In the Bendis-written portion of this issue of Avengers Re-packaged…..er…..I mean, GotGINO (Guardians of the Galaxy In Name Only), we drop in on a bored, horny, lovelorn Star-Lord lying in his bunk lost in a pity-party over his love life and letting his entire world fall apart around him. Tell me Star-Lord fans, does this sound like the Peter Quill you know and admire? Never let it be said that Bendis lets continuity, consistent characterization, or (especially) plausibility get in his way.
It gets worse.
Quill is fantasizing about Kitty Pryde who would be about half his age if Marvel hadn’t somehow regressed Quill in age from his late 30’s-early 40’s to 21. Now this has to be one of the dumbest hook-ups in comic book history, and obviously done purely to try to capture some X-zombie dollars. Anyway – his self-indulgent negligence allows daddy’s Imperial forces to capture him, Rocket, and Groot, which paves the way for Bendis to again pull out the hackneyed daddy issues and have Quill and Jason tell each other how disappointed they are in each other. Yawn.
Venom is shoe-horned onto the team with no real explanation in an obvious attempt to capture some Spider-zombie dollars. Drax is way too easily captured by the Shi’Ar. Gamora is - again - way too easily bested by the lame bounty hunter who bested her a few issues back. And then Captain Ms. Marvel is shoe-horned onto the team in an obvious attempt to capture some Avengers-zombie dollars. I’ll say this much for Bendis, he doesn’t miss a chance to capitalize on the zombie virus. He’s already hit the Avengers-virus (multiple times), the Spider-virus, and the X-virus (multiple times). What’s next? Deadpool, Wolverine, The Thing, or one of the Hulk family on the team? I’d bet good money on it.
The Bendis portion of this faux-100th-issue-Anniversary of GotGINO is a disjointed mess that accomplishes exactly what Alonso and Brevoort set out to accomplish. When they say there is no more Marvel Cosmic – only the Marvel Universe – they mean that everything must be reduced to Earth-centric, street-level dramatic, derivative super-heroic fantasy. Congratulations Bendis and Bonso (Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort) – you’ve succeeded in removing everything that was unique and special about Marvel Cosmic – and replaced it with forgettable, generic tripe.
The Lanning-written portion of this issue is probably the highlight. It chronicles young Groot’s early childhood and escape from Planet X. It is cleverly written and entertaining, but is quite brief.
Abnett’s portion is essentially a brief introduction to the original Guardians of the Galaxy for those unfamiliar with the original team. The story is just a little skirmish to introduce the freedom fighters to those unfamiliar with Guardians of the Galaxy history. It was great to see Major Victory and his team once again, but for those of us familiar with that version of the team, it felt un-necessary. Perhaps if Abnett had been given much more space and freedom to write, we would have gotten a real adventure featuring the classic team, and that would’ve been quite welcome.
When I say Abnett’s and Lanning’s portions are brief – I do mean brief – as in over in a few pages. Apparently, the editors wouldn’t let Lanning or Abnett near the team concept of this book for (realistic) fear of them overshadowing Bendis. So they were stuck with doing brief background on one character or on the history of the original concept.
The art and coloring are certainly acceptable across all three stories, but there’s really little else to be said about that aspect of this book. It’s nothing about which to either rave or complain.
In summary, the Lanning and Abnett portions vastly overshadowed Bendis’ phoned-in effort, but their portions were way too brief and editorially constrained. Even Abnett and Lanning can’t turn this book around from the nose-dive into the ground course set by Bendis and Bonso. Save your money and leave this one on the shelf.