Guardians of the Galaxy #13 Review

by Charles Martin on April 14, 2021

Guardians of the Galaxy #13 Review
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Colourist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This new chapter of the Guardians' story begins with the team divided again. But it's not internal strife that separates the Guardians today; they've split up because they have a lot of galaxy to cover.

A b-team is investigating a newly-discovered planet at the far end of space. Meanwhile, the a-listers are defending the Kree/Skrull Alliance from a Progenitor invasion.

Remember the Progenitors? The big bad guys from Al Ewing's turn with the Inhumans? They're precursors with 21st-century sci-fi lingo and a fresh "floating head" look. But they're really just Celestials. They ran the standard Celestial game (prehistoric genetic manipulation) on the Kree instead of Earth's humans.

I'm happy to see Al Ewing bring these dudes back and then burn them up as work-a-day jobbers. They establish the badassitude of the Guardians by folding like delicate laundry when the heroes attack them. Nova sends a last Progenitor packing with a warning not to come mess with cosmic Marvel: "This galaxy is guarded."

And it's OK! The Progenitors make a fine undercard for the bigger fights to come. The Guardians' a-team runs into a new (familiar) threat that demands immediate attention, and the b-team turns up ominous stuff that promises conflict on a longer timeline.

Juan Frigeri lands with a finely-tuned artistic splash on the cosmic stage. He handles a vast team roster, a huge battle, and detailed crowd scenes with unshakeable skill. I like the character design upgrades, bringing the Guardians together with shared iconography and the ol' Nextwave secret to team unity: snazzy jackets. 

(Nova wearing a jacket should not work, but it does!)

Federico Blee enhances the visuals by drawing from every portion of the colour spectrum, dousing the action in brilliant hues that fit its galactic scale. The way that he can combine superpowered energy blasts with subtle character shading is terrific. The colours keep the action grounded in reality even at its most fantastic.

Al Ewing's script works to give the art team a lot of challenges -- challenges they more than live up to. Besides explosive action, the words explore the way the Guardians have changed. The secondary team has Quasar on board, with a twist. And the main team is starting to learn just how thoroughly Peter Quill changed on his cross-dimensional journey back to them. 

The visuals handle these character beats with aplomb, portraying emotional surprises with just as much skill as explosive combat. The Guardians are, all around, in skilled creative hands.

So where are they going under this talented leadership? Well, I can't reveal the new antagonist delivered by this issue, but rest assured, the coming conflict deserves a couple of hundred words of excited, spoilery discussion. 

Without spoiling any of the issue's surprises, what I can talk about (with enthusiasm!) is the tremendous velocity this title has developed. Even with momentary character digressions, the Guardians are now on a rocket ride to cosmic superheroing. This is loud, fast, exciting action, perfectly balanced and delivered with superlative skill. The destination isn't clear yet, but the journey is already well worth taking.

Our Score:


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I love the contemporary continuity references on Kl'rt's screen: "Iron Man v. Korvac" is (literally) on his radar.