So now we know exactly how Starlord, Drax and Thanos escaped from the Cancerverse, and exactly what happened to Richard Ryder. That is for the most part anyway. Was it a satisfying answer? Sort-of.
Guardians of the Galaxy 18 began this storyline with Gamora tying Starlord up in a cargo hold to interrogate him. It didn’t tell too much, instead focusing mostly on the two Guardians members fighting and arguing with Thanos. GOTG 19 progressed the story a little further, but still favoured action over actual answers. This issue is kind of the same except that we finally learned what happened … after more action with the same formula as the last two issues. Without spoilers, let’s just say that Richard Ryder was given an honourable end.
The tension between Starlord and Gamora continues from the last issue, with Gamora about ready to leave the Guardians permanently. It’s this tension that helps move this story along and keep it interesting, but considering she’s already appeared in previews for the next issue you know she’s not leaving. The problem with this storyline isn’t that the explanations aren’t good, or that the action isn’t fun. The problem is that everything could have been told in 2 issues instead of 3. The first two issues really felt like they wasted time setting up the unique rules of the Cancerverse and there were maybe too many splash pages. Drax spends much of his time fighting Thanos, and while those fights are fun, they could have been cut down.
The art by Ed McGuinness and Valerio Schiti is good, but feels a little inconsistent between the switches. McGuinnes handled all the art in the first two issues and it was fantastic. While Schiti’s art (taking place inside the Guardians’ ship) is also good, it’s a noticeable decline in quality compared to McGuinnes. There’s not as much detail in character designs or the environment. In the Cancerverse there are plenty of lighting effects and a good variety of characters thanks to the undead Avengers. The action flows smooth and Richard Ryder’s final pages are simply breathtaking. Then you go back to Schiti’s pages which are still good, but no-where nearly as good.
Was this storyline worth waiting years just to discover Richard Ryder’s fate? Well, that depends on your opinion of Bendis’s writing in this comic. Was the content worth 3 issues? Not really, but it was still enjoyable in at least some spots. This is at least worth reading for anyone who wants to know what happened to the former Nova but in this case it’s probably wise to read before you buy.
This storyline, while a bit slow, has been better than most in Bendis’s Guardians of the Galaxy run. For the most part it’s been kind of fun but not good, and the previous storyline had me on the verge of dropping it. Since the announcement of the Black Vortex event starring a bunch of titles I’m already following, I’ve decided to at least stick with Guardians of the Galaxy until that finishes. After that, I might be dropping this after the crossover. It depends on how good the Planet of the Symbiotes storyline will be. Oh, and after Nanowrimo ends I’m going to have to track down Abnett’s Guardians of the Galaxy run.
Yes, definitely track down the DnA cosmic stuff. It’s all golden.
This issue was OK. A lot of people seem to be disappointed. I kinda feel like Bendis was an a nearly-impossible situation. The GotG were getting a movie, so of course they had to get a comic. And Bendis was chosen to reintroduce the line-up (first in Avengers Assemble, and then in their ongoing), which included two dead characters. So he had to bring back Quill and Drax (and Thanos). At the same time, Marvel seemed to have decided to introduce a new, younger Nova, so I think Rider’s death may have been an editorial decision. Which meant Bendis also got stuck having to explain that.
Still, it could’ve been done better. And I can’t say I’m entirely happy with how it was done, especially considering how much I loved The Thanos Imperative – seriously, it’s an amazing story. And this story does mean the big, awesome climax of that story was basically meaningless.