Guardians of the Galaxy #21 Review


First of all I have to make the obligatory ‘I like reading crossover titles’ comment. I only have a finite amount of money so it always excites me when a Spider-Man character makes its way onto another title because it gives me an excuse to spend money on it under the guise that I’ll recap and review it for this site. But really it’s so that I can read a bit of the Fantastic Four, X-Men or in this case Guardians of the Galaxy without feeling guilty.

However Guardians of the Galaxy #21 is the start of Bendis’ much hyped ‘Planet of the Symbiotes’ storyline that finally explores the origin of the Venom symbiote itself and explores the planet that it came from. For that reason this was definitely a title that I couldn’t afford to miss as a Spider-Man fan.

However having read the whole thing I was a little disappointment that we are already a third of the way through the three-part storyline and we don’t seem to be anywhere near the Planet of the Symbiotes yet. Sure we got to see Flash Thompson walking around in a really cool looking Venom symbiote hooded jacket kind-of thing but I was genuinely expecting the story to progress a bit faster than it did.

That being said artist Valerio Schiti does some really good work in this comic especially when it comes to the Venom symbiote. Since it has been with Flash it has been a heroic character so it’s been a while since we’ve seen it looking this horrifying and Schiti’s artistic license turning Venom into a monstrous moth-like entity is equal parts frightening and visually stimulating.

I’m also confused about Flash’s loss of control over the symbiote having not followed the Guardians of the Galaxy series up until this point. This probably would have been okay if its motivations were clear, first of all it appears to want to go to Earth and then it ends up becoming Venom-Groot in one of the comics more memorable moments – having a symbiote altered Groot proclaiming “I am Venom” is going to stand out in any book.

But my point is that I, perhaps rather unfairly, was expecting a bit more drive and purpose to this storyline and a bit more Planet of the Symbiotes right away. In fact the most interesting thing to me happened on the first page when a potential Spartax presidential candidate proposed the destruction of Earth.

I’m aware that I’m perhaps being incredibly harsh in my criticism that this narrative hasn’t kicked off exactly where I wanted it to, especially considering that this is only the first book so I’m going to end this review in an optimistic way. Venom has always been one of my favourite characters from my favourite comic book series (Spider-Man) and this is a decent opening to the storyline that Bendis set out to do. Here’s hoping that the next few issues can do it justice!

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