Welcome, congregation, to this Cosmic corner of the Stash, where I’m hoping you’ll all join me on a journey to the stars of both the DC and Marvel Universes. We’ll begin with Mister Miracle, which has been astounding readers issue after issue for half a year now (and consequently made our Top 3 Comics of 2017 list). The first issue of 2018 brings us the conclusion to the first half of this 12-issue series, and this issue has left me virtually speechless.
Tom King and Mitch Gerards‘ work on this series has just been on a whole other level.
Like previous issues, this one is composed of 9 panel grids that work as three three panel strips per page, where each strip serves as a subsection of the story. What makes this issue special, however, is the brilliant juxtaposition of an issue-long fight sequence and a conversation that seems mundane until it’s revealed to be of the utmost importance. That conversation seems to have been the culmination of everything the first half of the series has been building to, whereas the last two pages set up what the greatest escape artist will have to face going forward and that reveal, however small, was amazing. The fact that this series seems to be a reflection of Jack Kirby’s initial Mr. Miracle run makes it feel like it should be predictable, yet I continue to be astounded issue after issue. 5/5 STAB-A-TRONS.
Now on to Marvel, specifically the ragtag group of heroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. After Marvel announced they were making a GotG movie, they made a strong effort to line the comics with the movie, both in terms of tone and story. Brian Michael Bendis‘ run certainly attracted many new readers, but it split many who were already fans of the property. One reason for that, among many, is because, even though it was a title called Guardians of the Galaxy, it was overly focused on Earth and even the cosmic stuff they dealt with was tied to Earth characters rather than building on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe.
Gerry Duggan has done what he can to change that. Beginning with his Nova run two years ago and continuing in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Duggan’s been reestablishing the Cosmic Marvel Universe. Duggan’s run on GotG has done for Bendis’ run what the Abnett and Lanning run did for Jim Starlin’s previous cosmic work, incorporating those insular stories into the larger Marvel Universe and Guardians of the Galaxy #150 is the final step before the culmination of that work in the upcoming event, Infinity Countdown. This issue resolves the smaller issues the Guardians have been dealing with, like the question of Drax’s place on the team as a pacifist and the reformation of the Nova Corps and expulsion of the saboteurs within, clearing the stage for the major issues to be resolved in Infinity Countdown, like the whereabouts of the remaining Infinity Stones, the new role of the freshly reborn Adam Warlock, and the Novas and Guardians ongoing feuds with the Talonar of the Darkhawks and the Elders of the Universe respectively.
My previous comparison to the Abnett and Lanning run seems even more appropriate as this issue feels reminiscent of their final issue before The Thanos Imperative. Not to be outdone by Duggan, Aaron Kuder and Marcus To both do some fantastic work in this issue, with the latter doing the giant fight between the Novas and Darkhawks and Kuder doing the small and personal Warlock story. Unfortunately, since it has to do a lot of setup for Infinity Countdown, GotG #150 doesn’t feel like the proper conclusion to the current run that it should; yet it still serves as a good bridge from the current run to the upcoming event, at least refreshing enough to feel like the first proper Marvel cosmic event since the aforementioned Thanos Imperative. 4.25/5 Giant Infinity Stones.