Something Wicked-Awesome This Way Comes
What’s that you say? No lead-in image? Yeah, we’re saving this one for after the break. But first, how about some preamble?
In the current world of “move fast, remember later” entertainment, many are already looking past next summer’s Avengers flick to try to figure out what might be next for Marvel Studios. Of course they’ve still got sequels to Thor and a third Iron Man to work on, not to mention an Ant Man movie still rumored to be on the horizon, and they’ve even got a Doctor Strange (Marvel’s “Gandalf” and one of my personal favorite characters) movie coming together. But let’s go further than that. We’re talking years down the line now; the next big thing they do after Avengers. What could it be? Find out after the break.
Yeah. That’s right. Guardians of the Galaxy. Let me give you a moment to let it sink in. I’ll just go grab a drank.
We good? Wait, which of you just said “who the hell are the Guardians of the Galaxy?” Whoever it was, just sit down and listen for a minute and I’ll tell you all about why I am (and you should be) so excited for this movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy was a comic started way back in 1969 that was about a group of heroes who come together in the distant future, each the last surviving member of their race, who then travel back in time somehow (don’t they always?) and end up protecting present day Earth from various cosmic threats. It was awesome, trust me. Marvel and DC both have always had what seems to be a separate roster of space bearing cosmic heroes with their own tales and adventures that rarely intersect with everything going on back Earth-side (almost as if they were each in their own universe). DC did a better job of occasionally bringing the cosmic stuff in thanks to the Green Lantern Corps, but for the most part cosmic stuff stayed in the far reaches of space and Earth stayed… well on Earth.
Flash forward nearly four decades and Marvel has this bright idea to get talented sci-fi and fantasy writers to take a crack at their intellectual properties. Occasionally this bled over into the bigger titles getting big names writing for them, but for the most part it let these incredibly creative people play with Marvel’s less known, and vast, cosmic sand box. The result of which was a series of some of the best comics through the first decade of the 21st century. Collectively known as Annihilation (which itself was made of several volumes titled Annihilation: “Something”) these stories followed cosmic heroes as they did their thing.
Critics and fans went nuts for the Annihilation series because they were well written, wonderfully drawn and managed to shake up the Marvel cosmic status quo more than any of the big event stories ever did for the rest of the Marvel Universe. Finally in 2008 a new Guardians of the Galaxy title launched. The cast was made up of D rank heroes from across the Marvel cosmos, with the occasional shining star (namely Adam Warlock) thrown in. The formula worked, like gangbusters. The book read like a riveting space opera, looked like the comic book adaptation for some major motion picture (which is to say looked bigger than life, sprawling, and overall really really good), sold like an X-Men book (which is also really good), and kept fans happy while constantly making new ones.
In a time where big events and promises from main stream titles occasionally fell flat and left me disappointed, Guardians was a breath of fresh air. Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning the book was and still is one of my favorites. It even helped make characters like Rocket Raccoon gain enough in popularity to make his way into video games (he’ll be a playable character in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 due out in November). I can’t even begin to count the number of memorable scenes from the book, from talking Cosmonaut dogs to the reappearance of original Guardian Vance (familiar vibranium shield in hand, of course) the book was rife with fist-pumping, wide-grin inducing, fun.
When it comes to the movie I dearly hope they take the more modern approach that Abnett and Lanning helped make so enjoyable. The 1969 version would still make for a good, fun popcorn flick but it might be too super hero cape and tights for the sci-fi angle I think would work better. But why, why would this be such a good movie? Because, its Serenity meets The Fifth Element. Filled with wonderful dialogue and memorable characters, the book feels like something familiar enough to be well accepted while still being something “new”.
As a less well-known comic property the book doesn’t have the ridiculous amount of expectations to live up to like Watchmen did or Avengers does. With Marvel Studios involved you can rest assured that it will stay true to the source material, always a huge plus for comic book fans. Realism meshes with fantastic so well in these books, and the pages almost beg to be story boarded. I can’t wait to see Warlock punch his way through some space ship, its lasers trying in vain to take him down before it breaks up. Rocket Raccoon, guns blazing as he holds back a swarm of some mindless grunts as they rush at him.
My excitement for a Guardians movie is almost more powerful than my Avengers rabid fandom. The only way I could be more excited is if they put Rocket Raccoon in it and cast Jack Bauer (no, not Keifer Sutherland, Jack Bauer) as his voice. If that happens I might have a stroke.