By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Brad Walker (artist), Victor Olazaba (inker), Wil Quintana (colorist)

The Story: While Drax and Rocket Raccoon continue to investigate what exists on the other side of The Fault, Star-Lord and his teammates must come to terms with the tragic losses they’ve suffered, not that the Luminals especially care.

The Good: Taking a chance on Marvel’s cosmic comics has been one of the best things I’ve done this year as a reader. Abnett and Lanning are producing some incredibly fine stories on Guardians of the Galaxy with scripts that are full of dynamic action and developed character drama. What continues to impress me is how they managed to create across all of their titles an unpredictable atmosphere of genuine danger. One need not look any further than last month’s confrontation with the Magus to understand what I mean by that. Could you ever see that kind of climax happening in a mainstream Marvel book? I can’t, and that’s a large reason why I’m so drawn to these stories. Reading them, you seriously get the impression that nothing is sacred and even the heroes of your favorite comic can perish at a moment’s notice. For the most part I found myself enjoying Walker’s art, although his humanoid characters like Star-Lord and Moondragon were less impressive than the more fantastic elements of the issue like the hideous space mole that Drax and Rocket confront or the Lovecraftian nightmare and the end. Trust me, it’s as wonderfully bizarre as it sounds.

The Not So Good: I’m still at a loss to understand how this qualifies as being a “Realm of Kings” tie-in. Sure, it deals with Guardians investigating The Fault, but certainly not in any way that advances the overall storyline. If anything, the time Drax and Rocket spent on the other side was little more than an extended action sequence that Moondragon offered commentary on. I enjoyed the issue, but at the same time felt it was a cheap attempt to capitalize on the “Realm of Kings” story.

Conclusion: Guardians of the Galaxy continues to be the best book you’re not reading, so go visit your local comic shop and change that already!

Grade: B

-Tony Rakittke