A Guardians Guide to the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1 comic review)

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1

Faith
Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: John McCrea

Colors: Mike Spencer

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

A Long Time in Politics
Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Yildiray Cinar

Colors: Rain Beredo

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Advent Rising
Writer: Tini Howard

Artist: Ibrahim Moustapha

Colors: Jay David Ramos

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

You’re Only Young Twice
Writer: Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler

Artist: Filipe Andrade

Colors: Mike Spencer

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

 

The time that this annual takes place is after the current storyline in Guardians of the Galaxy is finished. So there is nothing to tie into there, in fact the issue ends promising more in issue #7 and NOT #6 (which is the next to come). The comic even seems to tie slightly into Silver Surfer Black which has not been released yet. And if you are wanting any stories featuring any members of the Guardians of the Galaxy you will not find it here. It seems this is a series a cosmic tales that will be relevant in due time.

Story
While there are four different teams working on this book there are really only three complete stories. Donny Cates “Faith” is more of the glue that holds the other three together and bookends the comic. It features Cosmo and a mysterious antagonist that will most likely become important after the Thanos arc wraps up. They are “researching” the other stories in this comic. “A Long Time in Politics” is exactly what you would think it is from the title. A political tale as told by Nova, to Quasar, about a battle with the Skrulls that went all wrong. It is a chilling story that reminds the reader how these cosmic battles affect people on a macro and micro scale. “Advent Rising” is an Adam Warlock story about coming across a planet that worships an unknown God. They even mistake Adam as the God’s herald. The story is a look at faith and how the “Gods” of the Marvel universe are not always benevolent (timely with War of the Realms and Venom hitting those same points). Finally, “You’re Only Young Once” is a new Darkhawk story that changes the character fairly drastically.

Tim’s Thoughts
For me this issue was a series of ups and downs. It is impossible to have a book with so many people on it and not have certain aspects stick out more than others. I love Al Ewing, but found the Nova story middling. The political message was strong, but I just could not connect to the characters. I am unsure why, but the story felt like it dragged a bit more than it should have. Again, I think the conclusion of his tale was incredible and did a better job of showing how heroes deal with facing extremely tragic events than Heroes in Crisis ever could. Far from a bad story, but not great, possibly because the next one stole the comic for me.

Tini Howard’s “Advent Rising” was a really cool Adam Warlock story. I have come across the character before in the numerous “Infinity Stone” centered comics, but never really cared for him. I enjoyed seeing him captured in a self contained tale here that would be easy for anyone to read and understand. The story that plays out between Adam, the society he comes across, and the God they worship and it is an interesting and powerful story. These people were on the brink of extinction and a “God” saved their lives. It is easily the most compelling story and a bright and shining spot in the middle of this book.

The Darkhawk story was the least interesting for me. I have never really understood or encountered the character and the comic did a poor job of making me care (unlike the previous stories which took unknown characters for me and made me understand them). I understood the twist but it just didn’t land for me. Maybe if you are a massive Darkhawk fan you will be very happy or very upset with what happened here. For me, I could not care less about this section of the book. The main issue plaguing the book, besides the inconsistent stories, is how this all ties into the current comic that is on the title of the book. We are about to finish off the first major arc, yet get an issue that ties into things that have yet to occur. It also highlights characters we haven’t been given a reason to care or know about yet (besides Nova), without really explaining why we should. It is frustrating seeing them reference events that have not occured and tell us to read comics that have not come out yet. With a new series, and new readers jumping on board, these things need to be accessible.

While the stories are uneven, the art is not. Every team here brings their A game, and the book is dynamic and exciting to look at from cover to cover. Yildiray Cinar’s depiction of the catastrophic event that Nova lives through is what makes Al Ewing’s story powerful and impactful. Ibrahim Moustapha’s design for the God comes straight out of something from cosmic horror and lends itself to the dark background that is in every page of the tale. Filipe Andrade’s art is actually my favorite in the book. For the story I liked the least, his art really elevated it and made it a worthy addition to the book. I felt a psychedelic comic book that fit so perfectly into a cosmic tale. John McCrea is able to tie this all together starting and finishing the issue with his art that is equally comedic and dark. Not many people can make Cosmo the Spacedog and a foreboding mysterious evil figure work together, but he does.  

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Summary
An annual to a comic featuring no one from the comic, and tying into events that have not been published yet. Despite the mess of the way this book is handled there is some worthwhile material here. If you are a new Guardians reader you may be confused on why the characters in this book matter, but I bet you will still find something to enjoy. If you are familiar with Marvel Cosmic there may be more in here for you. Personally, I feel this comic is worth picking up for Tini Howard’s section alone.
Good
  • All the art is outstanding
  • Tini Howard’s “Advent Rising”
  • The political message in Ewing’s story
Bad
  • Easy to get confused if you don’t know the characters
  • ”You’re Only Young Twice” was a let down
  • The book asks you to read material that isn’t out yet
7
Good

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