Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Colorist: Federico Blee
Cover Artist: Brett Booth, Adelso Corona & Guru-eFX
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Guardians of the Galaxy are stepping up in this big crazy Universe. The team is bigger, they’ve got more assets with them, and they’re protecting the galaxy however they can. Last time the Guardians fought the titanic Progenitors off the Kree-Skrull Throneworld, while another team discovered a cult on the other side of the galaxy. And in Guardians of the Galaxy #14, the Guardians must contend with the might of Doctor Doom!
So, the Guardians just went toe-to-toe with the gargantuan Progenitors and now they’re fighting Victor Von Doom himself. Sounds awesome! Now, if you’re like me, you’re wondering if this cover was false advertisement. Well, don’t worry, the comic gets there but how it does is rather odd.
Dr. Doom is written in a classic way, monologuing his greatness to his felled enemies, but these are the Guardians of the Galaxy and they don’t do monologuing. Not too long after, the fight breaks out but Doom shows his crafty side as he immediately turns the tables on the Guardians and shows why he’s not to be trifled with, even by these cosmic heroes.
Meanwhile, the Guardians’ away team on the distant rim-world discovered a secret cult meeting with a Skrull priestess leading them. There, the away team make one dark reveal after another, with one that forces me to scratch my head for a little bit. I’ll come back to that in the Spoilers section.
The comic switches back to the fight on the Throneworld as we see the fight between Dr. Doom and the Guardians is going about as well as you’d expect. Everyone’s holding their own, but Doom maintains a clear advantage over them. That is until the Guardians exploit a classic weakness of Doom to defeat him: his ego. It’s not the most creative way to beat Dr. Doom, but it’s one that always tends to work in the comics.
Now what happens after is something that may be divisive, to say the least. The manner of Doom’s defeat is something that could be described as hilarious, weird, and somewhat badass for both the Guardians and even Dr. Doom. Some will think that this is Al Ewing trying a little too hard to be funny like the Guardians movies in the live-action Marvel MCU. But I think it genuinely capitalizes on some classic elements of Doom and Ewing adds a creative twist to some of them.
Afterwards, the Guardians essentially force Doom into a vulnerable position where he’s left with little choice but to accept joining the team. Don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler, it’s something that Marvel Comics has been promoting as one of the future highlights for these next few issues, and it’s not fully unprecedented. 5 or so years ago, Brian Michael Bendis had Iron Man join the Guardians for a while, though how well that run was is debatable. Heck, he even had Ben Grimm aka The Thing join the team, so why not have Doom join them. But we’ll see next issue what the master of Latveria brings to the Guardians of the Galaxy.
So, the quick spoiler I wanted to go over is that the Guardians’ away team discover that the rim-world planet they’re on with the Skrull cultists is actually Ego The Living Planet. See, this makes no sense to me whatsoever, and I’m calling shenanigans on this one because Ego has no master and certainly doesn’t tolerate space cultists on his surface, or anyone for that matter. So, I’m calling it that he’s been brainwashed or something.
Apparently, Ego and the Skrull priestess serve some mysterious cosmic being, who I’m theorizing is a form or avatar of the One Below All introduced in Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk series. Al Ewing already used the Progenitors from his previous Inhumans Royals run, (who apparently Doom didn’t call to Throneworld) so it makes sense he’d use another original villain he made, especially with all the cultists’ talk of doors and doorways. Or I could be wrong, we’ll see.
Guardians of the Galaxy #14 delivers on exactly what it promises: Dr. Doom vs. the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s action, humor, mysteries, and big reveals in this comic book that you don’t want to miss. The art and colors by Juan Frigeri and Federico Blue are excellent and Al Ewing captures the best of Dr. Doom’s character. That said, I’m not too sold on the great doctor being part of the Guardians, so we’ll see what Al Ewing does with that in the next issue.