Graphic Novel Review: Guardians Team-Up: Unlikely Story

Guardians Team-Up: Unlikely Story

Guardians Team-Up: Unlikely Story - Credit: Archant

Is it a case of too much of a good thing as the space-faring rogues find themselves allied with other Marvel superstars?

(Panini Books)

Marvel has a long tradition of team-up books, series which pitted a popular protagonist like Spider-Man or The Thing alongside a monthly guest star thanks to various contrived circumstances, and this title is just the latest incarnation of that trend.

Featuring movie hits the Guardians of the Galaxy, this volume sets individual members of the space-faring team alongside characters largely taken from Earth, and includes the likes of Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Nightcrawler, Silver Surfer and the obligatory Deadpool, plus an extra issue from DP’s own short-lived team-up title.

Featuring done-in-one stories which generally adopt an irreverent and light-hearted tone, it’s hard to overlook the fact that this book’s sole purpose seems to be the exploitation of the Guardians’ current popularity, rather than to set the world afire with any genre-defining comics classics.

Back in the day, the contents of this volume would probably have been filler material kept in the bottom drawer in case creators were running late, to be slotted into regular titles because of the “dreaded deadline doom”, and offering a showcase for new writers and artists who had yet to prove themselves on a regular assignment.

So although the stories here are entertaining enough, and there are certainly some lovely character moments amidst the action sequences, ultimately this collection is about as satisfying as a bargain bucket of popcorn at a summer blockbuster, and unlikely to make much of a long-term impression on even the biggest Guardians fan.

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If this series really wanted to stand out on shelves already saturated with Guardians solo books (we’ve seen titles for Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon and even Groot in recent months, with more promised for Drax the Destroyer, the Flash Thompson version of Venom and Gamora), then it needs to be working towards some sort of long-running plot development, rather than the “showcase” stories it currently favours. Even books like Marvel Two-in-One managed to combine the team-up format with a proper story arc back in the day, as evidenced in the Project Pegasus and Serpent Crown narratives, so there’s no reason why GT-U shouldn’t try the same format.