After saving space from near-ruin (again), it’s time for Marvel’s space-faring heroes to get an upgrade in this week’s Guardians of the Galaxy #13.
I’m surprised Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is just a continuation of writer Al Ewing’s run and not a renumbering, because it does feel like a relaunch (the cover makes a point of enlarging its legacy number to emphasize their #175 milestone, but it’s otherwise business as usual). Whereas the previous 12 issues had the team fractured and scattered throughout the cosmos, the updated status quo here has them reunited with an expanded roster and working with (not for) the Galactic Council to help keep space safe. This turns out to be fortuitous timing when a rogue Skrull cult seeks revenge for their people aligning with the Kree empire…
If you’ve already been following this run, then there’s not much “new” here that would drastically impact your enjoyment of the book. It still has Ewing’s signature touch, being paradoxically light and dense at the same time, with a slightly different look (more on that later), but it’s ultimately the same GOTG you were reading before. For a lot of people, though, the main appeal of this soft relaunch can be reduced to two words: Wiccan & Hulkling. Marvel’s biggest LGBT power couple are now Guardians (or at least Guardians-adjacent), which is perhaps unexpected, but actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. They’ve both been recurring figures in Ewing’s Marvel work, and they’re especially important in the universe now that Hulkling is essentially the king of space. Why shouldn’t they hang out with Star-Lord & Co.?
Particularly for you Hulkling/Wiccan fans jumping on with this issue, Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is a decent starting point, but I would behoove you to catch up with the series up to this point or at least read synopses of it first. There’s a lot of context you’ll have missed for some of the developments here (e.g. that Star-Lord lived a whole other life in another dimension or that Nova might kinda sorta be in love with him). Ultimately, however, it’s mostly concerned with a classic beat-em-up against the Progenitors (a whole other Ewing thing, don’t worry about it) and the aforementioned Skrull plot. The point is that if you’re here for the gays, you won’t be completely lost.
Juan Frigeri replaces Juann Cabal on art starting with this issue, and unfortunately it’ll be a tough act to follow. Cabal’s GOTG run cemented himself as an emerging VIP in Marvel’s rolodex of talent, but that’s not to say that Frigeri isn’t up to the task. I like his art style here; it’s very clean and appealing, accented by Federico Blee’s bright colors. He just has the misfortune of coming in after career-making work by his predecessor. I’d like to see Frigeri’s art loosen up and play with form more as his run develops, because Guardians of the Galaxy is precisely the kind of title that allows for it.