Irony vs. Sincerity in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 6

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s a little bit of a disconnect between the crew of the Milano. On one hand, you’ve got Gamora and Drax, honor-bound warriors who are deeply entrenched in the galactic mythology that shapes the universe around them. On the other, you’ve got Star-Lord and Rocket, both of whom would happily throw sarcastic scare quotes up around “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s a tension of values — irony vs. sincerity — that eventually melts away in Guardians of the Galaxy 6.

The issue kicks off with this tension turned up to 10. Peter is dressing down Gamora for putting them all in danger to pursue her greater goals. Explaining what her goals are would take… well, it would take the entirety of issue 3 of All-New Guardians of the GalaxyPeter’s priorities are more immediately obvious — he just wants to make sure his crew is can live again to fight another day. Artist Aaron Kuder stages this scene so we are introduced to it literally through Gamora’s eyes. The reader stays in her POV during the chewing out, but it continues through her punching Quill in the face.

But writer Gerry Duggan doesn’t allow the Guardians to bicker amongst themselves for long, as the Milano is boarded by a band of Shi’ar Raptors. The Raptors are looking to reclaim the body of one of their long-dead brothers in arms (a soldier, it might be added, who was buried with high-powered ancient weaponry), but the Guardians are uniformly out of their depth in this fight. Oh, they can hold their own: it’s an absolute delight to watch all five team members contribute to the violent rebuke of their attackers, but none of them can totally grasp why they’re being attacked until it’s over. Even then, treating Rocket’s poison (while teasing his ego) is much more important than understanding why that astro-corpse has a Nega-Band.

The issue may have started from Gamora’s perspective, but by the end, the reader is firmly back in the “hey, I just work here” camp with the rest of our working class heroes.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?


One comment on “Irony vs. Sincerity in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy 6

  1. Damn, I loved Gamora’s ‘DEATH UPON YOU!’

    Honestly, this issue was interesting in how small it is. After such cosmic sights in the previous, Kuder drawn issues, Duggan and Kuder go small to dig into character dynamics in unique ways they haven’t before. And Kuder really shines here. Duggan’s writing here is great as always, but what sells this issue is how well Kuder depicts Duggan’s character moments. Kuder probably has the best depiction of Gamora ever, and he takes advantage of it with her fantastic emoting. But honestly, there are so many stand out panels to really sell the character dynamics. The panel of Peter being punched, the curse, the Death Upon You panel (cleverly showing only half of Gamora), Rocket’s expression when he discusses how there is always a cost… So great. And ti works just as well in the action sequences, with Kuder proving just as adept at small fights as large ones.

    Peter’s coutner offer uses shadows exceptionally to be intimidating (Scorcina’s colours are just as valuable here), Groot killing the Raptor feels visceral and impactful, ROcket stealing one of Gamora’s swords fantastically displays motion and is the sort of small touch that really sells a much more intimate fight than the cosmic level stuff of the previous issue. And Drax’s horror and refusal to admit he just killed again is amazing. Honestly, that series of panels truly touches some of the great tragicomic moments of the Guardians movie (like Rocket’s drunk speech). Moments that are both absurdly hilarious and yet powerfully sincere.

    And to add all of this up, Duggan is using the Guardian’s history wonderfully. The Raptors were villains that technically are part of the Guardians Rogues Gallery but they never got round to fighting, and Duggan, as part of his use of the older Guardians books as foundation for his new ideas, is really taking advantage. Duggan has finally written the Guardians/Raptors story that should have always existed, after they passed like ships in the night during War of Kings. A fantastic choice to help deepen the Guardians galaxy, expanding the range of Guardians stories you can tell to create a richer tapestry.

    And the choice of the Nega Bnads is fantastic. It was a really satisfying reveal, especially as I hadn’t realised that we’d lost track of the Nega Bands. It used to be that it was always easy to know where the Nega Bands were, as part of Marvel’s concerted effort to keep screwing over DC by refusign to let them get the Captain Marvel name (we may not know what we are doing with the Captain Marvel name, but we certainly aren’t handing it over to you, DC! was basically Marvel’s business plan). But with Carol finally truly coming into he rown as Captain Marvl, the Nega Bands slipped off the radar in a way that was perfect for Duggan to exploit.
    But oh, do the Negabands build my theory that I’ve had since issue 3. I bet you they are going to resurrect Phylla-Vel, and she will be rejoining the Guardians. Which is great, as Phylla was awesome and her death was a bit meaningless. She is exactly the sort of character that would be perfect to expand the Guardians. Though I hope the fact that the Negabands are in play doesn’t mean she won’t get a big, fuckoff great sword. I always loved her giant swords and paladin style look that she had when she was Quasar (and the Death Knight look for Martyr). Much, much better than the relatively boring Captain Marvel version.

    The Guardians feel like they are going to be in a great place by the end of this run, a palce that finally justifies them as one of Marvel’s major franchises that doesn’t require the use of the words Gunn, movie or MCU.

    Also, pretty sure the Raptors weren’t stealing back the corpse of a compatriot. Considering the fact that the corpse was wearing Nega Bands, I’m pretty sure that the corpse is Kree, not Shi’ar. I think the Raptors were transporting the body of someone they killed.

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