Guardians of the Galaxy #8 Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Pencils: Valerio Schiti Colors: Richard Isanove Letters: Cory Petit Publisher: Marvel
Brian Michael Bendis is one of the busiest writers in comics today. Not only does he have the task of writing for the break out superhero team of 2014, he’s also writing Spider-Man(the Miles Morales Spider-Man book), Scarlet, Powers, two Iron Man books(Invincible and International), on top of writing the upcoming Civil War 2 main title. So it makes sense that one of those titles would be lacking in quality and complexity, it’s completely understandable given the work load. With that being said, that’s still no excuse and this science fiction superhero book clearly needs a new writer with focus and a clear direction.
Ever since the closing of the fairly enjoyable but not brilliant first arc, this series has been releasing at a slow pace. To the point where I have to go to my comic book boxes and pull out the previous issue to refresh my memory in order to read the one that just came out. It’s frustrating and shouldn’t happen given the resources that that a large corporation like Marvel has to disperse.
The comic does open up rather decently however, giving us more context as to what the Guardians are up to. After taking down Hela, the last Kree Accuser in her attempts to destroy Spartax and Earth, Peter Quill(Star Lord) was dethroned as king. The Guardians then disperse into pairs on separate rescue missions to a Badoon prison planet. The first issue stared Quill and Kitty Pryde(Shadowcat) on a not so successful operation. While the second issue followed Rocket Raccoon and Ben Grimm(The Thing) as they triumphantly liberated prisoners. In this issue, we journey along with Flash Thompson(Agent Venom) and Groot as they come across some Skrulls and Flash isn’t too pleased.
It was good to see Thompson get a bit of spotlight in this issue, as he’s normally left in the background to make way for the more popular Guardians(those being the ones in the movie). While he’s typically a fairly boring character and hard to become invested in, one of Bendis’ strengths is character moments and he’s able to execute a couple of strong ones in here for Flash. We’re given hints and glimpses into his background if you’re unaware of them. It’s not done in expository dialogue or narration, it’s subtle and makes the character intriguing for a change.
That’s about it in terms of writing strengths as the rest of the book is tiresome “I am Groot” jokes and set up for the arc’s closing issue. It’s not done in a lazy way but the series is at a point where it’s starting to meander and it’s clear that Bendis’ creative attention is on other projects.
There is one saving grace for this comic fortunately, artist Valerio Schiti. He continues to destroy it on every panel and insanely captures the tone and vibe that this bizarre team calls for. The visuals are every bit as comic book as they come as it embraces the insanity of this synopsis with the over exaggerated expressions. However that’s done with the right characters at the right times, while still having a mood of realism when it’s called for. Richard Isanove’s color work are no disappointment too, as he takes full advantage of the sci-fi theme of the book. Presenting a wide range of palettes, visualizing this alien planet with an unearthly style.
For one of the more originally and diverse superhero teams, this comic is sourly lacking in creative drive. Guardians of the Galaxy #8 is clearly a filler issue and the overall series is seriously starting to just drift along without much thought. The “I am Groot” jokes can become dull in stories featuring the whole team but when he’s brought to the forefront, it gets really annoying. This issue does bring some decent moments in for Flash Thompson fortunately, a character sorely needing it and the visuals continue to be striking. It just becomes disappointing and frustrating when those few top notch highlights are bogged down by a meandering story and tiresome character traits.
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach