So, I picked up a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy #8 and discovered that the new art team of penciller Brad Walker and inker Victor Olazaba actually held my interest. That wasn’t what I expected, now that Paul Pelletier has jumped over to the "War of Kings" crossover series (of which this issue is a small part). I am a bit guarded in praising Walker, since he suffers from a common modern affliction - - - an over-reliance on large story panels as an artistic short cut. It could simply be that the regular writing team of Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning didn’t provide Walker with more than a bare bones plot to tie-into their spiffy new cosmic x-over series, but there are far too many blown up panels that really have nothing going on in them, other than a character or two knocking the living daylights out of each other, or a single face dominating the entire page (and when this type of conceit doesn’t heighten the drama of the moment, then really, what's the point?).
The opening nine pages show great promise with a flashback that fills us in on how Star-Lord ended up in the Negative Zone last month as the prisoner of Blastaar. Along the way Peter "Star-Lord" Quill ends up suffering quite a beat down from his old "Annihilation" pal, Ronan the Accuser, but since the last issue actually closed with a big page (two pages/?) reveal of Blastaar, there was no need to repeat the very same moment, on yet another splash page, to return us to this particular point of the story. We then have four more pretty nice pages that feature Rocket Raccoon’s current/temporary version of the Guardians, before the book coasts along to its end with increasing use of overblown, large-scale panels that only briefly touch base with other extended cast members. Such a waste!
I have no idea if the new creative team shuffle is permanent or if Mr. Pelletier plans on returning to this title after the "War of Kings" mini-series runs its course. If he isn't coming back, my suggestion to Marvel Comics would be to shift Tom Grummett over to Guardians of the Galaxy now that his Exiles gig is ending (that book is being cancelled) and I certainly hope that Mssrs. Abnett & Lanning can get Guardians back on track soon, the series opened with a very specific premise & team mission, that fell by the wayside with its involvement in "Secret Invasion", and now "War of Kings" threatens to do more of the same. Considering that an Assistant-Editor, Editor, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher all receive a credit on this title, I have to wonder if they feel the same way?
Rayboy gives Guardians of the Galaxy #8 ** out of ***** (but he is keeping his fingers crossed).