Al Ewing has an event problem.
That’s not to say that he’s bad at writing events — Empyre was really good! And it’s not even to say that his event tie-ins are bad. They’re not – in fact, his parts of Civil War II, Secret Empire, and Secret Wars were some of the best parts of each of those events. I mean, listen; a giant Avengers robot punching a Godzilla wearing the American flag is sort of the platonic ideal of Cool Sh*t.
But Al Ewing consistenly has the problem where his grand ideas run straight into events. He has to change the story for an event tie-in, it consequently loses all momentum, and is canceled not long after. I mean, take his New Avengers/USAvengers, and his simultaneous Ultimates/Ultimates² run. It was a great team with great characters and a great concept: Songbird and America Chavez, Sunspot’s Avengers and Eternity in chains. But a full third of New Avengers was a Civil War II tie-in. A full half of USAvengers was part of Secret Empire. The same thing happened with Ultimates.
That’s the problem with Guardians of the Galaxy #8. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still very, very good. It’s not as good as the issue before it, sure, but that was one of the best issues Ewing has ever written, in my opinion. It’s a perfectly well-executed murder mystery, implementing – as Ewing always does – the latest of continuity’s developments while weaving it into established Marvel storytelling conceits. It’s not just that Dan Slott’s new Elder of the Universe, the Profiteer appears. The Profiteer’s schemes are about the classic Marvel species the Snarks, from Louise Simonson’s Power Pack back in the ’80s.
And, as usual, the character work is perfect and compelling, the resolution (or at least, most of it) is interesting, and the humor is on point. It’s what you’d expect from the guy who has been making issue after issue after issue of perfect comics over in Immortal Hulk.
But then you get to Knull.
I don’t read Guardians of the Galaxy because I am fascinated by giant black goop monsters. You will never get me to believe that Venom – you know, the guy Spider-Man beat up on the regular, with the Eminem rap and the Tom Hardy memes – is the guy needed to save the universe. And instead of allowing this story to end because of something that Rocket Raccoon did, or something that Hercules did, it ends because . . . Knull is doing something?
Ewing can do better. He has done better. I wish that the powers that be at Marvel would allow him to do so.
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