When it was announced Al Ewing was taking over Guardians of the Galaxy many, like me, were excited. Tini Howard recently compared creator announcements to the NFL or NBA draft, and she’s very right. Juann Cabal absolutely blew us away with his work on Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and now he’s paired with Ewing, who has been blowing us away on Immortal Hulk. One can only imagine what this pairing means for America’s favorite mix-tape superhero team. In this first issue, a new god-threat hits hard after most cosmic heroes are still recovering from the last crisis.
This is flat out good storytelling. It builds towards its action, makes big beat moments feel earned, and allows multiple characters to get the focus they deserve. Starting with the first page, we’re introduced to characters we’ve never met. Time and consideration for their personalities are put into the art and writing to make us care for them. Then, doomsday strikes their planet and we’re introduced to the new villain. It’s a harrowing moment that is juxtaposed well with the following scene of the Guardians having a family dinner while on vacation. Enter Nova with bad news. The flow of the story works well to build anticipation and make you want these heroes to do something. Unfortunately, most are exhausted, which means we’re in for a new team lineup backed up with a good reason for it.
Cabal does a great job with these scenes, which are comprised mostly talking heads but are wonderfully articulated with great character acting. The pace of this book is supported by Cabal’s measured and more open panel work. Scenes never feel cluttered or chaotic. There is a rhyme and a reason in character placement and panel structure.
This issue gives you a lot of bang for your buck too. It sets up the villains, gives us a good reason for the team lineup and enough time for them to feel integrated. It then drops us into a heist-like action sequence. This sequence plays out well and ends on a cliffhanger that should have fans of Avengers: No Road Home gleefully happy.
Colors by Federico Blee excels at the bright cosmic colors suitable for the villains and heist location in this issue. The book gives you the warm and fuzzies with character work, and the colors match that well. Cabal gets to expand a bit with the art too, with a dazzling double-page splash that’s a mix of maze meets anxiety-inducing tension. There is also an excellent near double-page splash with Nova kicking butt that’s quite pleasing to the eye.
This issue packs a lot of entertainment into its pages. From character work, genuine and earned scene-stealing moments, and a cliffhanger that’ll have you excited for even more. It’s hard to resist the charms of the exciting and adventurous Guardians of the Galaxy.
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