Guardians of the Galaxy #5 Review

by Nick Devonald on August 05, 2020

Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colours: Federico Blee
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

The issue begins with a throwback to Dan Abnett and Andy Lannings’s run on Guardians of the Galaxy, their final page had the Guardians drinking in memory of Phyla-Vell, and we get to see that scene again. Except where the original focused on Quill this time we focus on Heather and Mantis. It’s a nice touch seeing a classic moment from a different point of view, and it gives that moment added depth and relevance to the story at hand. Heather and Phyla-Vells history in the Marvel universe is complicated, to say the least, and it’s nice to see Al Ewing look at this history and tackle it all straight on. And we get an incredibly brief cameo from Bug, although whether his appearance is a good or a bad thing is up to the reader.

This opening scene is an excellent example of what works well with Al Ewings run. It not only pays homage to all that’s come before, but it also manages to work that into current storylines. Ewing is incredibly reverential to characters individual histories, yet simultaneously is doing his own thing with the characters. Long time fans get references and Easter Eggs, while it’s done cleverly and subtlety enough that prior knowledge isn’t necessary and new fans will be able to read along fine.

The focus of this issue is on Phyla-Vell, which should have been apparent after the last issues cliff-hanger ending. And while we have the two different Phyla-Vells in an inevitable confrontation we also get the resolution to the main plot and the ongoing conflict between the two teams of Guardians. This issue is full of twists and turns, and sure to keep the reader guessing. The conflict between the two teams has felt a little forced until this point, but it works well in this issue and is deftly handled.

While still early days in Ewings run it’s abundantly clear that the Guardians won’t be the same by the time he’s done with them. Not only is he leaving his mark he’s taking the team where he wants to and forging his own Guardians. But it’s so naturally done rather than Ewing having a grand plot it feels like the characters are taking their own steps to get there, an organic evolution rather than a forced one. Kudos to Ewing for the way he’s moulding the team, expertly done.

The art from Juann Cabal is also exemplary. In much the same way as Ewing is making his mark on the team so is Cabal. Each of the characters have evolved and gotten their own look, Rocket is the perfect example of this, so much so that years down the line Cabals take on the Guardians will be as iconic as Brad Walker or Wes Craigs were.

Just as important are Federico Blee’s colours, and they are also incredible. With all the different locations and species in the Guardians series there is a huge pallet of colours on each page and Blee handles this with ease. There are scenes featuring the Dragon of the Moon which have some incredible colours, red’s and blacks and whites which work so well and contrast nicely with each other, it’s good work from Blee.

Another excellent issue in what promises to be a fantastic run on the Guardians, Al Ewings makes sure to pay homage to all that’s come before, and is reverential of previous material, all the while making his own mark on the iconic team. The art is out of this world, no pun intended, and just as iconic as the original run on Guardians. Don’t miss out on this series.

Our Score:


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