than an excellent comic movie?

    why accept anything less then an excellent comic?

  15. I’d call Josh many things ("Four-eyes" for instance, or "Marjorie").  Nostalgic is not one of them.  

  16. how about weird than?

    I have to say the limited amount of comments about this issue speaks to it’s weaknesses

  17. @ed: It does?

  18. What does the the high rating say? 

    Oddly enough, I haven’t been convinced that I didn’t really like this.

  19. come on josh.. you fellas hold a powerful influence over the iFanbase. you say this is the bee’s knees and they agree. there’s your high rating.

     @ JJ: doesn’t it?

  20. Adding yet another title to the watch for the trade list.

  21. How freaking awesome is cosmo the dog? huh? huh?

  22. Cosmo is a lot more awesome because Rocket hates him.

  23. When does the first trade come out, or has it already?  As much as I like the War of Kings material I’ve read so far (e.g. X-Men: Kingbreaker and the WoK/SI one-shot with the Inhumans), and as much as this has been pumped up on this site, I ought to read it.  It’s only issue 10, maybe the shop has 1-9 in backissues…

    BTW, I know I could check it easily, but is Marvel ahead so far in Picks of the Week in 2009?  It sure seems like it, but it may just be selective memory on my part.

  24. this was an awesome issue. i have loved this since it first started. its so great. the cover was amazing. i showed one of my friends and he was like whoa thats awesome and i was like yea hes a talking raccoon

  25. Every time I see this book mentioned I’m quickly reminded that most people enjoy it only because its got a talking raccoon in it. Each comment referencing the nature of the cute vindictive beast brings out the dark side in me and libelous comments are born! I haven’t been interested in talking raccoons since 1985 when Shirt Tales was taken off the air.

    Alas, poor Rick Raccoon! I knew him, Josh, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath enlightened my Saturday morning a thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it!  

  26. Listen, I’m right there.  When I heard the initial "Hey, it’s got a talking raccoon in the book! How can you not love that?" I wanted to run right then.  That’s not how you make ME like a book.  But, in this context, in this title, it works just fine, and is fun, but not any more silly than it needs to be.  Basically, they use the raccoon responsibly, as opposed to making the fact that he’s an anthropomorphic animal the end of the joke.

  27. @josh: What would you consider a better cosmic title by AnL? Nova or GOTG?

  28. Dunno.  I really like them both.  One’s a team book, and one’s a solo character.  GotG is probably a bit funnier, and Nova is probably a bit more straight forward.  I wouldn’t want to do without either.

  29. @josh – just so you know, everything you’ve said makes me want to read this book and that cover’s F’n bad-ass. Let me know when Rocket squares off with that cat from the Red Lanterns in a fight to the death and I will definitely jump on board.  

  30. @ed: No offense meant to anyone, but I don’t give a shit what the iFanhosts think of a book.

    Just sayin’…

  31. So what, you ended up on the page where i wrote a review by accident?

  32. heh heh, you know what I mean. Ed is sort of saying you three sway the opinions of the site goers. Which is not likely true in most cases. We’re interested in others’ opinions but tend to stick to ours (that’s true for me anyway). That’s what I meant. 😛

  33. Nonsense, my opinions are like unto the word of God.  If I speak it, it is so.

    Now, get me a sandwich!

  34. The only time I’ve ever seen this site sway to the opinions of the itrinity is when conor mentioned (jokingly) that the Red Lanterns one-shot was gonna be his POTW. God that had like an 80% POTW for the entire site!

    This site is about opinions and how some of the general fans of the industry feel about certain comics….Sometime it was about the itrinity’s pick….but that’s put on the sidelines now for great articles, user community’s reviews, and entertaining podcasts.

    @josh: I think God talked to me first on who should speak his word 🙂

  35. @ josh. In terms of opinion swaying, you’re kind of like Bill O’Reilly…. joking, sorry, that’s too far isn’t it?

  36. I love this series.  I’m diggin cosmic Marvel, and as long as Abnett and Lanning are at the helm, I’m in for the long haul.  This week’s issue was supremely awesome, but Robin edged it out for me.  I loved, loved, loved that issue, and I’m really excited to see where this whole Bat-verse thing is going.

  37. its hard to tell people to buy this book. When they ask who the characters are i have to mumble Rocket Racoon under my breath.Great book though!

  38. Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw said it best when it comes to people just following critics:

    ‘You really need an authority to give you a ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ before you buy something? Why dont you roll over so they can stamp on the other side of your face!’

  39. If you’re enjoying Abnett/Lanning here, you should consider checking out "Legion Lost" and the storeis that immediately followed it.  Some earlier work of theirs that mines similar territory to this and was one of the best Legion stories of the past decade.

  40. I wish I could issue a tie for pick of the week.  Both Invincible and Noble Causes would win.

  41. uggh… this week’s issue of Invincible just wasn’t for me, unfortunately.

  42. I picked Invincible.  Then I picked up both issues of Four Eyes…

    So now Four Eyes #2 is my POTW.  Josh has no power over me!!  (unless he hits me with those puppy dog eyes, then I just melt)

  43. @southbymidwest I loved the Abnett and Lanning Legion stuff, from before Legion Lost through Legion Worlds.  It’s why I read Nova in the first place, in fact.  I agree that anyone who enjoys this space opera should check out that space opera.  If folks think that they don’t like the Legion, D&A’s work on it might just cure them of that affliction.

  44. Abnett and Lanning are awesome. Having no previous knowledge of the GotG, I picked up this series at no. 1 because I loved the characters in Annihilation Conquest. I avoided Nova for about a year because I just don’t like looking at Sean Chen art, but I started picking it up again around the last time is was PotW and I’m very glad I did. I’m gonna have to get the previous stuff in trade or something. But Abnett and Lanning are certainly exciting to read and I agree with Josh that it’s the most exciting stuff going on in the Marvel U right now.

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