The third and final chapter of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy film trilogy is nearly upon us, opening in theaters on May 5. These films have focused on traversing the cosmos and the power of found family under the most trying of circumstances. Epic and otherworldly landscapes are to be expected along with a soundtrack from Peter Quill’s childhood.
The trailers are promising the origin story of everyone’s favorite not-raccoon: Rocket. Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock will fully enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whether for good or bad is still to be seen. Finally, the evil genius known as the High Evolutionary will be menacing our merry band of space heroes. And of course, Starlord, Nebula, Swole Groot, Drax, Gamora, and some Ravagers will be along for the ride. All different occasions, and I have books to recommend for them all.
This list begins with some required Marvel Comics reading for Rocket, High Evolutionary, Warlock, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Then I have some great comics and prose novels that bring the space vibes, the found-family vibes, and sometimes both at the same time. So here are 10 great books like Guardians of the Galaxy to prepare you for the new movie.
Marvel Comics to Read Before Guardians of the Galaxy
Evolutionary War by Terry Shoemaker, Louise Simonson, Steve Englehart, etc.
This is still the biggest story in Marvel history involving High Evolutionary, the upcoming big bad in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. High Evolutionary is determined to accelerate the evolution of humanity, whether they like it or not. And pretty much every hero team in Marvel does NOT like it.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2023) #1 by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Kev Walker
As usual, the release of a movie means a new ongoing series to mark the occasion. Our favorite chosen space family is at it again with the first issue hitting shelves just last month. Get in on the ground floor of new Guardians adventures!
Rocket (2017) by Al Ewing, Adam Gorham
This is my favorite Rocket story, one that sees him away from the Guardians and doing what he does best: talking smack and doing heists. Just look at that cover. He’s in a suit, shades, and a suitcase. You just know there are hundreds of guns in that suitcase.
Warlock: Second Coming by Greg Pak, Charlie Adlard
There are a lot of great Adam Warlock stories out there. In the comics, he’s closely tied to the Infinity Stones and Thanos. This is a more recent story that goes in a different direction, one that many are theorizing will align with the upcoming MCU version. Check it out here first.
Books Like Guardians of the Galaxy
A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Found family in space? Totally this book. When Rosemary decided to take passage on Wayfarer, she didn’t expect much. Being back among the stars and far from her past was enough. What she found was a crew more strange and amazing than she could have bargained for. They need to be amazing as things suddenly turn dangerous.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti is a young woman from a little-known Himba village. Against her family’s wishes, she applies to and is accepted to the prestigious Oomza University that’s on a different planet. Suddenly, she’s in the middle of an ancient conflict and has a special part to play, brokering possible peace between the Medusae, a terribly misunderstood race, and the rest of the galaxy.
Descender by Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen
In a universe where androids are outlawed and bounty hunters are searching the stars for their circuits, a lone robot is determined to eek out an existence. This comic is one of those books like Guardians of the Galaxy with its heartfelt characters and epic space action.
The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang
Misery Nomaki (she/they) has been hearing the voice of a delusion or an angel for years. It says they’re the chosen warrior but Misery doesn’t believe it. But when tragedy leads to near cataclysm, Misery finds themself on the front lines of a physical and holy war. Is Misery mad or truly the chosen one?
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
Captain Kel Cheris is nearing the end of her career. When you’re disgraced, that tends to happen. When she’s assigned one last mission that could redeem her, she has to take it. Simple job. Overtake an impenetrable fortress from heretics. At least she’s not alone. The undead Shuos Jedao is a tactician who might be the only person who can get the job done. That’s if Shuos doesn’t lose his mind and kill Kel and her entire crew like he did in his first life.
Skyhunter by Marie Lu
This action-packed YA novel brings more found family space action. Talin is a Striker, loyal and trained to be unequaled in combat. But even among her fellow Strikers, Talin is an outcast. But one day, a strange prisoner comes into Talin’s life. Spy? Experiment gone awry? Talin will have to get to the bottom of it before its too late.
Need more preparation for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Check out these fun facts about the first Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack and this awesome quiz about the strange and wonderful Guardians of the Galaxy characters.
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