Since Dr. Doom was announced as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, many have been wondering how on Earth a villain of his ego could join. Fear not, as we learn how he joins the team this week in Al Ewing and Juan Frigeri’s latest issue. Considering Dr. Doom was taking out each team member last issue, one can surmise they won’t be letting him join with open arms. Or will they?
This issue brings the heat with some rather big gloom and doom, some direct action via Dr. Doom kicking the Guardians butt, and a hell of a twist to end the book. The main focus of the issue hones in on Dr. Doom using mind-swapping powers to take over Hulkling’s body. That allows Dr. Doom to use Hulkling to fight the Guardians while also allowing his armor to fight with his real body. It’s a clever way to increase the odds in his favor, and it’s a reminder Dr. Doom always has tricks up his sleeve.
The action that comes from the Hulkling/Doom team-up is a heck of a lot of fun, allows the team to use a bit of teamwork, and shows how versatile they can be even against an A-class villain. The entire setup utilizes Marvel canon in a clever way too, further showing how Ewing has a good handle on all these characters and Marvel Comics history as a whole.
This leads to a development involving Ego and Talionis. There are a good number of heroes involved in this issue, but bouncing between Dr. Doom and Talionis’s exploits keeps things moving along. It also lets Ewing and Frigeri utilize lesser-known deep-cut heroes you don’t normally see. These two stories converge to ramp up the stakes in a way that you won’t see coming. All in all, it’s an issue that is filled with surprises and spins on things that were old but feel new again.
Frigeri does a great job with all the character beats thanks to good character acting. If you’re a fan of Hulkling you’ll feel true horror when you see Dr. Doom has taken over his mind. There’s nothing like a fierce Dr. Doom look of death to make your heart skip a beat. Rocket is used well here, as the action sequence with Dr. Doom keeps things moving along nicely, and his comedic element works perfectly as Rocket has new context thanks to a story choice. Frigeri knocks that out of the park. Federico Blee tends to make the characters come off the page with brighter colors, especially with the barren landscape they fight on in the issue. Ego is a mix of pinks and purples, evoking the cosmic side of Marvel well.
Guardians of the Galaxy #14 comes out swinging this week with stakes-raising storytelling and a character twist that instantly changes the dynamic of the team for the better if you like comedy, awkwardness, and a new way of looking at Dr. Doom.
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