You know, I’ve read a lot of Al Ewing comics. I read Ultimates and New Avengers, Contest of Champions and Loki: Agent of Asgard. I’ve been reviewing Immortal Hulk for AIPT, I read Avengers: No Surrender, and I even read his Pax Brittania novel. With the exception of some of his stuff at Dynamite, I think I’ve read all of Al Ewing’s comics. I even read that blog about Ralph Dibny he did, that was taking a good-natured laugh at 52. So, when I say the next sentence, I want you to understand the whole scale of the statement.
I think this is my favorite Al Ewing comic yet.
Guardians of the Galaxy #9 finally follows up on the first plot line in the Ewing Guardians book when the Guardians went toe-to-toe with the resurrected Greek Gods and seemingly killed them all at the cost of Peter Quill’s life. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t that simple.
In truth, Quill’s ‘Element Gun’ absorbed the life force from the Greek Gods and transported Star-Lord to some other dimension based on the symbols of astrology. Peter Quill goes on a series of John Carter-esque Planetary Romance adventures with a pair of scantily clad men and women, with each of the various adventures being equivalent to the different astrological houses. But, as the issue comes to a conclusion, it’s revealed that every time that Quill has been using the Element Gun, more of the Greek Gods’ power has been released until finally, Zeus and his pantheon were released. Quill is forced to return to the ‘real’ world to save his new friends from Zeus, only to reappear just in the path of one of Knull’s goop monsters.
But it’s also really about the many origins of Peter Quill. Peter Quill was originally created by Steve Englehart with a totally different origin: he was an astronaut, chosen by a being known as the Master of the Sun to go on a series of various astrology-themed adventures. With his sentient ship and element gun, he was a heroic space adventurer, and it was all very trippy. Then Brian Michael Bendis and the Marvel Cinematic Universe retconned him again to instead give Quill the backstory of being a half-human raised by Yondu the Ravager that we all know and love.
Ewing writes his issue to call back to the old Star-Lord, the one from before Bendis and the MCU, and maybe even from before Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning brought the character back in Annihilation (the comic book, not the movie.) It’s a story that tries to square those two origins and figure out who the Master of the Sun is, while having this sort of fantastical adventure that reference astrology.
And Juann Cabal does such a fantastic job; he’s one of the best artists working for Marvel right now. His art has this very sensual, sexual take on human beings, but also with a fantastic sense of emotion and motion. There is this wonderful sense of light, with neon lightning and Kirby dots across the page, and a really interesting panel layout as a whole. The comic is one of the most artistically impressive books I’ve seen from Marvel.
Guardians of the Galaxy #9 is one of the best books I’ve ever read from Al Ewing, and that’s really saying something.
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