If Guardians of the Galaxy #1 was all about how this newfangled team got brought together, it appears issue #2 is how they might break up. It’s a slower issue that sets in motion a few things, does a little character work, and largely focuses on Star-Lord. Let’s break it down.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Thanos is dead… Long live the NEW Thanos! But who will it be?! Will the new Guardians of the Galaxy find that person in time before the universe comes crashing down? Rated T+
Why does this matter?
Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw made magic on their run of Thanos, but that was always a little corner of the Marvel universe. It appears C.B. Cebulski is giving them the keys to the cosmic universe in this series, with many familiar (and not so familiar) faces running amok — all of which revolve around a story to bring back Thanos. Cue dramatic music.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Donny Cates writes a great Star-Lord. The issue opens with him commiserating with an old fling and drinking way too much. He’s carefree yet stressed, worried yet going with the flow. That is until there’s a commotion on his ship. Cates allows Star-Lord important moments on the ship to not only reveal his leadership skills, but also how he’s a caring and relatable dude. It’s a motley crew he has on his ship so it’s nice to see Cates focus on this character who will undoubtedly be the glue to hold this team together.
And we do in fact get some key moments with the crew. Groot is having some new powers spinning off of a fight with Cosmic Ghost Rider who ends up having a spar over an interesting split between team members. Then you have Phyla-Vell and Moondragon sharing an intimate moment. I’m curious to see how Cates and Geoff Shaw balance these character beats since the team isn’t the smallest.
Elsewhere the story fleshes out the villain’s side of things as they continue their quest to bring Thanos back or to never let that happen. You’ve got a good mix of various teams looking to get their goals accomplished and undoubtedly all three will run into each other.
The art by Shaw, with colors by Marte Gracia, are good, working best when there are super-powered heroes and villains punching and brooding. The villains might have the best moments dramatically due to intense lighting and framing by Shaw.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Two things threw me off with this issue. The first is how Star-Lord and his ex-fling are rendered. They look awkward and not really themselves. They aren’t as attractive one might say, but it’s always a bit confusing when a character doesn’t look like themselves.
The other is an odd beat with Cosmic Ghost Rider. He’s in one location for a bit, then literally two pages later he’s hanging with an entirely different group. It throws off how much time takes place between panels and is particularly odd since the second group deems it important to find the group Cosmic Ghost Rider was literally just hanging with. Maybe he knows where they are, guys?
Is it good?
I liked this issue for how it builds up Star-Lord and makes him the leader he’s always meant to be. There are also conscious character moments that will be fun to explore as they develop. Cates and Shaw are always juggling a few threads well, keeping the chase for Thanos’s head in the thick of things.