The Guardians of the Galaxy are in ruins after the events of Infinity War. Drax is dead. Gamora is in the wind. We don’t talk about Rocket. That leaves Star-Lord and Groot floating through space. That’s a problem as the cosmos are in big trouble. See, Thanos died…but can you really keep the Mad Titan down? It turns out he had an ace up his sleeve that’s going to send the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe into chaos.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 starts off with this interesting dynamic where your main roster, or at least the ones we’re familiar with from the movies, is benched. They’re not part of the action. There’s a veritable who’s who of cosmic characters gathered to discuss this new Thanos problem. Everyone from Beta Ray Bill and the Starjammers to Darkhawk and Cosmic Ghost Rider are together in one place to compare notes and decide next steps. Star-Lord is not part of this conversation.
Artist Geoff Shaw amplifies this “down-on-their-luck” vibe with some great designs. Groot looks like a punk rocker with a mohawk and spikes on his shoulders. It’s a great look. I’m not too crazy about him talking normally as it takes some of the fun away, but writer Donny Cates gives him some choice dialogue that more than makes up for it.
Star-Lord looks unshaven and a bit disheveled. Recent events have hit him hard and he’s searching for some purpose again. Since they’re sidelined from the Thanos conversation, he’s placed in an underdog role, forced to prove himself once again. In true Guardians fashion, he kind of falls into this as the Black Order makes a mess of this gathering of the greats.
Shaw delivers some chaotic and action-packed sequences here. There’s a huge amount of power involved on both sides, so the battle is instantly elevated to epic status. Any two of these characters can probably tear a hole in space. You never doubt the life-and-death struggle on display. These threats are very real and the fight is intense.
This plays out in the far reaches of space. Colorist Marte Gracia paints this beautiful and tranquil purple / blue landscape. Under normal circumstances, it would be something great to gaze out whimsically through a spaceship window. Instead, it serves as a backdrop for an all-out brawl between several powerhouses. Energy blasts cut through it with fierce potency.
I won’t spoil Thanos’ last will and testament. Suffice it to say that even in death, he’s just as conniving and threatening as ever. Letterer Cory Petit uses a jaggedly-shaped word balloon for Thanos’ speech, adding to the powerful nature of his presence, even in just a hologram.
In many ways, Guardians of the Galaxy feels like a new beginning for the cosmic end of the Marvel Universe. It sets up a huge, sprawling story that can reach from Earth to the far corners of outer space and everything in between. This is a perfect extension of the movies, capturing the same look and feel while expanding on them to include characters that haven’t yet appeared on the big screen. In short, it’s a pretty exciting and impressive opener.