I'm not sure this was absolutely essential, but it sure was fun. DnA really run with the concept that the Imperial Guard is made up of multiple people occupying the same roles. I think four guardsmen get killed or taken out this issue. I think Mentor goes out the worst, he doesn't actually die, but he gets taken off the board in a way that actually strengthens the enemies of the Shi'ar. It's quite clever, and it adds nicely to the mythology of the Shi'ar that DnA have established. Gladiator's rescue mission is pretty exciting, but I like that the two remaining Starjammers get to wrap up the current threat. (Although I have to say, combining a ship-sized telepath with a venom-symbiote doesn't seem like a long-term good idea.)
The closing page was powerful, even though the team members who fell are already replaced. The huge mausoleum of fallen guardsmen is a scary promise for each new member that joins up with Gladiator to defend the Imperium. I'm just hoping Quasar gets to help out! (I don't want him to join the guard though.)
Kev Walker's pencils looks a bit sketchy at times, I wonder if he was having a hard time meeting his deadlines. The most important panels look fine, but background characters look a bit blobby. I do like his designs for the new Raptors, they maintain the overall look while remaining unique.