This issue of X-Men……er……..I mean, GotGINO (Guardians of the Galaxy In Name Only), is one enormous anti-climax (in every sense of the word) with a few lame jokes thrown in along the way. And that about sums it up. Seriously. All that build-up, and then it’s over in a few panels after a minor scuffle and teenage Cyclops throwing around a few threats that he couldn’t possibly back up in his wildest dreams or at his most powerful. Plus, it’s so slow-paced and boring that if it could be bottled, it would be a miracle cure for insomnia. For the life of me I can’t see why this crime against the Guardians of the Galaxy's good name continues to sell well enough to keep it afloat. Has to be the movie hype. If Gunn and Feige are keeping track of the downward spiral this book is on in terms of writing, they have to be pulling out their hair in worry over a soured audience leading up to the movie’s premiere.
This issue epitomizes everything that’s wrong with Bendis’, Loeb’s/Duggan’s, Brevoort’s, and Alonso’s Marvel “Pseudo-Cosmic” Universe. Under DnA, the Guardians were big players in an enormous truly cosmic universe. Under Bendis/Brevoort et al, the Guardians are insignificant players in a tiny Earth-centric pseudo-to-non-cosmic “universe.”
Case in point: This issue would have read exactly the same if the Guardians hadn’t appeared in a single panel. They were incidental, throw-away, supporting characters to the X-Men. The Guardians of the Galaxy really didn’t contribute anything important to the story. In the single brief and boring fight, Rocket is used in cliché manner – just there to tote a big gun and talk some smack. In the denouement, Rocket and Groot are used as the butt of some extraordinarily lame jokes that made me cringe and roll my eyes at the same time (i.e. Groot attempts to put the moves on some non-sentient Earth trees; Rocket yells at some non-sentient Earth raccoons to “Put on some krutacking pants!”). Basically, Bendis keeps Rocket and Groot around simply to provide lame comic relief and a chance to push Bendis’ made-up curse word, and both come across looking like idiots. Also in the denouement, Starlord – resplendent in his cheap-Japanese-anime-inspired “costume” (which he apparently stole from a Battle of the Planets character) – awkwardly (creepily – considering their true age difference) hits on Kitty Pryde. The rest is all X-Men character development mixed with a bunch of smarmily sentimental dialogue flying back and forth between X-characters. Totally boring unless you care about the X-characters, and nearly totally boring even if you do care about the X-characters.
You want to know why I call Bendis’ take GotGINO? Just read this issue. It’s got Guardians of the Galaxy smeared across the cover – but inside it’s anything but GotG. In the “pseudo-cosmic” universe of Bendis/Brevoort/Loeb/Alonso, only the Marvel big-seller headliner characters are important. Everyone else is just a supporting character. Bendis pretty much tells you in how much esteem he holds the cosmic characters when he has the Guardians of the Galaxy make only cameo appearances in their own book!
You know what else really bothers me about the pseudo-cosmic universe created by Bendis, Brevoort, Loeb, Duggan, and Alonso? They think any cosmic character is inherently funny just because they are space-centric – and that’s the mark of silly, campy, BAD storytelling in general and bad “cosmic” or “science-fiction/fantasy” in particular. They want to turn Guardians of the Galaxy into a space farce – simply because the characters live and work in space. They take a Norse God, a WWII super-soldier, a billionaire inventor, and mutants who shoot destructive energy beams out of their eyes (where does that kind of energy come from anyway?) totally seriously and give them heavy dramatic stories. But if it’s an alien that looks like a tree, and in the past has been portrayed as both highly intelligent and a magnificent warrior, they reduce him to idiot level and have him try to bang a real tree for some cheap laughs from the imagination-challenged zombies who are so far gone that they actually think Bendis’ GotGINO run is worthwhile. If it’s a humanoid cosmic character (e.g. Starlord), they have said character act like an idiotic, bumbling nerd who couldn’t get laid on a bet. Tell me – would anyone be celebrating Captain America: The Winter Soldier nowadays if it had been written and played like the 1960’s Batman TV series? A campy farce deliberately making fun of comic books? I think not. That day has long passed, and it passed quickly even back in the 60’s. So why, Brevoort/Bendis/Duggan/Loeb/Alonso/Young, are you reducing cosmic to the level of farce now? Why? Because – as I’ve said from the start – none of them understand science-fiction/science-fantasy.
The art and coloring are certainly acceptable – nothing to write home about. The art and coloring have always been the best parts of the Bendis/Brevoort/Loeb/Duggan/Alonso/Young pseudo-cosmic universe – but I liken it to putting lipstick on a pig. It makes the pig look a little better, but you still don’t want to kiss it. Unless, of course, you’re an imagination-challenged zombie and/or you’re Bendis/Brevoort/Loeb/Duggan/Alonso/Wacker/Young – in which case you’re first in line at that kissing booth.