Guardians Of The Galaxy #12 Serves As A Victory Lap And Incredible Closer

by James Ferguson

Everything that writer Donny Cates has done in Marvel has led to Guardians of the Galaxy #12. This includes Thanos Wins, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Death of the Inhumans, Silver Surfer: Black, and of course, this series. So, does it stick the landing? You better believe it.

Guardians of the Galaxy #12 works on a number of levels. It delivers an amazing and satisfying end to this current storyline involving the potential death of Rocket in a thrilling and exciting conclusion. It also serves as a victory lap for Cates, showing how all these different series worked towards this point. It’s pretty impressive.
On that note, the closing pages of this issue feature some incredible double page spreads by the artists of those previous series. Geoff Shaw, Dylan Burnett, Ariel Olivetti, and Tradd Moore all return for one more awesome shot each to sum up their run on those titles. This was a nice touch that works to put a bow on this run.

While this is a nice way to wrap up this chapter of Cates’ work, there’s a lot more going on in Guardians of the Galaxy #12. I was tearing up seeing Rocket, on death’s door pulling off one more move to save his friends…or rather, his family. Much of this comes down to how artist Cory Smith depicts the little guy. He’s emaciated and tiny, a shriveled version of his former self. A strong breeze would probably knock him over. Despite this, he soldiers on because the people he cares about are in danger, not to mention the entire galaxy.
Of course, some of the impact of this is removed by the fact that we know Rocket is starring in the next iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy beginning next month. We know he’s not dying here so some of the risk is removed. Despite this, I was very much caught up in the story, wondering how all of this would come together.

There’s an amazing amount of characters in this issue and they all get some time to shine. Smith packs this book with equal parts action and drama. Inker Victor Olazaba adds some nice depth and texture to the pencils, especially in Rocket’s last stand with Groot. That’s a cool image I will not soon forget.
This is every bit a science-fiction book, not just with the cosmic warriors fighting against a space church and its followers. Colorist David Curiel fills the pages with bright and vibrant colors from all the different characters. This contrasts well with Rocket who looks sickly brown in his beat up dark red uniform. This reinforces the idea that he’s on his way out while the others are starting a new chapter. Add to that his scratchy dialogue that appears in wiggly word balloons from letterer Cory Petit and you have a weak, but strong-willed Rocket.

At the end of the day, Guardians of the Galaxy is about family and how your adopted one can often be better than your biological one. Although they come from very different places, these miscreants and outlaws have come together, becoming stronger than the sum of their parts. This is encapsulated perfectly in the final pages of this issue. While this serves as an awesome conclusion to Cates’ run, it also stands on its own as a solid Guardians of the Galaxy story that is sure to stand the test of time.
Guardians of the Galaxy #12 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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