DnA’s Guardians of the Galaxy is normally a dependable and entertaining title. However, the past two issues were not up to the standards that I have come to expect with DnA’s work on this title. Hopefully, the last two issues were mere aberrations as DnA stalled for time in order to put into place the War of Kings story on this title. Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is a War of Kings tie-in issue. I am confident that DnA will return to form with this issue and deliver a quality read. Let’s do this review for Guardians of the Galaxy #13.
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Pencils: Brad Walker
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Star Lord, Jack Flagg, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Moondragon and Phyla in a huge bar brawl. Evidently, what happened was that the Guardians were all getting their drink on at Knowhere’s seedy bar and dancing girl establishment called Starlin’s. A group of Shi’ar who were on Knowhere because they were getting their shipped serviced made a comment Captain Marvel. Phyla responded by putting the Shi’ar guy through a wall. Then all hell broke loose and we got ourselves a good old fashioned bar fight.
During the brawl, Major Victory questions the dignity of the Guardians of the Galaxy acting like common thugs and getting into a bar room brawl. Rocket quips “Where’s the fun in dignity?” During the brawl, Mantis wonders about Phyla’s current state of being. Mantis views Phyla’s new codename of Martyr as an ominous sign. Star Lord tells Jack Flagg that fights like this always happen in Starlin’s. Jack quips “Wow, it is exciting to be you.”
We cut to Warlock meeting with Star Lord in private. Warlock says that he is temporarily suspending his investigation of the Universal Church of Truth. Warlock says that the war between the Shi’ar and the Kree threaten the foundation of the universe that is still weak from the Annihilation wave.
Warlock reveals that the Shi’ar’s pernicious use of nega-bombs threatens the fragile fabric of space/time in the universe. Warlock says that the Guardians must stop this war as quickly and cleanly as possible.
Warlock still has not forgiven Star Lord for using Mantis to telepathically “nudge” the various members to join the Guardians. Warlock also says that he will not take orders from Star Lord. However, Warlock agrees that he will put on a show of unity with Star Lord in front of the rest of the Guardians.
Star Lord and Warlock then meet with the rest of the Guardians. Gamora is still stunned that Bug was allowed on the Guardians after being passed over the first time. Bug is surprised that he never made the first cut to be on the team. Warlock explains the threat to the space/time fabric of the universe due to the Shi’ar’s abusive use of nega-bombs. That if the Shi’ar are not stopped then irreparable harm to the universe will occur.
Star Lord interjects that intelligence informs them that the Inhumans are now leading the Kree. Drax comments that he never has run from a fight, but what can the Guardians really do in a situation like this involving to galactic powers. Star Lord reveals that they are going to sit Vulcan and Black Bolt down and talk them out of this war.
We shift to Star Lord and Rocket having a tactics meeting. They decide to split the Guardians into two teams. Rocket will take Warlock, Drax, Groot and Major Victory with him to go see Vulcan. Rocket figures that he needs the heavy hitters on his team since he has to deal with a powerful psychopath like Vulcan while Star Lord gets to deal with a reasonable and civilized person in the Black Bolt. Therefore, Star Lord will take Jack Flagg, Bug, Gamora and Phyla with him to visit the Black Bolt.
Star Lord then looks at Rocket and says this is why they are the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket agrees. Star Lord says this is why they were formed. To stop threats like this. Rocket agrees. There is a moment of silence. Star Lord then inquires “We can do this, right?” Rocket responds “Don’t spoil the moment.”
We cut to the two teams being transported to their separate locations. We zip to Rocket’s team dealing with the fissure being created by the massive amounts of nega-bombs that were dropped on the Kree colony in Disradi. Warlock proceeds to try and cast a complex spell to turn the burning planet into an ultra-transition metal that will serve to seal the fissure. Rocket tells Warlock that they don’t have much time and to hurry up.
We slip over to Star Lord’s team arriving on Hala. Star Lord tells his team that Black Bolt is a civilized and reasonable man. Star Lord tells them to put on their game faces and that this will be a cake walk. Star Lord and his team are brought to the throne room.
Star Lord bows before Black Bolt and informs him that the war with the Shi’ar threatens the fabric of the universe that is already weakened due to the Annihilation wave. Star Lord says that he knows the Shi’ar are the aggressors, but that Black Bolt has the wisdom and insight to understand the gravity of the situation.
Star Lord asks Black Bolt to stop the war. Black Bolt and Medusa stare at Star Lord. Medusa then says “No.” Star Lord looks stunned. Jack Flagg whispers to Star Lord “Uh, what happens now?”
We slide back to the Kree Colony in the Disradi System. Warlock finishes up his spell and transforms the burning planet into metal and it then serves to seal up the fissure. Rocket then radios Mantis to transport them onto Vulcan’s ship. We then see Rocket, Groot, Major Victory and Drax appearing right outside of Vulcan’s ship. Evidently, the ship has a teleportation shield. Rocket then wonders what happened to Warlock.
We then cut to inside Vulcan’s ship and see Warlock teleporting inside of it. Warlock looks around and wonders where the rest of his teammates are. Evidently, the teleportation shield does not work against magic and that is why Warlock got past it. Suddenly, Vulcan appears and blasts Warlock in the back.
We slide back to Rocket, Drax, Major Victory and Groot floating in space. One of the Shi’ar warships uses a teleportation beam to bring them aboard. Inside the ship our heroes are surprised to see the Starjammers instead of the Shi’ar. Ch’od happily welcomes his old buddy, Rocket. Ch’od then introduces Rocket to Havok and Polaris.
One of the other Shi’ar ships attempts to hail the Starjammers’ stolen Shi’ar ship. The other Shi’ar ship prepares to blast the Starjammers stolen ship if there is no response. Havok tells everyone that it is time to abandon the Shi’ar ship. The Starjammers and Guardians hop onto the Starjammers ship and blast off from the Shi’ar warship. They then blow up the Shi’ar warship.
On board the Starjammers’ ship, Rocket asks Havok what the Starjammers are doing here and what their mission is. Havok replies that they are going to rescue Lilandra and restore her to the throne of the Shi’ar Empire and topple Vulcan’s regime. Havok asks Rocket if the Guardians want to join them in their mission. End of issue.
The Good: Guardians of the Galaxy #13 was a rebound issue that delivered a great read. DnA stumbled for the past two issues but they are definitely back on track with this issue. Guardians of the Galaxy #13 was a well plotted issue. And that is of no surprise given the excellent long-rage and short range plotlines that DnA have whipped up in this title. DnA certainly know how to deftly juggle numerous plotlines. Guardians of the Galaxy #13 moves with a clear direction and purpose as DnA intertwine the War of Kings storyline into this title.
DnA do a fine job making Guardians of the Galaxy #13 a War of Kings tie-in issue that also works well as a stand-alone issue. DnA give just enough back-ground information concerning War of Kings and seamlessly integrate it into the story. The results is that readers who are purchasing War of Kings never get bored with the background information. And readers who are not buying War of Kings never feel lost or like they missed some important plot points.
Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is a finely paced issue that has a nice rhythm. DnA know how to create a story with a nice flow that is balanced between dialogue heavy scenes and action packed scenes. The balanced nature of this issue should make it appealing to action fans as well as readers who prefer plot heavy stories that are based on good character work and dialogue.
And speaking of character work, DnA continue to do a fantastic job with the various members of the Guardians of the Galaxy. All of the characters are nicely fleshed out. DnA also crank out some excellent dialogue. The interplay between the characters is spot on. DnA display a great sense of humor as some of the banter between the characters is well timed and humorous. What is truly impressive is that DnA have absolutely no problems at all handling a large roster and making sure that each character gets some panel space.
I loved Starlin’s. What a wonderful tribute to Jim Starlin who is the father of Marvel’s cosmic corner of the 616 universe. Starlin took the characters created by Lee and Kirby and fashioned the incredibly intricate cosmology for the 616 Universe. The work that Starlin did with characters like Mar-vell, Adam Warlock and Thanos was fantastic. It is great to see DnA giving some love to the man who laid the foundation for what they are currently doing with Marvel’s cosmic characters.
The barroom brawl in Starlin’s was a nice way to kick off this issue. This opening scene re-enforced the roguish nature of this team. This team is not like the Avengers or the JLA. The Guardians are certainly a collection of characters that are a bit rough around the edges and like to slum it. And this point was driven home by the fact that Major Victory, the only typical Avengers styled hero, was questioning the dignity of them engaging in a cheap barroom fight.
The tension between Star Lord and Adam was well played. I dig how Adam clearly views Star Lord as mere gutter slime. I am curious to see if Star Lord can redeem himself in Adam’s eyes once their truce has come to an end. The “tactics” meeting between Star Lord and Rocket was pure gold. It is scenes like this one that make me love this title so much.
DnA manage to take the three main plotlines in this issue and give each of them strong hook ending. The scene with Star Lord appealing to Black Bolt’s reason was more of the usual hard luck that Star Lord usually encounters. The one word response of “No.” from Medusa was classic. It should be interesting to see how Star Lord handles this curve ball.
We then get the unexpected twist of Warlock apart from the rest of his team and all alone on Vulcan’s warship. And to make matters worse, our hero is at the mercy of a sneak attack by Vulcan. And then we get the Starjammers’ dramatic escape from the Shi’ar and Rocket’s team joining up with the Starjammers to rescue Lilandra and then take down Vulcan. This was an incredibly exciting way to end this issue that hooks the reader’s attention and gets them excited to come back for more.
Brad Walker and Victor Olazaba deliver some nice artwork. Walker is equally adept at action scenes as dramatic scenes. The action scenes are quite dynamic. Walker is also able to pack plenty of emotion into the character’s expressions. And that is critical for a title like this one that relies on such strong character work.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Guardians of the Galaxy #13 was an entertaining read. I would recommend getting this issue even if you are not following War of Kings itself. Guardians of the Galaxy #13 should have broad appeal as it has a little bit of something for every kind of read. Whether you like action, drama, humor, plot heavy stories or character drive stories you should enjoy what DnA are doing on Guardians of the Galaxy. Definitely give Guardians of the Galaxy #13 a try. This title is worth the cover price.