Guardians of the Galaxy #22 & 23 Review (Spoilers)


4347771-23Depending on if you’re a fan of Flash Thompson or Venom, you may love or hate this arc. These two issues were combined due to a lack of substance between the two of them (Issue Twenty Two in particular)

Guardians of the Galaxy: Planet Venom Parts Two & Three (Of Three)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Christian Ward
Editors: Xander Jarowey & Mike Marts
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso

 

 

 

Venom Rocket

 

Plot Summary: With Flash unconscious after the events of Part One, the symbiote moves through the various Guardians, taking them out as it goes. Flash awakens and converses with Venom, who is using Drax as a conduit to speak through. Venom leads them to a hidden planet which is home to the symbiotic race, The Klyntar. Flash convinces the Guardians to let them bond with the symbiotes, so they can learn the history of The Klyntar. It turns out that their race has been looking for the perfect host, someone not pure but not evil, the perfect match to them morally and physically. The symbiote can be influenced as much as it influences the host and that has lead to several complications through out the galaxy. And those who have broken away from the home planet become broken after too long a separation.

It turns out, Eugene Thompson is the perfect host that had been searching for and after Venom is made whole again, they rejoin one another, with the ability to communicate with one another and become the ultimate Guardian of the Galaxy. The Guardians leave the Klyntar home world, just in time for Captain Marvel to notify them that Peter Quill has been made the new President of the Spartax Empire.

Thoughts: Wow, where to begin? This is going to be split the fandom and I can totally see why. I love Venom. I love Flash Thompson. So I both hate and love the answers we’re given in this arc. It’s an excellent new status quo for Agent Venom, making him one of the ultimate soldiers of the universe. And he’s been turned into a encyclopedia of information on the symbiotes, so I imagine we’ll keep coming back for more on the symbiotes. What I really want to see is a team-up with Bucky Barnes in the future, since they’re both in very similar places right now.

However, I’m not okay with the Klyntar. The symbiotes are good guys who just happened to be misunderstood all this time? Yeah, I’m not buying that. Brian Michael Bendis basically turned them into the Geth from Bioware’s Mass Effect series. They mention that the host can influence the symbiote as much as the symbiote can the host. That line made me miss Toxin, Patrick Mulligan and their wonderful relationship, but also left me thinking why the hell wasn’t Venom a good guy when he was with Peter? Bendis tries to cover this up with another line of logic about the symbiotes being corrupted after being separated from their home planet for too long but what we really needed in this issue was more time in the head of Venom. We don’t know how long he was away from home, how he feels about nearly everything learnt in this issue, or how he felt in his relationships with Peter, Mac, and Flash. Bendis flies through some of the biggest bombshells he’s dropped on the Marvel Universe in a long time and I’m actually quite pissed about that.

Drax_as_VenomEspecially because we had an entire issue that was nothing but Venom jumping from host to host before the finale. And sure, Valerio Schiti makes the most of the issue and his art continues to be the highlight of this arc, but we didn’t need a whole issue of that. Especially considering everything he just dropped on us before rushing off to tackle the next big plot point in his Guardians run. Bendis takes forever to do a story line about the Guardians coming together, a story we’ve seen time and time again, but rushes through this? Ugh. Just as he’s getting a good handle on the team, he pisses me off more than he has since he ruined any change of Clint Barton/Bobbi Morse getting back together. I wish we had a writer, who is slow but methodical on this series. Because there has been some great concepts in this run, but Bendis is not delivering on any of them.

While I’m sure this story takes a crap on a ton of continuity in classic Bendis fashion, it does touch on a plot point Bunn created over in the Carnage minis, where symbiotes have the ability to cure cancer. I thought that was a nice little nod.

Schitit also delivers his weakest work in the finale of this story. The opening with Drax was delightfully disturbing but then The Klyntar lose that element of dread I love from the symbiotes in the Marvel Universe. Apparently, the symbiotes original forms are a cross between a flower and a butterfly. Um, what? I also don’t care much for Agent Venom’s redesign. It looks like the Destroyer meets classic Venom and it just looks generic.

Verdict: I guess that was more of a rant than a review, I apologize for that. In Bendis’ defense, I’m excited to see what happens with Flash and Venom now and that’s what’s stopping me from dropping this book. But I can’t recommend this series to anyone anymore. It’s far too inconsistent in terms of story and the art team changes too often for that to be this book’s saving grace. Here’s hoping Sam Humphries’ The Black Vortex crossover brings some magic to this series. This arc was so much weaker than the sum of its parts, which had entertaining elements and concepts buried in a story line that took forever to go anywhere and then hit us with everything at a frantic pace. Sloppy, sloppy storytelling.

House Cleaning: This is my last review of Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve come to love Flash Thompson as Agent Venom (he’s in my top five Marvel heroes) and while I’m excited for Flash’s new status quo, reviewing the three Spider-Female titles, working, and going to school doesn’t leave me with time to review this series anymore. It also helps that it’s not all that good in my opinion. I hope the next guy has fun with Agent Venom and doesn’t let Bendis off easy when it comes to my boy Flash. 

GotG-AllNewVenom-rev-40828Pros: 

  • Interesting new status for Flash
  • Schiti
  • The team banter is fun

Cons:

  • Super slow…
  • …Until the end where everything is dumped on us
  • No time to explore the fallout before a new plot point is introduced
  • Generic Agent Venom redesign
  • Classic Bendis Continuity Breaking
  • The Klyntar
  • Why is Captain Marvel on this team? 

Issue 22: D

Issue 23: D

Story Arc: F

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(10) Comments

  1. hornacek

    @9 - In the comics, the symbiote has never made anyone evil like in the animated serieses or SM3. It just used Peter's body by making Peter go out on patrol when he was asleep. As Donovan once said on the podcast, "It just used him like a prison cellmate."

  2. F

    Was Peter Bad when he had the symbiote? In the comics at least I remember him being the same until he learned it was alive and rejected it because "eww gross". That's when It went bad as it was just trying to help in return for a permanent home In a hot, noisy environment. Then again, there've been more retcons and such then I can track, even what I just said was the product of more than one writer.

  3. F

    @7 - And that lack of professionalism is a large part of why I find reading comics at all increasingly difficult. With most of the published pro comic writers acting like bickering tweenage fan-fiction writers* and the editors, well... I cant hold out much hope that the coming new52 style reboot will clean it all up in a satisfying way. In fact I highly suspect that It'll just be "Avengers The Movie! The comic!" *especially slott who, because of his antagonism towards Fans both in his work and online (and presumably in person) almost drove me to give up all geeky pursuits. Because what's the point if I'm just going to be made to suffer? Only force of habit brought me back and If that's what the entertainment industries are all based on, we're all screwed

  4. Ben

    @6 - I haven't read this issue yet. But Bendis has never had very kind words for 616 Eddie Brock, and is probably just trying to avoid having to mention the character.

  5. hornacek

    "It turns out, Eugene Thompson is the perfect host that had been searching for ..." Is Eddie Brock even mentioned? If not it's like Bendis is hoping that the readers have terrible memories and think that Venom started with Flash. How many Eddie/Venom stories did we have where we were told that Eddie was the perfect host for the symbiote, that they had permanently bonded, that the symbiote viewed Eddie as its perfect host?

  6. Brad Dee

    I agree with what you had to say about this storyline. First, the set is called "Planet of the Symbiotes", but there was no mention at all about the planet in the 1st two parts. The 2nd part was a total mess, and if I had to review it by itself, the art would be the only saving grace from that issue. It served no purpose at all, and seemed like a bad rip-off of "Alien"(or just about any alien in space film). As for the final part....it's got some good points and some horrible points. Yea...I agree the way that they discuss the symbiotes and state why Venom was bad/evil/crazy made pretty much no sense. If the being in charge can corrupt the symbiote(and vice-verse) then how can Spidey in the black suit be bad? Not only that....but Eddie Brock in his distorted mind was a hero...so how was the costume bad then? It goes against almost all logic and was just a mess. I can't give the overall set an F cause the art was really good, but I wouldn't give it any higher then a C-. Plus, with a new story arc that has nothing to do with this and Secret Wars coming and wiping all of this out(possibly), then what was the point? This set really made me come close to dropping this book totally....but I also am somewhat curious about "Black Vortex".

  7. Hobo-Goblin

    How many times can they rehash the "Flash struggles with the symbiote" plot thread? It seems like every time Flash comes to terms with it, the next writer starts him at square one again. And yes, I hate Bendis for helping cancel Hawkeye and Mockingbird too. The book and the couple.

  8. Ben

    That Venom redesign.... am I back in 1992? Seriously though, that looks like Venom-buster Iron Man. Flash deserves better than this.

  9. Shaun Martineau - Post author

    Gonna disagree with yea there. Aside fron Star Lord, who rightfully gets the most focus, Flash has gotten the most focus on the team. Bendis hasn't done much with anyone, but Flash has been struggling to control the symbiote and now has a new status quo come out of that. I feel dirty defending this book.

  10. George Berryman

    "Why is Captain Marvel on this team?" Hell - why is Venom on this team? In six months Bendis has done next to nothing with Venom/Flash. He's an afterthought, included only because Bendis wanted to do a Symbiote homeworld story - and honestly that didn't necessarily need to include Venom.

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