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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #23 (Bendys)


Bendis has an uncanny ability to take the awe, majesty, mystery, and wonder of the cosmos and turn it into something petty, pedestrian, hackneyed and mundane.  Such has been his tenure on GotG (in name only).

He also has the uncanny ability to treat the GotGINO cast like guest-stars in their own book.  He clearly wants to be writing Avengers stories and working with Avengers characters.  We're consistently having Avengers shoe-horned onto this team (when there are better cosmic characters going unused - Bug, Mantis, Moondragon, to name but a few), and the storylines are consistently built around the Avengers characters.  This dreadful and seemingly endless Venom storyline is one example.  I'm sure we have some Captain Ms. Marvel storylines to look forward to with dread as well.

On the other hand, since he's made the GotGINO team into cardboard cut-outs of their former selves, one has to ask oneself if it really matters if they're given short shrift in their own book - particularly since the zombies keep buying this tripe no matter how poor the quality.

Bendis accomplishes what he really wants to accomplish, though.  He rebuilds Venom into a real powerhouse - just in time for Marvel's reboot.  In getting there, we have to suffer through an absolutely non-thrilling pseudo-adventure on the planet of the Symbiotes including an implausible and ponderous soliloquy from the Symbiotes explaining their entire back story and motivations.

The GotG team of characters developed by DnA have obvious proven potential for greatness.  I point to the greatness of the Volume II concepts which inspired the top earning movie of 2014.  The sad thing is, instead of expanding on the greatness of Volume II, Bendis has now produced 23 issues of squandered opportunities to build on the greatness of Volume II and has instead focused on tearing down everything that made Volume II great.  Rumor is that Gunn is using more DnA-written material as the inspiration for his GotG movie sequel.  What does that tell you, Bendis defenders?  It should be telling you that Bendis' attempt to create an "Avengers-Lite" situation-comedy-oriented team in space has been a miserable creative failure that has wisely been deemed unworthy of use by the Marvel Cinematic Universe decision makers.  Steadily falling sales should also be telling you that at least a portion of the zombies are waking up and rightfully dropping this book.

Once again in this issue, Bendis' characterization is completely off kilter - especially for Drax.  He just can't seem to write Drax properly.  Maybe if he was not so threatened by the better characterizations of Giffen and DnA, he could get Drax right simply by embracing the superior characterization of the past.  Of course, the same could be said of his characterizations of Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Star-Lord.

I must say that the cover art featuring Rocket is magnificent.  The interior art and coloring are mediocre at best.  In the long shots, the characters are poorly formed - and in some of the close-ups, it's nearly impossible to tell Star-Lord and Flash Thompson apart.

Next issue begins a new arc.  You guessed it if you guessed that Bendis is doubling-down on madcap for the next arc.  He's going to tell the story of how Star-Lord got elected to office as President of Spartax without ever running for office.  Were you looking forward to that one?  No - I wasn't either. Sigh.