Friday, February 19, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Bendis uses the post-"Secret Wars" setting to shake up the Guardians' status quo significantly here:  Peter has left the team to become the King of Spartax, Kitty has taken on his role as Star-Lord, and Ben Grimm has joined the team. 

We'll start with the positive.  I like Bendis' spin on Ben, the idea that his membership in the Fantastic Four was really just a detour from how he wanted to spend his life, traveling space.  I had never thought about it that way, but it rings true, this idea that Ben's been given a second chance.  That said, it's not like the Fantastic Four spent all their time Earth-bound, either.  We also don't know what happened to the Fantastic Four (or, at least, Reed and Sue), but I assume that we'll get there at some point.

Beyond that, I'm not so sure about the direction that Bendis is taking here.  For example, we certainly feel Peter's pain as he sits through boring discussions about tax rates as the King of Spartax, but we're never told why he agreed to become King in the first place.  Did he think that it was going to be all hookers and blow all the time?  For a guy that values, well, hookers and blow, he had to know that he would have better access to them as a pirate than as a King.  It's the first issue, so Bendis clearly has time to flesh out Peter's characterization and motives.  But, it's not the only problem.  For example, Bendis doesn't tell us how the Guardians knew about the artifact that they stole from the Chitauri in this issue.  Bendis explains why they stole it (since anything that the Chitauri have and value is a bad thing for the good guys).  But, why did they steal that item?  If their logic is just take anything that they can move, why aren't they stealing, I don't know, the latrines?  The Chitauri presumably value them as well.  In fact, Bendis establishes that the Guardians didn't even know anything about the artifact that they stole, making it more difficult to understand how they knew to steal it!

In other words, all the developments in this issue feel like they're just meant to get us where Bendis leaves us, with the Guardians going to Peter since he's the only one they trust (even though they're mad at him) to determine what the artifact is.  However, we're not going to get that answer anytime soon, because Gamora comes crashing to the surface with Hala in pursuit.  Suddenly, it's 2015 again and we're in the Black Mirror epilogue.  [Sigh.]

** (two of five stars)

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