Marvel Pick Of The Week – October 21, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

What If? Infinity – Guardians Of The Galaxy 1, by Joshua Williamson and Jason Copland

I totally understand if you didn’t know this was coming out this week. I haven’t seen a single house advertisement for it. It has nothing to do with the dying embers of the Secret Wars crossover, and it’s not part of the swelling numbers of new post-Wars series. It’s the fourth part in a series of standalone stories exploring what would have happened if something had changed in Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity event series from a few years ago. For the past couple of years, Marvel has renewed its alternate-reality anthology series with a series of one-shots, usually with a decent idea or two, but I can’t remember anything about the last round. Was that the one where we looked at Age Of Ultron by having a different founding Avenger die, and the art was all over the place, and the writing was completely unremarkable except that one character from each reality met up to form a superhero team we never saw again? I think so. Don’t quote me. And to hook this month’s collection into a crossover we gently remember as “Hey, remember that awesome story about Spider-Woman and Hawkeye and Captain Marvel’s love triangle in space, the one where all the Terrigen Mist got released? That was pretty boring, but it sure wasn’t as bad as AXIS, right?” Yep. If I wasn’t such a masochist, I would have left this book on the shelf.

And I would have missed an issue of Marvel comics that beat out Nick Spencer’s Ant-Man relaunch, and I almost never like anything better than Spencer’s Ant-Man. Squirrel Girl, sometimes. Because not even Ant-Man loves Rocket Raccoon as much as this book loves Rocket Raccoon.

The setup for this alternate reality is pretty close to the way Infinity went down: The Avengers fight in space, they defeat Thanos on Earth by encasing him in amber so he can never reunite with his beloved Death, and they hide him with the Illuminati while telling the rest of the universe he’s dead. But in this version, the Guardians Of The Galaxy have been spying on Tony Stark and find out about the misdirection in an adorable scene that Drax thinks is a sitcom (“This man of iron seems to always get himself and those around him in trouble with his technology or his gender. I love it.”) and head to the Illuminati’s hideout to execute the mad Titan. It’s a decent, if standard setup, but what saves the book is the framework. See, this story is told by Rocket Raccoon over some beers in a space-bar, so he gets to introduce it with the following panel:

The whole book is full of Fourth-Wall gags like this, setting Rocket up as the Deadpool-but-actually-funny-and-likeable character Marvel has needed for a decade. Like when he tries to tell the part of his story where he tells about the fight between his team and the Illuminati, but, “I wasn’t really paying attention so I imagine it went something like this…” And Star-Lord is shouting, “I am Star-Lord and I have Daddy Issues!” and Gamora shouts, “I also have Daddy Issues!” and Mr. Fantastic shouts, “Smarts!” and Angela shouts, “Religion!” and Dr. Strange shouts, “Magic!” because this is, ask anyone, how I tell my stories.

You don’t need to buy this book to understand the original crossover on a deeper level. And it won’t help you keep up with continuity for the Guardians relaunch. But if you skip it (like your gut told you to, and that’s even assuming your comic store showed you where the book was), you’re missing the most unbridled joy on the stands this week.

Honorable Mentions:

Weirdworld 5, for this amazing metal scene of Morgan Le Fay riding a dragon to intimidate Arkon, a panel that stands out from the rest of Del Mundo’s dreamy lush paintings. Suck it, Game Of Thrones.

Invincible Iron Man 2, for this sequence of Madame Masque showering blood off that manages to be gorgeous and cinematic and never being pervy. Well done, David Marquez.

Catch up on previous Picks here!

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