The Guardians of the Galaxy are not doing so hot. They managed to get to Gamora before the Dark Guardians could, but weren’t able to keep their former teammate safe. Now they’re picking up the pieces and figuring out what to do next while Gamora is probably going to get sacrificed. There’s a wild card in here though in the form of Hela and the Black Order. The Goddess of Death is proving to be one step ahead of everyone as Thanos’ plans start to come together.
In his last will and testament, Thanos revealed that his consciousness was downloaded into someone else in the universe. Eros and a few others jumped to the logical conclusion that it must be Gamora, especially after he recent actions during Infinity Wars. This always felt like a red herring. Sure enough, the truth is revealed in Guardians of the Galaxy #5. I’m glad that my theory panned out.
I’m not going to spoil that here but I will say it’s a pretty great payoff. Hela effortlessly makes her move to put Thanos’ plan into action, proving why she stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the greats. There’s a great sequence between her and Cosmic Ghost Rider that gives you just a glimpse of her raw power. Artist Geoff Shaw humbles one of the coolest new characters in just a handful of panels. This is such an epic display of strength.
With Hela playing on this grand stage, it’s easy to forget she’s from Asgard. She fits in so well among the cosmic characters. Just as with an ingrained accent, she can’t escape her origins. Letterer Cory Petit uses the classic Asgardian font for her speech which adds an air of confidence that fits very well for her in this setting.
Shaw does a great job in showing energy and emotion. This ranges from the distraught expressions of failure on Star-Lord to the confident strength of Hela. A particular stand out comes when Thanos’ plan is enacted. The pain of this transformation is almost hard to look at.
It’s interesting to see the differences between the new Guardians and the Dark Guardians. One is a family, albeit a dysfunctional one, willing to go to great lengths to protect the group. The other falls apart in moments. There’s nothing holding this other team together aside from their alignment on Gamora’s death.
The tone of the different teams is also unique. Colorist David Curiel establishes this well. Although they’re down and out, there’s hope with the Guardians. This contrasts against the dark and soulless energy of Eros and the others. There is no warmth there.
Writer Donny Cates manages to weave in aspects of some of his other Marvel titles into Guardians of the Galaxy. This issue includes references to Death of the Inhumans and Venom. The other books aren’t required reading in order to enjoy this one, but it does add to the experience. I’m most interested in what Wraith is looking to do with Knull. This has so much potential.
Items like that are just one of the reasons why Guardians of the Galaxy has been such a great read. This has been a stellar arc, weaving in and out of so many interesting aspects of these characters, while dropping hints at what’s to come. There are tons of possibilities with this group and we’re just getting started. Granted, we’re kicking things off with Thanos, one of the biggest, baddest villains in the Marvel Universe, so where can you go next?