Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Wesley Craig
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Cover Artist: Pasqual Ferry
Warning: Contains Spoilers
I really like it that DnA are mining the Marvel vaults for cosmic characters that have lain dormant for far too long. This issue gives us original Guardians of the Galaxy, Killraven, and Hollywood (a future, aged version of Wonder Man). What more need I say? With a lineup like that, you know you’re in for a helluva ride and, as always, DnA do not disappoint.
To recap, #18 picks up where Star-Lord’s portion of the team (Mantis, Bug, Cosmo, Flagg) left off in #16. It seems that Star-Lord’s team is lost in time and space, being randomly thrown from one alternate reality to the next (kind of like the old Time Tunnel series); but always ending up in a reality on the date Friday January 13th, 3009. The effect also has them aging at different rates with Star-Lord being an old man, Bug now a teenager, Cosmo a puppy, and Mantis an infant. Strangely, Flagg is immune from the aging effect but seems to be fading away into insubstantiality. The team arrives in a future version of NYC where a team consisting of Killraven, Hollywood, Charlie 27, Starhawk, and Nikki (calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy) are in the midst of battle with the “Martians” of Killraven’s time. Our Guardians aid the alternate Guardians in their fight; overcoming the Martians. Starhawk reveals that Star-Lord’s team must find a way back to their reality and time or they will cease to exist. Both teams decide to raid the ruins of Avengers Mansion so Killraven’s team may use the weapons stored there against the Martians and so Star-Lord’s team may use Doom’s time machine to get home. Just as the team fights their way into the mansion’s weapon’s cache; time-space shifts again and Star-Lord’s team is whisked away to another reality before they can use the time machine. They end up in a reality controlled by The Magus and are immediately attacked by operatives of the UCT.
DnA are to be commended once again for a story that delivers drama, excitement, and a flat out fun time. I appreciate their ability to take an enormous cast of disparate B and C list characters from Marvel’s dim and distant cosmic past; and develop them into complex characters that we care about by putting them in an A list story. Just goes to show you that the old adage, “there are no bad characters,” is true. It all boils down to the writing; and DnA are a powerhouse of a writing team.
I really enjoyed seeing Killraven again after such a long absence. Having always been a Wonder Man fan, I was also excited to see Hollywood in this book. I hope DnA find a way to bring these two back for some more adventures with the new Guardians. The developing friendship between alternate Charlie 27’s and Flagg has been a fun element across this story arc as well. Speaking of Flagg, I am wondering what DnA have planned for him. He’s been the “duck out of water” character since he was introduced to the team; but he now seems poised to take on a much more important role. I hope he isn’t being written out of the book as I’ve started to like this character being part of the team.
Some think that the magic of this book rests solely on the shoulders of Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Issue #18 should lay that theory to rest. The magic of this book is in the interaction of the ensemble – which is amply demonstrated in this issue where Rocket and Groot are absent.
This story begins the process of bringing the two halves of the current Guardians back together into what will no doubt be a major throwdown with The Magus. I hear another long absent cosmic alumnus will be making an appearance in this book quite soon – namely Kang. I’ll be anxiously awaiting Kang’s return and wondering who will be brought back next from Marvel’s past to mix it up with the team – John Carter? The Micronauts? Rom Spaceknight? Whoever DnA bring back, I’m sure they’ll give us a memorable story.
Ferry once again delivers magnificent cover art for #18. It really is one of my favorite covers for the series thus far. Fairbairn’s colors are nicely done – being the perfect complement to Craig’s art. As to Craig’s art – I will say that I liked his art this time quite a bit better than I liked his previous work on this series. I don’t know if he’s growing into the look of this title or if I’m just getting used to the jarring stylistic differences between Craig and Walker. In either case, I still prefer the more realistic take of Walker on this book. Craig is obviously a talented artist, but the more “Saturday morning cartoonish” style of his art is just not right for this particular book.
Guardians of the Galaxy consistently delivers the perfect balance of action, adventure, humor, drama, excitement, and unpredictability. Bar none, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s finest books; and if you’re not reading it – call your local comics shop right now and add it to your pull list. You’ll be glad you did.
Article by: Bill Meneese