Gerry Duggan’s run with the Guardians of the Galaxy for me has been an up and down affair but I can say with total confidence that this issue is easily his best yet. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the best Guardians book to come out since the glory days of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
We’re finally getting the Guardians back to a familiar place with this issue. That place being the team not some weird intergalactic burglars. The previous issue saw the team’s ship attacked and boarded by members of the Fraternity of Raptors. The Raptors were looking for a corpse hidden on board that was in possession of a set of Nega-Bands.Rocket was poisoned by the leader of the Raptors and Star-Lord jets off to face him and get the antidote while the rest of the team stays behind and tends to their dying friend and failing ship.
One thing I will definitely give Duggan credit for is his reintroduction of many familiar faces and lore from Marvel’s rich cosmic history. The Raptors and Nega-Bands are going to be completely foreign concepts to anyone who’ve only followed the Guardians, or anything cosmic really, post the teams appearance on the silver screen.
This also marks the first issue where Peter actually felt something close to the versions of himself that had been around for decades. He finally appeared competent and a believable team leader and not just the Chris Pratt character we’ve had to deal with few the last few years. This issue mostly featured Peter so having him sorta back to normal made it all the better. Hopefully this will only be the start of a proper return to form for the Guardians and Marvel Cosmic as a whole.
This issue sees artist Marcus To take on interiors and I think it was the best looking book so far. Series regular, and cover artist for this issue, Aaron Kuder just never felt like a good fit for me. I know Duggan has mentioned that art duties will receive multiple guest appearances but I’d like to see more from To. Some art complaints I have though lie solely with character design. Gamora is somehow still one of the most bland looking characters at Marvel. If it wasn’t for her distinct eye markings I’d never think she was anyone other than a random green alien. Really though what was wrong with her old iconic look? And the beard on Peter still needs to go.
Marvel Cosmic still has a long way to go to get back to its former glory and Duggan still has a deep hole to dig out of left by his predecessor Brian Michael Bendis, but this is one of those issues that gives this famously pessimistic reader hope.