Grew up reading comic books in the 90's. Marvel fan at heart. Hulk, the Midnight Sons, and Marvel's cosmic universe are my favorites.
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The latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of Infinity has hit the shelves this last week. ComiConverse Contributor Mitch Nissen is here with the galactic rundown.
Hermetikus ~ Guardian of the Galaxy?
Caution. Spoilers Ahead.
Issue #5 of Marvel Comics‘ Guardians of Infinity has arrived and with it the identity of the central villain is revealed… and he’s a Guardian of the Galaxy?
The Story So Far:
Three teams of Guardians of the Galaxy from three different eras in time, the Guardians from the year 1000 AD, the Guardians from 3000 AD, and the Guardians from today, have been thrust together in a battle spanning both time and space. An esodimensionally positioned super-structure has suddenly appeared. The Structure exists at all points in time at once and is equip with countless Highbreed soldiers ready to deploy at a moments notice.
The Guardians from all three eras have come to investigate. Discovering the hostile intentions of those aboard the Structure the Guardians band together to live up to their namesake. While trying to guard the galaxy from the Structure’s threat they are apprehended and taken before the leader of the Structure, a being known as Hermetikus.
In this issue it is revealed who exactly Hermetikus is and why he is doing what he’s doing: a Guardian of the Galaxy guarding the galaxy. Hermetikus and the leader of the Guardians 1000, Stella Nega, were the first two Guardians of the Galaxy. Together they fought to save the universe many times in the past. While Stella only focused on the problems at hand, Hermetikus looked at the long view. Stella Nega, Rocket Raccoon, and Major Astro were all thinking too small. To truly guard the galaxy one needs to be able to combat threats anywhere in time and space.
Stella is forced to helplessly watch as Hermetikus removes Rocket’s brain, adding Rocket’s knowledge to Hermetikus’ own collective. Meanwhile the rest of the guardians work to escape their holding cells freeing only one of their numbers: Nikki Gold. Now it is up to Nikki, the one guardian among them with no substantial power, to free everyone and save the day.
In the backup story Rocket and Kitty Pryde help a runaway Skrull escape assassination.
Dan Abnett, Carlo Barberi, Walden Wong, and Israel Silva deliver their best effort yet on Guardians of Infinity. The art for the most part is wonderful. The only strangeness with the art is with Major Victory’s suit, in which the color scheme appears inaccurate. Otherwise Barberi’s pencils, Wong’s inks, and Silva’s colors are fantastic.
Abnett, in one fell swoop ties the story together beautifully with further exploration of Hermetikus’ character. The reason for the trans-temporal Structure’s existence and Hermetikus’ actions make sense and are the next logical step for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hermetikus being a former Guardian of the Galaxy (one of the originals) is a brilliant idea and his actions are the extremes of someone simply carrying out their duty to protect the universe.
This is easily the strongest single issue script of all the issues of Guardians of Infinity so far. Abnett provides more script in these fifteen pages than Bendis does in a full issue of his Guardians of the Galaxy book (a five to ten minute read at best).
The highlight of the book is definitely learning more about Hermetikus. Next to that another highlight is the final sequence with Nikki. The scene is short but oh so sweet. Nikki is one of my favorite characters from the original Guardians team and it looks like with the following issue she will get another chance to show why she is such a wonderful character. Even the banter in the holding cells between the Guardians is humorous and enjoyable.
However the book is still far too short. As with every issue of Guardians of Infinity, the first half of the book is wonderful and always leaves the reader wanting more. The second half of the book is quite the opposite. Fifteen pages are devoted to a stand alone story with no bearing on events in any of the six other Guardians books being published. Nor do these stories carry over from issue to issue.
Some of these stories are fun and some are painful to read through. None of them are Guardians of Infinity as the cover would have one believe. Marvel themselves appear reluctant to acknowledge these stories as half the time they don’t advertise them either in the solicitations or on the cover of the book itself. The second story in this book features Rocket and Kitty Pryde attempting to bond while helping a rogue Skrull escape assassination. This story would be better suited as a back up feature in Bendis’ Guardians book. The story only detracts from overall experience here.
I have said this before and I will keep saying it until Abnett and Barberi are given the entire book. The first half of this book is fantastic. The second half I would not have read had I not been reviewing this book. Having read the second story merely confirms what I already had guess, that this book is only half good.
I humbly ask Marvel to grant the full length of the book to Dan Abnett and Carlo Barberi and crew. Or at the very least give the readers a back up story further exploring the Guardians 1000 and or the Guardians 3000 as they are not featured anywhere else but here. Or expand the Abnett/Barberi feature to twenty-two pages and shrink these second stories to eight pages or less. If Marvel insists on continuing with these second stories I would ask that they at least give these stories relevance to the book they’re contained within: Guardians of Infinity.
This is still my favorite book from Marvel and the book I look forward to reading every month. I’m happy to receive any Dan Abnett/Guardians stories anywhere I can get them but I loathe paying for the second stories.
For more on the Guardians of Infinity be sure to check out the reviews of Guardians of Infinity #1 and Guardians of Infinity #4, both by yours truly. For more cosmic Marvel goodness check out The Infinity Entity.
Be sure to return next month, as I continue to review the following issues of Guardians of Infinity!
Mitch Nissen is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @NinjaMitche.
The Guardians of Infinity portion of the book is outstanding. Dan Abnett, Carlo Barberi, Walden Wong, and Israel Silva knock it out of the park. The less said about the second half of the book, which has nothing to do with the Guardians of Infinity whatsoever, the better. Only half of this book is worth it.