After almost a decade of the Guardians of the Galaxy resembling a very specific iteration of the team, the mold has finally broken. Meet the new Guardians of the Galaxy- the universe’s greatest heroes.
It’s a chaotic introduction to this version of the Guardians, expanding the roster and facing horrible new threats. It was created by Al Ewing, Juan Frigeri, Feberico Blee, and Cory Petit.
The Guardians are no longer a clan of ne’er do wells or scoundrels. They’re the universe’s protectors and superheroes. It’s a good thing too, because there’s massive alien androids, death cults, and a very, VERY familiar Earth supervillain.
This issue feels so much like a whole new series that it surprised me a few times to see that it doesn’t have a #1 on the cover. Ewing takes the character work he’s done over the past year, and continues that on (both from this series and from Empyre). However, on the adventure side, these plots are some of the wildest and biggest stories I’ve seen from Ewing. These threats seem like what the Avengers have faced, but on a grand, galactic scale that seems uniquely suited to the team.
In one way or another, it all feels like a natural extension of Ewing’s cosmic work to date too. The personal dynamics between Quill and Gamora or Hulkling and Wiccan are like a comfortable blanket, one that draws us in to the story deeper. The Progenitors are a terrifying threat, but a thrill to see for anyone who followed Ewing’s Inhumans series The Royals. That familiarity lulls the reader into a sense of comfort, which is perfectly upended in the last few pages with the arrival of the team’s most unexpected member.
Frigeri’s arrival in the series is an unexpected delight. His linework is a little closer to Marvel’s house style, but he’s able to give the designs and character acting a unique flair. He makes the weird elements of the story stand out without feeling out of place. Blee steps in to give the multiple plotlines a unique sense of place thanks to their coloring and lighting. It comes together best in those final pages, which turn darker, and are laid out in a way that builds tension, even when we know from future covers who the new member is.
It’s all a fantastic way for readers to get excited for Doctor Doom to join the Guardians.
And really, that’s exactly the sort of thing this series excels at. After this exciting issue, I’d be onboard for the new direction regardless. But now, I’m ready to kneel before Doom.
Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is available now from Marvel Comics.
An exciting new direction brings new members, new challenges, and a great new artist. Even with the creative team shifts, this continues to be one of Marvel’s most consistently great series. Plus, the creative team is able to pull off an ending that surprises even when we should have all seen it coming.