Avengers and Guardians

Comics Set In Outer Space

This was such a strong week for comics, it was impossible to do just one article covering the best new releases of the week. So this article will focus on the new books from just one publisher, Marvel Comics. This week sees the release of two stellar Marvel titles, Uncanny Avengers issue no. 17, with the exciting conclusion to the Avengers' battle against the Apocalypse Twins, and Guardians of the Galaxy issue no. 12, featuring the continuation of "The Trial of Jean Grey."

Guardians of the Galaxy Issue No. 12

The Trial of Jean Grey, Part 4 (of 6)

The Guardians of the Galaxy are a group of characters that are enjoying a strong resurgence in popularity at the moment, thanks to a new trailer for their upcoming movie, starring Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, and John C. Reilly, among others (check out the trailer below). The comic book versions of the Guardians are also getting quite a bit of the spotlight, too, as their series is currently involved in a crossover with All-New X-Men, in a story called "The Trial of Jean Grey," you have to imagine that putting together this crossover was helped by Brian Michael Bendis being the writer on both titles. 

"The Trial of Jean Grey" centers on the time-displaced team of five original X-Men (Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Beast, and Angel), who have been brought from the past to the present day. Once here, an alien empire called the Shi'ar has decided that Marvel Girl, also known as Jean Grey, must stand trial for crimes that a future version of her (who is now dead) has committed in our past. Confused yet? Yeah, time travel is always fun. So the Shi'ar kidnap Jean from Earth, and the Guardians arrive shortly after and decide to team up with the remaining X-Men to rescue Jean before she can be found guilty of the future-crime of destroying a planet.

Jean's not the only X-Man having a traumatic day, though, as fellow teammate Cyclops has the very surreal experience of meeting his father for the first time since his apparent death when Cyclops was a young boy. Although the future version of Cyclops has already met his father, now a space pirate who goes by the moniker Corsair, this teenage version of Cyclops is encountering him for the first time, and the reunion is an emotional anvil.

Overall, this is an interesting X-Men plot, but that focus on X-Men characters and lore leaves very little for the Guardians to do in their own title. So, ironically, this book is recommended more for fans of the X-Men than it is for fans of the Guardians themselves. Rocket Raccoon gets one speaking line, and hunter/warrior Angela is only in one panel, in the background. Tragic.

Besides the plot, though, the strongest selling point for GotG issue no. 12 is the art, by the teams of Sara Pichelli and Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger. Every single page in this book is a stylish masterpiece, with beautiful alien cityscapes, cool spaceship gadgetry, and a wealth of well-designed adventure characters making cool poses and smirking. So, despite the minimal amount of actual Guardians of the Galaxy in this issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, this is still an issue worth reading.

Uncanny Avengers Issue No. 17

To Battle A Celestial

Captain America leads the charge on the cover to this issue, with so many floating heads behind him that it would probably be safe to assume that not every single one of those characters is able to make it into this issue. And that is a totally safe assumption, although Uncanny Avengers issue no. 17 does feature many more Marvel characters than your average issue of, well, just about anything other than an event book like The Infinity Gauntlet or House of M. There are cameos and clever character bits from Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Hulk, and others, but obviously the bulk of this book centers on the Uncanny Avengers Unity Squad, or at least what remains of them after several issues of fighting the Apocalypse Twins.

The Unity Squad, led by Captain America and featuring the combined forces of veteran X-Men and Avengers members, has been trying to stop the Apocalypse Twins' plans to take every mutant on the planet to a distant galaxy, and then leave the Earth itself to be destroyed by the Celestials, an alien race of godlike beings responsible for much of humanity's evolution. This issue sees the combined forces of Earth's superheroes (as well as some supervillains like Dr. Doom) trying to prevent the destruction of Earth by the Celestial executioner, Exitar. But can they do it? Well, there is going to be an Uncanny Avengers issue no. 18, so...

Uncanny Avengers continues to be an exciting title with an awesome cast of characters, and most of this is thanks to the consistent writing of Rick Remender, who has been slowly adding new chapters to this ongoing narrative since the debut of Uncanny X-Force in 2010. The art is also top-notch, with pencils by superstar Steve McNiven and inks by Jay Leisten, and this is a team that creates a lot of exciting detail on each page.

Other Marvel Books This Week

Featuring Lots of Wolverine Appearances

These two issues are certainly not the only worthwhile books being released by Marvel for the week of February 26, 2014. Fans of the Fantastic Four are sure to be interested in the new issue no. 1 celebrating the arrival of new writer James Robinson, and Superior Spider-Man issue no. 28 is ramping up to an exciting conclusion for the character in the coming months. There are also issues of Thunderbolts and two different titles featuring Wolverine, including his own title and the final issue of Wolverine and the X-Men. Overall, it is a great week to be a comic fan, and especially to be a fan of Marvel Comics. Any discussion of these issues is welcome in the comments section below!