Comic Book Review: Guardians of the Galaxy #11

DnA’s Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of The Revolution’s favorite Marvel titles. DnA continue to do such an impressive job with Marvel’s cosmic characters. It is amazing that Marvel’s long dormant cosmic corner of the 616 universe has suddenly become the most interest aspect of the 616 universe. With War of Kings #1 officially underway, I would imagine that DnA are poised to deliver a good read in Guardians of the Galaxy #11 in order to try and capture some new readers. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Guardians of the Galaxy #11.

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Wes Craig

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Phyla-Vell waking up in a barren dimension. Her Quantum Bands slide off her wrists and then sink into the ground. Phyla-Vell screams “No! Please come back!” as she digs furiously at the ground. Suddenly, Phyla-Vell is attacked by the zombie versions of the real Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), Genis-Vell and Annihilus. Drax then busts onto the scene and attacks the zombies. After Drax beats up the zombies, the zombies begin to retreat.

Drax says that he is a Destroyer and that he was made to destroy death. Drax continues that the zombies sense that about him and do not like that. Drax says that the zombies are ghosts. Drax continues that the zombies are the hopes, fears and doubts from Phyla-Vell’s mind. Phyla-Vell asks what about Drax’s doubts and regrets. Phyla asks why aren’t they attacking them. Drax responds that he does not have any. That part of being a Destroyer is letting go of remorse.


Drax then tells Phyla-Vell that Mentor killed them. Phyla-Vell asks if they are in Limbo. Drax says “No.” We see a shadowy figure watching Drax and Phyla from afar. Drax says that this is not the realm of death, though it is close to it. Drax explains that this is one of many half-way places. That it is a borderland and that there are many of them. And that they all have names like Decay, Ennui, Despair and Oblivion. That these borderlands are all symbolic.

Drax continues that the universe is wild and raw, but that sometimes it gives itself a little meaning and structure. Sometimes it simplifies itself so that regular mortals can understand it. Drax says that he has seen rooms where Entropy was sitting at one end of the table and Death at the other end with Eternity and Chaos in between them. Drax says that they are not real people. They are just concepts. Avatars. That the universe simplifies itself so that mortals can grasp its meaning for a moment.

Phyla asks why the universe does that. Drax answers because it wants them to do something for it. Drax then notices that Phyla’s Quantum Bands are gone. Phyla says that the slipped off her and sunk into the ground. Drax replies that this is bad and it means that this is not what he thought it was. Drax says that he thought this was one of Mentor’s little tricks. A mind game to test the likelihood of Moondragon’s survival. Drax spits that Mentor really did kill them.

Drax continues that the Quantum Bands only come off when the owner of them dies and the bands go searching for a new owner. Drax says that Mentor killed them so they would cross over into Limbo or wherever they are so that they could find Moondragon. Suddenly, Maelstrom appears in front of Drax and Phyla. Maelstrom says that Drax and Phyla are actually in Oblivion and that Oblivion is his boss.

Maelstrom then attacks Drax and Phyla. Maelstrom rants that he has been trapped here in this nothingness for so long without company and without power. However, Drax and Phyla still have a spark of life in them that will enable Maelstrom to escape this dimension. Maelstrom asks Drax how he has done with his mission in life to destroy death. Drax responds that he killed Thanos.

Maelstrom congratulates Drax saying that it is rare that a conceptual like them gets a chance to fulfill their given role. Maelstrom says take himself for example. The universe is still alive so Maelstrom has not succeeded in carrying out his given role. Drax continues to brawl with Maelstrom. Drax asks if Maelstrom lured them out here.

Maelstrom answers that he needed a lifeline to haul himself back to reality. So, Maelstrom had to get Drax and Phyla to take the bait and cross the line and come here. Maelstrom continues that the bait was the prospect of Moondragon still being alive. Phyla snaps and screams “I thought she was alive!” Phyla attacks Maelstrom.

Phyla rants that she thought she could still save Moondragon. Phyla brutally beats Maelstrom. Drax holds Phyla and says that it was all a trick. That Moondragon is not still alive and waiting to be saved. Drax says that they need to find a way out of here.

Maelstrom then gets back on his feet and says that he can take them to Moondragon if they want him to. We cut to Maelstrom leading Phyla and Drax to a large pit. Our heroes peer into the pit and see a giant sleeping dragon. It is the Dragon of the Moon. Phyla mentions how the Dragon of the Moon was part of Heather and how she was becoming it.

Maelstrom mentions that Heather Douglas was always the Dragon of the Moon’s conduit to the real world. Maelstrom continues that it was just weeks from full manifestation when Heather was killed by Ultron. Maelstrom says that in another million years the Dragon will wake and find another Heather Douglas and try again. That if the Dragon ever gets into the real world that it will wreak cosmic Armageddon.

Maelstrom then says that he is guessing that Heather is somewhere inside the sleeping Dragon. Phyla punches Maelstrom. Maelstrom falls to the ground. Suddenly, Maelstrom says “They remember me.” Maelstrom stands up and we see that the Quantum Bands have sought him out and have slipped onto his wrists. Maelstrom uses his newfound power to bind Drax and Phyla in energy beams.

Maelstrom then shouts out to the Dragon of the Moon for it to wake up. Maelstrom offers Drax and Phyla to the Dragon as a snack in return for the Dragon using its dark powers to release Maelstrom from Oblivion. End of issue.

Commentary

The Good: Guardians of the Galaxy #11 was a disappointing read. DnA have been so dependable as of late with the cosmic corner of the 616 Universe that this issue really caught me by surprise. This has been the first time that I have finished an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy and not been impressed with DnA’s effort. Still, there were several positive aspects to this issue.

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 offers the reader a nice amount of action as we get a couple of good fight scenes. DnA also craft some solid dialogue. Some of the banter between Drax and Phyla was entertaining. Both Drax and Phyla have nicely developed voices.

DnA also deliver plenty of nice character work on Drax and Phyla. Both characters are well developed. I continue to enjoy how DnA handle Drax’s character. I have always liked Drax the Destroyer and it is great to have writers who really get his character. DnA generate some enjoyable chemistry between Drax and Phyla. These two characters make a good team.

Maelstrom is a fine cosmic villain. I dig how DnA continue to reach into Marvel’s bag of cosmic characters and try and breathe new life into them and find new uses for them. This has been the strength of DnA’s work on both Guardians of the Galaxy and on Nova. And It is nice to see that even on an otherwise weak issue that DnA is still doing their best to revive as many of Marvel’s cosmic characters as possible.

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 ends with a solid hook ending. We have our two heroes at the mercy of a villain who has now gained the additional power of the Quantum Bands. And we have the Dragon of the Moon stirring from its rest and ready to snack on our heroes and release Maelstrom into the real world. While the majority of this issue was less than exciting, at least DnA was able to pique my interest for the next issue.

Wes Craig serves up some serviceable artwork. His heavy painted style of art is not my favorite style, but it made for a solid looking issue.

The Bad: Guardians of the Galaxy #11 was simply a dull and boring read for the majority of this issue. The plotline itself is okay, but it did not require an entire issue all to itself. One of the most enjoyable aspects of DnA’s Guardian of the Galaxy has been how wonderfully plotted it has been. DnA have been juggling so many short range, mid range and long range plotlines on this title up to this point. Each issue has had several plotlines running at the same time. Multiple quality plotlines makes for quite a gripping team title to read.

Regrettably, Guardians of the Galaxy #11 simply focuses on the Moondragon plotline and that it is it. This is the first issue on this title that focuses in on only one plotline. And, unfortunately, that one plotline just is not strong enough or intriguing enough to carry the weight of an entire issue all by itself. We simply did not need an entire issue devoted to this plotline. And that makes this issue a thin read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 was slowly paced and poorly plotted. This issue was very decompressed as DnA inch the story along at a slow pace. DnA fluff up the story with plenty of unnecessary and repetitive dialogue. The story simply felt like filler. This has been the first issue from DnA on Guardians of the Galaxy that felt like they phoned it in. Of course, it is possible that DnA had their plate full with War of Kings and, therefore, they could not give their normal level of attention to Guardians of the Galaxy. It is not uncommon for titles to suffer whenever the writer is also handling a big event story at the same time.

While I enjoyed some of the banter between Drax and Phyla, most of the dialogue just put me into a boredom induced daze. DnA foisted far too much dry cosmic metaphysical mumbo-jumbo that was neither well crafted or intriguing. Instead, it read like pointless babbling with little meaning or interest. Much of the dialogue was also repetitious. It seemed as if DnA were simply trying to burn time and fill up panel space.

I also found the timing of Guardians of the Galaxy #11 to be odd. War of Kings #1 came out last week and kicked off Marvel’s cosmic big event in fine fashion. I would have thought that DnA would have attempted to build off the exposure that War of Kings will hopefully bring to Marvel’s cosmic titles like Guardians of the Galaxy. I am surprised that DnA did not make sure that this issue dealt at least tangentially with the events in War of Kings. If I was a new reader who picked up Guardians of the Galaxy #11 because of War of Kings I would have gotten nothing in this issue that would have enticed me to add Guardians of the Galaxy to my pull list.

Overall: Guardians of the Galaxy #11 was a rare disappointing read from DnA who have normally been absolute money on Marvel’s cosmic titles. I would only recommend this issue to die-hard fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy or die-hard Moondragon fan. Otherwise, I would recommend avoiding Guardians of the Galaxy #11. If you have still not given Guardians of the Galaxy a try then wait for the next issue to hop aboard this train. I have a feeling that this issue was merely a momentary hiccup in what has otherwise been a fine run on this title by DnA.

2 Comments

  1. Yeah, didnt like this issue, It was pure filler. actually, I dont even think it was filler because DnA are putting out two issues of GOTG this month and neither tie-in with War of kings. I think that they are just trying to sow seeds for future plotlines post War of kings.

  2. I never thought I’d see Maelstrom again, though.

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