Guardians of the Galaxy #22

Story by
Art by
Andrew Hennessy, Brad Walker
Colors by
Wil Quintana
Letters by
Joe Caramagna
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Considering this is in some ways a "supernatural pregnancy" story, I have to give Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning credit in that I'm enjoying it. Normally I'm not a fan of that sort of story at all; it just feels like a cheap way to put a female character into a form of jeopardy that targets their gender. The spin that Abnett and Lanning brought to the table where it was a deliberate absorbing of a demonic entity from another universe so it could be temporarily contained is different enough that it's actually a nice change of pace.

The end result is a story that revels in its larger than life cast and setting. Abnett and Lanning get to tell stories where nine billion people are potentially going to die, where demonic gods are still just babies, and where the home base of the main characters is the head of a dead Celestial. It's a huge knock-down, drag-out fight but Abnett and Lanning do a lot of set-up for the next big story (and it looks to be a doozy), plus actually use the huge rift in space that keeps showing up in all of Marvel's outer-space books right now.

I also have to give credit where it's due; I've never read the original "Strange Tales" story where Jim Starlin introduced the Universal Church of Truth as the worshippers of the Magus, but seeing them run around in "Guardians of the Galaxy" have proven them to be a good adversary. The idea of an evil religion might be nothing new, but Abnett and Lanning's portrayal of the Church's Matriarch as well as their rabid followers seem more apt than ever in this day and age.

Brad Walker's pencils help bring out the creepy and fantastic in this storyline. The glimpses of the creatures from the far side of the rift look straight out of H.P. Lovecraft's nightmares, and I loved the varied alien species that get to burst across the pages of this comic. Best of all, though, is how he manages to draw the Matriarch as perfectly normal looking, yet somehow still exuding a great amount of evil. That's just the right way to make the character menacing.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" has been on a roll lately; it's nice to see the book settle down into a series of solid issues. Hopefully Abnett, Lanning, and Walker can keep this up. For a collection of misfit characters, there's a lot of entertainment to be had from them.

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