Book Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: Creating Marvel's Spacefaring Super Heroes

Before James Gunn brought the Guardians of the Galaxy into the public eye with his Marvel Studios movie in 2014, those characters were pretty damn obscure — even for long-time comic book lovers. I'll be real: I hadn't heard of them before the movie was announced, and if you're anything like me, you haven't exactly had an abundance of time on your hands to sift through fifty years of comics to try to learn all about the team's history on the page. Good news: a new book called Guardians of the Galaxy: Creating Marvel's Spacefaring Super Heroes has already done all the work, and presents it all in a beautifully effective manner.

Did you know that zero members of what we know today as the Guardians' core team — Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot — made their comics debut in the pages of a Guardians comic book? This book taught me that they all popped up first elsewhere before joining forces to become one of the coolest space pirate gangs in the cosmos. I also had no clue that the original Guardians squad searched for Captain America's shield in the thirty-first century, or that they once encountered a group of aliens known as "Starks" who worshipped Iron Man as a god.

I didn't know that Spider-Man character Flash Thompson, wearing the Venom suit, was a part of the Guardians team at one point, or that Peter Quill was engaged to X-Men member Kitty Pryde before their relationship ended. (The latter of which could not happen in a Marvel Studios movie because of rights issues between Marvel and 20th Century Fox, but with Marvel and Sony teaming up for Spider-Man movies going forward, it's technically possible that we could see Venom join the movie squad in the years to come.)

Featuring gorgeous artwork from artists like Skottie Young, Alex Ross, and many, many more, the book highlights stunning covers of comics throughout the years and jaw-dropping splash pages that will make you do a double take at how much detail they contain. If you've been wanting to find out the wild history of these beloved characters (including Yondu, who was the only original member of the team who's appeared in the movies so far), but you're too overwhelmed at the idea of searching through tons of archives to track everything down, this book does a great job at walking you through every major moment in Guardians comics history and should be the perfect primer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which comes out this May.