Today, Shelby and guest writer Kevin are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy 6, originally released September 25th, 2013.
Shelby: In the real world, I’m a QA Analyst for a software development company, so my job revolves around dealing with mistakes. There are times when it’s important to take responsibility for your mistakes; if I misunderstand some software and call something a defect that isn’t, I always make sure to acknowledge I was in the wrong. It’s not easy, especially when I’ve made a big deal about it before being proven wrong, but I do it anyway. Sometimes, though, when I’m confronted with a mistake, be it mine or otherwise, the top priority is fixing it. It might feel nice to assign the blame, but at times it is just more important to figure out what we’re going to do about it.
Gamora’s fighting Angela on the moon, and things are not going great. As Uatu watches (as a Watcher is wont to do) with mounting concern, it ultimately takes the whole team plus Quill’s element gun set to “lightning” to take her down. He would have been there sooner, except he was chatting with his ol’ buddy Thanos about what exactly is happening. The only thing Thanos could do was confirm that, yes, time and space had been torn full of holes, and it was the “Earthers” who were responsible.
It’s that one-on-one with Thanos that really got me thinking. A mistake was made, and the consequence was the fracturing of time itself. On my first read through, I had the mindset that Quill was going to Thanos to find out who to blame, but that’s not really it. He hasn’t gotten to the point of blame yet, he’s still trying to figure out just what mistake was made. We can talk about who’s at fault, but Thanos has a longer view of the issue, and he’s got it right when he says it’s just Earth’s fault. From the view point of the rest of the galaxies and dimensions of the Marvel universe, it doesn’t matter if it was the X-Men, or the Avengers, or the Fantastic Four. Brian Michael Bendis does a great job making Thanos a voice of reason here. We wonder why other races and places put up with Earth’s bullshit, and it’s simply because, in the grand scheme of things, Earth doesn’t matter all that much. Or, didn’t matter, anyway.
It didn’t make any sense why Quill’s father would basically invite the scum of the galaxy to go after Earth, but now it’s starting to. Earth used to be like some little kid running around: kind of annoying, but mostly harmless. Now, we see Earth is like some little kid running around with a nuclear device: wholly unaware of the power they yield, and super careless. Angela is bound to be merely one of many entities gunning for Earth, and the Guardians are the only ones there to…uh, guard the place.
Speaking of Angela, the bulk of this issue was her Smash Bros. style fight on the moon with the rest of the team. I thought Bendis did a good job balancing the fight. Angela probably would have demolished them in the end, but Drax and Gamora got in a few hits. If one side could wipe out the other with no problem, it would have made the whole thing pretty pointless. As much as I like Bendis’ writing, especially the way he writes Rocket, it’s artist Sara Pichelli who really shines. Not only are her pencils just pretty to look at (especially with Justin Ponser’s colors), there’s a real cinematic quality to her work. I love the tension in the storytelling in this little square of panels.
The reflections of Angela in Gamora’s helmet and the cavalry arriving in Angela’s sword tell such a concise little story. There’s a lot of concern on Gamora’s face, which is highly telling when you consider she’s the the most dangerous woman in the universe; like Rocket said, “She’s having trouble. Which means we’re all in trouble.” And let us not forget that beautiful, starry background; the texture of it just looks velvety, perfect for an epic, warrior woman battle. My only criticism of the fight scenes is sometimes there’s a little too much going on.
I see what Pichelli is going for here. The overlapping and inlaid panels, plus the figures that extend outside of them, are meant to convey multiple things happening at once, and the chaos of battle. It’s neat, and I appreciate the thought put into it, but visually it’s just a little too chaotic. It took me a couple read-thrus to fully grasp what exactly is happening here. Even still, the concept is great, and that looming Angela screaming in rage/pain comes very, very close to making up for the busy execution.
I’m excited about the direction this book is taking. I like seeing the Guardians fighting a very real consequence of other heroes’ reckless actions. I can easily see Rocket and Gamora declaring that Earth needs to clean up its own mess for a change. And I just love Angela; she’s so bad-ass and cool! But enough about me; I’d like to welcome guest writer Kevin to the show! Hi there Kevin! What do you think of this issue? Why do you think Tony keeps insisting Angela looks familiar? Is there some previous Marvel/Image crossover that I don’t know about, or do you think Mr. Stark is just a big fan of Todd McFarlane’s work?
Kevin: First of all, thank you for having me as a guest this week, it’s a pleasure to gab about comics with you all. Now for the fun stuff…I am a big fan of Guardians, and this issue in particular. I also think it’s heading in a very grounded direction, following in the footsteps of some of the bigger comics like Avengers and X-Men, which seem to be living in a world filled with consequence by holding someone accountable for the aftermath of the superhero lifestyle. I think it’s very smart and hones in on what the readers really want: as much reality in a comic book as possible. This issue puts a telescopic lens on the aftermath and consequences of the actions of the superhero community, and I like it a lot.
Shelby, I am very pleased you asked about this all-too-familiar “Angela”. They did a great job keeping us interested in just who it could be, especially if it’s Tony Stark who recognizes her. I honestly have no idea who it could be, this is simply what first popped into my head on the first read: red equals Jean Grey. Now this could be a stretch, but Jean Grey, also the Phoenix (among other things) often times represents duality in the Marvel Universe: the good and the bad, the old and the transformed. If you notice from the beginning of the issue, we see three mirror images of Angela fighting Gamora, switching sides each panel, representing both sides. They lunge, they jump, they hold.
Their portion of the fight ends with Angela standing in the reflection of Gamora’s mask (shown above) and then the cavalry in sword, two more very clear mirror motifs. This and the fact she is a force to be reckoned with leads me to believe this could be Jean Grey, once again returning to cleanse the Earth of its sins. The Phoenix is a force that continues to challenge Tony Stark and other Marvel characters, so maybe she’s simply a physical manifestation of the Phoenix in a familiar yet new form?
I will say I find it exciting to see a character like Tony Stark, who is so iconic at this point, being stuck in a situation where he feels less than confident. This is something we rarely see from Stark, ever the leader, the swinging d*** if you will. So I loved the moment when Rocket yells at him to “take the shot” and Stark replies: “I don’t have it! Gamora is all over her and this isn’t my usual gear.” Great moment to revert Stark to something like his early days when his tech wasn’t so invincible and he didn’t have the answers to everything.
Kevin is an actor/writer/director in the Los Angeles area and really likes comic books. He is proudly imported from Detroit and likes Eminem, too, just not that much.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?