By Zack Quaintance — It’s official, Guardians of the Galaxy has now reached that rare stratosphere of superhero comicbook, wherein I end up reading it in the front seat of my car before even leaving my local shop’s lot. If you’re reading this book, you’re likely nodding in agreement right now. This story has just been so rich with twists and turns and break-neck pacing that it demands that kind of urgency. It’s the type of book that pushes you to pick up your pull list just a little bit earlier that day, because story is waiting.
It’s not just the grandiose plotting that makes this a comic that demands attention. Writer Donny Cates has also shown himself to be surprising and witty with his scripting, as capable of landing superhero absurdity narration as he is of making a clever meta joke. In this issue, for example, he mentions plot points from the Death of the Inhumans miniseries he wrote last year, to which a character responds—I didn’t hear about that—which merits another line about how not that many other people did either.
It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss it nod to a book Cates wrote that didn’t get that much attention. It’s also the kind of thing that rewards long-time (and, let’s face it, borderline obsessive) supehero comicbook fans for paying close attention. It’s a golden coin or a gumdrop—so to speak—that strings the audience along through the plot, a little reward to keep us sated until the next big dramatic panel hits us like a laser beam to the head. I love it.
This issue, however, is a bit lighter on the fun stuff than recent chapters. The reason is that it has a major plot development to payoff that was seeded all the way back in the first issue. The idea engine that’s powering this run is essentially that Thanos is dead. Being a nigh-elemental force, however, the universe will reincarnate him within another. The Guardians are trying to get ahead of this while a corresponding team of Dark Guardians is trying to kill the potential new vessel. In this issue, Cates, artist Geoff Shaw, colorist David Curiel, and letterer Cory Petit give us one of the major developments we’d been waiting for, and it’s dramatic, to say the least.
And while I enjoyed watching it unfold, I’m already looking forward to the fallout next issue, which will presumably give us more page time with the main team of Guardians, a group that plays to all Cates’ strengths as a writer and regularly delivers to us some of the best recent moments in all of superhero comics. Still, as I’ve said in my reviews of this series’ other issues, this is an absolutely fantastic comic, my second favorite book at Marvel right now this side of Immortal Hulk. I continue to highly recommended blasting off with the team on this journey.
Overall: This book remains among my favorite Marvel comics right now. This issue delivers a major plot development, one that was promised back in the first issue. I highly recommend it. 8.8/10
Guardians of the Galaxy #5
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.