Sandwiched in between those major moments is a successful, if not quite standout, issue that finds Nova and Star-Lord on diplomatic duty while Gamora and the other Guardians uncover a major, new threat. Let’s get to it.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Guardians of the Galaxy #15!
Since taking over Guardians, writer Al Ewing has not shied away from letting the consequences of Marvel’s major events — from Empyre to King in Black — play out in his book.
Instead of following the goofy template of the Guardians films, Ewing’s book is a bit of a landing zone for these Marvel Cosmic stories. In this issue, he gets to tip at the dramatic impact of Planet-Size X-Men, where the mutants claimed control of Mars, and introduce the Guardians to the new, Krakoa-aligned S.W.O.R.D. station.
Even the most charitable X-fans can understand why some people hear about the concept of Krakoa and remain a bit skeptical. (Or, to quote my friend: “Wait a second, Mister Sinister is on the council?”) Ewing leans into those fears by having Nova, already peeved at having to share a team with Super-Skrull and Doom, face off with Magneto. “I’m done shaking hands with super villains,” Nova tells him. “You’re going down, Magneto.”
This is all a bit silly and Ewing wisely doesn’t drag it out for too long. The moment serves as a useful spotlight on Nova, who is still adjusting to the new status quo of the team as the “Space Avengers.”
The issue as a whole mostly serves to set up The Last Annihilation, which gets into full gear once Gamora and co. realize who is responsible for entrapping Ego the Living Planet in a black outer shell. (Sentences like that are why I love Marvel Cosmic.)
Space comics often depend on an acute sense of scale and artist Juan Frigeri absolutely nails this final image, which reduces the Guardians’ ship to the size of an ant. Cory Petit’s lettering sells the majesty and dread of this scene too as our heroes realize who they are up against. (Let’s just say: they may have to come ready to bargain.)
Guardians is an excellent comic that manages to keep several plot threads afloat while maintaining a tight focus on its characters. This issue is not its best, but even an average Guardians issue is one other series would strive to match.
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