Who are the new Guardians?  And will they listen to Peter Quill?  Your Major Spoilers review of Guardians Of The Galaxy #1 awaits!


Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 23, 2019

Previously in Guardians of the Galaxy:  The universe is on fire.  Hundreds of worlds are at war.  Never has there been such hatred and division across the cosmos.  And in spite of all this, Thanos of Titan is still dead… or is he?  Now, more than ever, the cosmos need the Guardians of the Galaxy… but in the aftermath of the Infinity Wars, who is left to answer the call?


We being with Eros, brother of Thanos, addressing an assemblage of cosmic Marvel characters, including Firelord, The Starjammers, The Imperial Guard, Darkhawk and more.  (Howard The Duck is also present, for those of you keeping track.  His announcement is dire: He brings word of the final wishes of Thanos, who may be dead but has made steps to implant his consciousness in another mind somewhere in the galaxy.  Though Eros was an Avenger as Starfox, he intentionally didn’t invite his heroic comrades, instead letting everyone there know that their role is to be finding and killing Thanos.  Elsewhere, a filthy Peter Quill and Groot make their way back to Knowhere, only to find it… GONE?  Moondragon and Phyla-Vell (daughter of Mar-Vell and former Captain Marvel) argue over whether Gamora is the one bearing Thanos’ mind, while Cosmic Ghost Rider just wants a drink.  Both discussions end with the sudden appearance of Knowhere, the severed head of a dead Celestial, outside Starfox’s ship.  The big giant head attacks, followed by The Black Order, who want Thanos’ armor/corpse, and a collapsar drags away most of the assembled characters.  Beta Ray Bill escapes by the skin of his magic hammer, along with Phyla, Moondragon and Cosmic Ghost Rider, who end up captured by the Xandarian Nova Corps and somehow conscripted into Quill’s latest Guardians team.


There’s a lot going on in these pages, but what it DOESN’T give us is any real idea what might have happened to Rocket, Gamora, Drax or any of the other now-missing Guardians.  Instead, there are footnote references that advise readers to go find Infinity Wars, which might make for good business, but is kind of annoying to read.  There’s not a lot of room for character depth in these pages, nor is there a clear idea of what Phyla’s powers are now, since the last I saw her, she was dead.  That said, Cates makes for some interesting drama with the setup in these pages, and his use of Starfox is the best that character has come off since Dan Slott wrecked him back in the pages of She-Hulk.  (I hold a grudge, not for the creepy story, but the use of one of the Baldwin brothers on the cover to represent Eros.)  The big splash page of the team looks pretty great though, as does much of Shaw’s art.  I’m disappointed at the lack of detail in things like Bill’s armor, but the battle sequences are exciting and the clear discontent in the faces of Quill and Groot at their cohabitation sells the whole situation (although Groot’s “$&@#$ you” is also a hint that something different is happening.


I will say this: I’m not sure how I feel about Cosmic Ghost Rider in the middle of the mainstream Earth-616 continuity, for reasons both name-related and based on his wackadoodle origins.  But I support the use of Moondragon and Phyla, a newly verbose Groot and the majesty of Beta Ray Bill, making Guardians of the Galaxy #1 an interesting read with better-than-average art, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m still worried about the whereabouts of the missing team members, but the story being set up here feels like something fresh for the Guardians, as long as we don’t get Thanos back at full strength by issue #6.

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Some Fun Bits

It's an "Everything you know is WRONG" plot, but it has some strong moments and assembles a weird cast of characters for what could a whole new Guardians era. Here's hoping Cosmic Ghost Rider as a character can carry the load.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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