Written by: Donny Cates
Art by: Geoff Shaw, Marte Gracia, VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 23 January, 2019
Reviewed by: Matthew Brown (@FireballBrown)
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the most anticipated releases of 2019. Along with the popularity of the Guardians brand the book is not only a number 1 but a continuation of the story set up in the Marvel cosmic universe through from Donny Cates Thanos run then into Cosmic Ghost Rider, Gerry Duggan’s Infinity Wars and now Guardians of The Galaxy.
The book picks up basically as Infinity Wars ends with Thanos dead and his decapitated body in the possession of his brother Starfox on Thanos ship. Starfox has assembled a large group of cosmic characters not for a celebration of Thanos death but to hear his last will and testament. A hologram Thanos explains that in the unlikely event that he was ever felled that he had taken measures to have his consciousness uploaded to another leaving them to figure out who is in fact the ‘new Thanos’.
While this is happening Star-Lord and a punk Groot with some serious attitude are in a ship together heading back to their base which they seem to have made in Knowhere the head of a dead Celestial but find it missing.
The book then cuts back to Thanos ship and the rag tag collection of characters are discussing how this new Thanos could be literally anyone of them or anyone else, Starfox explains he believes he’s narrowed it down but first job is to kill Gamora, who in Infinity Wars had turned villain and was the one to kill Thanos with a sword containing the power stone and gained control of the Infinity Gauntlet folding the universe in half.
While the meeting continues Knowhere appears blasting the ship and then being boarded by Thanos’ old homies the Black Order who thankfully seem to have put aside their various emotional issues being explored in their current title long enough to go and steal back their former Masters body.
A battle ensues and the Black Order eventually gain possession of Thanos body and teleport out inside Knowhere, as they jump Beta Ray Bill, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Moondragon and Phyla-Vell are sucked into the portal. The group are teleported to where Peter and Groot are being interrogated after being pulled over in a traffic stop by the Nova Corps. The group are saved by Starlord and Groot and under pressure from the Nova Corps are announced as Star-lord’s crew and the NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!
A ‘post credits scene’ then comes which shows the Black Order presenting Thanos body to their new leader which is revealed to be HELA! Who was actually engaged to be Married to Thanos until Thanos shows up in Hel after being killed by Gamora to break it off.
I very much enjoyed the book as someone who has been following this arc that Donny Cates has been carving out for himself in the Marvel Cosmic universe that was continued and complemented very well by Duggans Infinity Wars. As a first issue it had a lot to do as Cates had to make an effort to catch up a lot of new readers jumping on a number 1 on the status of the universe. At this point it is a decently complicated story and has a lot of characters in very different places in the universe that a new reader might find very disorientating such as Thanos dead, Gamora being a villain, THAT IS FRANK CASTLE!??! among others as well as set up the story moving forward and just make it a cool and fun issue to read on it’s own and Cates does an awesome job of that here.
I feel like moving forward now that some of the exposition of setting up the parameters of the universe has been accomplished and our new Guardians team is set the book will get even better now we can get stuck into the story moving forward and developing these characters. I like the mix of the team with some favorites like Star-Lord, who I enjoyed the way he was written in this as well as Cosmic Ghost Rider who as he’s been since introduced in Donny’s Thanos series was an absolute scene stealer in this book, a new twist on Groot, Beta Ray Bill and a couple of characters I’m really unfamiliar with like Moondragon and Phyla-Vell who I’m looking forward to get to know,
It’s also dope AF how Donny is able to pay off for fans that have followed his Marvel stuff, continuing themes from his Thanos run, the continuation of Cosmic Ghost Riders story, the incorporation of Beta Ray Bill to the team who came out of retirement in his Death of the Inhumans and also Knowhere which was revealed to be made from the head of the celestial that was killed by Knull using All-Black the Necrosword in Venom.
Really great first issue for a book I was already mega hype for. If you aren’t up to date with Marvel Cosmic and are someone who struggles being dropped in the middle of a story and just rolling with it id recommend at least going back and reading Infinity Wars but ideally Cates Thanos and CGR runs too but I really do think it did as good a job as could be expected at catching people up.
When the book was announced seeing that Cates was re-uniting with his good friend Geoff Shaw was super exciting, these guys have amazing chemistry and Shaw is just a perfect artist for this type of story. The colors are also great and sets a great tone for the story.
This book going to be huge and Cates is really doing some awesome things blazing a new trail in Marvel Cosmic and now he has been able to effectively shed some of the burden of catching people up we are really going to see this book get crazy. BUY IT!