Comic Book Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #14

DnA have been doing great work with all of Marvel’s cosmic titles. Just like Rokk, I’ve (Kevin) really been enjoying War of Kings. And the tie-ins so far in Guardians, Nova, and Ascension have all been fun reads.

The last issue of Guardians of the Galaxy in particular really helped to add a lot to the event as it was directly tied in to War of Kings #3. With how the last issue of Guardians of the Galaxy left of I am sure that Guardians of the Galaxy #14 will be another great read and addition to War of Kings.

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Inker: Victor Olazaba

Story: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts were the last issue left off with Adam Warlock and Vulcan facing off. Warlock tells Vulcan to have his men and ships stand down and to end the war he and the Shi’ar are having with the Kree and Inhumans. Vulcan answers by asking Warlock two questions “First, Who are you suppose to be? And Second,….Or you’ll do what?”

With that a sudden brust of energy breaches the ship that tuns out to be the energy from a clash between Vulcan and Warlock’s powers.

The alarms start to sound throughout the ship and the Imperial Guard head of to help their Emperor. Warlock then warns Vulcan not to mess with him, a statement Vulcan just scoffs at. Vulcan then says that he can tell that Warlock’s powers are magic based but still nothing close to matching his powers.

Warlock then tells Vulcan that the war between the Shi’ar and Kree is threating to rip the fabric of time and space and that he must stop this war. Vulcan then yells out “I am the universe” and gives chase to Warlock.

The scene shifts to Hala were Starlord and his team continue to try and convince Black Bolt and the Inhumans that they must stop this war. Medusa tells the Guardians of the Galaxy neither does she or her husband recognize their authority and that they mind their own business. (First the Fantastic Four and now the Inhumans. The Guardians of the Galaxy get no respect!)

Martyr, frustrated by the lack of respect Medusa is showing her and the Guardians, starts to tell Medusa off and tells Peter that his diplomacy way of doing things is not working on the Inhumans.

Bug then steps in to try and be the voice of reason. Bug tells Medusa this war she, the Inhumans, and the Kree are involved with the Shi’ar is threat to all of the galaxy and that they must stop there war before they destroy the galaxy. He ends his speech by telling Medusa “And, incidentally you’ve got the most beautiful ‘eyes.'” (I was thinking the same thing;))

Gorgon then lunges at Bug for disrespecting his queen only to be stopped by Medusa who says she can handle herself. Gamora tells Bug that this is the reason he did not make the cut the first time.

Medusa then goes into a speech telling Peter and his Guardians that, while she understands their position in protecting the galaxy, Peter must realize that the Inhumans’ responsibility is not for the galaxy but for the Inhumans and the Kree people.

Medusa then says that the Shi’ar are the ones who attacked them and declared war on them. Medusa says that all they are doing is defending themselves and that Peter is a fool for not realizing this.

Martyr has enough of Medusa and swings her sword at her but is block by one of the Kree guards. Medusa then orders her soldiers to surround the Guardians.

Peter then tells Martyr that once this is over he is going sit her down and give her an attitude adjustment. Jack Flag than quips that once this is over they will only be saying to themselves “How the **** did we survive that?”

The scene shifts to Knowhere were Heather asks Cosmo if he has heard anything from one of the two Guardian groups. Cosmo and Mantis have not heard anything from either group which they take as business as usual for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Heather than asks them both if they know what a Starhawk is. Heather says that “Starhawk” is a word that has been stuck in her head since she got to Knowhere.

We then shift back to Warlock’s fight with Vulcan. Warlock in his debriefing log tells the reader that he had never faced an Omega Level mutant before like he did with Vulcan. All Warlock could do was evade but still Vulcan was able to drain him of most of his powers.

We then see that Warlock while dodging one of Vulcan’s attacks his whole body turns purple due to all of the power he is using up. Warlock then punches Vulcan but it does not affect Vulcan who counters by blasting Warlock into another building. Warlock then rips a piece of the building he was blasted into and throws it at Vulcan who was flying at him.

Warlock tries to catch his breath but as soon as he looks up he sees that the Shi’ar Imperial Guard appear with Mentor telling him to surrender. Warlock then flies up into the sky trying to escape and Mentor tells Magique to cripple him. She uses her powers to imprison Warlock with her magic.

Warlock then tells Magique that while her magical prowess is impressive it is no match for his powers and breaks free from his imprisonment. He then tells Magique that her powers are mere parlor tricks compared to his. Warlock starts draining Magique’s powers in order to recharge his own. This causes Magique to become cold from how high in the atmosphere they are in. He then tells her to tell Vulcan that this is not over and disappears.

Vulcan then arrives and ask Mentor were Warlock is. Mentor tells Vulcan that Warlock is gone which pisses Vulcan off. Vulcan yells at Mentor to find Warlock and to put his head on a spike.

Vulcan turns to Magique and yells at her that she is suppose to be very good at using magic. One of the Imperial Guard steps in and tells Vulcan that while Warlock was able to escape Magique was able to place a Witch-Mark on him which will allow them to find him no matter what universe he is in. Vulcan turns around and smiles maniacally at the reader.

We return to Hala were Crystal uses her powers to stop the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Kree Royal Guard from fighting. Medusa tells her sister that she did not need to intervene and the situation was being contained. Crystal tells her sister that the concerns of the Guardians are valid and that they should hear them out and reasearch the situation.

Medusa says that the Guardians’ concerns are just based on fear and speculation. Crystal argues that their war with the Shi’ar may tear the universe as they still don’t understand everything going on. Medusa brushes Crystal’s comments off and tells Karnak and Gorgon to have the Elite Guard escort their guest out.

Before Medusa can finish her statement Martyr grabs Crystal and holds her captive by placing her sword to the throat of Crystal, This causes Black Bolt to rise from his chair but Martyr tells Black Bolt not to come closer if he doesn’t want anything to happen to Crystal.

Both Crystal and Peter tell her she is nuts and Peter tells her she has lost her mind and to let Crystal go. Peter than messages Mantis to teleport them back to Knowhere and tells Black Bolt that he is sorry for everything and he and the Guardians teleport back to Knowhere.

On Knowhere we see that Warlock is the first one to arrive and he tells Mantis that he was separated from his group. When asked by Heather why he looks so pale (All he needs is a good spray on tan) he tells them he is fine but that Vulcan is a monster that you cannot reason with.

Before Warlock can continue to say what happened to him Peter and his group arrive back at Knowhere. Peter is pissed with how their mission went on Hala. Peter turns around to see the transporter and notices that Martyr did not let Crystal go like he told her to do. Martyr tells Peter that he needs to grow a pair and that this is the only way that they can bargain with Black Bolt and the Inhumans to stop the war.

Martyr than starts to be reprimanded by Heather and Peter for her dumb actions. Jack then tells the group that the transporter is still on. As soon as all of the Guardians turn around all of the Inhumans lead by Black Bolt appear ready to fight to get Crystal back. Then we see the Imperial Guard suddenly teleport onto the scene having used the witch-mark to track Warlock to Knowhere. Peter than states “I must have done something really bad in a previous life.” End of issue.

The Good: Guardians of the Galaxy #14 was another great issue. DnA continue to do an impressive job with War of Kings and all the tie-in issues. With this issue and the previous issue of Guardians, DnA are showing how to not only write a big event but how to make the tie-ins to the event actually have an affect on the main series.

First, we have the last issue were it ended with Rocket Raccon and his Guardians group team up with Havok and the Starjammers which directly tied into War of Kings #3. Now this issue ends with the Guardians about to have an all out brawl with the Inhumans which should lead into War of Kings #4. All the Marvel and DC writers should take DnA’s work here as an example of what tie-ins should actually look like.

One of the great parts about what DnA have been doing with Guardians is how they have handled the roster of characters. While most writers are usually intimidated by the thought of handling a team book and, therefore, will sometimes reduce the roster to no more than six or seven characters. DnA, on the other hand, actually embrace the team concept and just continue to add characters to the team.

Outside of the two part adventure of Martyr and Drax in Oblivion, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Guardians is the best team book going right now on the shelf. DnA do an excellent job handling all of the characters to the point that there really isn’t one character on the team that you dislike.

I liked the dynamic between the team in this issue. Starlord’s leadership skills was constantly tested throughout the issue as he tried to keep a sense of diplomacy while dealing with Martyr’s quick temper. The reader feels bad for Starlord as he has to deal with so many different personalities in the group that on paper should never be in the same room together. It is surprising that he was able to keep almost everyone in the group in check except for Martyr that is.

Still the collection of characters on this roster provides a nice challenge for Starlord and can help him become one of the best leader’s in the Marvel Universe since only the best leaders like Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Cyclops have been able to deal with this type of situation.

While I am not a big fan of Phyla I do like that she has taken up the rebel of the group. This is a massive improvement from when she was Quasar as she was too dull and tame. It is interesting that even though DnA have made this a direct tie-in to War of Kings that they also have this underlying sub-plot of how Phyla’s new role as Martyr is affecting her personality. This is reflected in Starlord and Phyla’s girlfriend Heather are asking what is wrong with her. It does a nice job building to what is sure to be one of the storylines following War of Kings on this title and I am looking forward to seeing how DnA build to that storyline.

Also even though Rocket Raccoon did not appear in this issue we did get some great comedy with Bug. I cracked up in his little speech to Medusa was great. He starts off well and good with an excellent speech that might have convinced Medusa or one of the Inhumans to hear them out. Unfortunately, Bug ruins it at the end with his crude comment about Medusa’s ‘eyes.’ It was a great little moment that helps give some comedy to an issue that was heavy on action and debating.

Now, one of the characters that has quickly become one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe has been Warlock. I have never been familiar with the character before this series but DnA have done a great job making Warlock into a complete badass.

Even though Warlock was being dominated in his fight against Vulcan it was still great to see how he can hold his own against someone like Vulcan. And it was great that in his debriefing log he even states that he is no match for Vulcan but then we see him how he is able to kick some ass before making his escape.

And it was awesome seeing how Warlock was able to break free from Magique’s magic bubble and then draining her of her powers at the same time before. And to add the cherry on top it was great that he just yells out that her magic is child’s play compared to the Quantum Magician and screaming out “I am Warlock.” If I had a choice for Sorcerer Supreme it would be Warlock as he would probably be the best person for the job and it would give him some mainstream attention.

Also I think this is the first fight that Vulcan has actually been in during War of Kings. So far up to this point Vulcan has only fired his energy blast at someone and they go down. It was a nice display of Vulcan’s powers with how even though Warlock got a few shots in that he was able to make a character that could be considered one of the strongest characters in the Marvel U and make him use up all of his power while Vulcan did not even break a sweat.

Another character that I have quickly become a fan of because of the War of Kings event is Crystal. This issue continues her development from being a reserved character into someone that looks to be the leader of the Kree people.

While Crystal already had some great powers her reserved nature has always limited her from becoming the type of character that the the reader can become interested in especially with her sister Medusa always being the more aggressive character due to her status as queen of the Inhumans.

But now that Crystal is able to stand up to her sister and Black Bolt she has really become the stand out of this event. And it was cool seeing Crystal use her powers to stop the Guardians and the Kree Royal Guard from fighting.

One of the things I would love to see down the line during the War of Kings event is a Crystal and Medusa fight to see who is the alpha female of the Inhumans.

Also it is interesting to see that even though the Inhumans and Kree are suppose to be the heroes of War of Kings and that the readers are suppose to be rooting for the Inhumans to win; DnA have done an interesting job showing that the Inhumans can easily be seen as the villains of this events as well.

If the reader is looking for the true heroes of War of Kings it would probably be those in between both sides: Crystal, Ronan, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Nova. This situation were both sides of the war are seen as villains gives this event an actual war type feel as just like in the real world there usually is never a good guy vs a bad guy. Instead, to those not in the war, both sides are seen as the villains only fighting to get more power.

That last scene were both the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard invade Knowhere was a great hook ending and makes the reader look forward to War of Kings #4 or Guardians of the Galaxy #15, which ever one picks up the fight.

Brad Walker continues to improve with his artwork on this title. While there were still some minor inconsistencies towards the end of the issue Walker still did a great with all of the action in this issue with Warlock vs. Vulcan. And if that final splash page were the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard invade Knowhere doesn’t get you excited for the next issue that nothing will as Walker crams the page with a massive amount of characters ready to fight.

The Bad: The only complaint I have against this issue is that Walker did seem to rush the two pages were Crystal and Medusa get into an argument and Martyr initial holds Crystal hostage. Still this is only a minor complaint that does not take away the enjoyment from this issue.

Overall: Guardians of the Galaxy #14 was a great read. DnA do an excellent job making Guardians feel like is not just a senseless tie-in, like most tie-ins are, and actually make every issue that is War of Kings related feel like they add rather than detract from the story. If you still haven’t picked up War of Kings or Guardians of the Galaxy I highly recommend you pick up both titles as they are some of the best books on the shelves today.