We’re less than a week away from Christmas, but this week. Marvel launched an astonishing three ongoings. The publisher has unleashed the Guardians of the Galaxy property in full force with the debut of Gamora, Star-Lord and a #0 issue of The Mighty Captain Marvel.

431729-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_Star-Lord #1

Writer: Chip Zdarksy
Artist: Kris Anka
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Title Page Design: Anthony Gambino

The Guardians of the Galaxy are currently grounded on Earth in a storyline that follows a murky train of logic– surely any member of the Guardians team has a friend that could get them off-planet. Unfortunately, this is just the current status quo for the series and a storyline that the brand new ongoing Star-Lord mini-series is jumping off of this week. Star-Lord is a unique hero, towing the line between humor-delivery factory and the average straight man. With that mind, writer Chip Zdarsky injects the character with a heavy dose of personality honoring the film incarnation of the hero while nicely referencing some of the current continuity.

As to the continuity aspects, there’s a few parts of this series that are moving at quite a rapid pace. A major development from the previous Legendary Star-Lord series has been wiped away and now the character is dealing with some of his current relationships to characters in the Marvel Universe while trying to acclimate to his current setting. Zdarksy, a writer known for humor, nicely plays up the laughs of the situation, earning nice mileage from Peter’s ties to the X-Men. Many of the scenes with the new characters are cute & full of heart, but I can’t help but feel that the emotional core of this issue (a bar scene) is out-of-character for the Marvel guest star joining Star-Lord for a drink.

Aside from the weird, sappy interaction with the character, Star-Lord is trying to make the most of what he’s given in the first issue. The hero has been dealt a bad hand and there’s some fun to be had watching him try to salvage his bizarre situation even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as to why he got here in the first place. Zdarsky has a nice handle on this character and illustrator Kris Anka beautifully taps into Star-Lords’ new world. The lead hero has a plethora of great facial expressions that leap off of the page and Matthew Wilson’s vivid colors stayed with me long after I put the book down. This isn’t something that I notice often, but Anthony Gambino’s page design in this issue is innovative, unique and gives this book a wonderful, futuristic style.

Despite the fact that the first issue is stuck in the confines of a premise devoid of logic and features another hero acting slightly out-of-character, I can’t help but see the potential and beautiful artwork in Star-Lord amounting to a solid series in either the next issue or in the immediate future.

Final Verdict: This book is oozing with potential. Browse.

mighty_captain_marvel_vol_1_0The Mighty Captain Marvel #0

Writer: Margaret Stohl
Artist: Emilio Laiso
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colors: Rachelle Rosenburg
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Carol Danvers is an interesting hero, but a character whom I have never been able to connect with. After putting her on the side of Civil War II that most fans are ideologically opposed to, the character’s reputation could use a book as powerful and affecting as Matt Fraction’s and Salvador Larroca’s Invincible Iron Man. That  series reminded fans why Tony Stark was such a great character to begin with after he headed up the ideologically frayed side of the first Civil War.

Unfortunately, in this issue, I don’t get the impression that Carol thinks she has anything to to atone for. In fact, aside from trouble sleeping and frayed relationships, Carol’s life is largely business as usual as the leader of Alpha Flight. Exploring what kind of leader Danvers is adds a unique aspect to her character, but it doesn’t quite explain the mindset or temperament to lead her to make those big decisions during war time. At times I worry that Margaret Stohl doesn’t have anything new to say about Danvers aside from what has already been explored in the previous series.

The pencils in the issue are quite proficient, featuring some dynamic poses from Emilio Laiso and Ramon Rosanas. In particular, this issue’s opening scene is some of the strongest acting and posing from a comic this week.

This issue only offers the slightest hints at Carol’s psyche– something that I’m truly yearning to dig deep into as Civil War II winds down. Thus, unfortunately, at this moment in time, it’s hard to call this comic anything but perplexing and strange. The losses of Civil War II are adding up and the person who should be effected the most is Carol Danvers.

Final Verdict: Too much about the series’ debut is up in the air. Pass.

gamora_vol_1_1_textlessGamora #1

Writer: Nicole Perlman
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colors: Andres Mossa
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham

Almost three years after the actual announcement of the book, Gamora #1 is finally on store shelves. The title is written by screenwriter Nicole Perlman and follows Gamora, daughter of Thanos, through her younger years. The comic depicts the character as a bloodthirsty and vengeful person and while her tense relationship with both Thanos and Nebula is intriguing, this debut issue doesn’t take the chance to go more in-depth with either of these relationships past the point seen in The Guardians of the Galaxy film.

The depiction of Gamora as a sleek and stylish killer holds undeniable charm, especially given the fact that artist Marco Checchetto is drawing the comic. Checchetto can’t help but draw tough characters in risky, violent situations oozing with style and grace. The two minor fight sequences in this comic feel more epic than they even should be, but I’m not complaining. Perhaps Checchetto’s greatest strength is just how much detail the artist jams in every page. The crowd scene in particular has so many minor details that I can’t imagine the time it took for him to draw this issue.

Unfortunately, the relationship with Nebula and Thanos stops evolving shortly after page one. In nearly every single scene littered throughout the book these two characters continually say the same thing to Gamora, making them seem painfully one-dimensional. Gamora still has a rogue personality elevated by the art and personality of the lead character, but the motivations behind each talking head in this comic feels paper thin. That said, with some restraint and careful planning going forward, Perlman could build upon this weak debut issue a more engaging premise and stronger character development.

Final Verdict: There’s potential in this troubled debut. Browse.

Most of these troubled comics have nowhere to go but up in terms of quality. Checking in with all of these books in a few issues will prove interesting. See you in a week for the conclusion of Civil War II, Hulk and Rocket Raccoon… ain’t no rest for the wicked!