Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Kevin Maguire
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 31, 2013

GARGAL2013010_DC11_LRBrian Bendis’s Gonzo Space Adventure ™ continues in another fantastic installment, and this time the star of the show is the art of Kevin Maguire. Before I get to gushing about that, first things first.

I don’t know what it is about the Guardians book that makes is subject to every event tie-in ever, but it feels like since the book launched at least half the issues have been less about our heroes and more about the Event of the Moment. The story is still good, and the characterization is fantastic; however I think the tie-in issues really limit the storytelling. This issue was a nice change – a sort of one off, post-Infinity not-a-tie-in – that proves my point. Would you like to see two space warrior ladies hunting Thanos on a planet full of Badoon? Here you go. A self-contained adventure with explosions, comedy and even a hint of mystery. Of course, this is the only break we get before the next big crossover.

The issue highlights Bendis’s strengths with banter and dialogue, but for those of you who don’t actually like to read there are some glorious fight scenes too.

But the art. Oh, baby. GOTG has been spoiled with good artists. Pichelli, McNiven, Francavilla – the book always looks fantastic. But I have to say, I would be very happy if Kevin Maguire took over this book fulltime. Anyone familiar with his DC work (and his run on Marvel’s Defenders) knows that he does very well with banter and character-based interaction. He can draw the hell out of a fight scene, sure, but where he excels is the small moments. His facial expressions actually give souls to the characters on the page. A Badoon bites his lower lip. Gamora wrinkles one eyebrow. Rocket gives a droll shrug. If you actually look at each panel you can see the precise decisions Maguire has made in how to convey the tone or humor of that moment. Angela’s costume is still a design nightmare, but he managed to make it feel less gross. His style is very well suited for Bendis’s comedic dialogue, and he’s no slouch at the punch-and-splode stuff either. I’d love to see these two do more work together, preferably on GOTG but really I’d read anything if it had both their names on it.

The issue did have one major flaw, and that was a severe deficit of Groot. He showed up at the end, and he got a line, but really, there needs to be more Groot.

Groot or die, y’all.

The Verdict: 9.0/10


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