Well folks, we’ve had two full story arcs, ten uninterrupted issues, of self-contained stories in a Bendis-book. But lest you started to feel the icy breath of a frozen Hell tickling your neck hairs, we have a return to form in the story at hand. It’s time for that grandest of Marvel traditions: the Crossover. Ha! You thought he couldn’t find some way to bring all his books together this time! Surely, in this All-New All-Different Age, Iron Man, Miles Morales, and the Guardians of the Galaxy would be allowed to stay in their own corners of the Marvel sandbox? You fool!! This is the great Brian Michael freaking Bendis we’re talking about here! He always finds a way. . .
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Valerio Schiti
COLOR ARTIST: Richard Isanove
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
COVERS by Art Adams & Jason Keith
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Kathleen Wisneski
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Darren Shan
EDITOR: Jordan D. White
STORY (with commentary): Guardians of the Galaxy (2015) #’s11-13: Civil War II
GotG#11: The Guardians debate whether or not to go back to Earth for Civil War II. (“And I ain’t all that excited to dig into another deal where one super-hero person is fighting another super-hero person.” You and me both, Ben) Flash is among those who vote in favor of this (for his reasons though, you’ll have to turn to his solo book, because we’re given no motivations for his character here). They decide to go. Upon arrival at S.W.O.R.D. in Earth’s orbit, Carol catches the team up on her conflict with Iron Man. She then privately confides in Quill, who tells Kitty, that Thanos was the” Stanford” for this war and that he is in custody on the planet. Quill decides not to tell Gamora about this, thinking that she will carve a hole through anyone and anything on Earth that keeps her from Thanos. Practically no Venom.
GotG#12: Instead of keeping the cover’s promise of a fight between Gamora and Captain Marvel, Bendis (unsurprisingly) opens by using Rocket as his mouth-piece for some liberal pontification about the planet’s, and specifically America’s, problems, while the Guardians await Carol’s word above the Triskellion in their cloaked ship. As they prep for battle, they discuss the conflict at hand, with Flash advocating Tony’s position. However, they all still resolve to help Carol. Unfortunately though, the impending battle results in the destruction of their ship and strands the Guardians on Earth. Gamora overhears some S.H.I.E.L.D. members talking about where they are holding Thanos. Minimal Venom.
GotG#13: Gamora tries to find Thanos in the ruins of the Triskellion. Security tries to stop her, but she causes a ruckus, so Captain Marvel gets involved. They fight. Carol lets it slip that Quill knew about Thanos. Gamora leaves the Guardians, feeling betrayed. Carol is encouraged by Quill, Kitty, and Groot, but Rocket and Drax also leave over the Thanos dispute. In the Negative Zone, Annihilus and the Brood Queen twirl their moustaches and decide to investigate Thanos’ presence on Earth. I think I saw Venom in the background on page 3! No, nope, that was a rock. Nevermind. . .
ANALYSIS: Whelp. . .I’m struggling here. . .This hardly merits commentary on a Spider-Man site, doesn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, this was another fun Guardians story. It just wasn’t a Venom story. I am wondering too if Bendis is even going to address Flash’s departure from the team, which (kind of?) takes place in Space Knight #13. At this point, I honestly wouldn’t be offended if it was some offhand comment by Rocket or someone, “Where’d that symbiote guy go?” “Who? Oh, that guy! Search me. I forgot he was here.” It’s like the only idea Bendis had for Venom was jacking with his origin, which he had to rush through in between Original Sin and Black Vortex. Oh well. Wasted opportunity.
I guess we have an interesting behind-the-scenes development with these issues: Guardians of the Galaxy has been moved from Nick Lowe’s Spider-Office to Jordan D. White’s Star Wars Office. Intriguing choice, as since their movie debut the Guardians have felt a lot like Marvel’s take on Star Wars. Since I haven’t been all that impressed with Lowe’s editing, maybe this means that brighter days are ahead for Venom and co. I hear those Aaron and Gillen Star Wars books are pretty good! But perhaps I’m being overly optimistic. In this regime of Marvel History, tight and competent story-editing has been a rarity. But we’ll see, I suppose. I’m holding out that this story doesn’t truly represent his work as it is so convoluted by the crossover with Civil War II. Because, if it does, it seems a lot like the new boss is the same as the old boss.
Funny though: it’s like Marvel finally realized that, despite Venom’s presence, one can’t truthfully call this a Spider-Book. Too little too late, apparently, as Venom’s leaving the Guardians and becoming a baddie again.
All that being said, I still offer my gratitude to Bendis, Schiti, and crew for putting this book on the stands for us Cosmic Marvel and symbiote fans. See you all next month for a one-and-done Venom and Spider-Man-centric issue!
Pretty good (a fun story with an intriguing new status quo for the Guardians that is somewhat bogged down by its status as yet another event tie-in)