Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Marvel Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy #5. A New York state of mind.

Marvel Presents the Guardians of the Galaxy #5
The visitor stats to the World's Greatest Blog tell me that now is the ideal moment to cash in on the impending release of the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie by posting an article that mentions the Guardians of the Galaxy a lot.

But how can I contrive to post an article on here that mentions the Guardians of the Galaxy a lot?

How?

How??

How???

I know!

I'll do a review of an issue of the Guardians of the Galaxy!

I suspect that anyone who read the Guardians' original run in Marvel Presents most remembers the issue where, in search of a transistor with which they can repair their obviously state-of-the-art spaceship, four of the Guardians find themselves on an alien world almost identical to New York circa 1980.

Marvel Presents the Guardians of the Galaxy #5, New York
Needless to say, with their highly developed social skills, it's not long before they're all involved in various scraps and scrapes, with Charlie-27 in a post-bar-brawl police cell, as Nikki finds herself at war with a religious cult, while Yondu and Vance Astro find themselves accused of theft from a radio shop.

And, needless to say, there's a twist in the tale when - rescued at the end of the mag, with seemingly all of New York out to kill them - it turns out the world is in fact not a planned society but a lunatic asylum that resembles New York because the inmates have been left to create the society that best suits their madness.

Marvel Presents the Guardians of the Galaxy #5, Vance Astro
The decision to launch the Guardians into space was clearly an attempt to redo Star Trek and nowhere is that more obvious than in this tale, which is clearly inspired by those Star Trek episodes where Kirk and friends found themselves on planets that resembled prohibition America, Nazi Germany or Ancient Rome.

With its not exactly subtle satire by Steve Gerber and Al Milgrom, it's not what you'd call a classic but it's all good fun and passes the time painlessly while fitting into the vibe you got from Milgrom during his run on Captain Marvel. In fact, you could easily imagine this being done as a one-off Captain Marvel tale. Whisper it quietly but you could even imagine it being done as a Jim Starlin Warlock tale, with Adam, Pip and Gamora in the Guardians' place. In the latter instance, you suspect the satire would have been handled more darkly and more bitingly.

Marvel Presents the Guardians of the Galaxy #5, Nikki
My favourite character in this story has to be the Mercurian Nikki who comes across as a less irritating but more troublesome predecessor to the X-Men's Jubilee.

The most annoying character has to be Vance Astro with his non-stop racism directed at Yondu. It might have made sense for him to look down his nose at Yondu as an ignorant savage when they first met but, after all the adventures they've had together, you'd have thought he'd have learned some sort of respect for him by now.

10 comments:

Doug said...

Steve --

Our review of this very issue will run on the BAB on August 18. And I'm happy to see that some of your feelings are akin to my own, particularly in regard to Gerber's portrayal of Vance Astro. I'll save other thoughts until our date of publication, but I will say that, in general, Steve Gerber is just a tad to weird for me in this Marvel Presents series!

Doug

Steve W. said...

Doug, I am always impressed by your ability to plan ahead. I hardly ever know what I'm going to post about until half an hour before I decide to post about it.

cerebus660 said...

I loved this series at the time and, personally, couldn't get enough of the weirdness :-)

Anonymous said...

I loved this comic. Classic sci-fi twist at the end. And the chemistry between the characters, just wonderful. Vance Astro desperately trying to keep everybody out of trouble, because he was the only Guardian who understood the environment.
Possibly my favorite Gerber story, which is saying a lot!

Anonymous said...

I loved this comic. Classic sci-fi twist at the end. And the chemistry between the characters, just wonderful. Vance Astro desperately trying to keep everybody out of trouble, because he was the only Guardian who understood the environment.
Possibly my favorite Gerber story, which is saying a lot!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about accidently posting that comment twice! Poor computer skills! Ooops.

20 cent aka Mike in Jersey said...

Now these are the Guardians I recall. Mostly remember them from appearance in Marvel Two-in-One. Haven't seen the film yet. Totally different characters it seems. No crystalline guy.

Anonymous said...

It was probably budget limitations that caused Kirk and his landing parties to visit planets that resembled Nazi Germany, ancient Rome, or 1920's Chicago. Using sets and props left over from The Untouchables was easier than building new, completely alien sets.

Even the later Star Trek spin-offs often cut corners that way. On The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, the holodeck was always malfunctioning, and the cast would get stranded in the Dark Ages, the Old West, or a 1940's film noir murder mystery.

Anonymous said...

How much does something like this go?? I have alot

Steve W. said...

Hi, Anonymous. The last time I bought any, "Guardians of the Galaxy," comics, they were selling for £1 each, or less. However, that was before the movie came out and I'm led to believe that comics prices in general have risen lately on eBay, so they might be worth a bit more nowadays. The best way to find out is to go on eBay and see what sort of figures they're selling for.

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