Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: The Final Gauntlet
WRITER: Donny Cates
ART: Geoff Shaw, David Marquez
Donny Cates does what Donny Cates does.
He writes a kickass comic that has a fantastic cast of characters, gives a great focus on the core ones and is a remarkable combination of very innovative and creative and grounded and, well, human.
I never really cared for the Infinity Stones saga/event/thing that Marvel had recently – I love almost all of Gerry Duggans comics but this “event” like so many others was frankly boring and took characters I liked in directions I didn’t much care for either way. In this case I was particularly sad at what it did to the Guardians of the Galaxy as a team.
That said, it’s what tends to happen with many such events – the aftermath is better. It’s like a forest fire. It looks pretty but you don’t like what it IS doing. But the aftermath of a normal forest fire in the long term (in purely nature terms) is good as it does replenish the forest, clear dead and overgrown things and leave us fresh fertile ground for something new to grow.
And so we have this new (sort of) Guardians team.
Which is not so much a team but just… people sort of stuck together. Which in it’s own way IS very Guardians.
Cates brings back Peter Quill who is dealing with a lot of things and he gets so much character and moments here that are great – including a video-chat with his ex Kitty Pryde. Groot is evolving again and we can see the impact on him of what they’ve been through as he acts out. We get the return of Beta Ray Bill who is a personal favourite of mine as well as Moondragon and her girlfriend (who is not my favourite but if it’s a package deal, I’m fine with it) + there’s also the original Nova, Richard Ryder who I’m enjoying having back, ditto with Wraith from the AMAZING Annihilation events waaaay back when that literally reignited Marvels cosmic comics and birthed the modern Guardians team as we know it and of course Cates’ own creation: Cosmic Ghost Rider, hands down my favourite new character from either of the Big-2 in the past few years.
There’s action, interpersonal drama, great character moments for pretty much this entire team, great scifi, unexpected moments aplenty and more than a few very fun and funny moments.
I HIGHLY recommend for fans of Cates’ writing, for fans of the Guardians (though step gingerly if you’re a touchy purist type fan… try it anyway if you can open the mind and heart a wee bit) and if you want a well-rounded fun space-y action adventure comic.