The actual title of this is Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha, but that’s way too long for a title. This is actually one of those comics that I hate, where they start a story line as a means of getting you to buy into an ongoing series in which it continues. Or in this case multiple series that I don’t read. They want you to start reading the Guardians line of comics and I’m really not interested.
So this is, in reality, a review of the first part of the story. Hey, you make do with what you’ve got! So let’s get started.
The Black Vortex, an ancient artifact of unbelievable power to make anyone who submits to it incredibly powerful, is in the hands of Mr. Knife and Peter Quill and his girlfriend Kitty Pryde are out to stop him, with the combined might of the X-Men, the Guardians of the Galaxy and anyone else they can find!
Now I freely admit that Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t one of the titles that I follow, I’ve honestly never been interested in the characters, even though I love the movie, I don’t care about the comics. I do, however, like the X-Men and really picked it up just for that. But it did leave me kind of lost, I have no idea how I missed Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde seeing each other (I understand they get engaged by the end of this story). Truth be told, that kind of bugs me, but I’ll leave that where it lies.
We start out with a fun scene with Rocket Raccoon GMing a role-playing game for the rest of the Guardians when Peter Quill calls in to interrupt the game, he and Kitty have gotten themselves into trouble in his father’s ship and need help getting out. But Mr. Knife has a mirror, the Black Vortex, that will grant incredible power to anyone who submits to its will and the more who submit, the more dangerous the resulting army is going to be. So they recruit the X-Men, including the X-Kids out of time that we got to know in All-New X-Men a while back, and they all head off to Spartax to meet up with Quill and Kitty, who have stolen the mirror and are now being pursued by the extremely-powerful Slaughter Lords. That’s a dumb name.
But honestly, there wasn’t anything here that really kept my attention. There were no memorable fights, there was no real character building, it was a reunion piece without any significant hook for the ongoing plot. There’s this McGuffin, but we really don’t have any context for its importance. We see it appear out of nowhere 12 billion years ago with no rhyme or reason, we hear that when the whole planet of Viscardi submitted to it, they ended up killing each other, conveniently off-camera, but we’re given no reason to really care about any of it. And since I couldn’t care less about most cosmic events in the Marvel Universe, I really see no reason to continue.
Art-wise, Ed McGuiness does some of the art. Some. He couldn’t even make it through a single issue without help. And between his and Kris Anka’s work, I prefer Anka throughout most of the issue. They end up switching throughout for some reason.
Even if this was just the first issue in an independent event, based on the story so far, I don’t think I’d go on. I might give it another issue, just to see if it improved, but there was nothing here that really made me excited to see what happened next. The word that best describes my feelings about the story is “meh”. And if that’s the best your story has going for it, that’s certainly not a good recommendation.