Guardians of the Galaxy #9
The Universal Church of Truth has returned, and captured the Guardians! Led by Peter Quill's insane father, they have an insane plan... to conquer Death herself! But to get that ball rolling, he's going to have to make one heck of a sacrifice...
The only resistance left to stop this global genocide from happening is Groot, Moondragon, and a deeply enfeebled - and dying - Rocket!
They have a plan, but it involves an extremely questionable - not to mentioned unexpected - recruit!
The Universal Church of Truth has its own savior it's intent on resurrecting, though... one that will shake Star-Lord to his very core!
Never let it be said that Donny Cates is a man without a plan. His stories are never shot from the hip, always fully-realized, and have a level of interconnection to other bits of continuity (not to mention his own other books) that make them feel completely at home within the Marvel Universe. Case in point: current Guardians of the Galaxy arc “Faithless,” which brings together bits and pieces from Jim Starlin’s classic Warlock run, the more recent Infinity Wars, Brian Michael Bendis’ previous GOTG volumes, and more intergalactic characters than you can shake a Shi’ar at.
And it works.
“Faithless” is one of those stories that gleefully takes countless building blocks yet never feels like you need to be particularly well-versed in Marvel history to understand what’s been built with them. Universal Church of Truth: bad. Peter’s dad: also bad. Rocket: dying. Et cetera, et cetera. It’s a real treat for new readers to be able to pick up a book like this and not feel constrained by continuity, but at the same time is a treat for long-term readers who have a bit more insight. Pulling that off is a delicate balancing act for any writer, but fortunately, Donny Cates – despite being a relatively new writer – has the chops to pull it off.
GOTG #9 definitely feels like the middle chapter of a story, though. And in that, it’s tricky – no real beginning or end, just the next step. So if you’re coming into the book with this issue, you’ll probably be confused a bit (although the handy-dandy recap right there on page one will certainly help) – but Cates is a canny enough writer that the material more or less stands on its on merits. And that’s a good thing, because there’s a lot to swallow, not the least of which is the return of a fan-favorite character at the end of this issue! But there’s also Rocket’s looming demise… which may or may not come to pass (odds are against it, I reckon).
One thing I’d like to see Cates do, though is slow down a bit and take some time to highlight some of the team’s newer members: Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, and Beta Rey Bill. It’s not quite clear how they fit into the team, how they play off each other – you know, basic character dynamics. Before anyone has been able to get settled, they’ve just been shifting from one crisis to the next. Guarding the galaxy is a tough gig to be sure – but as readers, we need to have an understanding as to how these characters fit together, and Cates hasn’t quite tapped the brakes long enough to accommodate that. I’m sure it’s in the works. But it’s always important to remember that story is nothing without compelling characters. (Of note: there’s a scene with a telepathic Soviet cosmonaut dog, and I swear he could become the next Thori. Keep your eyes peeled.)
Cory Smith, Victor Olazaba, and David Curiel’s art works, although they do have the unfortunate task of following Geoff Shaw from the previous arc. It’s hard to stand in the shadow of an artist who works so undeniably well with the author (together they broke out with Image’s God Country miniseries); it’s also unfair to peg Smith for not being Shaw. I don’t think anyone will be blown away by Smith’s art, but it isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, either. Maybe a little rushed-looking in places, but nothing so egregious as to be detrimental to the over all book.
Guardians of the Galaxy #9 suffers a tad from decompression, but at the same time that's an almost natural side effect of being the third chapter in a six-part story. But it's still a solid read; anyone looking to check out the Guardians done right after a hit-or-miss run by the book's previous author would do well to check this out!
Guardians of the Galaxy #9: Sins of the Father
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 7.5/107.5/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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