Readers are finally given a chance to see what is happening adjacent to Doomworld in “Guardians of Knowhere” #1, which reimagines the Guardians of the Galaxy as peacekeepers who have sworn to protect the denizens of the floating Celestial head in the sky. Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato take what remains of the group and pits them against Angela, who has come to collect Gamora’s head for crossing zones, which she knows is expressly forbidden by Doom.
The writer uses Gamora as the eyes of someone newly agnostic, questioning reality and ruler, blasphemous at best and pursuing a death wish at worst. His script contains some intense action scenes, such as the opening number between Angela and Drax, allowing Deodato the opportunity to flex his superheroic muscles. The fight is ruthless and bloody, shockingly so for a Marvel book, and lets the characters really tear into one another; Deodato creates a medieval battle in space alongside Frank Martin, whose colors give this book an epic feel throughout.
In a recent interview with Sport Illustrated, Deodato said that superheroes should look like walking gods and he does just that here. His characters are all powerful and sexy, enhanced by what is becoming the artist’s increasingly thin line. His work during “Original Sin” introduced this shift in his style and it adds an amazing sense of detail to his already packed panels, allowing objects and characters breathing room uninhibited by line weight. Comparing his current style to even three years ago looks like watching a movie in standard definition versus watching it in 4k. Throughout, he uses unconventional perspective choices that create needed variety, as Bendis’ entertaining but wordy talking scenes involve lots of standing around. As the Guardians debate Gamora’s revelation and their own internal dysfunction, Bendis bounces character worldviews off one another, mostly filtered through Rocket. With the announcement that he will be at the fore of the relaunch post-“Secret Wars,” this feels like the writer’s dry run with letting him lead the team. It has the expected mixed results, which are fun to read.
The villain of the piece — who reveals himself at the end of the issue — looks to be new, which is odd considering the world in which he exists is culled from the memories of the Marvel Universe. For this reviewer, this is the biggest concern for this title and the currently running “Infinity Gauntlet” series. Bendis gives the character a dramatic introduction with a pithy cliffhanger line, and it’s possible this is a character with whom readers are familiar, but under a different name.
There are some mysteries teased here, like the extent of Gamora’s knowledge and what exactly each of these characters has kept buried within them. Bendis uses these things to drive the story forward. With this being a finite series, the writer has a bit more focus and less time in which to reveal these mysteries, all of which could portend good things for the remainder of this comic book.
Readers looking for their monthly “Guardians” fix will find a more focused and intense version of their favorite group in “Guardians of Knowhere” #1, and even a cameo by Cosmo, the Marvel Universe’s undisputed best character ever. It’s a good start to their involvement in the company-wide event.