To celebrate the 101st issue of the various Guardians of the Galaxy titles over the years, Guardians of the Galaxy #14 offers a new-reader friendly oversized issue. The comic’s main tale involves the Spartoi Empire finally catching up with Peter Quill and his various companions, each of whom run into a spot of trouble. As Quill and Rocket Raccoon are taken prisoner by a Spartoi warship, Gamora is taken down by a bounty hunter and sold to the Badoon, and Drax is similarly captured on Knowhere while better equipping the team’s newest member Venom.
It’s surprising we don’t see the fates of Angela or Groot shown or even referred to here, but not half as surprising as the choice of Venom as the team’s newest member. Although putting Flash Thompson in space means there’s a very real possibility to get answers about just where the symbiote came from, the choice of choosing a Marvel character who could never join the cinematic version of the group, and doesn’t really bring anything new to the comic team, is a bit of a head-scratcher. I’m also not sold on Carol Danvers involvement being teased.
The comic also includes a pair of back-up stories. The first offers a glimpse at the origins of Groot and the circumstances which caused the living tree to leave his world and journey into space. On a world where all of the creatures only know three words, it’s an odd (and pretty damn violent tree-on-tree crime) story to be included here.
It’s the second back-up story from writer Dan Abnett and artist Gerardo Sandoval that makes up for some of the deficiencies of the rest of the comic. The main story is basically recovering well-tred ground for potential new readers while the Groot story seems to be an attempt to get him included in the book. I’ll admit the final story is a bit of fan bait, but being a longtime fan of these characters this is what sold me on dropping $5 for an issue that is otherwise unremarkable.
Taking place 1,000 years in the future from the perspective of a Badoon slave, we see the original team of Guardians in action for the first time since 2009 (minus the curiously absent Nikki?) as they liberate the camp and tease the possibility of some kind of Guardians crossover in the near future. Although Vance Astro gets most of the time here, I’m happy to see Charlie-27, Martinex, Yondu, and especially Starhawk, AKA “The One Who Knows,” all included here and can’t wait to see where the tease of their eventual return may lead. Worth a look.