Posted by:
Matt McGloin

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (Bendis)


Well – as Volume III goes, this issue is definitely the best of the worst to date.  Admittedly, that is faint praise.
Issue 5 is really just a set up for the Infinity event with headliners such as Thanos and Angela being introduced to those unfamiliar with the characters.  And since so many of this volume’s readers aren’t really cosmic fans, it’s understandable why such introductions are necessary.  Of course, that also explains why this third-rate pseudo-cosmic is tolerated in the first place.
No surprise that the art and coloring remain the best thing this book has going for it.  Pichelli’s art is definitely improved from last issue, and Ponsor’s colors remain top notch as usual.
Surprisingly, Bendis allows Rocket to get back to his DnA smart-ass characterization roots instead of trying to impose upon him a cutesy personality and stupid catch phrases.  I’m guessing that welcome reprieve from Bendis-ification of the cosmic characters won’t last long. 
It still bothers me that Star-Lord is written and depicted as a 20-something pretty boy, but I suppose the “tail wagging the dog” reasoning is that the book has to morph into something akin to the movie depictions to capitalize on the movie’s popularity and increase sales.  
Once again, all Iron Man’s presence does is distract and detract from the storyline and action.  The sooner he’s gone from GotG the better.  Leave him in the Avengers where he belongs.  And good riddance.
I did like the inevitable Gamora – Angela tangle, but I’m a sucker for a good cat fight.  The only criticism I have of it is that it’s way too short.  Speaking of cosmic hotties, it was nice to see Mantis again, and she got quite a bit of page space to boot.  It was made very clear that she wouldn’t be joining the team – so don’t get your hopes up that the old gang will get back together again any time soon.  Bendis isn’t ready to step aside and let a better writer restore GotG to its former glory.  He’s got plenty of mangling of cosmic left to do.
And speaking of mangling, Bendis just can’t resist a few shots at the Rider Nova fans can he?  He has to show us a picture of Rich suffering with tears in his eyes and dialogue about “disappeared and will never be seen or heard from again.”  Bendis, Loeb, and Wacker just can’t leave it alone.  They have to keep rubbing our noses in it.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: better no Nova than NINO, and I’d prefer Rich to stay in limbo until a better writer-editor team comes along who actually respects the character and fans of the character rather than have those three hacks have anything to do with his return.  I say that because it’s predictable that they would have Rich return only to immediately kill him off as a way of formally handing the mantle to NINO.
So – the decline of cosmic is given a temporary reprieve in this issue as Bendis briefly and uncharacteristically puts his ego aside and allows most of the cast to get back to their DnA roots.  You know – those roots that inspired a major motion picture and those roots Bendis, Loeb, and Wacker have tried so hard to get away from – resulting in the sad shambles that Marvel Cosmic is today.  Save your money – or better yet – instead of buying this third-rate pseudo-cosmic being slopped out by Bendis, Loeb, and Wacker, buy first-rate true cosmic from creators and companies that actually respect their fans (aka “paying customers”).  Check out Invincible or any of the Warlord of Mars titles for some first-rate cosmic. You’ll be glad you did.