Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet – Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Marte Gracia, David Curiel & Elleti (Panini / Marvel)

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Thousands of planets are burning and locked in conflict. The Infinity War is over. Thanos is dead, slain by his daughter Gamora and the Guardians of the Galaxy are no more. Everything that was has fallen apart and as the Universe tears itself apart, the Mad Titan’s last promise, that the grave can’t, and won’t hold him, sends his brother Eros into a panic fuelled tail spin. Determined to spare the cosmos from a “new” Thanos, he gathers he most powerful beings in creation together to find, and kill, the most likely vessel that Thanos’ spirit and essence hid itself in; his assassin, Gamora.

But things have changed since the end of the Infinity War.  The former Guardian has disappeared and the only people who may know where she is are her old teammates Peter Quill and Groot and her ex-boyfriend, Richard Ryder. Which makes them the prime target for Eros’s squad of “heroes” . They may not be Guardians or involved with the accused anymore, but Peter, the  teenage mutineer Groot and Nova  aren’t about to stand idly by and let their friend be tried, judged and executed for something she isn’t guilty of, even if she did kill one of them.  And as if that wasn’t enough Thanos related carnage for the disbanded Guardians to deal with, the Mad Titan’s former elite pack of kill crazed jackals the Black Order, led by his besotted other half, are also hot on the Thanos trail and hell-bent on returning him from the land of the dead.  Things, as they always are when any of the Guardians of the Galaxy are involved, get messy, complicated and incredibly dangerous incredibly quickly.

The Final Gauntlet not only returns the Guardians to the fold after the Infinity War that tore them apart, it also plunges them headlong into a post Thanos Universe that’s teetering on the verge of all-out war. And, thanks to the guiding hands of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, it so in style and looks gorgeous while doing it. Built around a story that blasts into hyperspace from the first panel and just keeps on accelerating until the final page, intricately detailed characterisation and sub-plots that explore the nature of loyalty and friendship and what they mean to all involved, The Final Gauntlet introduces a new team of Guardians that’s comprised of some familiar, and not so familiar, faces to the fray and opens a multitude of doors for them to travel through while continuing to fulfil their primary mission objective. Guarding the Galaxy from anyone, and anything, that would seek to do it harm.  Keep an eye on this book, it’s about to go stratospheric…  Tim Cundle

 

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