GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #18
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Ed McGuinness
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 27, 2014
A burning question is finally asked as Peter Quill is put in the hot seat about what really went down in the Cancerverse in Guardians of the Galaxy #18.
Folks who have been reading the Marvel Cosmic books for the past few years, or have caught up with all the Guardians movie buzz have been wondering something for well over a year now: what the hell happened to Richard Ryder? Prior to this iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy being launched, readers assumed Nova, Star-Lord and Thanos were engaged in a battle royale for the ages in the Cancerverse, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, Star-Lord and Thanos are back on the scene. What went down? Where is Richard Ryder?
Brian Michael Bendis is finally going to give readers some closure, starting with this issue of Guardians. Bendis sets up the situation well, highlighting the relevant information to be able to understand the story if you haven’t read the older issues, and bring you back up to speed if it has been awhile. He handles these characters well, Star-Lord is very consistently Star-Lord, and Thanos is as conniving and cunning as ever. I was impressed by how well Bendis writes Richard Ryder, and just how badly I found I want that character back to at least serve as a mentor to young Sam Alexander. The dynamic between Star-Lord and Nova is great, a Rocket/Groot-level bromance that is a ton of fun to read, and their banter brings a great dynamic to this issue.
Bendis keeps the surprises coming as the story unfolds, and leaves things hanging at a skillfully timed cliffhanger. You’ll be wanting issue #19 badly when you finish this one, I can guarantee you that. While this issue does not contain the big reveal of exactly what happened in the Cancerverse, it is well written and sets up a foundation for a great next issue. Rather than rush this story and slam it into a single comic, Bendis paces it nicely, giving readers a good glimpse at what happened in this other universe without rushing it and cheating readers of a fleshed out story.
Ed McGuinness pencils this issue well, highlighting the power of all the characters involved very well. These are heavy hitters in this issue, and McGuinness makes sure you don’t forget it. He builds a dynamic and dangerous Cancerverse and an imposing Thanos, showcasing the threat that Nova and Star-Lord are facing in this place. He handles the big action sequences well, but some of his strongest work is during the less-intense portions of the issue. He uses shadow very well throughout the issue, not something I typically associate with Ed McGuinness, and it tempers the colourful and dynamic images in the Cancerverse well. Guardians of the Galaxy has featured an all-star cast of artists, and McGuinness holds his own with this issue.
Guardians of the Galaxy #18 is a rock solid comic that brings readers closer to the answers of what happened to the original Nova and how Thanos came back on the scene to wreak the havoc that was Infinity. It doesn’t get more A-list than Bendis and McGuinness and the two bring their best to this issue. It is a must-read for Guardians fans and anyone who has read the Cosmic titles in the past decade. That last page will grab you, and I know I’m itching for #19.
The Verdict: 8.5/10