I have been dreading Guardians of the Galaxy #7 for some time since it’s been teased as the death of Rocket. It’s certainly a pretty ominous tone right out of the gate with David Marquez’s haunting cover. We have a few steps we need to take before we can dig into this. After the new team’s victory over Thanos and the Black Order, they’re pulled into an encounter with the Universal Church of Truth. These fearsome foes have dramatically upped their game, unlike anything the Guardians have seen before.
Although they’re still a ragtag team, the new Guardians are functioning pretty well together, all things considered. They quickly form a game plan and head out into the field in their new shipped named Bowie. Artist Cory Smith ramps up the excitement and anticipation as they venture into battle. They don’t know what they’re up against, but there’s a look of complete concentration and determination on their faces. This is the right thing to do even if it means risking their lives.
One of my favorite panels in Guardians of the Galaxy #7 comes with a small detail. As the team teleports into the Church’s base, Star-Lord presses a button on his neck to form his helmet. Smith catches this in an in-between spot, so you can still see some of Peter’s face as the helmet is still solidifying. It’s such a cool shot and it makes the sequence feel like it’s moving.
The Church’s new base is huge and intimidating. Colorist David Curiel adds an eerie quality to their ship with glowing purple energy. It’s a definite alien vibe that feels unnatural in every way. The way this glows through the darkness of space casts a creepy light on all who approach. This contrasts well with the gritty nature of the Guardians and their style.
While the bulk of this issue consists of the fight with the Universal Church of Truth, Rocket does come in by the end. I don’t see this as much of a spoiler as he’s on the cover and it’s public knowledge that he’s going to be involved in this arc. That being said, I was unprepared for his appearance. Rocket is a beloved character. No small part of that is because he’s adorable and he’s got an attitude. Seeing him in this state was shocking and heartbreaking.
Letterer Cory Petit adds just the right touch to these images with some word balloons that look pained, like it’s hurting Rocket to speak. You can imagine how his voice must come through in a gravelly tone.
Leave it to writer Donny Cates to delight, terrify, and sadden me in a single comic. It’s a roller coaster of emotion and this arc is just getting started. After taking on Thanos, this team could probably tackle any threat, but this upgraded Universal Church of Truth is on another level. This is grade-A sci-fi action.