It’s appropriate that the Guardians of the Galaxy’s 100th anniversary issue hits the stands 100 days before the movie releases. This double sized issue has three stories. Brian Michael Bendis writes the main story, with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning returning to the franchise for a short story each. This is also the issue where Agent Venom joins the team, and while Captain Marvel unofficially joined them in Captain Marvel 2, she makes a quick cameo here. The question remains, is this issue worth the extra dollar?
The main story is better than most of Bendis’s Guardians issues so far. The bulk of the series has had little character development, instead focusing on action, story and jokes. It’s been fun, but the odd characterization and a lack of drama hold it back. This issue actually delves into the relationship between Starlord and his father, the king of Spartex. Their conversation is genuinely well-written, and shows that the king may not be as cold hearted as earlier issues have suggested. The venom scene is kind of fun, but it does little to explain when or how he joined the team. Gamora’s scene has her pursued by a bounty hunter she’s previously fought in the series, and it’s odd that “the most dangerous woman in the universe” falls prey to the same trick he used before. Bendis still needs to work on her characterization a bit.
The side-stories are both great though. Lanning’s story serves as an origin for both Groot and Rocket Raccoon. There’s a real charm in the simplistic language both Groot’s race and the young raccoons use forcing the art to tell the story. Abnett’s story takes place 1000 years in the future, when the Earth has been overtaken by the Badoon. A future Guardians of the Galaxy team are working to retake Earth for what’s left of humanity. It’s a fun story that might actually impact the main series down the road, plus the future Guardians’ powers are interesting.
While the three stories are drawn by different artists, all the art in this issue is great. The main story, drawn by Nick Bradshaw, has a realistic feel with plenty of environmental detail. The fire and electricity flying around during the action scenes really ads to the intensity, and when Gamora is captured, the foam from her mouth gives the sense that she’s experiencing intense pain. The second story, drawn by Phil Jimenez, has a simpler look. Still, it does a great job at telling the story through Groot’s facial expressions and mannerisms. The one fight scene where the panels are in the shape of the letters in “I am Groot” is pure genius. The third story is drawn by Gerardo Sandoval, and has a slightly cartoony look yet it still feels appropriate for a post-apocalyptic Earth.
For the most part this is a worthy anniversary special. For $1 extra, you’re getting a decent main story, and two side-stories that are well worth the read. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid jumping on point that’s at least worth a read for any Guardians fans, even if you haven’t really enjoyed Bendis’s take on them.
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Yeah poor Carol back under Bendis pen, some of this issue was good though the parts after the first story. Star Lord came off as self rightous moron. Oh and before some comes along to tell me that Bendis like’s Carol Danvers… Just no he like to use her to prop up his beloved Mary Sue Jessica Jones. Just the forced Romance Jones and Luke Cage.
Can’t say I know much of Bendis’s characterization of Carol. I never read too much of his Avengers run, nor do I plan to.
I haven’t read Bendis’ Mighty Avengers yet, so I’m not sure how well he handled Carol’s voice there. She seemed OK in New Avengers (especially when she became Captain Marvel – the new uniform seemed to actually lead to him changing up a bit how he wrote her, for the better). The last page cliffhanger here actually made me smile – Captain Marvel to the rescue! Hell yeah! She’s gonna be a big damned hero, and it’s gonna be great.
I don’t like Bradshaw’s art. It’s just not a style I enjoy. The story itself was OK.
The Groot story was great. Adorable and heartbreaking.
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