By Gerry Duggan & Frazer Irving
The problem is with some of the more recent Guardians of the Galaxy stories, particularly in light of the first film’s success, is that they tend to focus too heavily on Peter Quill and ignore the potential dynamic created by the rest of the Guardians cast. Quill himself isn’t a bad character per say, but when you’ve got plenty of potential lurking in Gamora, Drax, Rocket and even Groot to explore, this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be shied away from and it’s great to see Duggan putting character development first and focusing on Gamora. The character really shines in this issue and if you’re a Gamora fan, you need to be reading this book, as the main cast are pushed to the side in an issue that really plays out in her favour.
Whilst Aaron Kuder is on artistic duties for the main arc, he can’t do every issue in the series and it’s great to see Frazer Irving stepping in for this issue on both the pencils and colours, giving us a feast of excellent visuals to devour. Irving’s art is unique and there’s nothing else quite like it, really capturing the characters, Gamora in particular, and given what Gamora faces in this issue then it seems like Irving was the perfect replacement for Kuder here as he really shines. He has the ability to make alien places feel truly alien and that really is exploited well here, as not once does the location feel like it could be a clone of Earth. There are so many panels that stand out it’s impossible to name all of them, but if you’re one of those people who reads comics more for the art than the story this issue is very much up your street. That said, it doesn’t hurt as well when the story itself you’re getting is pretty good too…
The main strength of Duggan’s writing here is the characters, which really helps Gamora excel in this book. Her character development is exceptional and she gets more here in one issue than the entirety of previous Guardians of the Galaxy runs. Although the main story is not the focus of this issue, it does play some role as most of the Guardians only get cameo appearances, which is something that you perhaps would not have expected from a book called All-New Guardians of the Galaxy. But the decision to shift the focus to Gamora really pays off as Duggan takes the character in fresh, exciting and new ways whilst at the same time keeping her very much in character and combining the new with the old in a way that just works.
Don’t go into All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #3 expecting answers though, because it presents a lot of questions that aren’t all resolved in this issue. The book feels as though it’s the stepping stone for something far more important further down the line, and this approach that allows the Guardians to shine on their own in the team book rather than having solo series devoted to them seems to be the way to go. Based on what we’ve seen here, there’s so much potential to explore with character-focused issues on people like Drax and Rocket, which would help like with Gamora here give added depth to their characters.
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy could have just been a cheap tie-in series to the film, released hoping to cash in on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s success. But that is very much not the case as only three issues in, Gerry Duggan is shaping this book into one of the group’s must-read runs, and with Frazer Irving on board for this issue, you know you’re going to be in for a treat. If you’re a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy and you for some reason aren’t reading this series yet, then it’s something that really needs to be remedied as soon as possible. Far more than just a filler issue, All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #3 is an important entry into Gamora’s adventures.