Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Juann Cabal, Dean White
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Comics
If you’re having déjà vu over a new Guardians of the Galaxy #1, you’re entitled to feel that way — Marvel has relaunched the title on a near-yearly basis ever since Brian Michael Bendis began his run in 2013. Over the past decade, we’ve seen takes on Marvel’s flagship cosmic team by Bendis, Gerry Duggan, and (most recently) Donny Cates. Now it’s fan-favorite scribe Al Ewing’s turn to pilot the Milano, and the Guardians couldn’t be in more capable hands.
After preventing the resurrection of a deceased Thanos, defeating the Universal Church of Truth once again, and welcoming the revived Drax back to their ranks, the Guardians are seen enjoying some much-deserved downtime. But when Richard Rider — the original Nova — comes to them with urgent news, it becomes clear their vacation is over.
This isn’t Ewing’s first experience with the Guardians, having penned the acclaimed Rocket limited series a few years ago, but this time, he’s been given their entire sandbox to play in. Ewing is known for his solid, longform plotting, so this can only be a good thing for the title moving forward. Already in this first issue, Ewing is calling back to some of his previous work and incorporating those plot threads into the story here, namely the Olympian pantheon of gods (who last appeared in Avengers: No Road Home) and Marvel Boy, who featured prominently in his Inhumans series Royals.
Ewing is taking a similar approach to his predecessor Cates here, who also touched on some of his other Marvel work in his Guardians, albeit with a completely different kind of story and tone. Ewing’s Guardians feels lighter and zippier than when Cates was writing them, which was more akin to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008 – 2011 run. Ewing is supremely versatile with tone and can easily switch between light and dark without much whiplash, so it’ll be interesting to see how his run proceeds from here.
Perhaps just as exciting as Ewing on the title is artist Juann Cabal, who has really emerged as a major name at Marvel over the past few years. I first became familiar with his work in All-New Wolverine some years back, and I’m always interested in checking out what he has to offer with his visuals. Cabal proves to be a great fit for the material here, with some solid pages (and one especially impressive, intricately laid-out double splash spread) that should only further his profile as one of the company’s best new finds of recent note. Federico Blee’s colors add a lot of dimension to Cabal’s linework, contrasting with the various artists of Cates’s run through vibrant colors opposed to their more muted approach.