Peter Quill has lied about something important. Gamora won’t let the Star Lord walk away without the truth. The question: when Star Lord and Nova teamed up to stop Thanos once and for all – a finale from a while ago – how did he escape? And how did Thanos return to threaten the galaxy?
- Detailed artwork, filled with danger, and good design in terms of composition and colour choice.
- An exploration of how power affects characters in dire circumstances.
- Sacrifice, courage, and oblivion appear as themes.
Splash pages with great attention to detail and design appear, in addition to an opening scene that is filled with darkness and danger, and narrated by Gamora.
Gamora narrates the opening scene. Danger is established quickly here with darkness. Gamora’s voice floats out of the shadows. Then she appears, wrapped in a hood and cloak. If establishing her as dangerous is a goal of the opening pages, it works.
The opening splash pages of this comic has the moment Thanos faces off against Star Lord and Nova. The subsequent pages of the comic don’t let upon terms of design, colour, and ink. There is such intensity and detail in these pages. The attention to detail in these pages is clear.
The comic leaps between the present moment where Gamora interrogates Peter Quill about details of his battle with Thanos, and Quill’s memories of the battle. Trapped in the parasitic, toxic Cancerverse, which is a bubble universe that actively destroys anything that crosses it’s boundaries, Thanos was pushed back by Nova, and Star Lord. The artwork also depicts Quill’s anxiety as he confronts the truth.
Power, and how the characters react to power, plays a large role in the character interactions here. Thanos taunts Star Lord, and expertly manipulates him in an attempt to preserve his own life.
The comic explores power, it’s effects, and how desperate characters will resort to all kinds of manipulation to gain it.
The other theme here is sacrifice – The comic explores who in the cast is ready to sacrifice themselves for a cause, and who isn’t. Characters are tested. Courage and selfishness appear.
Thanos taunts Star Lord. He says Star Lord’s desire to save the universe at the expense of his life has worn out quickly. He correctly guess Quill wants to use the power of the cube to return home. Star Lord says that Thanos’ words and manipulation was “right on the money”.
Power and sacrifice in this comic form a theme: Courage in the face of oblivion, and selflessness. This theme allows the comic to show Star Lord’s character. He has human failings, with a desire to do good, but weaknesses that he must try and overcome.
The comic is largely about power. That’s where the cosmic cube appears. Followers of Marvel Studios films would be familiar with the cosmic cube as the Tesseract – it’s explosive blue energy is present here as it was in Marvel’s The Avengers.
Sacrifice wavers in the face of ultimate power, and the chance to escape from oblivion. It’s a strong theme here: courage in the face of oblivion, and selflessness It’s interesting to see a well constructed character in Star Lord, who has a desire to do good, but falls short, and has real human failings. The comic ends on a cliffhanger, and leaves the story unresolved. This is part one of a longer story that would no doubt explore these themes more deeply.
A Popular Culture reference made by Star Lord confuses Gamora: Star Lord describes himself and Nova as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid since they are going out in a blaze of glory against Thanos.
Guardians of the Galaxy #18 is published by Marvel comics ($3.99 USD). Brian Michael Bendis (W.) Ed McGuinness (P.) Mark Farmer (I.) Justin Ponsor (C.) Cover artwork by McGuinness, Farmer, and Ponsor.