I’ve been following this comic since its release, and I have to admit that unfortunately I am unimpressed. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the upcoming Marvel movies, and as such, the company saw fit to re-launch the long-defunct series, this time paring down the cast and adding tentpole character Iron Man to the mix. Thus far, the results have been lackluster.
The original GotG was an epic space-faring story featuring spectacular cosmic battles and reality-bending plots. The Guardians were conceived by half-human, half-alien Peter Quill as a trouble-shooting force whose responsibility would be to protect the galaxy from cosmic-level threats. (By cosmic, I mean the kind of thing it usually takes a TARDIS to sort out.) The comic was high on humor and adventure, and the charm of the stories came from this band of misfits and renegades facing down such things as a giant spaceship powered by faith and an enormous space octopus from an alternate reality.
Now, under Brian Bendis’ direction, the cast has been pared down to it’s bare essentials, and the team’s adventures have become pretty much pedestrian affairs. Once headquartered in the decapitated head of a Celestial and backed by a telepathic Russian space dog, the Guardians now tool about in a much-less impressive stolen space battleship and fight threats so underwhelming they would barely attract the attention of the Avengers.
This issue featured the debut of Angela, a Neil Gaiman creation from the independent comic series “Spawn”. Entering the Marvel Universe for reasons somewhat vague, Angela begins by taking on Gamora in a decidedly unexciting battle, while GotG leader Peter Quill finds out about a potential reality-threatening event. The entire issue is singularly uninteresting. Everything from Rocket Raccoon’s boring conversation with Tony Stark to the appearance of GotG favorite Mantis seems to be stripped of veneer. Rocket is supposed to be the funniest of the characters but his dialogue falls flat in the face of Tony Stark’s somewhat predictable Star Trek references about his tryst with Gamora. The situation is exacerbated by Bendis’ lack of attention to detail, for Rocket claims no knowledge of Earth pop culture, when the 2008 run had him admitting to purchasing a collector’s edition copy of the movie “Beaches” on ebay.
The problem is that Bendis has effectively sucked all the mind-boggling concepts that made GotG impressive in the first place. Plus, he doesn’t get Rocket, and if you don’t get the Raccoon, you really shouldn’t be writing Guardians. It has been said that GotG was chosen to be a film because Marvel wanted to go in a more fantastic, cosmic direction, but this will be made difficult if the comic series insists on becoming mundane and pedestrian.