Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s Weekly Review Roundup
Guardians of the Galaxy #11 (Marvel Comics)
(W) Brian Michael Bendis, (P) Valerio Schiti, (C) Richard Isanove, (L) VC’s Cory Petit
I dropped Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy when it relaunched after Secret Wars – prior to that I only had a passing fancy anyway, so it felt like as good a time as any to lighten my monthly load a bit. I’m glad I did, because if this Civil War II tie-in issue of Guardians of the Galaxy is an indication of the general series tone, it has to be frustrating getting through each new issue.
Why can’t Bendis write Rocket Raccoon? Is straightforward, unsubtle cleverness so difficult? Nick Kocher is killing in on Rocket Raccoon and Groot, so I know it can be done. Rocket reads like Jar-Jar Binks: wholly unnecessary “comic relief” that you mostly just wish would stop. But Rocket is just one thorn, and the biggest grievance I have is how quickly the Guardians are to support Carol Danvers without understanding the current situation on Earth – Captain Marvel calls and the Guardians come running like sheep?
It’s one thing to present a narrative in which the Guardians of the Galaxy get a distress call from a former teammate and decide to check it out, and though this is how Bendis frames the first half of the issue, it soon becomes clear that the team has no interest in hearing Tony Stark’s side of the argument, that they’ve come back to Earth to support Carol, end of discussion. Even when Peter Quill learns the more complex extent of the Ulysses paradigm and that the Ultimates are keeping the Mad Titan Thanos locked up in the Triskelion, he doesn’t seem to have issue with the ethics of the situation, choosing instead of focus on Thanos and Gamora’s potential reaction to learning of her father’s whereabouts.
Guardians of the Galaxy #11 connects to Civil War II about as tangentially as it can while still being relatively necessary (not necessarily good) reading. The Guardians show up as surprise backup at the end of Civil War II #4, so knowing how they got there could be construed as important. But really, this issue is filler with a shoehorned sub-plot about Thanos that probably won’t go anywhere.
— Jay Mattson
4001 A.D. #4 (Valiant Entertainment)
(W) Matt Kindt, (A) Clayton Crain, (L) Dave Lanphear
As was the case with 2015’s Book of Death and The Valiant, Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain’s 4001 A.D. has proven that comic event can indeed bring lasting impacts and be told in an engaging manner. There are no surprise deaths or shocking revelations. Rather, Kindt and Crain use the large, cosmic scope which they have developed and use it to tell a personal story – one of a father and son.
4001 A.D. #4 brings the event to a close, and readers can be prepared to check off the standard event tropes. There is a big climax, explosions, and the promise of a new direction. On the surface, those things do happen, but Kindt twists them in a manner that readers can sink their teeth into. Rai’s final confrontation with Father is not an action packed battle-to-the-death, but one of conversation. These two characters – both artificial – spend much of the issue expressing their feelings and debating the merits of their actions.
Throughout 4001 A.D. (as well as in the pages of Rai), readers have perceived Father – the sentient AI system which controls and operates New Japan – from the perspective of a few freedom fighters. They see Father as an oppressive force that has stunted humanity’s abilities for personal gain, a worldview which they have imprinted on Rai himself. In their final confrontation, Rai tells father that he is liberating humanity, even though the general populace shows no inclination or desire for liberation. Father even makes this point, pleading with Rai that the people of New Japan are ill prepared for the harsh environment of Earth. Unfortunately for Father, this falls on deaf ears.
Unfortunately, the great interaction between Rai and Father is undermined by the issue’s second half. 4001 A.D. #4 dedicates much real estate to setting up the future of Rai’s story, grinding the issue’s pace to a halt. Though it is to the issue’s overall detriment, Kindt and Crain wisely employ the technique of “show, don’t tell.” And readers are shown an Earth that is teeming with life and civilizations that the citizens of New Japan were previously unaware of. These pages enable Clayton Crain to create downright stunning visuals. His unique style, a perfect fit for the futuristic space land of New Japan, shines with each cityscape or landscape. Even if New Japan is no more, readers can trust that the future of Rai will at the very least look great.
— Daniel Gehen