Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Cover Artist: Daniel Acuna
Warning: Contains Spoilers
It’s like a Christmas morning experience once per month on the day Marvel releases each new issue of Guardians of the Galaxy. I can’t wait to open each issue and savor the surprises contained within. No character is safe and anything can happen in this book – as was proved over and over again in Issue #17.
To recap, Warlock receives Starlord’s message from the future; but before he can act, the T-Bomb is detonated, tearing a hole in space-time which is quickly dubbed “The Fault.” Gamora and Warlock depart to try to repair The Fault; while Rocket, Groot, and the rest of the team transport to Attitlan to make sure the Inhumans don’t detonate any more T-Bombs. The Guardians arrive on Attitlan and the recriminations fly, leading to a scuffle; but the argument/scuffle are cut short when Attitlan is attacked by a large creature emerging from The Fault. The Inhumans and the Guardians join forces to stop the creature; but the Inhumans are also in a race against time to stop Attitlan from falling into The Fault. Maximus and Groot devise a plan to save the city. Their plan works and Martyr departs to aid Warlock and Gamora in their efforts to repair The Fault. Warlock succeeds in freezing the advance of The Fault. In a surprise move, Martyr then stabs him through the chest to fulfill her pact with Oblivion. Gamora kills Martyr in reprisal and rushes to assist Warlock. Warlock regains consciousness; but immediately transforms into The Magus! The Magus snaps Gamora’s neck and throws her into The Fault.
This is going to be a tough review because there’s nothing wrong with this issue of the series. I do want to mention several things I really liked. To begin with, the team has really come together as a powerful, effective, and well functioning strike force. Unfortunately, this occurs just in time for the team to be fractured into several units and for two founding members to be (apparently) killed. I do hope that the deaths of Martyr and Gamora will somehow be reversed by the conditions of The Fault; as Gamora is a favorite character (especially now that she is fully healed and has her hair back); and Martyr was just beginning to become interesting.
As usual, Rocket and Groot steal the show. Smart-assy hilarity spews from Rocket nearly every time he opens his mouth. The great thing about Rocket is that he is able to get away with all the humor without becoming a buffoonish character that nobody takes seriously. Rocket may be small in stature; but he is great in leadership – and a fighter I’d be happy to have at my side in a serious scrape. DnA finally explain why Groot went from haughtily loquacious in past characterizations to the rapidly losing its humorous appeal single-phrased “I am Groot.” It turns out that Groot is not only still loquacious – but also a towering genius at physics; and Maximus can understand all the nuances of meaning in what others hear as Groot merely repeating his name. It was nice to see Groot broken out of his role as the dumb lumbering powerhouse of the team – and using his until now hidden great intellect to save the day rather than just smashing everything that crosses his path. I hope a method is found to better communicate with Groot as it would be fun to see this aspect of the character further developed.
That final sequence with Warlock transforming into The Magus was not entirely unexpected. Nevertheless, it adds a fine new twist to The Guardians’ storyline and I look forward to seeing where DnA take us next.
I heartily welcome Walker’s return to the fold as artist this month. He’s really made this book his own; and I hope he stays on as artist for a good long time. Ramos’ colors are commendable as well. Acuna’s cover art for Guardians of the Galaxy is quite good, but he’s spoiled me with his more exciting cover art on the last three issues of Nova. Specifically, the action portrait shot of Warlock, Black Bolt, Gamora, and Medusa is technically well executed; but not particularly interesting, exciting, or an attention grabber. I just don’t think it’s going to motivate any first time reader to pick this book off the shelf to check it out.
In short, DnA deliver to us once again a nice hot cup of outstanding cosmic para-military action-adventure. The Guardians of the Galaxy are truly the “Cosmic Avengers” that many have been asking for over the past several years; and I don’t understand why Avengers fans aren’t flocking to this book. Add this one to your pull list folks. It deserves a prominent place there for the foreseeable future.