Guardians of the Galaxy #3
BITTERSWEET REUNION! The Guardians find themselves face-to-face with their old teammate Groot! But he’s not the friend they remember! Will this be a happy reunion or an all-out massacre? It may be the latter, as the rift between this family runs deep.
Delivery and pacing often make or break an excellent comic book. No matter how great the ideas, pacing, or writing behind the books is, if it doesn’t present its narrative in a way that keeps the reader engaged, it will fall flat on its face every time. Sadly, Guardians of the Galaxy #3 is just one of those books that have a couple of good ideas behind it but, for the sake of its survival, can’t portray them in a remotely exciting way.
The story follows Peter and Drax as they accept an invitation to participate in the Gilded Hunt with Peter’s people, the Spartax. From there, the book tackles some relatively exciting things about how his people see Peter after joining up with Guardians, which isn’t necessarily original nor thematically relevant to what’s happening with the book’s larger story. In some ways, it highlights Peter’s isolation and loneliness, even when surrounded by his friends, but it rings hollow. So much of what happens with the Spartax is a takedown of bigoted royalty, which would’ve played well against the coming of Grootfall if there were legitimate stakes to the Gilded Hunt, but there aren’t.
Instead of a true story here to follow, you get a flaccid follow-along tale where Star-Lord and Drag get ragged on by Spartax and then come into contact with Groot’s new twisted mind. The book ends with the thematic idea that Peter thinks of himself as a wrong person, which works excellently about how he sees himself within his people, except the issue does nothing to build or highlight that theme. This issue is the Star-Lord show, but nothing is done with depth to explore or tell a story about him in a way that wasn’t surface-level morality milking.
Kev Walker’s art is still great. As the crew is hunting, they stumble upon a conscious piece of Groot that had been left behind, and when Peter comes in contact with it, Walker’s art explodes with beauty. If it weren’t for this art, there wouldn’t be a reason to read this comic. Its best moments are all set up for the next issue, which promises a return to developing the core of this run, whereas this issue tripped while trying to toe the line between character-building filler and plot-pushing adventure.
It’s primarily disappointing, as the team had a tremendous thematic setup paired with a plot line about the privilege of bigoted ignorance but didn’t have anything to say or a story to tell with it. The moment-to-moment writing is bland, but the opening narration and the team’s essay of Peter Quill remain strong enough to keep this from being a total stinker.
Guardians of the Galaxy #3 is the runs first clunker, the team attempting to say something socially whilst forgetting that doing so poignantly would require an actual story to unfold. This issue isn't awful, and will read better when done so in a binge-like fashion, but it's unforgivably boring.
Guardians of the Galaxy #3: A Lonesome Hunter
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Storyline - 4/104/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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