You know how sometimes you read a book, and everything just clicks? The writer and the artists are working perfectly in tandem, the character work both draws from previous continuity and moves characters forward into new spaces, and more than anything else, it’s just a really good comic. That’s what this Guardians of the Galaxy run is. Al Ewing, Juann Cabal, Nina Vakueva, Chris Sprouse, Belén Ortega, Karl Story, Federico Blee, and Guru-eFX have all come together to begin not just the perfect successor to the history of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but what I could honestly argue is the best Guardians of the Galaxy story ever.
Do you feel like the basis for your life is wrong?
This book starts off emotional. From the very beginning, the premise is that the family who finally has the ability to settle down and not stare death in the face has that chance ripped away from them. All of the original Guardians here — Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot — clearly want to stay at peace, but Star-Lord and Rocket just… can’t. It’s a heartbreaking thing, tied together by Rocket’s justification for leaving off on yet another dangerous mission: “I’m doin’ this for the same reason you are, Pete. ‘Cause I don’t sleep too good anymore.” Even if you haven’t read previous Guardians stories, the tragedy of this family being ripped apart because of their inability to not dive into a conflict hits incredibly hard. The tragedy that strikes in just the second issue of the book reverberates throughout the entire cast, making it clear that this story matters. Even if the plot doesn’t affect the greater Marvel Universe, it affects these characters. And maybe even more importantly, it affects the readers.
Your honeyed words of peace would have us think twice about our mission? Then you have met your match — in the Prince of Power! For I do not even think once!
This book isn’t just high drama and emotion, though. That’d be understating what Ewing and Cabal bring to the table, because this book is absolutely hilarious when it wants to be. While a lot of the story is definitely wrapped up in character drama and emotions and tragedy, the book never forgets that levity goes a long way. Between the Prince of Power, Noh-Varr, Gnawbarque, and everyone else in the back half of the collection, there are so many moments that will make you almost forget how tense this story can get, before ramping that tension up even further. It’s the best of both worlds here, and it’s really a credit to the entire creative team that it works so well.
Speaking of the art team, Cabal is firing on all cylinders in this book. More cylinders than I even knew were there! Cabal’s been a good artist for a while, but on Guardians it feels like he’s finally been allowed to flex his muscles and do something truly original. There are incredible layouts and pages in this book that made me audibly gasp because they work so well. When it comes to sequential art as a storytelling form, Cabal has reached the apex of the game here. It’s truly magnificent stuff, helped on by his colorist, Federico Blee. I have less praise for the rest of the team, not because they’re not good artists — all of them are great — but because Cabal has put out such awe-inspiring work that every issue he didn’t draw felt almost disappointing.
Are you interested in the Guardians of the Galaxy? Have you liked these creators’ past work? Do you like good comics? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then this is the book for you. I don’t think it’s possible to overhype it. I’ll say it again: I think the entire team has come together to create what will be the best Guardians of the Galaxy story of all time, and it’s worth getting in on the ground floor for it.