If you’re like me, you’re itching to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 one more time. And you’re also happy that Marvel has been putting out some great Guardians titles for some time now with an annual out this week to really satiate your hunger.
Writer: Chad Bowers, Chris Sims
Artist: Danilo Beyruth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
The trickiest thing about annual issues is that they need to be accessible to longstanding readers and newcomers. It’s the most likely book to get new readers on board, or at least give newcomers a book to enjoy without needing to know what happened before it. Enter this annual, written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims with art by Danilo Beyruth who not only accomplished this, but made it pertinent to the main events of Secret Empire!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Star-Lord and his teammates attempting to find help for Captain Marvel who is currently stuck outside Earth due to the shield Captain America put up. She’s getting beaten down and losing the war and needs all the help they can get. Unfortunately, Star-Lord’s pull isn’t so great and in a fun montage the creators show off a bunch of alien races who flat out decline his request. This opening helps fill readers in on the stakes on Earth and showcase a nice swath of alien life.
Let’s take a trip around the galaxy…
The adventure gets going with a meeting from a certain character who joined the team in the recent movie, which gives the issue its first movie connection. In fact, a few characters show up complete with similar likeness to their movie counterparts and how they talk. I won’t give it away, but they relate to the Ravagers team.
The action/adventure in this issue is pretty damn fun too. Chad Bowers and Chris Sims connect the McGuffin to some pretty cool ancient cosmic stuff and it actually makes a ton of sense. This takes the heroes to an area of the universe that’s the equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle (at least according to Star-Lord) which adds a mysteriousness to the location. The story shakes out to a wicked action sequence between some villains you did not see coming and a conclusion that’s satisfying to the single issue reader.
The art by Danilo Beyruth is quite nice with a John Romita Jr. vibe here and there due to its sketchier look. Beyruth does well to animate the characters faces and infuse a bit of humor and relatability (especially in baby Groot who has very little detail due to his smallness and baby form). There’s also a double page spread near the end of the book of the heroes battling that all fans should peep because it’s so detailed and intricate.
Oh god, the Brood.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are some heavier exposition moments here and there that force a ton of detail on the reader so as to set up the next leg of the journey. The length of this issue is longer than most and I found myself checking the page count to see how much more there was. It’s not necessarily boring, but just drawn out at certain stretches.
The story is nicely self contained and connects to Secret Empire, that said though, it does feel somewhat pointless by the end. It’s all about the journey as they say, but the conclusion is one that leaves the characters about where they started.
Is It Good?
This is an annual movie and comic fans can dive into and enjoy. It has key elements movie fans will relate to and ties well into Secret Empire. It’s also well drawn and filled with chuckle worthy moments.