Marvel NOW! Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3: Guardians Disassembled Review | Fanboys Anonymous

Marvel NOW! Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3: Guardians Disassembled Review

Posted by Orion Petitclerc Saturday, November 29, 2014
Wow, it's been a long time coming, hasn't it? I haven't reviewed a Guardians of the Galaxy trade collection in 7 months, and for good reason: it wasn't until recently that Marvel finalized which comics were being collected for volume 3 (4, if you count the previous volume—Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey) and only released it just last week. If you've been following my reviews, you'll know that I collect the issues individually and not in trade collections, so I have to wait until the next trade collection's collected comics list is finalized before I can accurately review it. So now that my explanation for the 7-month delay is out of the way, how about we get on with the show?

Buy Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 in print and receive a digital edition download code free
Previously in Guardians of the Galaxy

Shortly after Tony Stark's departure and Angela's arrival as a new member of the team during the galactic war of Infinity, the Guardians met up with the All-New X-Men—younger versions of the current timeline's X-Men brought into the present—and teamed up with the space buccaneers, the Starjammers, to save a young Jean Grey, who had been kidnapped by the Shi'ar Empire to face a trial for her future self's crimes of genocide as the Dark Phoenix. They successfully rescue her, and in the end Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, hooks up with the X-Men's Kitty Pride.

Now, before we can get to what happened afterward, there are two non-Guardians comics that are included in the volume 3 trade that need to be addressed: Captain Marvel #1 (2012), written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Dexter Soy; and Amazing Spider-Man #654's B-story, "Rebirth," written by Dan Slott with art by Paulo Siqueira, Ronan Cliquet, Roland Paris, Greg Adams, and Fabio D'Auria. Both of these issues are essentially "origin stories" of the Guardian's two new recruits. In Captain Marvel #1, readers are introduced to Carol Danvers, an Avenger formerly known as Ms. Marvel, and explores how she came to be called Captain Marvel—a title originally claimed by the late Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior and a friend of the Avengers. (On a side note, Carol Danvers will be getting her own solo Marvel Studios film, Captain Marvel, in theaters July 6, 2018.) "Rebirth" is a back-up story featuring the debut of Eugene "Flash" Thompson, Spider-Man's childhood bully-turned-disabled war hero, as Agent Venom, a super soldier imbued with the alien symbiote that was once bonded to Spider-Man.

Follow Agent Venom's story in Venom (Volume 2) by Rick Remender and Cullen Bunn
Agent Venom joins the Guardians first in the Guardians of the Galaxy Free Comic Book Day 2014 issue—written by Guardians of the Galaxy's (main series) Brian Michael Bendis with art by Nick Bradshaw—as an ambassador and Avenger from Earth at the request of Tony Stark, who believes that Earth should have a representative on the team that guards the planet without compensation. This is inherently a strange match-up considering Agent Venom's expertise and team themes; Flash's element is rather terrestrial and urban in contrast to the galactic opera the Guardians operate in, and his former teams—the Circle of Four (almost as comparably strange of a match-up), the Secret Avengers, and the Thunderbolts—reflected his skills and theme much more accurately. I'm not one to complain too much, though, considering that this is the only monthly ongoing series he gets to guest star in right now. (We won't talk about the Original Sin tie-in's lack of Agent Venom until the next review.)

Not long after his arrival, though, the Guardians are separated and captured by their enemies as a part of a plan concocted by King J'son of Spartax, Peter's father, to end the Guardian nuisance. Peter is taken to Spartax to face his father's ultimatum—abandon the Guardians and take his place as Star-Lord, the prince of Spartax, or be executed as an enemy of the empire. Gamora is forcefully questioned by the Brotherhood of the Badoon about the whereabouts of her father, Thanos. Drax the Destroyer faces a tribunal lead by Gladiator of the Shi'ar for interfering with their Trial of Jean Grey. Rocket Raccoon is abducted for experimentation by the Kree. Groot is abandoned on a deserted planet by the Brood. Agent Venom's symbiote is taken for the Skrull's use, and Angela is nowhere to be found. All seems dire for the Guardians until the timely arrival of their second newest member, Captain Marvel, which sets into motion a revolution three volumes in the making.

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Now, my review of this volume is more than slightly influenced by my love for all things symbiotes and Agent Venom as a character—it comes with the territory, I guess. As an introduction arc for Agent Venom's inclusion into the series (and his subsequent absence during the Original Sin tie-in), this did not make a great first impression. Sure, he got a cool new look for the team that appeals to the avid original Venom fans, and seeds of the just-begun "Planet of the Symbiotes" storyline were planted in a couple of issues, but new readers arguably didn't get a good feel for the character for how little page space he was given overall.

That said, this story arc in general was a bit slow and really only paid off for avid readers in the end. I'm one of a very rare breed of comic geeks (it seems) to give praise to Bendis for his work on Guardians; I absolutely loved the last three volumes, and will continue following the series as long as Agent Venom is on the team, if not longer afterward so long as the book keeps me happy. This volume, though? It was pretty weak, to be honest. Perhaps it was the fragmentation of the story as the Guardians were disassembled, but in any case this volume didn't appease me like the last ones did, and Bendis' rocky track record and dubious respect for symbiotes and symbiote fans will play against him in the coming months with "Planet of the Symbiotes." (Not to jump ahead, but the first issue definitely made an impression with me.)

Uncover Angela's secret past in Original Sin: Thor & Loki on the Marvel Digital Comics app for iOS and Android devices
An Angela and Gamora team-up always brightens any situation.
On the art side of things, Guardians was quite enjoyable up until the mid-issue change-up from Nick Bradshaw to Michael Avon Oeming in the final issue jarred my reading experience. Oeming's art was passable enough, but the transition from one style to a completely different one didn't win the volume any more points to make up for its flaws. If anything, the art overall in this volume won me over more than the main Guardians story.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3: "Guardians Disassembled" gets 3 stars out of 5 for the writing with most of the credit due to Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dan Slott, and 4 stars out of 5 for the art. This volume was a bit of a disappointment for myself as a symbiote fan, and possibly for Captain Marvel fans as well, since she didn't show up until the third of four issues.

What were your thoughts on this volume? Let us know in the comments section below, and follow Fanboys Anonymous for more Guardians of the Galaxy comic book reviews. Also, check out The Venom Site if you're a symbiote fan, and its blog, A Dose of Venom, especially for their Symbiotic Holiday Giveaway, in which you can test your symbiote trivia knowledge for a chance to win a Marvel Legends Agent Venom action figure!
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