REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy #3

Written by BRAIN MICHAEL BENDIS

Art by STEVE MCNIVEN, SARA PICHELLI & JOHN DELL

Colors by JUSTIN PONSOR

Letters by CORY PETIT

Brian Michael Bendis continues his epic space opera with this week’s Guardians of the Galaxy #3. Though it is not the biggest hit of Marvel NOW!, readers have taken to this series very quickly.

Surprisingly, this issue falls short of expectations. Bendis has spent quite a bit of time laying out the plot for this series, but seems to have overlooked character building in favor of quick paced action and snappy quips. While not one to dismiss a great quip, it would be an easy trade of a few quick jokes for character depth.

Much of the problem stems from the length of the book. Even at $3.99 an issue, this series remains at 20 pages. With an additional 4 to 7 pages, Bendis would have plenty of space to delve deeper into the characters, and still be able to give us a monthly dose of action.

The only real attachment readers may have to the series is through Star Lord, Peter Quill, as established through the #0.1 issue. He was raised by his mother, who kept his father’s identity a secret from him. When Peter was 10, the Badoon, an aggressive alien race, came to Earth to kill Peter, but instead killed his mother.

After discovering his father’s weapon in a closet and escaping the attack, he woke in a hospital. He spent the remaining years training, and joined NASA to make his way to space, and discover the truth of his existence.

The story itself is very enjoyable. The power hungry king of Spartax, J-Son, has cordoned off the planet Earth, leaving it vulnerable to attack from outside forces. The only beings with the courage to stand up to J-Son are his son, and his roaming band of misfits.

It’s hard to go wrong with a team made up of a murderous raccoon, a blood-thirsty gladiator, a regenerative tree monster, the deadliest woman in the galaxy, and the headstrong prince of the Spartax Empire. While many fans enjoy the fun and energetic action of the story, there really isn’t much known about the other characters involved.

Another one of these characters is the “vacationing” Tony Stark. Upset with the endless teams of Avengers, the constant hassle of running Stark Industries, and the nonstop reality shows that haunt the airwaves, Tony decides to take a break and embarks on a galactic getaway.

A choice many of us readers wish we could make. Stark seems to be written more like himself in these team-up titles than in his own solo book. While it’s obvious that his involvement is included to boost interest in the book, as well as the coming movie, Tony Stark just shouldn’t be a member of this team.

The artwork remains strong, even with pencils being split between McNiven and Pichelli, as well as three different inkers. Some pages do feel rushed, and some of the character outlines feel incomplete. The page and panel layout leaves something to be desired but, overall, works well with the series.

This series is very enjoyable, and as it nears the end of its current arc, there are still high hopes of a deeper focus on character growth.

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