Today’s Super Comic — Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2015)

guardians-of-the-galaxy-1I’m still not a fan of Marvel’s habit of renumbering their titles every couple of years or so. But if they must, this was a reasonably appropriate point to give Guardians of the Galaxy a fresh start.

A few months or so have passed since the conclusion of the previous series, and the Guardians’ lineup continues to add representatives from various regions of the Marvel Universe. They’ve had Spider-Man’s Venom (Flash Thompson) for a while. The X-Men’s Kitty Pryde joined late in the previous run. And now the Fantastic Four’s Thing has left Earth and begun guarding the galaxy (if you want to know what time it is in space, he’ll be happy to answer). Combined with the Guardians’ regulars, this series should never lack for clever banter.

And meanwhile, Peter Quill is king of Spartax, which isn’t the most suitable role for him, thereby producing an entertaining situation for the reader.

I liked the previous series, but I’m greatly enjoying this latest iteration. The humor is stronger, the action is more fun, and the cosmic plots feel more exciting. Now if only there was some way to work in a ‘70s soundtrack, we’d be all set.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Valerio Schiti

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Guardians of the Galaxy: The New Guard, Vol. 1: Emperor Quill (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Fantastic Four #25 (1964)

Fantastic Four 25A classic slugfest, and the greatest Thing vs. Hulk battle ever put to four colors as the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby collaboration really begins to hit its stride.

The Hulk is rampaging. The Human Torch and the Invisible Girl don’t have the raw strength to hold their own against him. Mr. Fantastic is out of commission with a mysterious flu. The Avengers haven’t arrived on the scene yet. That leaves the Thing as the only person in the city with any prayer of taking down the Hulk. As strong as the Thing is, though, he’s seriously out of his weight class here.

But that doesn’t stop him from giving the Hulk everything he’s got.

It’s the superhero as the underdog, a tale of perseverance (something I’m always a sucker for). Back when superheroes seldom lost, this issue showed how there are multiple ways for the good guy to “win.”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Essential Fantastic Four vol. 2 (TPB)

Appropriate For: 8 and up