It’s interesting that, along with All New X-Men 22, this comic has a #1 on the cover’s top corner. It can’t very well be called part 2 of the crossover since it doesn’t really continue from ANXM –it pretty much happens at the same time. So if you’re only reading this crossover for the X-men, this issue is skippable. For Guardians regulars though, this was enjoyable enough.
This issue spends a decent amount of time showing Gladiator telling the others of his plans to put Jean Grey on trial for her older self’s use of the phoenix force. What makes these scenes entertaining is how all the other cosmic empire leaders question his motives. They all realize this isn’t the same Jean Grey, yet Gladiator doesn’t care. The comicbookresoures thread is already trying to turn “Gladiator doesn’t care” into a meme. It works for his character though, and he was never really known to be smart. This scene is definitely this issue’s highlight.
Other than the Shi’ar portion, this comic is mostly a downtime issue. Peter Quill has an encounter with a bounty hunter, complete with his humourously questionable decision making. Gamora and Angela have a brief stint of shopping. Tony Stark says his goodbyes to the Guardians. There are a bunch of little scenes, some more entertaining than others. Gamora and Angela’s growing friendship/rivalry is probably the best of the team’s antics, while Tony Stark’s appearance feels like a waste of time. Once the Guardians discover the Shi’ar plot, they spring into action. This leads to the final panel, which is the same as All New X-Men 22’s final panel only we see the X-men instead.
The art is excellent as usual for this series. It’s a clean, colourful look. Gladiator’s mohawk is shorter than usual, but it makes him look more respectable as an emperor. There’s good use of backgrounds and environments too. The lighting in Peter Quill’s bar scene makes it feel like a club. The crowds in the marketplace in Gamora and Angela’s scene are complete with a nice variety of alien species.
Each series had a decent introduction to the crossover. They introduced the premise in their own way, and from the perspective of their respective teams. This isn’t the greatest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, nor is Guardians anywhere nearly as good as Bendis’s X-men work. His GOTG series goes more for entertainment and banter than it does for any meaningful characterization. Despite these shortcomings, it’s still worth reading for series regulars or those who want an introduction to them before the crossover begins.