[Warning: contains SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy #12 and Civil War II]
Typically, the Guardians of the Galaxy are busy protecting the universe from vile cosmic forces. However, during the events of the second Civil War, Captain Marvel called in a favor, and the crew zipped down to Earth to provide a little backup. While the fighting eventually stale-mated after another vision from newly-empowered Inhuman Ulysses, the Guardians ship C.I.T.T. (built by Rocket Raccoon) was accidentally destroyed – stranding the team on Earth.
The early moments of Guardians of the Galaxy #13 set the tone for their final story arc in the Civil War II tie-in. Brian Michael Bendis (who also served as the architect for the second Marvel schism) follows the catastrophic near-leveling of the Ultimates HQ, the Triskelion, with some serious inter-team drama. Gamora overhears some S.H.I.E.L.D. chatter and is horrified to discover that Carol Danvers has been holding her despot dad Thanos in lockdown without bothering to tell her – despite asking the Guardians to risk their lives on Earth.
As she charges into the Triskelion full steam to find her father (after all, despite their differences, he’s still blood), Captain Marvel heads her off at the pass. Failing to reason with the furious daughter, the pair battle briefly before Carol lets it slip that Peter Quill was well-aware of Thanos’ detention. Gamora storms off, and the deception ripples through the Guardian’s ranks. The team, feeling betrayed as well, wanders off into the dusk until only Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde are left standing together in the shadow of the smoldering Triskelion.
The Guardians wrap-up was a perfect microcosmic representation for the divisions which fractured the MU during Civil War II. While many agreed with Tony Stark’s perspective, others clearly felt that safety and security outweighed the costs to civil liberty – a nifty allegory for the police profiling (and a similar theme to the first Civil War and the Patriot Act). In this case, the conflicts and compromises of this superhero schism eroded the trust between yet another team who, much like the overall empowered community, found themselves at odds with their closest compatriots.
Not only is Guardians #13 an action-packed read, but it also sets up the Divided We Stand slate of solo books, including Captain Marvel’s relaunch (where her skyrocketing in-world popularity after CWII comes into play), Thanos, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Rocket, among others. The string of solo titles will lead the team into whole new worlds of trouble, before Monsters Unleashed! – or another cosmic event – pulls them back together.
Guardians #13 also includes a sly little coda. In it, a certain Negative Zone-dweller discovers the whereabouts of Thanos. Suffice to say, the Earth could receive a very unexpected and unpleasant visit from Annihilus in the not-too-distant future.
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Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is currently available online and in stores.