I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got four new comics plus a hard cover collection:

  • Supernatural: Beginning’s End – 6
  • Walking Dead – 73
  • Savage dragon – 161
  • Age of Bronze – 30
  • The Goon Fancy Pants Edition Volume 3
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • “Guardians of the Galaxy: Earth Shall Overcome” and “Guardians of the Galaxy: The Power of Starhawk”
  • These two books are collected editions of the few 1970’s appearances of the future-based super hero team “Guardians of the Galaxy” by Marvel Comics. Never a popular super hero team until their 1990’s revival they were a favorite of mine back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. I have all the original issues in the “The Power of Starhawk” volume and though I must have read them at least ten times back when I was in high school I haven’t read them in the twenty six years since then. It can be disappointing to read old comics and find they are not as good as you remember but I still had to get this new collected volume of this old favorite.

    The Guardians of the Galaxy are a super team of the future where the Earth has been conquered by space aliens known as the Badoon. The Guardians are all the last of their kind of genetically manipulated humans that live on planets in our solar system. There is a Plutonian, an Earthman, a Jovian, plus an American Indian type character from another solar system. They add young woman from Mercury later in the series.

    The “Earth Shall Overcome” volume came out first and it collects the earliest appearances of the Guardians. A one shot origin story from 1969, a couple of issues of “Marvel Two-In-One” that they starred in, plus four issues of “The Defenders” that they guest starred in. The only issue In this volume that I like is the origin story. The art by Gene Colan is some of his best. He really went to town with the art and it has some of his most interesting drawing, layouts, and story telling. Visually it’s out there at times but works well. The script by Arnold Drake is also very good. It’s a nice example of a type of un-Stan Lee sci-fi-ish writing that just doesn’t exist anymore. It’s hard to explain but it has good flavor.

    The rest of the “Earth Shall Overcome” volume is written by Steve Gerber and can best be described as average to bland 1970’s Marvel comics. It’s all about then current Marvel super heros going to the future to free the Earth from bondage. Nothing you haven’t read before. Not terrible but not very interesting either.

    The second volume, “The Power of Starhawk”, is also written by Steve Gerber but this is Gerber at his best. And his best is good. Roger Stern, a writer I’ve always thought underrated, also writes some issues. The stories take place in the future as the Guardians fly around in their spaceship and get into adventures. These are not super hero stories and have a lot more imagination in them than the ones in “Earth Shall Overcome”. I was really happy to discover all over again that these are good comics. Some of the best the 1970’s has to offer.

    Oddly enough I had no memory of who drew this series. It was Al Milgrom. I mostly remember Milgrom’s art from some covers he did with Frank Miller and his Editori-Al editorial cartoons he used to do for Marvel’s Epic comic line. I also remember him doing various fill-in assignments on Marvel books in the early 80’s. He is certainly a name I know but I’ve never really associated him with any particular book or character. Maybe that’s why I didn’t remember he drew this series.

    Anyway, Milgrom’s art in this book ranges from solid to very imaginative. He was never an “A” level talent but in this series he too is at his best. The storytelling is always solid and though the drawing isn’t always spectacular you can tell he is trying hard and often comes up with very memorable images. The Topographical Man, the Hawk God, and Brutag are just a few things that come to mind. Overall the book looks good and I even stopped on some of the pages to look a little longer.

    So there you have it. If you are looking for some interesting Marvel 1970’s futuristic action check out “Guardians of the Galaxy: The Power of Starhawk”. That’s the good stuff. I’d say the “Earth Shall Overcome” volume is for completists only. I fear if anyone reads that volume first they’ll never give the second one a chance.