Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Phyla-Vell, daughter of the original Marvel version of Captain Marvel, really sets the tone of the book with her snippy comment shot at Medusa of the Inhumans, "Unpleasantness? Sorry Miss Bad Hair Day, but we're already waaaaaay past that!" Set deep within the explosions of the Shi'Ar-Kree War, this issue is itself exploding. Abnett and Lanning do an amazing job of delivering a quick-moving, jam-packed, high-octane, bombastic epic within the pages of a monthly comic.

At some point, however, the duo of Abnett and Lanning got the notion in their collective conscious that this book is being illustrated by George Perez; because the only thing these two left out are a kitchen sink and maybe a urinal. This book has the Inhumans, the full spate of Guardians and Inhumans, as well as Kree, Shi'Ar, spacecraft, and magic spells.

Brad Walker answers Abnett and Lanning's challenge. Of course, Walker has a squad of specialists beside him in Victor Olazaba on inks, Jay David Ramos coloring and Joe Caramagna lettering. From the strands of Medusa's hair (in every panel Medusa appears in) to the visual spectacle of Warlock's magical conflicts (yes, plural), this crew brings a visual spectacle the likes of which would make the technicians at ILM drool in envy. Walker is still growing into his artistic chops and his cohorts are still settling into a groove with him, but to think this talent is just emerging is mindboggling.

Panel for panel, penny for penny, there is not a book on the stands doing more with the standard issue twenty-two pages. The amazing thing is this book is triply stuffed with perceived throwaway characters, yet it is every bit as compelling as though the X-Men and the Justice League were throwing down herein. This book reminds me of the "Flash" back in the late 1990s, where the artistic talent found its way to this book and then on to higher profile gigs on the path to superstardom (or what passes for superstardom among comic artists). You know the period -- Mike Wieringo, Sal Larroca, Paul Pelletier. Hey waitaminnit. . . Cover by Sal Larroca? "War of Kings" by Paul Pelletier? Somewhere, Mike Wieringo is sharpening his pencil and looking down on this book. Until we can figure out how to get Mike's pages, do yourself a favor and pick this book up. It might seem crazy, overwhelming, and well, fun, but that's because it is. This book does a good job of moving forward and uses all of the comic cues to help the reader stay locked in.

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