Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Guardians of the Galaxy 14

Brian Michael Bendis (WRITER) • Nick Bradshaw (ARTIST)
• 45 years in the making! It’s finally here!!! The 100th issue of Guardians of the Galaxy! (Okay it’s actually the 101st, but we had an X-Men crossover to get through! Sheesh!)
• It’s an all-star celebration of the most popular super team of 2014 as cosmic captain Brian Michael Bendis welcomes Nick Bradshaw (WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN) to the team!
• As the GOTG gets ready for new members VENOM and CAPTAIN MARVEL, there are unexpected dangers that promise to tear the team to its core.
• Plus in this special double sized anniversary issue…two special back up stories by former GOTG writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning!
48 PGS./Rated T …4.99

Despite being bogged down in an event or three, and only being just over a year on the shelves, I have adored this volume of Guardians of the Galaxy way too much for it to be a Bendis book. It’s not that I don’t like Bendis; I loved his New Avengers up to a point; but he’s been writing a team for so damned long that it’s hard to believe that he can still come up with refreshing ideas. But he’s been doing it, and this ish 14 was no different. Actually, now that The Trial of Jean Grey storyline is finally done, issue #14 gets back to the business of the Guardians, intros some new members and immediately makes them important, and act as a great jumping on point for new readers while remaining entertaining to long-time fans. Better yet, this is an anniversary issue or some such, and comes with two really fun back-up stories. All this culminates into an enjoyable comic book experience.

The Good

Although Bendis jumps right into already established concepts from his run on this book, he brings them into the issue by recapping them, while still making the book interesting to long-time readers, which was an amazing feat. Starlord and Kitty Pryde’s relationship is addressed, Rocket and Groot were showed off, Gamora’s backstory (the most story-centric of them all) was seamlessly added, and Drax acted as a great way to bring Venom into the fold and make it seem both relevant and interesting. And Venom’s intro into the Cosmic Marvel Universe may become an important part of the entire series, as Flash seeks out his symbiote’s origin. I’ve never really cared about Venom’s origin, but set in the backdrop of the Guardians, it may be fun to find out. Nick Bradshaw was showing off in this title, and he was a great choice for this issue. His transition work, action panels, and attention to detail worked well in this anniversary ish. Although Captain Marvel was a last page reveal and did nothing in the book besides show up, it’s cool to see her, and the Andy Lanning Groot backup story, and Dan Abnett future Guardians tale made up for it quite a bit.

The Bad

There really wasn’t a whole lot wrong with this ish in the context of it being a jumping on point for new readers. Although, I am not a new reader, and things like Starlord arguing with his daddy, yet again, and the same bounty hunter getting the drop on Gamora, yet again, seemed more like retelling for the sake of new readers than anything geared towards those reading from ish #1. Although everything is still done to move an existing story forward, even for Bendis, it was a slow, rehashed, yet entertaining, progression to the last page. The backup stories were so good that Marvel needs to give readers more of those. Short, backup stories should come back to comics, but I fear that will come with a price increase, and it just shouldn’t.

The Verdict

While only dotted with wildly entertaining new elements, Guardians of the Galaxy #14 is a fantastic place for new readers to get on the bandwagon that is this franchise. But, if you’ve had your seat on the wagon for awhile this isn’t as good of an issue as it could be, and the story catchup was an unnecessary distraction. That does nothing, however, to take away from the totality of awesome that was this issue. The Venom stuff alone would make the issue redeemable, but the Captain Marvel reveal, Bendis’ skill in intertwining new elements and old while pushing the story forward, Nick Bradshaw’s great work, and those amazing backup stories, make this ish well worth the $5 price. If you haven’t been reading this, now is the time to jump on, and if you have been reading it, you’re in for an informed treat of a comic.

Story: 4.5 Out of 5
Art: 4.5 Out of 5
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5

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