Graphic Novel Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

The galaxy is broken. The events of the most recent power-play for the reality-warping Infinity Stones pit friend against friend, brother against brother, and culminated in death, destruction and doom. Even the Guardians themselves were ripped apart by the betrayal of one of their own, as Gamora refused to let anyone stand in the way of her quest for vengeance, which culminated in the beheading of her father Thanos.

But Peter "Star-Lord" Quill also died at her hands, only to be brought back to life thanks to Doctor Strange and the Time Stone, although his team-mate Drax was not so lucky... Meanwhile, alternate versions of Moondragon and Phyla-Vell arrived in our reality, the teenage Groot started speaking English, and Rocket has left the ranks of the Guardians for reasons yet to be revealed.

We pick up the story with an unprecedented assembly of cosmic players, gathered by Eros, aka the former Avenger Starfox, to hear the last will and testament of his brother Thanos. It transpires that the mad Titan somehow arranged for his consciousness to be uploaded and implanted into another's body upon his demise, with Gamora the most likely suspect...

As forces from across known space race to confront the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, a new team of Guardians is formed to protect their former colleague and thwart Thanos' resurrection. Quill, Groot, Moondragon and Phyla-Vell are joined by the alien with Thor's powers, Beta Ray Bill, and the Cosmic Ghost Rider, actually the Frank Castle of a possible future. But are they fighting for the right side, and if Gamora isn't Thanos' new host, then who is?

Writer Donny Cates has spent the past few years immersed in Marvel's cosmic characters, having reimagined Venom, making Loki the Sorceror Supreme, presiding over the death of the Inhumans, and creating the aforementioned new take on the Ghost Rider, so he is perfectly qualified to pick up the reins of the Guardians' series. On the strength of this debut volume, we're moving worlds away from Brian Michael Bendis' comedy take on the team, and that can only be a good thing.