Guardians of the Galaxy #16: Regrets
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Nick Bradshaw & David Marquez & Jason Masters
Inks: Nick Bradshaw & David Marquez & Jason Masters
Colors: Justin Ponsor & Edgar Delgado & Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Cory Petit
Cover: Nick Bradshaw & Justin Ponsor
Editing: Mike Marts & Xander Jarowey
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Story: Peter Quill is saved mid-plummet to death by Captain Marvel (a scene which was originally meant to be in last issue.) Rather than run for safety, Peter tracks down his father and demands to know where his Guardians are at gun-point. His father tells Peter how his biggest regret in life was that the Badoon failed to kill Peter as a child, which Peter broadcasts to the entire galaxy, one which the Guardians have saves time and time again. Captain Marvel talks Peter out of taking his father’s life, but Peter promises to kill his father if even one of his Guardians is dead.
On the Kree home planet, the Supremor sees Quill’s speech about the Guardians being the good guys and orders his men to piece Rocket Raccoon back together, declaring they have learned everything they need to learn from him.
On the Badoon home planet, Gamora continues to fend off her torturers. The leader of the Badoon grows tired of his games and orders Gamora killed, but Angela shows up in time to save the day and help Gamora cut her way through her captors.
The Skrulls separate Flash from Venom, in hopes to bond one of their bravest warriors with the symbiote. The bonding doesn’t go as planned and Venom kills the Skrulls before rejoining Flash.
The Shi’ar Empire sentence Drax the Destroyer to death, albeit one of his choosing. He chooses death by combat, challenging Gladiator; Gladiator accepts the challenge.
Thoughts: Although it took us a while to get here, we’ve finally got a good issue of Guardians on our hands. It’s not perfect, but it’s a strong step in the right direction. Bendis often mishandles the characters on this team, especially Quill and Rocket, and I’m glad to say that Peter’s speech about the Guardians being the good guys here was the highlight of an issue where several fun things happen. Other highlights include Gamora/Angela bringing hell down on the Badoon (who have recently been announced as the main villains of Guardians 3000, a spinoff series that will follow up on Abnett’s story in Guardians #14, written by Abnett with art by Gerardo Sandoval), a symbiote Skrull, strong material for Carol Danvers and Venom showing a fondness for Flash.
I do have a few issues with the story though. Flash claiming to be an Avenger should have weight in the aftermath of Infinity, but it doesn’t. Bendis seems insistent on this Rocket not being a Raccoon storyline/character quirk, and I really don’t care for it. And what would have been way cooler than a random Skrull bonding with Venom would have been having the Super Skrull bond with Venom. Lastly, Peter has a “I’m the frickin’ Star-Lord” moment that made me groan; the trailer to the movie shows you how to do a Star-Lord moment right, Bendis. Still, considering how this is the first issue where the pros out weigh the cons, I’m willing to not brood on these issues. Well, except for the Rocket stuff… Bendis really can not write Rocket (who has no lines this issue, which probably helped with the grade.)
On the art side, things were much stronger too. David Marquez, who is like the perfect partner in crime for Bendis, comes on board for the Peter Quill speech scenes and he nails it. Marquez is a master of illustrating emotions and this issue is no exception. He also tries a more sketchier style to fit alongside Bradshaw and Masters and it’s an interesting style distinction from his Ultimate Spider-Man work. Bradshaw also delivers his best work to date. His Captain Marvel is probably the hottest incarnation of the character yet and he has a pretty chilling Venom towards the end of the issue. His action scenes are great; we see a bullet graze Quill in one scene, tearing through his clothing in the process and the Gamora/Angela scenes deliver on the violence.
That being said, I have nitpicks with the art as well. Quill’s element gun looks totally different from it’s original McNiven design (you couldn’t tell they were the same gun if not for a line of dialogue) and Captain Marvel’s face mask just magically appears at one point when the art switches from Bradshaw to Marquez. There’s also a really rough drawing of Quill on page 16. Still, well done to the art team.
Verdict: Good, not great. Bendis delivers a great speech for the Guardians (alongside Partner in Crime, David Marquez) and things finally happen in this issue. Bradshaw & Masters are on their A game this time around, although I do wish the series had a different regular artist still. While it’s probably too much to hope for a full team reunion next issue, we’re on the right track to the Guardians getting back together. I’m also interested in seeing how the downfall of J-Son will play out, but hopefully we get the symbiote planet story first.
- Peter Quill’s speech
- David Marquez & Nick Bradshaw & Jason Masters
- Things of consequence actually happen
- Still moving at a slow pace
- Some Art & Story Inconsistencies
- Most of the material was merely good, not great