Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Essential Reading Before You See the Film

By Tom Pritchard on at

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits UK cinemas screens on Friday, and if you want to be extra prepared for the highly anticipated sequel, there are some books you should probably stick your nose into beforehand. It's not 100 per cent necessary, but what kind of geek would you be if you didn't? So here's a list of everything you should check out, plus a few other purchases you might enjoy.

Guardians of the Galaxy Classic Omnibus, £62

The modern incarnation of the Guardians are far from the original heroes to bear the name. Sort of. The first Guardians of the Galaxy series was set in the 31st century, featuring a group of heroes that most modern fans won't even recognise. Except Yondu, but it's not the same Yondu that appears in the films. The first arc features the heroes attempting to locate the lost shield of Captain America, and forced to face the twisted legacy of Iron Man in the process. These guys haven't appeared on screen yet, but with the third Guardians film promising to be the last we see of the current team, this might be a good time to catch up on a Marvel classic. [Buy it here]

Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude, £12.50

A prequel to the first film, with two stories detailing the backstories of some of the characters. The first focuses on Gamora and Nebula as they are trained to be ruthless assassins by Thanos, and explains why Nebula has such animosity towards her adopted sister. The second focuses on Rocket and Groot in the events that lead them up to the capture of Peter Quill in the first film. The book also collects a lot of classic comics, featuring the earliest comic stories of the characters from the film. [Buy it here]

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Prelude, £15

This one is little more than an adaptation of the first Guardians film, so isn't quite as essential reading if you actually watched it. Still, if you prefer reading to the so-called idiot box, it might be worth checking out. It also has some classic stories, helping introduce some of the new characters we'll see in the film. [Buy it here]

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1: Cosmic Avengers, £8.44

This series debuted not long after the film adaptation was announced, so it's far closer to the big-screen version of the Guardians than anything that came before it. It has the same characters with the same sort of abilities, plus Iron Man. They're trying to figure out why the galaxy has all agreed that nobody is to go anywhere near Earth - even those who actually came from the planet like Peter Quill and Tony Stark. This series went on for quite a bit as well, so make sure to check out The successive volumes. [Buy it here]

Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard Volume 1 - Emperor Quill, £10.68

Following Secret Wars all of Marvel's comics underwent a relaunch, and Guardians of the Galaxy was no exception. It continues on from the where the last series ended, but with a slightly updated team roster. For newcomers the recognisable faces are Groot, Rocket, and Drax, who are joined by Venom and Kitty Pride who joined the team towards the end of the previous series. Brand spanking new is Ben Grimm, who needed something to do after the Fantastic Four disbanded. Peter Quill, on the other hand, is (reluctantly) the newly crowned emperor of Spartax, and Gamora is off searching for Thanos. [Buy it here]

Legendary Star Lord Vol 3: First Flight, £12.44

The recent run of Legendary Star Lord has some great tales, but if you're a newbie you might want to jump straight to the third arc. It flashes back to before Peter Quill was known as Star Lord, and before he'd even left Earth. Instead he's a NASA washout working as one of the agency's janitor. That's not stopping his dreams of going into space, however. If you want to hear the latest origin story of Star Lord (it's complicated), this is a must-read [Buy it here]

Annihilation: Conquest Omnibus, £61.75

If you want to know how the modern Guardians team came to be, you should read Annihilation: Conquest to understand the event that kicked the whole thing off. The Anninhilaton wave has ended up in the hands of Ultron, everyone's favourite genocidal android, and he isn't afraid to use it to try and conquer the galaxy. The Nova Corps has been destroyed, the kree are distracted by an invasion of their homeworld, so it's up to Star Lord and his ragtag group of proto-guardians to go behind enemy lines and put an end to Ultron's plans. Joining him are Mantis, Bug, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. [Buy it here]

It might be worth reading Annihilation to read up on the events that inevitably led to Ultron taking control of the annihilation wave, but you do not want to buy those physically. Book 1 is £72 for some ungodly reason, and that's for the paperback version. If you get that, you should definitely get it digitally. Also try not to be confused when Star Lord arrives with dark brown hair and a cybernetic eye.

Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett and Lanning: The Complete Collection Vol 1, £20

After Annihilation: Conquest a group of heroes came together to ensure that such an event never happens again. It's not quite the same team featured in recent books, or the film, but the basics are there. They're led by Star Lord, who is joined by Mantis, Drax, Adam Warlock, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, the new Quasar, Gamora, and Cosmo the telepathic space-Labrador from Russia. They're also eventually joined by Nova as the series progresses, though the overall series ends on a cliffhanger that doesn't get resolved until 2015's Original Sin. [Buy it here]

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), from £7

There was a lot of concern that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be Marvel's first real failure, but frankly that scepticism turned out to be unfounded. The first cosmic entry in the MCU has the right mix of humour, drama, and action, all to the tune of a brilliant soundtrack. If you haven't seen the first film yet, you obviously to get that done before you to and see the new one. If you had no plans to see the sequel, this might even change your mind. [Buy it on DVD here | Buy it on Blu-ray here]

Awesome Mix Vol 1 and Vol 2

Speaking of brilliant soundtracks, you can go out and buy both films' right now. Well not Vol 2, because it's not out until next week, but you get my meaning. Both have a mix of classic songs from the '60s, and '70s, and while they've been available as singles or on albums for decades, there's nothing quite like buying them together in the mixtape-themed box art. [Buy Vol 1 here | Pre-order Vol 2 here]

Lego Milano vs Abilisk, £40

The original Lego Milano is long out of production, which means it costs a bloody fortune. Luckily sequels exist, and there's no way Lego isn't going to capitalise on that precious Marvel License. This set features a brand new version of Peter Quill's ship, a Lego version of the Abilisk monster featured at the start of the film, plus minifigures of Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Nebula, and Baby Groot. [Buy it here]

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, £25

Telltale can't stop making games, and Guardians of the Galaxy is their latest endeavour. It features the team facing off against the mad Titan Thanos, who is on some sort of rampant quest for power for the billionth time. The first episode of the series arrives on 5th May, and while it's available separately buying the disc means each of the four subsequent episodes will be unlocked as they're released. [Pre-order here]

Hot Toys Life-Size Baby Groot, $190/£140

Baby Groot is being set up as the breakout star of Guardians Vol 2, and obviously there's plenty of merchandise to capitalise on that. The most impressive is this life-size model made by Hot Toys, which is 26cm tall, and comes with a selection of interchangeable limbs and facial expressions. That includes extended attack vines coming out of his hands, and the equally adorable mini Ravager uniform. It's pricey, but it's damn good quality. Unfortunately it won't be arriving until next March. [Pre-order it here]

If that's too pricey for you, you can always go cheap and pick up the Pop! Vinyl Baby Groot instead. It's not quite as tall, poseable, or detailed, but it's still Baby Groot.