Graphic Novel Review: Guardians of Knowhere

Guardians of Knowhere

Guardians of Knowhere - Credit: Archant

The galaxy may have ended, but the world still needs Guardians...

(Panini Books)

Unfortunately scheduling delays mean the collection of Marvel’s much-heralded Secret Wars crossover isn’t due to hit bookshelves until next year, which means a degree of research or foreknowledge is needed to make any sense of this tie-in title.

The multiverse has been destroyed, but a patchwork planet made up of samples from various different realities has been saved by an all-powerful Doctor Doom, whose Battleworld is policed by a squadron of Thors, while barons fight to protect their territories from opposing forces, and a small group of heroes from the original Marvel Universe strive to restore the world they left behind… There you go, all you need to know about Secret Wars in one handy paragraph.

Orbiting Battleworld is the giant floating head of a Celestial destroyed by Doom, a colony of alien convicts, criminals and refugees known as Knowhere. These are the last survivors of intergalactic worlds which now no longer exist, protected by a disparate band of champions known as the Guardians…

Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer and Mantis are all that is left of our own Guardians of the Galaxy, with many of their former team-mates now members of the new Nova Corps…

But after embracing the power of the Black Vortex in the last few issues of the last Guardians of the Galaxy series, Gamora finds herself remembering the reality they left behind, and strives to escape Knowhere in order to find the truth behind Battleworld, an action which attracts the attention of Thor Corpswoman Angela…

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Meanwhile a small-time crook called Yotat has been transformed into a near-indestructible force of destruction after being exposed to alien technology, and after slaying his former paymasters within the Knowhere underworld, is now looking to seize control of the entire colony for himself…

Writer Brian Michael Bendis is joined by outstanding artist Mike Deodato for this four-part storyline, and for the most part they continue the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tendency for snappy dialogue, explosive battles and lightweight plotting. There are some neat links to the other Secret Wars titles, but unless they’re aware of them then they’ll probably go over most readers’ heads, and because the major events of this epic have to happen in the main title, there isn’t much in the way of story development until the last few pages, when an unexpected character makes a welcome reappearance.

There’s also a random issue of the original New Avengers: Illuminati collected here, which offers a later-retconned take on the 1980s Secret Wars. Best ignored.

With dozens of other Secret Wars tie-ins having been published this year, it will be interesting to see what other titles Panini choses to reprint in collected form before the long-awaited arrival of the parent book in March.

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