This collection of 1970s Marvel comics is misleadingly titled in order to capitalize on the worthy success of the Guardians of the Galaxy film franchise. Contrary to the subtitle, the actual “Guardians of the Galaxy” team does not feature anywhere in this book. It does include Gamora in a set of her earliest appearances, but only as a supporting character. The narrative continuity of these stories is quite remote from the one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That aside, the book is great fun. It collects a single story-line spanning eight issues across four titles, to supply the account of Adam Warlock’s conflict with the Magus and then Thanos. Throughout, the comics are a violation of the Marvel division-of-labor formula, with Jim Starlin as composer of both text and images. He is accordingly credited with such duties as “insanity,” “everything else,” and “other manual labor.” In the first comic of the arc, his writing credit is given with the anagram pseudonym “Sam Jiltrin.” Starlin’s work on these comics specifically is a signal instance of the Marvel pivot in the seventies towards space opera and cosmic melodrama.
Starlin’s art is unexceptional for Marvel fare of its period, and his dialogue is sometimes clunky, but the plotting is weird as can be, and worth the read, even if it is being peddled under false pretenses. Fans of the Zoe Saldana Gamora as re-imagined by James Gunn will likely get little gratification here. She is introduced as “the most dangerous woman in the galaxy,” but we never really find out why. [via]