Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #9 (Bendis)


I didn’t think it could get any worse.  I was wrong.  It could and it did.

You know one of those situation comedies that you occasionally watch a few minutes of as you flip through the channels and think to yourself, “How did this trash ever get on TV?”  Guardians of the Galaxy #9 is kind of like that.

It’s literally written like a bad situation comedy.  Bendis is trying to be funny and he thinks he’s writing snappy dialogue between Star-Lord and Rocket or Star-Lord and Agent Brand.  In actuality, it comes across as forced, silly, and totally out of character for all concerned.  Yes – Rocket, Quill, and Brand are all smart-asses and their smart-assy-ness can be funny if it’s done right.  In this case it isn’t done right.  It’s like fingernails on a chalk-board.  It’s like silly “G-rated Family Hour” TV comedy.  It’s nauseatingly stupid and hackneyed.  It talks down to the readers.

Of course, all the Guardians do is act as a second-string team to clear the way for the all powerful and all wonderful Avengers to return to Earth and save the day.  Literally – that’s all they do.  The Guardians just act as door men for the Avengers.  And once the Avengers get back to Earth, they start ordering the Guardians around as if they’re second-raters.  Between Loeb/Wells/Duggan writing all Novas as second-rate or less to The Avengers and now Bendis turning the Guardians into second-rate or less flunkies for The Avengers, I’m starting to get the idea of exactly where cosmic stands in the eyes of Marvel Editorial (as if I didn’t already know).  It bodes ill for the future of Marvel Cosmic as long as it’s in the hands of the so-called “creative” teams of Brevoort, Wacker, Alonso, Duggan, and Bendis.  Hey geniuses at the “House of Ideas” – even if you (mistakenly) believe a character/team is “second-rate” or even if they are in fact second-rate you SHOULD NEVER write them that way.  It makes them look like they have a self-esteem problem.  It makes them look unimportant or only marginally competent.  It turns off readers (ie your CUSTOMERS) and makes readers turn elsewhere for entertainment.  Surely you’d like a few more high sellers to bolster all your Avengers titles as inevitably those sales will fall someday.  Let another team shine in their own corner of the universe far away from Earth and The Avengers – you know, like Guardians of the Galaxy USED TO BE prior to Bendis/Wacker and like Nova USED TO BE before you Lo(e)botomized and NINO’d it.

Even the “action” scenes are lackluster and hackneyed.  You’ve seen this story before – in a couple of Star Wars scenes.  Of course, Bendis’ wholly inadequate understanding of SF is limited to popular SF so it’s no surprise he’d “borrow” those scenes. 

Star-Lord and Rocket basically blunder through the situation all to just press a button and lower the force field so the Avengers can get through.  There’s none of the brilliant tactical skills for which both are notorious.  And Bendis just can’t seem to move beyond treating Rocket as a “joke” character.  He has to keep pointing at Rocket and shouting, “Hey!  This is hilarious!  It’s a raccoon carrying a gun!  Get It?!  It’s funny I’m telling you – FUNNY!!!!!!!”  At least he didn’t attempt to inflict any more catch phrases on poor Rocket this time out.  Thanks for that one small favor, Bendis

So Bendis, since you don’t seem to get it – let me tell you.  You don’t have to keep underlining that Rocket is a gun-carrying Racoon.  We all get that joke because it’s inherent to the character.   The best way to write Rocket is to IGNORE the inherent joke and write him as an intelligent, insightful, brilliant, smart-assy tactician and leader of men.  By the way, that’s the best way to write Star-Lord, too.  Star-Lord is not a 20-something feckless imbecile with boyish good looks designed to make the teenage girls swoon.  He’s an approaching middle-aged complex, grizzled, irritable, intelligent, leader of men.  So quit mangling the characterization and get it right for a change.

I know that various comic book snobs at a particularly Craven Bootlickingly Repugnant website’s forums will insist that the art/coloring in this book is absolutely heavenly.  Of course, they’d also defend in like manner a book with art/coloring of the quality typically found on the refrigerators of parents with pre-school-aged children.  While Francavilla’s art/coloring is certainly not refrigerator quality, I will say that it is not well-suited for cosmic.  Drax is slightly more defined than a green amorphous blob – but only slightly more defined.  There’s very little definition to distinguish among the facial features of most of the humanoid characters.  The villains are interchangeable and so poorly defined that I couldn’t tell who or what they were other than just random humanoid-like creatures shooting at the protagonists.  The coloring is jarringly un-appealing to say the least.  For certain books, this art/coloring style would work well.  This is not one of those books.

At least there’s no letters page so we’re spared any grating comments from so-called “editor” Stephen Wacker and we’re spared from carefully selected letters full of fawning praise from persons who have never read Volume II of GotG (aka The REAL Guardians of the Galaxy rather than Bendis’ Volume III cheap imitations).

Once again, I’m sure the Craven Bootlickingly Repugnant website and the Ingratiating Gonad-less Ninny website will fall all over themselves praising this garbage of the galaxy.  But of course, they’re just like Marvel Editorial in only being satisfied with repetitious super-heroic fantasy and failing to appreciate the better quality super-heroic military science-fiction such as that found in Annihilation, The Thanos Imperative, Nova Volume IV, and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II.   Maybe there is something we can all agree on though.  I think Bendis would be happier writing family hour TV sit-coms for the Disney Channel.  For his own personal satisfaction, let’s all encourage him to move on to the TV sit-coms and leave cosmic to someone else who actually likes and UNDERSTANDS cosmic and the cosmic characters.