Dealing With Death, Alternate Selves, and Alien Rabbits in Guardians of the Galaxy #3

In the aftermath of Peter Quill’s death (SPOILER ALERT), Guardians old and new take time to grieve, reconnect, and hate each other! 

Allison Senecal: So! How is the old team going to react to the news of Star-Lord’s heroic death in issue 2? Even with four pencillers, and an anthology-esque structure, we get an emotionally hard-hitting and somehow narratively tight (BUT STORY EXPANDING?) issue here. Wowza. Really and truly gods bless Al Ewing and his collaborators on this series thus far. 

Charlie Davis: I can’t actually believe how smooth this story was even though it was cut up into three distinct parts. It moves seamlessly between them and each one kind of provides its own unique emotional gut punch. I don’t know about you Allison, but I could use a drink. I think Gamora could use a drink or two as well. 

I Am Allison. I Am Charlie.

AS: Nina Vakueva was on pencils for this first portion, and damn, the fact she and Ewing were able to break our hearts with, what, four lines of actual Groot dialogue and the rest in “Grootspeak”? So essentially, Rocket and Hercules breaking the news of Quill’s death to Gamora with only “I am Hercules”, “I am Rocket”, and “I am Gamora”. The rest is bald-faced artistic emotion. Gamora. Gamora, baby. Those faces. 

CD: It was almost like the slow setting in of dread. We can’t understand what they are saying, but it’s clear as day all the same. It’s an incredible feat when you really think about it and also lends an air of mystery to what exactly Gamora said to Rocket. It’s also a set piece that’s designed to knock the wind out of you hard when we come back to Gamora. There is a pretty hard fracturing of the team over Quill’s death and who’s to blame. Mind you, Gamora is the only one blaming anybody. 

AS: I am not a fan of Gamora/Quill, especially since it’s seemingly been done for movie synergy. When that initial kiss occurred back in Infinity Wars, I was very “say it ain’t so”, especially after that wonderful issue of Nova where she and Rich (Nova) are “trying to have a normal Earth date” after he was resurrected. The Quill stuff has seemed very “ah well they’ve been teammates this long and the movies are doing it, so let’s do that”. If Ewing is committed to making Star-Lord into a character I can jive with again, I’ll support it. This first section and Belen Ortega’s later one with Gamora’s grieving sold that much of it for me, for sure. I just can not let go of my ships, hahaha. That said, Rich has been Through It and isn’t quite the same man, and I wish they had addressed the end of that relationship, I guess? Grieve through some mercenary violence, Gamora. You do you, girl. 

CD: Gamora is having a wild one. And I tend to agree with you on the Quill/Gamora thing, but this was some damn fine repeating self narration and I can’t think of anything I love more than repeating motifs in fiction. She’s gonna work it out, just please don’t take it out on the other half of your split team. Or maybe do. What do I know? 

AS: *cups hands around mouth* FINISH THEM. Anyways. Except Phyla and Moondragon, they’re trying their best! Or one Moondragon is…..both Moondragons?

A Tale of Two Moondragons and How Many

AS: Mooooooooooondragon. The fact we have TWO Moondragons now and both are more or less getting decent page-time in this series just blows my mind [Ed. Note: It blows mine so much, I had to have Allison explain it to me]. We haven’t seen 616 Heather in a while, like besides background cameos, maybe in almost a decade? Is that right? That can’t be right. Holy $#%&. I don’t know whether to be pissed off at past Marvel for killing off Phyla and then ignoring Moondragon for years, or to be thankful that current Marvel is letting Ewing do this seemingly complex, at least several issues long, character work with all living versions. In this we see Heather getting to reconnect with her dad, Drax. Yes, that Drax. More or less that Drax anyways. 

CD: I like how as a new reader, I knew literally nothing about this whole Drax situation and yet it was laid out in a way that I could perfectly understand. Also, 616 Moondragon being a part of this story is amazing and perfect. Of course she would see this perfect copy of herself and the woman she loves and just NEED to confront it. Ugh, it’s so perfect and it will be a great story if Ewing uses the beats the right way. I have so much faith that he will. I cannot wait for alternate Phyla and 616 Moondragon to see one another in person. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping for a fight.

AS: OH FOR SURE. Tensions will be absurdly high between the old and new teams anyways and add that personal history to the mix and you’ve got yourself a molotov cocktail of emotions. Judging by the cover to issue 5, we’ll see them come to at least some psychic blows. 

And that makes me incredibly happy to hear you say this was so accessible. Ewing is tugging on some weeeeeeird cosmic threads, some of which we haven’t seen since the Englehart days, and I’ve been wondering how it’s going over with more newbie Marvel Cosmic readers. The fact he’s playing on the Art Douglas identity, which also, if I’m remembering correctly, hasn’t been revisited since Annihilation Conquest. (For those wondering, Art Douglas was Heather’s human dad on Earth, was murdered by Thanos, and had his mind transferred into a new body – Drax the Destroyer.)

CD: That is sure a whole hell of a lot of continuity. BUT. I think I’ve got it, and I’ve got faith in the other readers as well. I’m fascinated at how this new team comes together and how the splinter is still operating. They are the ones that witnessed Peter’s death and the cosmic gods. They presumably know the real threat that is out there, but we don’t really have any idea if they had a chance to let Gamora and crew know. And if they did if she even cared. It’s a super genuine emotion, that blind rage, but I do fear for everyone a little bit because they are so caught up in the mess of it all. 

AS: I mean, Phyla and Nova are also God knows where after Phyla flew him off for treatment. I take jabs at writers using miscommunication to drive a plot, but sometimes… sometimes that #$%& is juicy and it works. It’s wholly believable here. 

Thank You, Sweet Rabbit

CD: Hey can we take a heckin second to talk about how there is a mercenary RABBIT IN THIS ONE [Ed. Note: Had to make sure this wasn’t a Star Wars comic]. Blackjack O’Hare is not someone I’m very familiar with, but I do know that if I just looked on the cover of this issue AND I DID I would be like “yes. More of that please.” I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but I’m really glad that we’re getting a continuation of Rocket’s story from the last Guardian’s book to this one. I like seeing him progress as a character and despite what Gamora THINKS he’s been deeply affected by what’s happened to Quill. I can’t wait to dig into his and Blackjack’s background. 

AS: AND EWING KNOWS ROCKET SO WELL. I am so pumped to get to more of this too. Odds on all of these disparate teams converging in the next issue? High. Love how many cosmic folks Ewing has managed to rope into this run. And that includes this new…Prince of Power? (And that’s only based on vague info from a C2E2 panel!) Yeah, that’s Herc’s former title.. gonna be some drama, if that is the case. *eyebrow waggle*

CD: There is enough damn drama to go around. I somehow want to know everything about this mercenary rabbit now. I know he’s probably very obscure, but I know Ewing is gonna do some great things here. The super extra murder Guarrdian’s are about to bring in a bounty on Rocket while everyone’s emotions spin wildly out of control. I cannot wait and I’m so glad I decided to pick up this book because it’s given me so much more than just Hot Phyla-Vell and Noh-Varr. 

AS: Just give us all the weirdness, Al. Keep giving us these emotional beats that I can’t help but sniffle at, even when they’re Star-Lord related. Feed us these continuity crumbs. More lesbians! More himbos! Guardians is truly the gift that keeps on giving. 

Marvelous Musings

  • The panel of Gamora’s hand and the knife. Pure beauty. 
  • Love a saxophone interlude
  • “Never come back Rocket. You’re dead to us all”
  • Drax in the classic gear!
  • How did Rocket cause Blackjack’s divorce? I need to know.

Charlie Davis is the world’s premier Shatterstarologist, writer and co-host of The Young Ones

Allison Senecal buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally.

Allison Senecal buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally.

Charlie Davis is the world’s premier Shatterstarologist, writer and co-host of The Match Club.