Saturday, February 24, 2018
Home  >  Features  >  THE MIGHTYVILLE CHATCAST, Episode 3: Unguarding Bendis' Galaxy


Unguarding Bendis' Galaxy


In this episode, Joe and Sam are joined by Geoff in the MightyVille Chatcave to discuss a group of superheroes you may not be familiar with... Ever heard of The Guardians of the Galaxy?

We're sure you're tired of hearing about how face-numbingly awesome the movie was, so we're not going there! Instead, the guys dig into the current Guardians of the Galaxy comic, spearheaded by Brian Michael Bendis under the Marvel NOW umbrella. They started with Avengers Assemble Volume 1 and closed out with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers. Read along and let us know if you agree!


Joe Kach: Alright, let's get started.

Sam Moyerman: Hola, Geoff!

Geoff Deen: Hola! Coma esta usted?

Joe: Enough with the pleasantries ... Moderator?

Okay! The GotG [Guardians of the Galaxy] movie was announced in Summer of 2012. What was your experience with the characters up until that point?

GeoffDnA [Editor's Note: "DnA" means Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, writers], 2008 run. I have never read the old series that was set in the future.

Sam: Minimal at best. I knew who the characters were and the basics, but not much more. I'm much more familiar with the Late 90's Guardians who were set in the future.

Joe: I read the old series briefly right before [artist] Jim Valentino left for Image Comics. It was mainly the hype about him creating Shadowhawk that made me go back and read those issues. None of it stuck with me, though.




What was it about the DnA run that grabbed your interest since no movie had been announced? 

Geoff: For me, I was reading all of Annihilation.

Sam: I was never into "Cosmic Marvel". Tried the Infinity Gauntlet crossover (and subsequent trilogy) as a kid and found it not as much fun as everyone else thought it was. Never got back into it at all. I even hated all the "X-Men in space" storylines.

Geoff: Then War of Kings came out, so it just fit in with my first real trek down the road that is the Marvel Cosmic Universe. But for me, that entire trip started due to the X-Men: Genesis arc with Vulcan-- that is not the right name .. what was it called?

Sam: I think that's the right name.   

Joe: Umm, I forget, too, but I know which one you're talking about. Ed Brubaker, right?

Geoff: Yes...

Joe: Deadly Genesis!

Sam: That's it!

Geoff: The arc that sent Havok and Polaris into space to chase Vulcan, which led into War of Kings.

Joe: So, it was the cosmic crossovers that pulled you in? I guess that is a plus for crossovers from publishers then...

Geoff: Yes, total victim of the marketing department at Marvel Comics.

Sam: Hated those.

Joe: Hated that storyline, Sam?

Sam: Yeah, I dislike "X-Men in space". I mean, really hate it. I see no reason for them to be out there. (And I hated retconning in more X-Teams, but that's another story). 

Joe: There was Emperor Vulcan that followed up War of Kings I think ... but I digress. I used to not be a fan of "space" stories in general. Even the Annihilation crossover that started the "Cosmic Renaissance", I found to be a bit tedious. But, the DnA run on GotG I would have to say I quite enjoyed. It's really the combo of those characters. The sum being greater than the individuals grouped, so to speak.

Geoff: For me, my introduction to Guardians was the X-Men going into space, then I caught up on the Annihilation story ... starting with the Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord mini-series ... in which he was a cyborg, oddly enough.

Joe: Good point. Sam, did you ever read that Star-Lord mini?

Sam: I have not.  To be honest, this was my first experience with Guardians books. 

Joe: OK, which will be the comics we're focusing on. But, for anyone who hasn't read them, the current incarnation of the Guardians began in the Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord mini-series series by Keith Giffen and Timothy Green II.





 Sam: The DnA stuff interested me, but I was reading too much to take on something new at the time and just let it slide by. 

Joe: I'd recommend the DnA stuff to anyone, more-so than what we read for this session, but I'll get into that in a bit. Keith Giffen set the tone for what we see now, and pretty much all the current creators credit that. No one cared about Rocket Raccoon for decades till that series.

Sam: And to make with the funny without J.M. DeMatties...

Geoff: Just to set the stage, the very first line of the DnA run is Star-Lord saying to the camera: "That did not go so badly, for a first mission," followed by a splash page of the Universal Church of Truth screaming to "kill all non-believers".

Joe: Ha. Fantastic Opening.

Geoff: I think a large portion of what made the DnA run so good was the "talking to the interviewer" interludes.

Joe: Right ... which is not present in the current run.

Let's get into that. The "Bendis Era" of the Guardians of the Galaxy began in Avengers Assemble Vol. 1...

Sam: It sucked.  There, I said it. Never before have I been mad at someone for making me read comics and watch cartoons.

Joe: Ha! Tell us why, Sam!

Sam: It was the most generic book I've ever read.





Geoff: That arc was bad, there is no getting around that. It was just bad. Bland writing and some of the worst Mark Bagley art I have seen. But I do feel the current monthly has found its footing.

Sam: Agree! I get that they wanted an Avengers book that mirrored the movie lineup.  But man, nothing about the book felt original at all.  I love Bagley on most books; this one even he was generic. And the dialogue was Bendis trying to match the movie witticisms.

Geoff: It was something I would have expected to read in a free comic giveaway that people were handing out to kids just before the Guardians of the Galaxy movie let in. Thanos is defeated in five panels of different colored fists hitting his face.  No, it was just bad...

Sam: Right.  This screamed to be one of those movie cash-grab tie-ins.

Joe: I was not impressed at all by that Avengers Assemble volume. The story was cliched and I felt the Zodiac villains were totally corny, with little-to-no reason to see them as formidable. And it was meant to be the Avengers movie comic, not a set up for GotG. I did think it picked up a bit when the Guardians came in at issue four, but the damage was already done.

What did you think of the way that arc ended?

Sam: Again, and this will be my favorite word for this chat: Generic.

Geoff: As above, "Thanos is defeated in five panels of different colored fists hitting his face.  No, it was just bad..."

Joe: I thought that was the worst part of it! All the Marvel heroes suddenly show up and punch Thanos to the ground in one page? Ugh, what a let down.

Geoff: Agreed.  That first arc of Avengers Assemble felt like a book set outside of "Marvel 616", designed totally as a movie tie-in for money ... it was not good.

Joe: Even the usual snappy Bendis dialogue came up a bit vacant. 

Sam: This was a complete paint-by-numbers book ... from all parties, who normally aren't guys who do that.

Geoff: At the time it came out, Avengers was a huge hit and Marvel had announced the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, so I really think it was thrown together to at least let people know who the Guardians were. But that's all.

Joe: I completely agree, since the DnA run was well-received, but didn't sell that great. It only lasted 25 issues.

Sam: Did they put Bendis and Bagley on it just for their names?

Geoff: Names, or people who can work quickly. The DnA run, as good as it was, was deep in Marvel lore. It is not a new-reader friendly title.

Sam: Did this sell that much better?  Well, I bet the Avengers stuff did.

Joe: I am sure Assemble sold better than the DnA GotG run.





Sam: Don't forget, this came after Bendis said he was "done with the Avengers", and Marvel still made him write an Avengers book without Luke Cage.

Joe: Strictly the movie team. Spider-Woman was brought in later. So, Star-Lord "died" at the end of the DnA run. It really annoyed me that there was no mention of how he came back, other than his hesitancy when the "Cancerverse" came up in Avengers Assemble. Which made me even more annoyed since they teased it, but didn't explain it.

Sam: They killed him at the end of that?  And then brought him back that fast?  Oy Vey ...  I'm glad I wasn't reading the DnA run as it came out.

Joe: Yep. And I still don't think they have revealed how he came back, but Richard Rider Nova did not. If anything, I think they are touching on it now with Original Sins or whatever.

Geoff: Correct, it has not been answered yet.  

Sam: How come Quasar hasn't come back yet?

Joe: Phyla-Vell, I think, is the new Quasar ... or at least was in the DnA run, ha ha.

Avengers Assemble Vol. 1 parlayed into the new GotG comic, with some digital Infinite Comics in between that were included in the last section of the GotG tradepaperback. What were your thoughts on that first Guardians of the Galaxy arc in general, and also how it compared with the Assemble arc?

Sam: I mean, did they just give Bendis too much money to keep saying no?

Geoff: The first arc of the current run was better than Assemble, but still lacked the heart of the DnA run.

Joe: I agree with that, totally lacks heart, which was my problem with the Assemble arc, too.

Geoff: I did not like the needless injection of Tony Stark into the plot and I felt it lacked the "smart-ass quotient" that made the DnA run so good.

Joe: Good point. At first I thought Iron Man would be a great addition. But the way they played him, they could have stuck me in there and it would have worked just as well.





Sam: Guys, the word you're looking for is "generic".

Joe: It felt too forced and unnatural, and like Sam said, very generic and by the numbers.

Geoff: Yes, but it does get better... 

Sam: Is Bendis still writing it?

Geoff; Yes.

Joe: Yeah, still under Bendis, but I have heard from others that it gets better, like Geoff said. The Phoenix arc being one that stands out.

Geoff: The art by Steve McNiven was fantastic though, and the entire run has been very well drawn.

Joe: Yeah, McNiven's art is always gorgeous, if only he could finish a whole arc sometime. though, Sara Pezzini's art was pretty boss, too ... Pichelli! Pezzini is Witchblade (I think).

Sam: By the way, the Infinite Comics were great in their original format.  They did not translate well in the collection. They were fun (and free) before the book came out.

What was your favorite moment from either Avengers Assemble Vol. 1 or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers?

Sam: When I finished it?

Joe: Ha! Well-played.

Sam: I'd say when I read the Infinite Comics on the iPad originally. Like I said, they were fun.

Geoff: I think the standout from the first arc of the current run is the art. The story is really nothing special, nor was anything about Assemble. I hate to be negative, but only recently has the current GotG run found its footing.

Joe: Nah, I was totally let down. I assumed that the Bendis run would be better than DnA, but it wasn't, not even close. My favorite bit was at the end when Star-Lord gets on the open mic and warns the people of Spartax about his father's conniving ways, just because that came off as somewhat bad-ass. But, also, still confusing! I don't understand the whole bit about Earth being off-limits and also why that then makes Earth a larger target. They did not explain that well at all.

Sam: I assumed that in at least 12 issues of Bendis, we could each find something that we liked.  Wrong.





Would you recommend either of these arcs to anyone who may have seen the Guardians of the Galaxy film or is considering it?

Sam: No.

Joe: I'd only recommend it to fans of the creators. People have been asking me what comics I think they should read since they loved the film and I point them to the afrementioned Star-Lord mini and the DnA run, even though it is steeped in Marvel continuity. Geoff? 

Geoff is having technical difficulties ... After watching the various Marvel cartoons with the GotG appearances: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (EMH), Avengers Assemble, and two episodes of the current Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, as a whole, what would you say about those episodes? [Editor's Note:All available for streaming now on Netflix now if those links don't work!]


Joe: I did like the EMH one, with Korvac.

Sam: Oh wait, the EMH one was good.  All the other ones ... not so much.  The Avengers Assemble episode was so bad.

Joe: Yeah, outside of that EMH episode, I have actually forgotten most of the others. I did like that Rocket Raccoon was shown to be a Yoda-like mentor for Nova in Ultimate Spider-Man, but it annoyed me that he first showed up digging fruit out of a trashcan. I mean, the guy swears up and down he is no raccoon!

Would you recommend the cartoons to anyone?

Sam: No.  I would recommend EMH as a whole for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but that's it.

Geoff: I would recommend EMH to any Marvel fan. The new series ... not so much. However, I do prefer Bradly Cooper's Bronx accent to the Cockney one in the cartoon.

Joe: OK, agreed. I would actually recommend that episode of EMH to people over any of the newer comics we discussed today. 





Sam: Seriously guys, the Avengers Assemble episode was the worst thing I've ever seen.

Joe: Ha ha.

Sam: After watching that and the Ultimate Spider-Man episodes, I had to watch the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon for a cleanse.

Geoff, would you recommend the comics we discussed to anyone?

Geoff: Any fans of the movie should catch the DNA run. Dive in head first ... right into the deep-end of the cosmic universe. Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, Warlock ... who cares?! It's all well-written Sci-Fi awesomeness!

Joe: I believe we may be seeing Warlock in GotG 2, so that would be good for people to brush up on.

Sam: I'd recommend the movie... 

Joe: Sam, you'd recommend the movie to fans of the movie?

Sam: Yes! Instead of experiencing any of these comics or cartoons, I'd recommend the movie again to anyone who is a fan of the movie.

Joe: Perfect!

Okay guys, that's a wrap!

Geoff: I still think the current run is worth the read as long as the reader intends to stick it out.  Reading the first arc is a bit rough, but it gets better.

Joe: That's good to know. We are only discussing volume one here, so people should still give the rest of the series a chance.

Sam: Next time, let's do good books and cartoons!

Okay, Sam, okay...




Are you reading the current Guardians of the Galaxy comic series? what are your thoughts?


More ChatCasts on MightyVille:

THE MIGHTYVILLE CHATCAST starring Joe and Sam, Episode 2: X-Huming Futures Past

THE MIGHTYVILLE CHATCAST starring Joe and Sam, Episode 1: Supermovie Round-Up


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