Guardians of the Galaxy #18 Comic Review


Spoiler-Free Review!

This month’s Guardians of the Galaxy, written by Brian Michael Bendis and penciled by Ed McGuinness, addresses the missing chapter of the Peter Quill storyline: What happened between him, Richard Ryder (Nova), and Thanos after they were all trapped in the alternate, parasitic dimension known as the Cancerverse? How did Star-Lord and Thanos manage to escape in one piece? Were they in cahoots? Where in the world is Richard Ryder?!

These questions have served as underlying tension between main characters throughout the entirety of Bendis’s Guardians run. Earlier in the series Peter Quill actually hunted down Thanos to discuss their time together (among other plot related things), and Gamora was none-too-happy to learn of this meeting. Ever since, to the chagrin and discomfort of Star-Lord, she has pretty much pried at the subject whenever the Guardians have had any down time at all.

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That being the case, this month’s issue begins with her interrogating Quill while he is literally tied to a chair in some unknown location. After a quick bad-cop-green-lady interplay between the two, readers are treated to a visual extravaganza of action-packed scenes that could put 1980’s Dolph Lundgren to shame. If not for anything else, this issue is worth a read simply to witness the always impressive artistry of McGuinness and his team in capturing the intensity and gusto of the all-out-brawl between the heroes; specifically between Drax (Oh, yeah, Drax is still alive too. Surprise!), and Thanos.

However, while visually stimulating, the story itself leaves much to be desired…but, like, in a good way. I think.

Brian Michael Bendis’s storytelling is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. In that I mean he consistently writes plots that are too complex for the basic twenty-page spread of a single issue. Such adventures are excellent for collections, but in reading the monthly publications, the reader is often left feeling slightly gypped out of the whole story. In the comic book realm, this dilemma is about as “first-world” as it gets, but it is bothersome regardless: Occasionally, it would be nice to spend the (somewhat hefty) four dollars on an issue of Guardians, and feel as if the story at least resembles a stand-alone adventure, rather than just the introductory thoughts about one.

That being said, after the next couple issues have been published and the Original Sin mini-series is concluded, I imagine I wouldn’t have any problem with this comic: It’s clean, easy to read, and satisfying in its own explosive way. Plus, the current story is propelling us closer and closer toward The Planet of the Symbiotes! I. Can’t. Wait.

All-in-all, I’d give this month’s Guardians of the Galaxy an 8.3/10 for superb visual artistry and for taking the first steps into what I’m sure will be a very cool, integral bit of plot development.