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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #19 (Bendis)


It’s no secret that I think Bendis’ run on this title has been a disaster for the concepts and characters. He may be the “go to guy” for street level stories, but he’s “lost in space.”

Leave it to Bendis to stage a throw down in the collapsing Cancerverse between Thanos, Drax, (the real) Nova, Star-Lord, and the Revengers – have it illustrated by one of the best artists in the business complete with a strikingly compelling cover (that has nothing to do with the story, of course), and then have the story be so boring and so filled with continuity errors and mis-characterizations of the lead characters that the astute cosmic reader will be left feeling some strange combination of indignation, irritability, frustration, and disappointment.

Do you think Bendis actually read and understood The Thanos Imperative before he wrote this story arc?  I think he just read the “Cliff’s Notes” version of it.  Then he either misunderstood and/or promptly forgot even that and just wrote whatever the hell he wanted in order to sling out this story so he could devote more time to X-Men .  This story (and Bendis’ entire run on this title) reads like it’s written by a guy who doesn’t really understand cosmic, doesn’t really like cosmic, doesn’t care enough to even try to get it right, and is really just doing it to cash in on the expected sales from the movie hype.

How come E-Vell isn’t all powerful and leading The Revengers? Why is E-Vell now a lackey? How is E-Vell even alive again since death killed him, entered the Cancerverse, and is busy destroying the Cancerverse? How are The  Revengers alive again? With death functioning in the Cancerverse once again, how do any of these characters keep resurrecting? You can bet none of these inconvenient continuity questions will be answered as it would take too much time away from the inane banter among the characters that Bendis just loves to shoehorn into every issue.  Hey Bendis – are you a frustrated sit-com writer wannabe?  It’s sure coming across that way.

Who are Thanos and Drax? Especially Drax. I’ve never seen Drax talk and act like he does in this issue. Modern Drax is a Wolverine-ish, non-sentimental, bad-ass. He wouldn’t be holding Quill’s body in his arms and lamenting his loss. He wouldn’t be working with Thanos either. If he was anywhere close to Thanos, he’d be trying to kill him. I was almost embarrassed for Drax – the way Bendis has diminished him. And Thanos? I was actually embarrassed for him. Bendis has diminished him to the level of being the butt of the joke.

In contrast to last issue, Bendis writes Quill as the 20-something-year-old doofus he’s been writing since the lamentable day he took over this title. At least he shows how Quill became a decade younger.

Of course, as we all feared, Bendis saves the worst treatment for Nova. I mean the REAL Nova, Richard Rider, of course – not Loeb’s NINO. After all, Bendis has to pave the way for NINO with this story. Rich is portrayed out of character and much weaker than he should have been.  He is shown having his arm sliced off by Revenger Cap’s shield. Sorry. Not going to happen. The Nova Prime should shrug that hit off with barely a notice that he had even been hit. But that’s Bendis’ lazy storytelling and his determination to humiliate the character and flip the real Nova’s fan base the bird once again. I’m sure Bendis will conveniently ignore Nova’s regenerative ability. He’s kind of telegraphed that he will in Quill’s dialogue.

Not to mention that Revenger Cap is shown holding his original pointed shield – and Nova’s arm is shown being sliced off by a round shield. Now there’s some editing worthy of Stephen Wacker. Did Wacker come back to edit this issue? That has to be the explanation.

You know – it shows that even in an alternate universe, Bendis has to make the “Avenger-ish” characters all powerful. He can’t keep himself from doing it. He’s made the Guardians the Avengers lackeys since the deplorable day he took over this title.  Makes you think he’d rather be writing The Avengers, doesn’t it? I sure wish he’d go back to The Avengers and leave cosmic alone.

Gamora and Quill continue to be written out of character in their scenes where they argue about what happened in the Cancerverse. I’m not sure why Gamora keeps accusing Quill of lying or why Quill has kept any of this a secret. I suppose Bendis is saving the horror of those reveals for the next issue. I dread reading how Bendis will disrespect the REAL Nova and his fans one last time.

This issue is just one long, disappointing game of “keep away” using the Cosmic Cube as the prize. Truth is, this whole story of playing “keep away” with The Cosmic Cube is just dumb. Nova has The Worldmind inside of him. I’m sure The Worldmind would know exactly how to use the Cube to get back to the 616 Universe. Thanos was never needed for that task and it could’ve been accomplished immediately – stranding Thanos and not requiring Quill and Rich to sacrifice themselves. Bendis completely ignores the Worldmind’s presence, of course, as that would create a problem for his weak and poorly crafted storyline. But I’m sure all the Marvel Zombies and Bendis apologists will ignore the weaknesses and continuity errors and instead will take to Facebook and insist that this story was outstanding – just as they do for all Bendis products.

In summary, don’t let the striking, compelling cover of this issue fool you. It’s the perfect Wal-Mart-ish product – looks good on the outside, but don’t look closely on the inside or you’ll find that it’s shoddy, cheap, and most likely toxic.