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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #22 (Bendys)


For another lump of coal in your Christmas Stocking, check out GotGINO* #22.  Actually, it’s more like a hot potato than a lump of coal as Bendys spends the entire issue playing hot potato with Venom’s symbiote.

I know Bendys and his easily pleased fanboys think it’s just madcap fun to have the symbiote jump from Guardian to Guardian.  Actually, it’s just tiresome and silly.  Bendis has reduced the Guardians to a bunch of bumbling buffoons, stumbling their way through every relatively minor situation they encounter and making some implausibly bad decisions along the way.  I blame Marvel for pulling good writers from this book and putting Bendys on it – but we are getting exactly what we expected from Bendis – a bad Seinfeldification of the once great concepts.  Literally, a comic book about nothing.  The real culprits here are the fanboys who keep buying this lame attempt at a space-based situation comedy – and its sister books, LSINO and RRINO, books that have also have adopted the bad sit-com formula and in the case of RRINO, mixed in some Looney Tunes concepts.

At least Seinfeld took the mundane aspects of everyday life and made them interesting and funny.  Bendis has taken the once great GotG team who single-handedly faced and overcame universal threats – and turned them into inexplicably Earth-obsessed Avengers-Lite who, for some stupid reason, take their marching orders from The Avengers and always have to have an Avenger or two on the team.  How dumb is all that?  Pretty dumb.

And the Avengers chosen?  CMINO, Carol Danvers, who came across as a weepy, whiny, and inexplicably homesick female cliché in this month’s utterly forgettable Bendys-written GotGINO annual.  Really?  She’s homesick?  Like she’s never before been to space?  Like she’s really that desperate for a hug?  Like she’s not a high-ranking military officer and seasoned warrior?  Seriously Bendys, that’s not only bad writing – it’s an insult to women.  In this issue she’s inexplicably doing security duty on Knowhere?  Isn’t that Cosmo’s job?  Bendis’ lack of familiarity with the cosmic characters always manages to rear its ugly, shiny head. 

Venom on the team?  It’s time to start questioning SLINO’s leadership.  Why would “Starlord” allow The Avengers to make Venom The Guardians’ problem?  That’s not the true Starlord of old.  It’s not even James Gunn’s watered down “sociopath with a heart of gold SL.”  That’s just the bumbling idiot into which Bendys has morphed SL – essentially, Starlord in Name Only.

Bendis’ new storyline has Spartax trying to replace the deposed J’Son (aka, “Mr. Knife,” the most ridiculously named pseudo-villain in quite some time) with SLINO.  Hold on to your seats and grab some Pepto-Bismol!  I predict more “madcap fun” is in the offing – no doubt replete with enough misunderstandings and slapstick to bring a nostalgic tear to the eye of all the now retired writers of the old sit-com, Three’s Company.

Bendys just can’t seem to get the characterization right for any of this cast.  Drax is unrecognizable.  Bendis just kind of uses him as a punching bag and has dropped the bad-ass belligerent attitude that Giffen created and honed to perfection.   Rocket is no longer a tactician, and Groot is no longer brilliant or powerful.  They’re just around for comic relief.  Gamora is less “The Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe” and more a damsel in distress.  Congratulations, Bendys!  You’ve done what you do best and totally demolished all the concepts that once made GotG a great read by taking the cliché-breaking characters of the past and reducing them to comic book clichés.

At least the art and coloring are easy on the eyes.  Schiti has grown into producing decent quality cosmic art, and Keith’s colors are spot-on.

So do cosmic fandom a favor and leave this one on the shelf.  Marvel needs to be sent a clear message that cosmic is not a code-word for bad situation comedy.

*Guardians of the Galaxy In Name Only