The Guardians of the Galaxy - defeated! Earth - in the Universal Church of Truth's crosshairs!
It's all down one little scrawny, quickly-dying Rocket to save the day... but will he succeed?
What do YOU think?!
And thus does writer Donny Cates’ tenure on Guardians of the Galaxy end, not with a bang but rather a depressing whimper. After excellent build-up to this conclusion of his second arc, everything concludes not just too neatly and tidily, but with an ease that is almost mind-boggling. Everything – including the long-simmering subplot of Rocket’s rapidly-declining health – wraps up, far, far too easily for readers to feel much satisfaction. The response to reading this comic should be whoops and hollers and excitement, but the most that can be mustered will be a shrugged off “Oh, okay.”
Cates sort of wrote himself into a corner, though. Of course the Universal Church of Truth isn’t going to destroy Earth. Of course Rocket isn’t going to actually die. With such obvious endgame scenarios, it’s hard to feel the stakes in this one. There’s a nice rah-rah moment when the rallied Guardians and friends rush the ersatz Drax clone to save Rocket’s life, but it’s just a moment, nothing more. And it bears mentioning that this sort of scene has been done numerous times in other comics with much more enthusiasm and gusto. Similarly, the defeat of J’son and his church just sort of comes and goes with a relative ease that’s dispiriting – especially after they’ve been such formidable foes thus far.
Perhaps the most galling thing about this issue, though, is the fact that in the epilogue, Cates turns it into a blunt, soulless advertisement for his recent work: “Thanos Wins,” Death of the Inhumans, Silver Surfer: Black, and his Cosmic Ghost Rider miniseries all get double splash page shout-outs. This is insulting to the reader because of how transparent it is in its intent, more so because these eight added pages were surely dictated by Marvel’s marketing department to pad the issue out and justify tacking another dollar onto the price tag. Readers deserve better than this sort of craven, callous shilling. Especially when it comes at the expense of the storytelling, but even if it didn’t, it’s corporate hucksterism at its very worst.
At least the art is decent. Cory Smith turns in a serviceable job, although much like the story, it almost looks like the creators are marking time until the much-ballyhooed new creative team of Al Ewing and Juan Cabal come aboard next month (complete with requisite NUMBER ONE splashed all over the cover). (As an aside, that cover is gorgeous, though!) It’s a shame that Cates’ and Shaw’s run is ending on this note, because it really was something special to start with, and remained consistent throughout. What other comic could successfully give readers the equivalent of a drunk Thanos bellowing, “THANOSSSHHHH!!?” But alas, these moments are all but forgotten by a creative team seemingly eager to call it a day and move on to their next projects.
Too easy of an ending to be satisfying, Donny Cates and Cory Smith's Guardians of the Galaxy tenure chooses to conclude in the breeziest manner possible, all the while shamelessly plugging the author's other recent works. Plain and simple, fans deserve better. Marvel, for their part, seem more interested in cranking this issue out just so they can get to next month's latest first issue for this title. If this is the sort of product readers can expect from an ever-increasingly corporate Marvel and its Mouse House overlords, dark days are indeed ahead for the former House of Ideas.
Guardians of the Galaxy #12: …Out With a Whimper
Writing - 4/104/10
Storyline - 2/102/10
Art - 5/105/10
Color - 6/106/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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