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

The Story: Following the events of last month’s issue, the Luminals have foolishly brought back an alien life form with them from their unwarranted expedition into The Fault. The Guardians want to send the abomination back to where it came from, the Universal Church of Truth wants to worship it as a god, and the alien wants to hibernate in somebody. Needless to say, it’s a bad day to be a Guardian of the Galaxy.

The Good: I’ll tell you what, taking a chance on this comic has been one of the best decisions I’ve made all year. I’ve picked up six issues so far (excluding the first two graphic novels I picked up to fill in the back stories) and every single one of them has been an astounding blend of political intrigue, manipulations, action, and science fiction ingenuity. With each new issue released under the “Realm of Kings” banner, you new information is revealed that makes the nature of The Fault all the more terrifying. Without giving anything away, let me just say that as a mild-mannered reviewer living with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, this issue’s revelation put honest to God chills down my spine and made my skin crawl. And shit, if you want to talk about terrifying, let me take a moment to talk about that alien life form. Abnett and Lanning, to their credit, somehow found a way to take all the utter creepiness of the movie Alien and condense it onto the printed page. Moondragon’s encounters with the xenoform are vile and disgusting, bringing to mind images of when the alien burst out of Kane’s chest in the movie. Abnett and Lanning excel at getting across the repulsiveness of life on the other side of The Fault and what a genuine threat it poses to our universe, and if they can pull that off with one measly alien, I can’t wait to see what they have in store when the story kicks into high gear.

The Not So Good: I felt Walker’s depiction of the alien was a little undefined and would often have to stop and squint just to understand what the hell I was looking at when it was on the page. In hindsight though, that may not actually be a problem since the whole point of this issue was to illustrate how repulsive and wrong life is across The Fault. If the alien was difficult to look at, I suspect that’s because Walker intended it to be that way, and that’s a great artistic decision on his part.

Conclusion: Guardians of the Galaxy stands at the forefront of great storytelling, which is good news for all of us as this comic is in the middle of wonderfully terrifying storyline. You want a comic that delivers? You want a comic that truly entertains you? Then this is the comic for you, my friend.

Grade: A-

-Tony Rakittke