The Guardians of the Galaxy became, against all odds, are among Marvel’s most recognized teams today. With all the Thanos and Infinity Stones stuff going on in the movies, it’s not too surprising the comics have also brought that particular plot device back, and most recently with the Infinity Wars began with the death of Thanos and Gamora finding a new way to cut the universe’s population in half.
That aforementioned mini-series event led to a new Guardians title from writer Donny Cates. I like his work, so here’s his first volume, subtitled The Final Gauntlet.
The Guardians ain’t what they used to be. Mostly because the team is down to just Groot and Peter Quill. Drax is dead, Gamora is missing, and Rocket left. And Groot is a lot more articulate than he used to be.
However, Thanos may be dead, but he did leave a will. Revealed to all the other cosmic powers by his brother Eros, Thanos’s will claims he downloaded his mind into another person in order to revive himself. Who that other person is, Thanos doesn’t say, but Eros rallies the cosmic heroes to hunt and down and take out the various likely candidates, starting with Gamora. A surprise attack by Hela and Peter and Groot’s late arrival leads to different groups all hunting Gamora. Eros, along with Cosmic Ghost Rider, Nebula,Gladiator and the Shiar, and a Kree named Wraith are looking to kill Gamora. Star-Lord, with Groot, a Phyla-Vell and Moondragon from an alternate reality, and Beta Ray Bill don’t truck with killing a former Guardian who only might be possessed by Thanos’s mind. But with Hela on the case with the Black Order, there’s something bad going on. Can the heroes do something about it?
So, like I said above, I generally like the work of Donny Cates, but this one only struck me as so-so to start. Truth be told, the last time I had such a “meh” reaction to something from Cates, it was the first volume of his Venom series, but then the next volume improved the story by leaps and bounds. As such, I may give a second volume a try at some point, and Cates is going somewhere with these characters. That said, there are an awful lot of them here, and some of them (looking at you, Cosmic Ghost Rider) don’t really seem to serve much of a purpose here. The more streamlined group at the end of the volume shows some promise, particularly as someone asks a question that almost certainly leads into the next, hopefully Thanos-free storyline (don’t overuse that bad guy, Marvel!).
In the meantime, let’s say 7.5 out of 10 escapes from a black hole.