'Guardians of the Galaxy' #1 Review: A New Team Takes Marvel Back to Classic Cosmic Fun

Every so often a comic comes along that leaves you speechless, and in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy #1, this is one of those issues. Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw get the band back together both as a creative team, and in the pages of the comic, and it provides for a great read.

For somebody who absolutely adores the mid-2000s era of cosmic Marvel comics — think Giffen, Abnett, Lanning, and company — the latest Guardians of the Galaxy from Cates and Shaw is a true return to form, closely mirroring the very comics that inspired one of Marvel Studios' most popular franchises.

Though the Guardians, as a whole, have been portrayed more on the comedic side since their live-action debut and subsequently, reflected as such in any comic runs since, Cates manages to craft a tale with enough seriousness that reminds you that it's not all fun and games out among the stars.

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

The conflict, which unfolds in the opening pages, stokes a tremendous flame of paranoia as you turn from page to page. Once thought to have been killed by his own daughter, the reader is left to argue with themselves on whether the consciousness of Thanos lives on in the most terrifying of ways: within the physical body of another hero we've come to know and love.

Even in the wake of his death, the Mad Titan still aims to terrify, something he does a damn good job at. If you read the closing issues of the latest Thanos run, you'll know that Cates has a particular gift when it comes to writing the Eternals reject, and this issue simply cements that foundation further. Though tale after tale featuring the Mad Titan has come out since the introduction of Thanos in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (1973), there hasn't quite been a writer that seems the understand the iconic villain as well as Cates. In fact, Cates very well could end up being one of the best to write the character, right alongside the cosmic godfather himself, Jim Starlin.

Group-wise, the team Cates assembles to replace the Guardians is strong enough to take down even the meanest of mean. While Star-Lord and Groot, who now has a rockin' mohawk, are still a part of the team, several new faces join the squad, including fan-favorites Cosmic Ghost Rider and the hammer-wielding Beta Ray Bill. Completing the new iteration of the team are alternate universe versions of Gamora and Phyla-Vell, rounding out a team that could easily put the Avengers to shame.

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

Space is vast. Space is endless. And while quips every now and then provided by Cosmic Ghost Rider provide ample comedic relief, the book is by and large a return to the seriousness that made the group so understandable in the first place. With plenty of dysfunction abound as the team scuttles around the cosmos, it's going to be awfully hard to wait around for issue #2 to hit shelves. Cates and Shaw work beautifully hand-in-hand, and the fact they're frequent collaborators is evident. While we're still a long ways from comparing Guardians of the Galaxy to the cosmic likes of Annihilation or War of Kings, it's safe to say Marvel Comics has a hit on its hands with this one.

Published by Marvel Comics

On January 23, 2019

Written by Donny Cates

Art by Geoff Shaw

Colors by Marte Gracia

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