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Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers

In a year, people are going to be clamoring for books about this team. Wisely, Marvel offers them now, so you can be one of the cool people and say you knew the Guardians of the Galaxy were going to take off.

Because they will. Because before Disney can get Marvel's Big Hero 6 to the screen, Guardians of the Galaxy will hit and feel like an original wacky, family friendly, yet exciting and action-packed cartoon -- and it will be live-action. (Except Marvel/Disney will probably be doing an animated series, but shhhh.)

If you don't know who the team members are, Marvel has provided this helpful and entertaining one-shot with stories that spotlight individual heroes, serving more as character studies -- with a lot of explosions -- than crucial events in the characters' lives.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, who also helms the regular series, each short gives is a perfect jumping on spot -- a taste of each hero with all the information you need to know to run off to their regular book. A variety of artists tackle the stories, with Ming Doyle getting the most variety to play with, delineating an intergalactic bar where Rocket Raccoon brags and tries to pick up a date.

Rocket's story may have the most impact on future events in the regular book, with a potential revelation that will no doubt gnaw at him. And why not? He's the character that is most likely to break out into the public's awareness -- at once a ridiculous caricature and truly as bad-ass as he styles himself, perfect for action figures AND plush toys without compromise.

The only story that might be confusing to new readers is the one focusing on Groot. It's reasonably well-done, but it depends the most on prior knowledge. Then again, maybe all you DO need to know is that this giant tree being is Groot, because that's all he'll tell you.

Bendis provides a slight connecting thread with Peter Quill, aka Starlord, gathering the dispersed members of his team. So, if you care about this sort of thing, the continuity is a little out of order -- we're already four issues in to the regular book. Starlord also doesn't get his solo -- but then again, it's obvious he's the leader, his dad is a bad guy just like Gamora's and, well, he got his origin told in the zero issue five months ago.

All of it may be gathered into a fine trade paperback, but considering how hard it is to find the team's previous appearances, it may be better to just jump on now at your local comics shop.

Derek McCaw

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