Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW is another solid issue of a series that has been nothing short of consistent since it began. Couple this with the fact that the issue also serves as the second part of a tie-in with another Brian Michael Bendis-written, also consistently solid series in All-New X-Men and Guardians continued excellence should come as no surprise. While it’s true that a comic series can easily have its momentum crippled due to constant tie-ins and forced narrative diversions to fit more easily into company-wide mega-events, Guardians of the Galaxy has, so far, been a glaring exception. This is a series that has been recently saddled with a supporting character from the Spawn universe in Angela and not only managed to make her interesting but bring her into the Guardians naturally, to the point where I now associate her with the normal makeup of the team. There’s little reason to be concerned when it comes to the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Much like All-New X-Men #22.NOW last week, Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW doesn’t feature a lot of actual cross-pollination between the two disparate teams, but rather, it focuses more on moving the Guardians out of their current conflict with Star Lord’s father, J’son, and into a place where they can properly begin the crossover next issue. What little of the upcoming “Trial of Jean Grey” that we do get, however, does serve well to link this issue with the previous one from All-New X-Men. Several pages of this issue detail a Star Wars Senate-esque meeting between multiple leaders of galactic races that informs the reader as to the reason behind the Shi’ar attack over in All-New X-Men; that this meeting also involves Star Lord’s father is a clever if not loose tie to the Guardians that will no doubt fuel the crossover in later issues. Otherwise it’s business as usual with Bendis’ exceptional characterization of the members of the Guardians being written all over this issue, including a particularly hilarious interaction between Rocket Raccoon and Iron Man. If there’s a reader out there jumping onto this title as of this month (as the giant #1 on the cover would like to influence), there’s an accurate depiction of most of these characters within the pages of this issue.
Another great reason to get on-board with Guardians of the Galaxy is to witness Sara Pichelli’s fantastic artwork first-hand. Although Bendis’ dialogue does well to outline the multiple characters on the team, Pichelli’s art captures some of the detail that the writing just can’t touch. Here we see Pichelli capture that smug satisfaction on Peter’s face when he believes that fellow team member Gamora is hitting on him, as well as the moment he realizes that he’s actually talking to a shape-shifting Skrull sent to kill him. Justin Ponsor’s colors work wonders in this issue, too, capturing the atmosphere of each sequence, whether it be the dim lighting of the bar where Peter is having drinks or the purple hue of space where the representatives of different galaxies are discussing Jean Grey. Guardians of the Galaxy has always had a great sense of space, pun intended, thanks in large part to the magnificent art team on the title.
Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW is just as good as everything that’s come before it, which is a difficult streak to maintain month-to-month. You can (and should) jump on-board with this issue and get a good idea what’s going on between Star Lord and his father, but jumping back to read all the issues that came before it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the galaxy.
GNN Comics Grade: NEAR MINT (8/10)