Don't blink or you might just miss it; "Guardians of the Galaxy" #25 is the last issue (at least for now) of the series. And so, at least for now, we say farewell to "Guardians of the Galaxy" (and its sister title "Nova") as they step aside to make room for the upcoming "The Thanos Imperative" event. The end result is a not entirely satisfying comic that tries to simultaneously serve as epilogue and prologue.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning wrap up the current storyline as quickly as they can, but it feels like a lot of story falls to the wayside in the process. It could be that these are things that will get followed up in "The Thanos Imperative" but for now, there's no resolution to Gamora possibly being turned to the dark side, or the return of the Magus, or even the fate of one team member that we never even see on the page itself (instead just getting reported to us by another character). And as for last issue's cliffhanger where Thanos is freed from the cocoon, well, considering there's a full-page ad for "The Thanos Imperative" at the end of the issue, the attempt to defeat him this issue feels slightly hollow. Then again, the defeat of Thanos here comes so far out of left field that even if it wasn't so rushed it probably still would have felt slightly off-kilter. I suppose it's technically playing by the rules that Abnett and Lanning set up earlier, but all in all it's underwhelming.
At the same time, Abnett and Lanning are setting up "The Thanos Imperative" and I must admit that I'm slightly unimpressed. It's primarily other characters acting scared, which generally isn't the best way to drum up excitement. Rather than telling us how dangerous an event is, letting us actually feel and see that danger seems like a better way to go. For now, though, it's just there. no great hook to make me desperate to see more.
Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy are back for this final issue, and their issue is up to its usual standards. It's actually nice to see the scenes set in the future, if only because Walker shows off that he can draw clean and crisp uniforms and clothes, and that it's a deliberate choice for the present day characters to always look a little ragged and rumpled. (It's a pleasant change for a superhero artist to remember that not all jackets are skintight.) I like the slightly cluttered, messy world that the Guardians operate in, and Walker brings that to life. I wish he'd gotten a chance to draw all of the characters a bit more this issue, but with so much to accomplish I suppose we're lucky everyone at least makes a cameo.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" has gone from a series that left me slightly bewildered to a favorite read each month, and I'm sad to see it going away for a while. Hopefully, after "The Thanos Imperative" there will still be some form of Guardians characters group running around the Marvel line. They're far too fun to let gather dust. If nothing else, they deserve a stronger send-off than this.