Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #4 (Bendis)

So Drax is a drunken buffoon, Gamora is an easily beaten incompetent in need of rescue, S


So Drax is a drunken buffoon, Gamora is an easily beaten incompetent in need of rescue, Star-Lord remains feckless in every way, and Tony Stark needs a Viagra prescription. Keep moving folks. Nothing to see here.

Let’s start with all the mis-characterizations. Drax has always been best written as either a detached, obsessed killing machine or an obsessed, bad-ass killing machine. The attempts to dumb him down in the past have not worked. So of course, that’s exactly the tack Bendis takes – re-creating the characterization mistakes of the past.

Gamora goes from being “The Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe” to a damsel in distress who makes rookie mistakes and needs someone to rescue her. Great call there Bendis. There’s nothing like the sexist old damsel in distress cliché. So you’re using the term, “Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe,” sarcastically are you?

Star-Lord goes from a middle-aged calculating and ruthless leader of men to a listless, un-interesting, aimless good-looking 20-something playboy with adolescent-level daddy issues and trouble closing the deal with a pretty bar wench. Please tell me Bendis has nothing to do with Star-Lord’s characterization for the movie.

Of course, Bendis, like Loeb, never met a cliché he didn’t like; so he can’t resist the cliché of a Gamora/Stark hook-up. At least we get the satisfaction of seeing Stark humiliated due to not being able to satisfy Gamora. To me, that was the only saving grace of this entire book in terms of writing. I seem to remember her coming back to Rich Rider for “repeat business.”

Of course, there’s a bar fight that would make any director of any Wild West TV show from the 1960’s proud. That’s about the only action other than Gamora getting roughed up and nearly killed by a third-rate villain that she should be able to polish off with little effort in any story written by any other writer than Bendis.

It’s sad I tell you. This decline of cosmic to a series of clichés and generic storylines is sad. No awe and wonder. None of the edginess that made Volume II great. Just joyless silliness aimed at Avengers fans in a cynical attempt to increase sales. Thanks architects. Great job at running cosmic into the ground. Of course, there’s a letters page where insufferable Editor, Stephen Wacker, carefully selects letters from fans who mostly never read Volume II and who just gush fawning praise for the unimaginative celebration of mediocrity that Bendis’ version of GotG has always been.

As usual, the one overall saving grace of this book is the art and coloring. Pichelli is not up to the standard of McNiven but her art is very good, and Ponsor’s colors remain at their usual high quality. Maybe Gaiman can save this book. He’ll have to abandon everything Bendis has done and take the characters back to their DnA roots to do it. Let’s hope the architects get out of his way and let him make Guardians of the Galaxy the fresh, fun, smart, imaginative book it used to be.

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