This week the Guardians of the Galaxy land on Planet Venom, and Wonder Woman gets a new creative team!
Guardians of the Galaxy #21 (Marvel Comics)
The latest story line for Marvel’s hit galactic heroes kicks off with Guardians of the Galaxy #21. Brian Michael Bendis’ recent stories have been…drawn out to say the least, but with this latest issue (which features art by Marvel “Young Gun” Valerio Schiti), it seems like the pace is finally starting to pick up.
This issue focuses primarily on Flash Thompson, also known as Venom. Flash’s time as the Avenger’s Earth liaison with the Guardians hasn’t really been fleshed out (or explained, for that matter). Other than last May’s Free Comic Book Day issue, there’s barely been any mention for why Venom is on the team, or what purpose he serves. Thankfully, it looks like we’re starting to get some answers.
Since being abducted (and awkwardly released) by the Skrulls, Venom has been missing. The Guardians don’t know where he is, and assume that he might’ve gone AWOL. And in a way, Flash has. For some reason, the further away that Flash gets from Earth, the less control he has over the symbiote. Desperate to make his way back to Earth, Thompson is scouring every seedy dive in the Galaxy. That is, until he comes across Gamora, who summons the other Guardians to try and bring Venom back onto their ship. Naturally, the symbiote goes haywire and takes control of Flash. However, after a quick battle, Venom is defeated, and Flash is taken back onto the Guardians’ ship. But right when they’re about to get home, the symbiote escapes, and latches onto the one Guardian who might be the most powerful one of them all.
Brian Michael Bendis’ script finally picks up the pace with this issue. While he’s already proven that he’s got a solid handle on the different members of the Guardians, he still had a lot of problems with the pacing of the series. It got so bad in my opinion that I nearly dropped the book before the Original Sin tie in started up. However, this issue sets up much of our plot, moreso than previous Guardians issues, and even works in some time for some fun moments with the different members of the team before Venom gets the spotlight (Captain Marvel, though, is suspiciously absent from this issue).
Valerio Schiti continues to impress with his art. After wowing me with New Avengers two months ago, he commanded my attention here. The strange alien locations and creatures in Guardians can sometimes be difficult for some artists, but Schiti does an excellent job here. There’s a ton of really cool creature designs, and the Jedi-robe like look that Flash has his symbiote sporting is a really interesting and unique look that I haven’t seen before from a symbiote host.
A coworker of mine mentioned that he was getting tired of the seeing the Flash Thompson Venom constantly being in danger of losing control of his alien “other”, and while I agree with him, I feel like Bendis has a pretty good reason for why the symbiote is behaving the way it is. Bendis has said that we’ll get the origin for the symbiote in this story line, and as long as it’s not a three-issue story stretched into five, it should be pretty interesting. I know that I’ll definitely be back after the last page, and hopefully the next issue will be just as entertaining as this one.
Wonder Woman # 36 (DC Comics)
The new creative team for the Amazon Princess kicks off in Wonder Woman #36, and it’s starting to take a pretty interesting look at life of Diana, the new Queen of the Amazons. Artist David Finch brings his wife Meredith on board the title to pen her first major comic book work (she had previously done a few short stories for Zenoscope), and there’s a lot of stuff crammed into this issue.
Meredith Finch’s script taps into everything that’s gone on in Diana’s life since she became the new God of War and Queen of the Amazons. When this is added to Diana’s time as a superhero with the Justice League, her relationship with Superman, and time for herself, it’s not surprising that even a superhero like Wonder Woman would start to get a little agitated. So when she starts to lash out at her fellow heroes, they start to take notice.
Don’t let that quick description make you think that this book is all talking heads though. There’s a really cool battle mid issue with Swamp Thing, who’s investigating a mysterious drought at the same time as the Justice League. While Wonder Woman immediately jumping into action and taking on Swampy is a little weird, it fits when Wonder Woman explains all of the pressure she’s under to Aquaman, the only other member of the League who has some sort of idea of what she’s going through (perhaps these two will become something if Wonder Woman and Superman don’t work out?).
Speaking of the action, it’s drawn beautifully by David Finch, who definitely took his time with this issue. With the exception of a few panels, there’s nothing that sticks out as bad (or as rushed as some of his work on Forever Evil), and the splash page of Wonder Woman getting the drop on Swamp Thing is an image destined to be on posters everywhere.
It’s obviously too early to tell if the Finch’s run will hit the same heights as Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chang’s did, but it’s already off to a pretty interesting start. Focusing on Diana’s struggles with juggling everything in her life is an intriguing hook for the run, and as long as the series doesn’t suffer the kinds of delays that David Finch is known for, this might continue the title’s pretty awesome pedigree with comic fans. While this debut issue is over too soon, I’ll probably be back for #37 to spend more time with Wonder Woman.