Al Ewing's been writing the Guardians of the Galaxy for a year now, and the title is due for a seismic shift. That much was teased for the past few months as a reset coming in Guardians of the Galaxy #13, a reset for the title that serves as a platform should any new readers want to join the party. A platform this issue ends up providing as it quickly establishes a new status quo for Marvel's primary cosmic heroes.
The biggest change here is the fact the title group is much more than a handful of characters. Gone are the days of five or six superheroes fighting intergalactic crime; now, the Guardians of the Galaxy serve primarily as their own army with various squads of heroes on different missions across the cosmos.
On that front, there's probably no better writer in the game today than Al Ewing to handle such a sprawling cast in an efficient manner. It's apparent this issue is packed to the brim with characters, but each squad gets their time to shine as readers find out more about their respective missions. In fact, it might even be possible that every single Guardian in this issue receives at least one line of dialogue.
Outside of the ensemble, the story is all over the place. It starts off with one story spinning out of the events of Empyre, and that serves as the primary conflict throughout the duration of the issue, involving the return of the Progenitors, a group of Celestial-like beings created by Ewing and Javier Rodriguez in the pages of Royals. Then comes a "B plot" where a second Guardians squad stumbles across an ancient race of fire-worshipping Skrull radicals.
While the primary plot is resolved—for now—it leaves the door open for a major return, setting up what appears to be this story's overarching villains. Then comes a last-page cliffhanger as Dr. Doom appears from nowhere to antagonize the same group that just dispatched the aforementioned Progenitors.
The stories all move forward at a brisk pace, and they're fleshed out well enough that there are no questions as to what's actually occurring. That said, they are different sorts of stories—different enough that it's distracting switching back and forth between so many.
There's plenty here to make any fan of Marvel's cosmic heroes excited about the future. There's an interesting plot thread where two Quasars—Wendell Vaughan and Avril Kincaid—must use the Quantum Bands to switch places in this reality and an unnamed dimension, as only one of them can occupy this reality at once. Then you have the classic Guardians team popularized by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, plus Phyla-Vell, Moondragon, and a few other exciting cameos.
At the very least, Guardians of the Galaxy #13 serves as an exciting debut for what appears to be one of the biggest cosmic stories told at Marvel Comics recently. Ewing's track record speaks for itself at this point, so it's just a matter of time before things coalesce. In the meantime, just look at Frigeri's beautiful cosmic art and have a jolly ol' time.
Published by Marvel Comics
On April 14, 2021
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Juan Frigeri
Colors by Federico Blee
Letters by Cory Petit
Cover by Brett Booth, Adelso Corona, and GURU-eFX