REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy #14 – “Epic Turned Gimmick”

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY#14
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Kevin Maguire 
Colorist: Richard Isanove
Inker: Richard Isanove
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy #14 Plot
The Guardians have to save Spider-Man when the Skulls grab him in attempt to lure the heroic team into a trap, but will the Guardians be able to pull everything off?

Story

The story in this issue was super bland aside from one or two key dialogue moments. Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy has been revived, none of the stories have matched up to what Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did back in 2008. The difference is that, now, with the Guardians of the Galaxy being such a well-known and popular team because of the film, it feels like the comic has a set side agenda to fall in line with the on-screen adaptation of the characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

The story immediately opens up in a familiar situation, the Guardians of the Galaxy involved in a bar fight. While the team has always been a band of outlaws causing trouble, this is certainly a scene reader’s have seen before. There’s nothing wrong with the team getting into a bar fight, but the scene also doesn’t need the goofy and childish exposition to provide background about the setting in the top left corner of the panel. From the first page, things are already starting to feel very forced within this issue, and rather than opening the story up on a serious note (which can still happen through a bar fight), they feel silly.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

The book continues to just play up similar themes and ideas that come from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. This issue includes things like aliens being completely detached and uneducated about Earth culture and human lingo, similarly to Drax in the movies. While it’s definitely a logical concept to include, aliens being foreign to Earth and the culture, the writing aims for the dialogue to land as comedy. Guardians of the Galaxy delivers a standalone story for this issue, and a lot of it just comes off as extremely cheesy.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Even in this panel, the team behind this story chose to incorporate Groot’s technique of cradling someone to protect them from a giant falling distance, which is something right out of the Guardians movie. The book just seems like it’s doing everything in it’s power to be used as cross-promotion for Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

The one thing that Guardians of the Galaxy does a nice job of is showing how much Flash now appreciates and cares about Peter. While the writing and story don’t accomplish much and feel like a throwaway filler issue, it’s really nice to reflect on the journey Flash has had throughout the years and seeing the hero he’s grown into after being a high school bully.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Art

The art is really hit or miss in this book, which is disappointing because again, while there is plenty of good, it just feels too scrambled. Certain panels will focus on closeups or facial expressions of characters and a lot of them feel off. Above, Star-Lord’s face in the panel is just super goofy looking and almost like a different character, meanwhile on the right side of the panel in the second frame Flash looks confused, but the drawing looks like a very generic face. This is not the case throughout the whole issue, but there is some inconsistency in these characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Otherwise, Maguire really nails the rest of the art in Guardians of the Galaxy and draws some great action scenes. Flash having control over the symbiote allows him to do some pretty cool things, which Maguire utilizes to his favor. The tentacles Flash whips around are super neat and they are seen throughout all the action in the issue. The fight with the Skrull is a lot of fun to visibly read through because it’s a straight up brawl with a cool desert planet background. Maguire does some really great things in this issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, and although it’s not perfect and has it’s flaws, the artist really does put together some beautifully drawn scenes that help to make the poor writing choices a little more bearable.

Verdict

Guardians of the Galaxy feels like it’s lacking the grandiose that it used to have. The team was an epic gang of rejects saving people across the galaxy. There used to be higher stakes and a grit to all of these characters that made them all lovable and the stories feel very epic. This book feels like it’s really trying to get people excited for the movie sequel and is less focused on providing a solid plot.

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