Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Cover Artist: Salvador Larroca
Warning: Contains Spoilers
Once again Abnett and Lanning show us why Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best books Marvel puts on the shelves each month. I just can’t understand why this book is only a mediocre seller. It really is much better than most of Marvel’s top sellers.
The story picks up at the start of the melee that was set up at the end of issue #14 with the Guardians facing off against the Inhuman Royal Family and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. The Inhumans rescue Crystal from Phyla’s attempt to use her as a hostage; but not before Starlord and Mantis reveal to Crystal the damage the War of Kings is doing to the space-time continuum. Lockjaw transports the Inhumans back to Hala; leaving the Imperial Guard and the Guardians locked in mortal combat. The Guardians use the diversion of the Inhumans departure to split into three smaller teams to more effectively engage the Imperial Guard. Gamora and Phyla are on one team while Starlord, Cosmo, Flagg, Bug, and Mantis are on another. Rocket, Groot, Drax and Captain Victory teleport in to make up the third team. Warlock goes solo to confront the Shi’ar magic user. Meanwhile, Starhawk manipulates Moondragon into setting her free. Warlock once again transforms into The Magus persona and kills the Shi’ar pursuing him. Starhawk abducts Starlord’s team. The other Guardians teams defeat or evade their pursuers; and then converge on the Continuum Cortex to drive the Imperial Guard off of Knowhere. As the remaining Guardians debrief; they are disturbed by a totally unexpected event – the severed head of the Celestial that is Knowhere suddenly comes back to life; and it’s looking for Warlock.
I thoroughly enjoyed #15 and I was impressed by DnA’s ability to tell such a fast-paced and engaging story using such a large and disparate cast of characters. It would be easy for some of these characters to get lost in the shuffle or for them to be given short shrift; but DnA gave each of them something important to do.
My favorite sequence in this issue is the first one where the Guardians are caught in the middle between the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard. My only complaint is that this sequence ended too quickly. I would have preferred to see some more action with all three teams fighting each other in a free for all. As it was, the Inhumans quit the field all too quickly.
Warlock’s sequence was intriguing. His abrupt transformations into the murderously psychotic Magus are jarring. The question in my mind is: are DnA feeding us a red herring? Is it really The Magus we’ve been dealing with since Annihilation? Who is in the cocoon being protected by the Universal Church of Truth?
Starhawk’s abduction of Starlord’s team is intriguing as well. Where did she take them? Interestingly, Cosmo was with them and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing him in on the direct action.
The sequence where all the remaining Guardians converge on the Continuum Cortex and drive out the Imperial Guard was very satisfying. I always enjoy it when the Imperial Guard get their asses handed to them – and they made it clear that they were humiliated by being defeated by the Guardians.
The final sequence where the Celestial came back to life was a real shocker. I didn’t see that one coming and I can’t wait to see what DnA have in store for us with this development next issue.
I am a fan of Walker’s art. He consistently scores a home run with all the complex scenes and different characters being portrayed in the typical action packed GoTG story. Ramos’ colors perfectly complimented Walker’s art. I didn’t find the Larroca cover very satisfying though – and that’s disappointing because a cover featuring Cosmo and Rocket if done better would have been an instant favorite for me as I am so fond of those two characters.
I know this will come as a surprise to those of you who respond to my critiques in the forum, but try as I might, I really couldn’t find much to nit-pick about this issue. The story was engaging and plausible, the action was exciting, and the interior art was good. Quite simply, GoTG #15 was a thoroughly satisfying read and it remains one of Marvel’s consistently best offerings month after month. Here’s hoping GoTG has a long and glorious future.