Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Guardians are caught in the middle of a civil war! Will the Guardians be able to stop it, or was it already lost from the start? Grootfall is coming, and it does not take sides…!
While small in scale and without answers about the coming Grootfall, Guardians of the Galaxy #2 is a well-paced, well-plotted issue rich with solid character work. Lanzig & Kelly are using the ‘mystery box’ narrative format that Marvel has come to love this format to benefit an overall narrative about the team in a significant way. The story is tight and without fat, utilizing the medium to its full advantage in terms of pacing. There were instances of convenience in the narrative regarding a setup for the next issue. Still, it was necessary to propel the series forward and did not take away from the story at hand in this issue.
The issue follows the Guardians to the Manifold Territories, the sight of a never-ending resource war between Sectors United and a group of automatons called the Whitecaps. As the team wavers in their loyalty to Star-Lord leadership, they try to find a way to convince both parties to leave before Grootfall arrives to consume them all whole.
The creative team splits the party in this issue to give each character more consolidated moments to shine, building them up in this new status quo with a bit of more concrete depth. The first issue showed them as a team, introducing the functionality of the Guardians in the wake of Grootfall, and this second issue highlights their place in the grander scheme of things. Nebula and Gamora split off to talk down the Whitecaps, a plan that goes awry despite Peter’s belief that diplomacy would be the best way to clear the planet. While Nebula physically struggles to maintain her obedience, it is interesting to see Gamora as headstrong in sticking to the plan as she was. While they may have bickered in the last issue, their relationship hasn’t been ruined. The Guardians have complex relationships with one another, as seen in this issue, and that extends to nearly everyone. They’re in the wrong place, racing against time to save the Galaxy against something they may have caused, and that desperation has changed how the team operates. The growing internal and moral conflict occurring behind Peter’s eyes as remaining good in a universe that begs for degeneracy and selfishness is subtle yet still present enough to underlay the book with a theme regarding balance.
While Zeb Wells’ The Amazing Spider-Man used the same mystery box setup as this, the book has fallen on the ire of fans from a narrative perspective due to a severe amount of decompression and air between plot beats. The Guardians team has intelligently paced out each issue with a self-contained plot that stays in the issue at hand but remains fervently spurred by the coming of Grootfall. It allows the readership to endear themselves to this version of the team faster while still focusing on the setup that caught their interest in the first place. Things develop at a consistent, exciting pace that isn’t breakneck but isn’t a slog. There are still apparent influences stemming from the film versions of the team; this second issue cements this run more in an Abnett & Lanning/Al Ewing lane than a Bendis/Duggan/Cates one.
Kev Walker’s art remains as great as ever, perfect for this story. Matt Hollingsworth brings texture to that art with poppy and beautiful colors, but never cartoonish. His elevation is almost symbiotic, with his alien designs, attention to necessary detail, and artistic flourishment roping the reader into the account with ease.
Guardians of the Galaxy #2 has a lot more to do and say than the first issue, making it a potentially stronger hook for those teetering after a good, albeit thin, first issue. Without the need for the setup, the writing duo has the ability to enrich and flesh out the team, giving them a few more shades of required depth under this creative team.
Guardians of the Galaxy #2: Two Armies, One Stone
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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