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Hard to recommend based on what comes next...
on January 24, 2015
The difficulty in reviewing comics series, especially ongoing series, is that they can start of extremely well, or poorly, and then drastically change in just a few issues. Often, the entire breadth of one writer/artists run can't be faithfully reviewed until it's over, and in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, this is exactly what's happened. I jumped on board the new series with Issue one, and I was hooked. The art was solid, and Bendis, while not top of his game (see his and Alex Maleev's run on Daredevil for him in prime form), was still enjoyable, well-paced and, most importantly, faithful to the intergalactic, zany struggle that is Guardians. Even when they introduced Angela, which some folks may remember originally from Image Comic's "Spawn," clearly as a gimmick to sell more copies after the results of a hyped legal battle, I didn't feel like it was a serious enough blow to warrant concern. So far, so good.
The real problems started soon after, issue 6, I believe. Now we have an Infinity tie-in. Here's the deal with tie-ins: to me, they suck. I can handle one every so often, granted they're done right. But this: you have no idea what's going on, minus a "Previously in Guardians..." paragraph, which defeats the whole purpose of these books. I want to read the STORIES, not a summation. If I wanted to do that, I'd just Wikipedia the thing and save my money. Marvel has an insistence that you buy all of their books, at $3.99 a pop, or you'll just have to suffer. That's garbage to say they least, but still, I continued, in the hopes the series would move past this. As I said, ongoing series can be good, bad, good again, then get bad, and on, an on, so I wanted to believe this was just a slight droop. With this, though, it just kept getting messier and messier. Immediately following the Infinity event came "The Trial of Jean Grey" story line, which I didn't read (it may be good, and I'm not knocking the story if it is, I just don't want to read X-Men while I'm reading Guardians). In order to get the whole story, you'd not only have to buy Guardians, but X-Men books as well. Again, marketing and sales driven "art" at its finest. By the time the dust settled with issue 14, you're literally dropped back into straight Guardians stories, and expected to go buy all the preceding issues, or just settle for a summation.
Remember how I said the art was good? Well, it is. For this volume. And a few single issues. The art teams changed on this book so frequently that it was detracting. If you were hoping for the epic team of Bendis/Mcniven carrying you through many awesome adventures of Marvel's most beloved space pirates, guess again. I'm not saying the art is bad, most of it's not (minus Michael Oeming, blatant, lesser imitation of Mike Mignola that he is), it's just inconsistent, which detracts from the overall presentation. It was a real let down.
Then came four issues in which Venom was introduced as a member of the team. Really? There's a Venom book out there. I'll go buy it or Spider-Man if I want to read about Venom. I want to read Guardians of the Galaxy. But again, at least he was the only derivative from was other a story about Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket, even though the story had no obvious direction that I can could tell, so I soldiered on.Then, low and behold, after four issues of straight Guardians, a trend I hoped would last for a while, we have the "Original Sin" tie-in come along, and everything is in chaos again. Summations abound. With that, I called it quits.
I realize this deviates from what happens in this single volume, and it has minor spoilers. Sorry, but understand that you're not getting a straight Guardians story after this. This volume is in fact focused almost exclusively on the Guardians, and that's wonderful. But before long, you're getting Iron Man, Nova, Captain Marvel, Venom, the list goes on. So, while I get that Marvel's big thing is the shared universe concept, and it definitely added authenticity and enjoyment years ago, now it's over-done, obligatory, and down right degrading to what could be a great space saga. Based on all of this, don't waste your time and money unless you're ready for some serious cross-reading and research to avoid confusion, frustration, and ultimately, downright disappointment. This volume alone isn't bad, but if you pick up this book, get hooked, and are hoping for more of the same or improvement in the adventures of the Guardians, you're going to be sorely disappointed, so I hope this helps you in advance.