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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Marvel Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy!

08.28.2013 – The Guardians of the Galaxy is a superhero team that was formed during the devastation of the Annihilation: Conquest saga. But entirely the original team was first founded by Vance Astro in an alternate future that was published in 1969.

This modern take of the Guardians of the Galaxy is entirely a new roster led by Star Lord (Peter Quill), Drax the Destroyer, Gamora: The Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe, Groot and Rocket Raccoon which is going to be made into a live action film to be released in 2014.

When the news broke about the upcoming film it doesn’t sound like you’ll jump for joy the same way the Avenger came and changed the way you watch superhero movie. The comic book series that was published featuring the new team in 2008 had started a following and old GotG fans who read the original comic book series would also appreciate how Marvel takes on this book.

The series is being groomed to build up anticipation for the upcoming movie and it’s no surprise why they launched a new series for Marvel NOW cancelling the original run (volume 2) to issue #25.

Marvel has taken the opportunity to bring some of the characters in toy form when Hasbro started to bring Marvel Universe and made action figures of the team that was released in 2011 as gift pack featuring four of the five characters from the team. It’s obvious that you’re going to miss one member on the team that makes these modern Guardians of the Galaxy whole as a group.

The Marvel Universe series featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy is not like the Avenger that each character can stand alone and have a line of individual action figures. They are like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the Fantastic Four.

But each of the characters from GotG is actually created by different writer and artists from the late 1960s to mid-1970s which would consider them the Avengers from space but with that particular element they don’t look like a superhero team but rather a science fiction series much like Star Trek.

The action figures produced by Hasbro is the pre-Marvel NOW versions that appeared in the comic twenty five issue series that featured Star Lord, Drax, Groot and the ever popular Rocket Raccoon whose current screen appearance made into an animated gif is tearing the internet with his wild action armed with a machine gun rumored to be voiced by Bradley Cooper in the live action film.

In this set Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon wears the same uniform and Drax the Destroyer’s action figure seems to be recycled from another Marvel character. The action figures are packaged in a gift set featuring THREE figures.

This makes Groot as an accessory rather than part of the set that needs to be acknowledged that he’s a valuable asset to the team rather than just an addition. But due to his small size Groot appears to be an accessory but no matter how you think it is you still have four out of the five characters and all you need now is just Gamora which doesn’t have an action figure yet now that Drax the Destroyer was released in the Marvel Legends line of 6” inch action figures as part of the Armin Zola build-a-figure set.

Taking a look at the action figures Star Lord is the leader of the team and his pre-Marvel NOW appearance looks more like an intergalactic police created by Steven Englehart and and Steve Gan appearing in Marvel Preview #4 (January 1976).

The action figure is based from his original appearance in the comic books whose origins revealed to be the son of a human mother and alien father who is the ruler of a race called the Spartax making him heir to the throne.

Star-Lord is armed with twin blasters but the figure doesn’t have holsters to hold to keep his weapons besides him.

The helmet is non-removable and makes him more of a Darth Vader-ish character minus the cape with this particular appearance and keeping the original look from his first appearance the logo of the Masters of the Sun is acknowledged. This character as an intergalactic police versus his current Marvel NOW appearance more like being adapted into the live action film without his signature mask but kept his helmet.

Drax the Destroyer has already TWO action figures this is his first under the Marvel Universe line of action figures by Hasbro. From a far he looks entirely a new character but look closely you might be fooled.

In this gift set he’s the only one who looked recycled from another Marvel character in the modern version of Luke Cage. So it appears the Hero for Hire leader of the Mighty Avengers seems to be “pretending” to be Drax painted in green with red stripes make up.

But the figure is not entirely 100% recycled from Luke Cage there was a minor addition for you to like this one as you will notice his signature knives has a holster made for it to be kept at this figures back. This makes Drax the Destroyer slightly different from Luke Cage with that nod but in size he should be a little bigger as an alien brute who first appeared in the original run of Iron Man #55 (February 1973) created by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin.

Groot in the other hand is entirely an accessory rather mentioned as part of the gift set. But the character’s name is acknowledged in front of the window packaging as part of the roster. But in the comic book series he’s the bigger guy next to Drax the Destroyer.

Originally the plant monster was a villain appearing Tales to Astonish #13 (November 1960) but was retconned as a hero created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

The action figure is a small version of him sitting in his plant pot ready to grow and kick some serious Baddoon alien race. The tiniest in member in the set that hopefully in the future Hasbro would release a “powered” version of the character once the live action film nears its release.

Finally to round up the roster in the team is none other than Rocket Raccoon the character that doesn’t need any complicated origins how to bring him to the big screen unlike other characters that leaves them in a snail pace to compete with Marvel’s upcoming movies.

Rocket Raccon no need further introduction but just a trivial detail of the character who originally first appeared in Marvel Preview #7 (Summer 1976) was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen.

The most talkative among the team had his fair share of adventures over the years before joining the Earth-616 Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket Raccoon is entirely a static figure with the only articulation is his tail to add support if you plan to display him so he won’t fall off due to his tiny feet.

The current GotG comic book series has a great writer in Brian Michael Bendis and artists Steve McNiven (#1-3) with Sara Pichelli (#4-7). As you look at it now the characters have grown with Star –Lord’s face more shown without his signature mask and uniform as an officer of the Masters of the Sun. The only character that needs an action figure to complete the cast is Gamora, the adopted daughter of Thanos.

For now an image of Nyota Uhura a Star Trek action figure by Playmates Toys which takes the likeness of Zoe Saldana who portrayed the character also taking the role of Gamora in the film takes her place as part of the team, while Hasbro still figures out how to release an official version of her.

Overall the Guardians of the Galaxy gift set is the only merchandise you’ll see possibly on clearance by now since it was released back in 2011.

It may not have Gamora or even the current armor Tony Stark wears in the comic book series but for any fan that has followed the 2008 comic book this surely something to own in their display shelf.

Now let’s just wait for the next action figures to come out which would possibly next year. For now the latest Rocket Raccoon figure has been released and he’s definitely going to be a challenge to get as you need three Marvel Legends figures to put him together which has his body parts.

Talk about getting the Infinity gems but this is Rocket Raccoon he’s not as complicated to put in a live action film unlike Wonder Woman.

The Guardians of the Galaxy gift set featuring Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon is retailed in the US on clearance for $20 dollars, while you can find this in the Philippines priced at PhP 1,000.00 pesos from its original retail of PhP 1,799.75 pesos that is slowly disappearing in store shelves manufactured by Hasbro.

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