Monday, 16 April 2018

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: Riders in the Sky Review (Gerry Duggan, Greg Smallwood)


The gang be a-hunting them pesky Infinity Stones (doesn’t it feel like that’s what they’re always doing when they’re not heisting?) but only in the last chapter of the book. The rest of Volume 2 fills in the blanks from the first. Revealed!: why Gamora is fixated on the Soul Stone; how Groot lost his groove; why Drax is suddenly a pacifist; and who da hell is that Shi’Ar Raptor hungry for Star-Lord’s pair of Nega-Bands?? 

I’m really dugging Gerry Diggan’s All-New Guardians of the Galaxy! Volume 2: Riders in the Sky continues to be enjoyable but don’t expect a strong narrative like the first book as this is basically an anthology. And though none of the backstories blew my hair back, I quite liked them all. 

Gamora’s dreamy issue was the best for being imaginative, melodramatic and trippy. Star-Lord’s issue basically highlights the character’s lack of a storyline in this new series and is irrelevant, though his quest to re-record a missing song by finding an old radio wave from Earth was cute (very apt song too). It was funny to see actor Scott Adsit (of 30 Rock fame) return as a Nova Corpsman after appearing as a SHIELD agent in Duggan’s Deadpool run – I guess he and Duggan are bros? 

Why Drax became a pacifist was just ok and felt somewhat questionable for a dude whose surname – The Destroyer – hints at what he’s been up to for a long time now. I guess it’s reflective of who he is as a person now so his actions would affect him more but still – meh. And though we kinda know what’s going on with Groot from the first volume, I still liked the lead-in issue if only for showing us Rocket and Groot’s strong bond as friends. I don’t want to spoil the Talon’s issue but was surprised by the heel turn and hope that Duggan later down the line won’t shy away from the potentially super-dark material. 

The final issue was the only one I didn’t like as much, though it’s also the only one that picks up the story from the first book. The Guardians meander around Earth not doing much and felt pointless. But Man-Thing unexpectedly shines in a brief cameo so there’s that at least! 

Regular series artist Aaron Kuder sits this one out and different artists draw each issue with varying results. Frazier Irving’s gothic art style was well-suited to Gamora’s nightmarish story and Greg Smallwood’s work on Drax was as high quality as anyone who’s been reading Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight will have come to expect. My favourite was Mike Hawthorne and Terry Pallot’s richly detailed, colourful work on the Rocket/Groot issue. Chris Samnee, Roland Boschi and Rod Reis draw the other issues but I’m not much fussed with their stuff. 

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: Riders in the Sky is really only slightly above 3 stars, like a 3.5, but I’m feeling generous today so I’m rounding up to 4. This title’s where it’s at, chaps!

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