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Guardians of the Galaxy #1 review: A cosmic renaissance in the making

If this is any indication, the cosmic Marvel universe is only going to get better.

What is possibly the most anticipated comic of 2019 — and one we spoke with great anticipation for in this week’s AiPT! Comics podcast at the 45 minute mark — is out this week. Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw reunite after their incredible run with Thanos to deliver more cosmic awesomeness. Maybe the most eclectic group to ever call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy is here, but is it good?

So what’s it about?

Read our preview.

Why does this matter?

It’s an exciting time to be a Marvel Comics cosmic universe fan. We already know Marvel Studios is steering their ship into more space-focused stories — Donny Cates created one of the wildest cosmic characters ever in Cosmic Ghost Rider, and judging by the cover, this series is going to have an eclectic bunch teaming up. What more can you want if you’re even slightly interested in cosmic characters?

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

The layout on the opening page is quite nice.
Credit: Marvel Comics

If you have read the preview you know a major villain that was recently killed isn’t gone completely. No, Thanos is setting in motion a chase to find something very important. It’s a McGuffin, but it has a bit of purpose since it has the weight of the threat of Thanos behind it. This drives the narrative and quickly turns this issue from a meeting to a high-speed chase. Cates does a good job mixing in exposition with action, colorful character moments, and well earned turns in the plot.

The biggest “trick” of this issue, so to speak, is how Cates and Shaw get this ragtag group of characters on the team at all. I won’t spoil it, but it actually suits the types of characters, sets up a reluctant dynamic between them, and should help keep the team bubbly and fresh.

Colorist Marte Gracia and Shaw are making magic together on this book. All that pop of color we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s cosmic realm is highlighted well in this issue. Shaw is only getting better as time goes on, with plenty of action and explosiveness on the page. Silver Surfer stands out as particularly well rendered in all his reflective glory. The use of blur helps establish the action as intense. Being a huge fan of purple, I enjoyed that there sure is a lot in this issue, and Cosmic Ghost Rider is a nice contrast with his yellow and orange glow.

The Mad Titan is back. Sorta.
Credit: Marvel Comics

It can’t be perfect, can it?

Call me spoiled, but I hoped we’d get an opening summary page with this issue. Alas, we do not. It’s needed since characters are spoken of, like Rocket, but I have no clue where the story left off with him. I’m not sure if the confusion is on purpose and Cates will cover it eventually, or if I need to read back issues. There’s a lack of editor notes to help explain these things too. It’s conveyed in a way as if we should already know, rather than we will find out.

Is it good?

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 pops you in the jaw with a right hook, setting up an exciting adventure that feels fresh. Cates and Shaw have created a story that excites much like the Guardians movies by reminding us why a ragtag group of misfits banding together is such an exciting way to tell a story. If this is any indication, the Marvel cosmic universe is only going to get better.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Is it good?
Cates and Shaw have created a story that excites much like the Guardians movie by reminding us why a ragtag group of misfits banding together is such an exciting way to tell a story. If this is any indication, the Marvel cosmic universe is only going to get better.
An exciting first issue that pops you in the jaw with a story that is exciting and genuine
Great art with colors that pop to remind us the universe is a colorful place
A good reason for this ragtag group to be on a team together
The lack of a summary catch-you-up page left me wondering if I missed something or if I'm supposed to not know why certain things are the way they are
9.5
Great
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