The Black Vortex crossover between the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men started off well enough, with a very intriguing backstory explored in Black Vortex Alph and a good character-focused second issue in Guardians of the Galaxy 24. Pretty much every important character had their chance to voice their opinion on the ancient artifact of cosmic power. Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t quite keep that momentum going.
The best parts of this issue are the fight scenes. Those who have submitted to the Black Vortex receive a significant power gain, usually based on their own abilities. Beast seems to have a cosmic awareness, and Gamora’s powers seem to enhance her assassin abilities. And then there’s Angel (who submitted in the preview pages), providing the three of them with travel speeds faster than Captain Marvel’s own. The fight between the three cosmically enhanced heroes and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men is intense, tapping into their enhanced abilities in creative ways. The power also weakened their morals, which Gamora demonstrated after Jean Grey uses her psychic abilities.
Outside of the fighting though, this issue isn’t that good. Most of the plot threads are mentioned without being expanded on, save for Mr. Knife discovering the heroes’ location and Angel also submitting to the Black Vortex. Some of the dialogue also feels off. For example, X-23 has never been known to use colourful descriptions for anything, yet while recovering from a blow Beast dealt her in the last issue, she says “brain feels like a smushed burrito.” That’s not to mention that Rocket Raccoon overuses his space profanity in some of his lines. These are minor flaws on their own, but they add up and weaken the issue.
For the most part, the art by Paco Medina is great. For such a large cast, everyone manages to keep their unique looks and their outfits are well detailed. Facial expressions showcase everyone’s emotions well, and the cosmically enhanced heroes are impressive looking. There’s a fair amount of environmental detail, motion blurs and lighting effects to help enhance everything. The art isn’t without the occasional flub however. On one panel, X-23’s outfit appears red when it’s supposed to be orange. In Storm’s fight with Gamora, the artist seems to forget that Ororo’s cape was torn, because it appears perfectly fine for the rest of the comic. There’s also one panel in the fight where Storm’s block somehow leaves Gamora’s weapon between her weapon and her torso, leaving her open for the master assassin to slice her belly open. These are minor flaws in an otherwise great looking comic, but they’re worth mentioning.
The Black Vortex crossover still has plenty of potential, but this is the weakest entry so far. The fight scenes are fun but that’s sort of all this issue offers. If the crossover continues to do the story’s concept justice this issue shouldn’t be a problem. If you’ve been enjoying Black Vortex so far, this is still worth picking up, but this issue won’t win over any naysayers.