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411’s Comic Reviews: All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1

May 11, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

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Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

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Yesterday we asked, “Should We Be Worried About the Comic Book Sales Slump?”

Now on with the show!

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All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout #1
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mother Entropy #1

Review by RobF

With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel has released not one, not two, but three GOTG stories. Quite an undertaking. Are Gerry Duggan, Christopher Hastings and comic legend Jim Starlin up to the task? I will review all three and let you know.

Let’s pay Starlin his due and review his work first. The story, titled Guardians of the Galaxy: Mother Entropy occurs only 2 months after the movie. It starts with a mysterious narrator
explaining some jibber-jabber about Mother Entropy and her possible replacement. We quickly move to the Guardians. The team is out of money and out of ideas on how to get some. So they accept a job from Deitz to protect a priest and his relic. Things don’t go as smoothly as they would like when the priest dies and Pip the Troll sets his sights on stealing the aforementioned relic. It’s an ok story buoyed by Alan Davis/Mark Farmer’s fine artwork/inking. I am waiting to see how the 2 parts intersect because right now I don’t see it. I’m willing to give Starlin the benefit of the doubt.

The second issue up for review is Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission: Breakout. Writer Christopher Hastings presents a simple story tied to the soon-to-be-opened Disney California Adventure. The Collector has “collected” the Guardians as his special attraction in his warped theme park. It’s up to Rocket to get them out. The interaction between the characters is enjoyable but this story really has no point other than to promote the ride.

Last but not least it’s the All-New Guardians of the Galaxy. In essence there is nothing new about this team as the story focuses on the core 5 but Gerry Duggan has a strong grasp of the characters and their interactions. And this issue hits the ground running: the team is caught in a war between The Collector and The Grandmaster, Groot hasn’t grown any bigger (no one knows why) and Drax has sworn off violence (again no one knows why). It’s a fun issue that makes you want more.

If you are suffering from Guardians overload I sympathize. Movies, comics, TV spots, they are everywhere. If you only choose one comic All-New is clearly the best of the bunch. Entropy has potential; Breakout is for hardcore fans only.

Rating: Guardians of the Galaxy: Mother Entropy #1: 6.0 out of 10
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout #1: 3.0 out of 10
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1: 8.0 out of 10

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Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1

Review by Jonathan Durden

Marvel is slowly making its way back to my pull list, with X-Men Blue, Jean Grey, and now Scarlet Spider. I haven’t read Clone Conspiracy, nor have I read any Scarlet Spider stories before this issue. I want to say that as a disclaimer here that this review is from the perspective of a brand new reader, and how I fared in understanding this issue and the things that occurred within it.

One of the few things Marvel is doing right with their series’ is putting a paragraph-or-two synopsis on the opening page to acquaint new readers with the bare minimum of continuity and context. Scarlet Spider is no different. It gives a fairly detailed synopsis as this story apparently requires it due to the fact that Ben Reilly was supposed to be dead. The rundown explains not how he is alive, just that he is. It also explains a few details of the Cone Conspiracy story and sets up this #1 with a basic description of the character’s own backstory and how he became the Scarlet Spider to begin with.

I get a bit of a Deadpool vibe while reading this, not only because Ben Reilly is a snarky little bastard, but also because he is seemingly haunted by the former Scarlet Spider Kaine as well as the former Jackal, both of which would take too long a tangent to explain here. Point is, he is snarky and he hears voices.

With that said, I still enjoyed this issue and all its goofy and snarky tendencies. The cliffhanger ending seems to be setting up an arc that will probably feature much exposition through dialogue that may or may not be boring but definitely necessary for new readers who want to know what’s going on (me).

Still, I have questions. They might be answered, they might not. Who knows? All I know is I’m giving this the ‘ole “three-issue” try. If I’m not hooked by issue three, I’m going to call it a day and take it off of the pull list. I recommend the same to anyone who hasn’t read this issue and likes Spider-Man (or other versions of Spider-Man) or anyone who has read this issue and wasn’t thrilled with it. I say give it a shot. Writer Peter David seems to be pretty excited about it, and I’ve liked his writing for Ben Reilly so far.

The art is sufficient for what this issue needs to be, though I didn’t really see anything that really grabbed my attention personally. However, that differs from reader to reader. Peter David is a strong writer and I think he will keep it up for this series. I like the Scarlet Spider if not for his wits, then for the awesome suit.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10

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