Until now, I had been less enthusiastic about this book than a lot of other people on the web. Starting from an iffy first issue, the series improved quickly, but I kept waiting for an issue to explode colorfully across the corners of my mind, the way great space opera should.
Well, this is that issue!
And with it, GotG has finally metamorphosed from a good comic to an OUTSTANDING one!
With the team members having (temporarily?) gone their separate ways, Rocket Raccoon leads a pickup team (Mantis, Major Victory, Groot, and Bug) into battle against escalating threats from the Badoon Empire, the same empire that, as Starhawk explains to Cosmo, will conquer the galaxy in the distant future. Meanwhile, we get vignettes of the other team members’ activities, climaxing with Star Lord ending up in the Negative Zone domain of Blastaar.
The way each big development tops the one before it, and the way all these visual and conceptual treats are compressed into a single issue, is the type of thing rarely seen from Marvel comics since the Silver Age. Kudos to Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, who are now officially my favorite current Marvel writers.
Paul Pelletier is the perfect artist for this sort of thing, and he more than rises to the occasion, with some of the best single-page and double-page splashes to ever grace a superhero comic. The double-page splash of the Steve Gerber-era Guardians, in particular, should give goosebumps to any serious GotG fan.
The only thing I didn’t like was the hint that Drax’s daughter Moondragon is alive, because I have always despised Moondragon and was very happy to find out she had snuffed it in Annihilation: Conquest, which I haven’t read.
Ah, well, this is still the kind of comic book issue that renews one’s faith in superhero comics.