Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Juann Cabal, Federico Blee, VC’s Cory Petit, and Dean White
Release Date: January 22nd, 2020
Al Ewing kicks off his GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY run in style as he forms together with a new team, a new villain, and a new direction for this family of heroes. Ewing’s GOTG group is filled with a few classics, as well as a few newbies, but how in the galaxy will this team take down supercharged Olympian Gods? Let’s not waste any more time and plunge into Al Ewing’s first installment of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1.
Ewing has constantly been outstanding at laying the foundation to a story and getting new readers caught up rather quickly to the new status quo. Well, this opening issue follows suit with exactly what you’d expect. Ewing jumps out of the gate quickly recapping the roadmap of the galactic Marvel Universe recently, lays down the players he grabbed from the toy box, and instantly kicks off the mission. As someone who reads practically everything Marvel puts out each week, it’s fantastic to see references to ANNIHILATION SCOURGE, as well as what’s INCOMING (see what I did there). I truly love an interconnected landscape where writers are willing to work together and put their ideas on hold for a big picture to create amazing stories. Ewing is up to some incredible things with IMMORTAL HULK, which could even be thought of as larger than this story or event, yet he’s still willing to play well with others and see the entire vision for Marvel. That is rather commendable.
Moreover, this reviewer appreciates when a writer thoroughly completes their assignment. From the Cancerverse to the Master of the Sun, Ewing really dives deep into this tale and has done his homework. Readers will immediately notice the time and preparation that was put forth in order to put issue one together. That said, there was a moment at the beginning of the narrative that didn’t sit well with this reader. I appreciate a story leaping out in front quick to move things along. However, Rocket and Peter take off without a clear explanation. Sure, Ewing’s pushing the story forward in order to get it rolling BUT the purpose seemed to be unclear and frankly missing. I know it’s mostly overlooked by the end of the issue but it lacked the feeling and emotion in order to connect the pieces of the puzzle together for this reader.
Now, as you read the issue, you’ll notice that Ewing continues with the typical GOTG feel that normally involves sneaking into somewhere, laying traps, using their crafty wits to escape, and then through a twist of fate our heroes manage to escape by the skin of their teeth. Well, this issue opens that way but ends with a pretty great reveal that you’ll need to check out as the issue ends. However, while you’re anticipating the amazing reveal, stick around for Juann Cabal and Federico Blee’s vibrantly bright and colorful art that truly makes this issue pop. The splash pages are beautifully placed and filled with dramatic moments that will really draw you deeper into the narrative. Blee’s color choice will easily guide readers across the pages even with the moment’s saturation by heavy Ewing dialogue. Cabal and Blee’s polishes look makes the issue seem very refined and smooth while simultaneously providing dynamic content that will make you excited for the next issue.
As a number one goes, Al Ewing begins with a well-paced opening that started the series off nicely and brought everyone to the same level. Nevertheless, it felt almost too familiar and too easy. As much as the Olympians interested me, there really isn’t anything too flashy about them. They’ve been so quiet for so long and this reader ultimately forgets a ton about them that any surprise, shock, or excitement wasn’t there. Sure, new readers are all caught up on recent history but what about the old reader? This critic wishes we received more about these Olympians as well as the “juice” they appear to be on. A bit more Olympian backstory for the faithful reader may have hooked this comic fan a bit more while offering more intrigue for future issues.
If you’re looking for a fantastic place to jump back into GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, this is a great time to do just that. Ewing creates just enough excitement to entice new and old readers to hop on board this number one. However, it just didn’t seem to grab my attention as a number one should. It may simply be because the story moved too quickly and progressed too fast without any development of the antagonists. As someone who has read the entire last GOTG series, as well as ANNIHILATION SCOURGE, I’m aware of the team and their background. But, I need to care more about their fight, their reasoning for doing this, and who the villains are. I left not knowing or caring about who they were fighting and why. That shouldn’t be my feeling after a number one. Nonetheless, I would still recommend giving this series a try and adding it to your pull list right now to see where the first couple of issues go and what Ewing has in store. After following along on his IMMORTAL HULK run, I have realized that it does tend to ebb and flow. However, overall it normally flows nicely. My point: this first issue may just be an ebb.