I recently read two rather entertaining science-fiction-flavored comics from Marvel — with two very different approaches to the genre.
First up was Astonishing X-Men No. 29. I know that the X-Men is widely thought of as a superhero comic. But as Grant Morrison proved during his acclaimed run on New X-Men a few years ago, the X-Men is best when it’s considered a sci-fi book. Writer Warren Ellis delves even deeper into the sci-fi pool by telling a tale of artificially created mutants and instant parallel universes. Ellis’ approach is incredibly cerebral — short on action but long on big ideas. For some, this may come off as a “talking heads” issue — and it is thick at times — but the arc’s ongoing mystery presents some challenging concepts. And its ending leaves us with an ominous cliffhanger.
Now, where Astonishing X-Men was all about heady ideas and challenging exposition, Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is all about mindless action and fun. This month, the team gathers all its old members, officially adds a few new heroes to the team and gets involved even deeper in the “War of Kings” crossover event. I’ve been promoting this comic for months; for me, it provides the best old-school Marvel fix of any comic on the stands. It’s got guest stars galore, the most far-out pseudo-science ever and features probably the lamest cast of any team in comics — but that’s the draw. Guardians has become, for all intents and purposes, the repository for all of Marvel’s “homeless” cosmic characters. So if you like Bug from the Micronauts, Moondragon or Rocket Racoon, buy this book.