Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Cory Smith
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colors: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
The last issue the readers finally got reintroduced (after much teasing) to Rocket Racoon. It was discovered that Rocket has been dying from the same process that gave him superpowers in the first place, he left to die in peace. Thankfully after a heartfelt reconnection with his team, and Groot in particular, he agreed to come back and join the Guardians of the Galaxy once more. It helped that now he has a giant mech to get around. What was left at the wayside was Peter Quill and his father and their story? This comic focuses more on the looming threat that Peter’s father and his cult seem to be bringing forward.
Peter Quill’s father has an endless supply of Adam Warlock cocoons that will bring upon something new to the world. Peter Quill is given a vision of the future and why they are going through with spreading “faith” to everyone they encounter (faith being what looks like a takeover of peoples minds with brainwashing and control). In the future, some massive disaster will strike and all of the Marvel heroes will be unable to stop it. It is this “faith” that is shown as the only way to avoid annihilation. Luckily, Quill easily breaks free of the mind control but soon learns what is inside the cocoon. The rest of the team is brought to an unknown planet by Rocket Racoon to find something that will help save Quill and the galaxy as a whole. The mystery does have a payoff and the reader will understand where the opposing forces will go from here.
A middle chapter in an arc often suffers from the same problems, writing for trade can lead to certain chapters feeling unfinished. This one, in particular, does not read as well as a whole, unlike the Rocket Racoon issue. Donny Cates still moved things forward in an interesting way, but the comic still felt more light than a typical Guardians comic. This is a good comic, don’t get me wrong, it just isn’t great. It is something that will read much better when presented in a trade with the other issues leading in and out of it. Rocket Racoon’s mission, for example, is just a means to get to a cliffhanger. While the introduction to what they are looking for is interesting it is mostly empty action. Another problem with the title rears its ugly head in still having members of the team with no backstory or dimension. Who is Moondragon? What can the character do? At this point, Moondragon amounts to a background character that shoots green stuff. On a team book, I want to care about every member of the team. In nine issues Cates should have had time to flesh out more than those that appear in the films. This book is fun, it just doesn’t have the same weight that I have come to expect from a Donny Cates book. He is known for his pure unbridled creativity that will soon land him on the A list of creators (if he isn’t there already). Too much here is just too safe and by the numbers. Thankfully, even when Cates is at his weakest he can still pump out good work.
Cory Smith continues to bring life to this book. I may have found the story light but Smith put so much life into what little he had. Rocket’s mission on a foreign and unnamed planet was fun to read because of his art. The vision of the future, at the start of the book, gave this arc its much-needed stakes. I might find some fault with the writing here but I have nothing but praise for the art team. Smith has a difficult task of juggling so much that many artists would find overbearing and complicated, and he seems to handle it with ease. David Curiel plays with colors expertly as well as keeping the book and its varied locations and moods all read and feel differently. The entire palette of colors is in play here, and he is not afraid to use the entire spectrum across this comic, and yet it never seems muddled or overbearing.