Guardians Of The Galaxy #5 Review

by Charles Martin on May 15, 2019

Guardians Of The Galaxy #5 Review
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Guardians pick themselves up after a loss and Beta Ray Bill makes one more roster addition. Hela swings into action and the Dark Guardians find themselves royally boned. 

Cosmic Marvel can be a big and cold and crazy and cruel place, and sometimes the good guys get dragged bodily into the merciless gears of a finely-tuned bad-guy plot. That's what this issue is all about; stacking the odds against the Guardians so high that things look nearly hopeless.

It does start out with a tiny blip of comic relief as it undoes the last issue's cliffhanger. Donny Cates is keenly aware of how unsatisfying it would be to lose Star-Lord, and the script explains his survival with a clever nod to why it wouldn't be cool to kill Quill right now.

The majority of the script is about evolving the plot. Specifically, Hela's plot. She expresses grim satisfaction at bringing the pieces together, and she spares a few lines to mock the Dark Guardians (generally and individually) in classic gloating-villain fashion. 

Beyond that, characterization is in pretty short supply. But this is not a fault that holds the book back. The plot gears mesh together with exceeding fineness and dreadful logic. There's some tasty parallel dialogue that emphasizes the distinction between what we thought was happening and what's really happening.

The art matches up nicely with the foreboding script. It grows steadily darker as villainous plans are revealed. This title is falling both metaphorically and literally into shadow, and Geoff Shaw takes full advantage of the way darkness can add shape and depth to his characters. There are a few shaky faces thrown into the mix; it feels inevitable and excusable in an issue with such a big cast and so many emotion-provoking developments.

David Curiel's colours are also grim. They're muted in much of the book, providing just enough contrast to distinguish the characters and keep spatial relationships clear. But greater intensity and saturation are deployed at pivotal moments. Hela's brief, brutal bits of violence are distinguished by colours every bit as aggressive as the death-goddess herself.

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 puts Hela in the driver's seat of the plot. That's bad news for the galaxy and all its guardians, dark and original-flavour. While this issue isn't much for characterization, it wrings dramatic, transformative developments out of the plot. It's satisfying in itself, and it promises plenty of desperate excitement to come. Good news for the villains is bad news for the heroes, but excellent news for the readers.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I think the plug for "Death of the Inhumans" dragged on a little too long.