By Zack Quaintance — To use the parlance of writer Donny Cates’ native Texas, boy howdy did the #$@^ really hit the fan in Guardians of the Galaxy #4. I won’t reveal much more than that, however, just noting that a conflict I thought we were on pace for a few issues down the line, really kicked off in a big way right here in these pages. The result? I continue to absolutely love this book.
Put simply, I think this is one of two comics at Marvel right now that is so compulsively readable (shout out to Immortal Hulk), I might go so far as to recommend it to friends who don’t regularly read comicbooks. Provided, of course, that they take in the excellent Thanos Wins storyline that preceded it and read the preamble that notes Gamora killed Thanos during some brush-up over the Infinity Stones (which I’ve read but wouldn’t really recommend to newbies). Anyway, we’re getting off topic here. The point is that through these first four issues, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space romp busting with entertainment value in every damn page.
There isn’t much to write about structurally or plot-wise here that I haven’t already touched on in past reviews. Geoff Shaw’s art with the David Curiel covers remains appropriately outsized and grandiose. And the scripting from Cates is yet more of Marvel’s most exciting writer this side of Jason Aaron or Al Ewing operating at the top of his game. Cates has one of the most fearless voices in superhero comics. You can tell this guy works damn hard to hone his craft and is having a blast showing off all tricks he’s discovered on the highest stage. He doesn’t really have a slow setting, be it on his cosmic scripts or his more horror-driven mythological work like Venom.
Cates does, however, have a higher gear his work hits. He did it in his creator-owned breakout comic God Country and he did it again when he took over Thanos mid-run from Jeff Lemire. When Cates is in this mode, you can feel him having a good time. You also get the sense that every idea that found its way to the page is one that Cates proposed to the editors expecting someone to tell him no...and he’s now thrilled that they didn’t. Do the jokes get hammy at times? For sure, but it’d be weird if they didn’t, seeing as this is a franchise predicated on the presence of a surly talking racoon and his best friend/enforcer/living tree.
This book is, essentially, everything that a good Guardians of the Galaxy comic should be. It feels like a madcap ride, like a rollercoaster from a kid that you’re both enjoying and hoping there comes a way for it to not ever be over. Go forth and read this damn book.
Overall: Through four issues, Guardians of the Galaxy has been a madcap ride that hopefully won’t soon be over. This issue is a downright slugfest, one that also manages to seed a new mystery and continue developing characters. Go forth and read this damn book. 9.5/10
Guardians of the Galaxy #4
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
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Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.