Big Rocks and Tiny Plots in Guardians of the Galaxy 147

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.

What happens when the lovable misfit space pirates becoming the lovable misfit space police? The Guardians have teamed up with The Nova Corps to sniff out Shi’ar spies and track down the missing Infinity Stones in Guardians of the Galaxy 147. Joining the Novardians of the Corlaxy is Ant-Man (Scott Lang), who is trying to redeem himself in light of his Secret Empire betrayal.

Gerry Duggan plays around with Ant-Man a bit, with some Ultron zombies making Hank Pym taunts as well as Lang passing out upon becoming giant size.

The notion of a giant-sized Scott Lang getting sick and flooding and enclosed space with his vomit is both disgusting and fascinating. I think that Lang’s space redemption story is the most interesting story element here, so I wish that Duggan would’ve spent a little more time on it.

Turns out when you give shifty Rocket Raccoon a badge he’s still pretty shifty, reprimanding Nova Corpsmen for stealing evidence that he is likely going to pawn himself. Oh, and he uses the phrase “gun lube.”

The big reveal of the issue is the gigantic Infinity Stone that the Novas have found. Marcus To exaggerates its immensity by giving two duplicate full pages of our heroes staring at the giant rock, emphasizing their disbelief.

Despite this reveal, Guardians of the Galaxy 147 feels like it’s lacking substance. In previous issues, Duggan zeroed in on one member of the team. This issue, on the other hand, feels spread too thin — giving us mere tastes of the expanding cast’s story. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’d like less Rich Rider and more Ant-Man in SPAAAAAACE!

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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3 comments on “Big Rocks and Tiny Plots in Guardians of the Galaxy 147

  1. ‘ I think that Lang’s space redemption story is the most interesting story element here, so I wish that Duggan would’ve spent a little more time on it.’

    I keep looking at these words, and I can’t seem to make sense of them. Scott is interesting in this book? How?

    I think it is quite clear that Scott Lang is going to be a massive problem in this book. He has no story reason to join, and his character reason in completely disconnected to any other element in the book. And even throwing Ultrons at the Guardians can’t actually give him anything to do.

    This arc is interesting, because there is a lot of flaws so far. Scott Lang is the biggest, but there are others. Like why is Rocket being almost professional with his investigations? Doesn’t feel like Rocket to be so thorough. Gamora would be the obvious choice, but boring, so I would give it to Drax. Would be hilarious to see Drax fully commit to his mission in a completely over serious way. And it would be in character for him to do so.
    ANd what about the Ultrons? Let’s ignore Scott Lang for a moment, because he’s a lost cause. Why are they here? What are the drones of an Earth based villain marching around space? I could write some headcanon about how they are permanents of Ultron’s takeover of the Phalanx in Annhilation Conquest, but shouldn’t something as big as Ultron be… explained. Meaningful. Placed into context as part of the greater scope of the galaxy. It feels like using a generic monster like the CHitauri would actually work better than having a major Avengers villain just turn up and not explore what that means.

    But the strength is, by far, the Nova Corp. Peter first seeing Rich is kind of sprinted past, but Rich already justifies his presence in this book in a way that Scott doesn’t. We understand his place, and what he means, both on a plot level and a character level. And more interestingly, there is something actually quite interesting with the Nova Corps at the moment. The struggles of rebuilding the Corp is actually quite rich, with the little discussions about the struggles about funding, the leadership and morale issues. Eve Bakian appearing, after Duggan’s fantastic work with the Bakain clan in Secret Wars: Infinity Gauntlet, is very welcome, especially in how she engages in the greater parts of the Nova Corp – leading a faction that went rogue because, quite rightly, the flaws int he current Novas have allowed villainy to infect the Corps. The fundamental problems with the average Nova Corp, Rich Rider’s position as one of the few empowered Nova Corp members (representing his connection to the original, functional, but destroyed corp) and Bakian as a challenge trying to fix things makes the Nova Corp the best part, even as the Guardians are at their least interesting (and I’m not just talking about Scott Lang here. The writing of every Guardian is a bit disappointing since issue 12). Add to that the giant Infinity Stone, the sort of reveal that is such a wonderfully pleasant surprise in how it challenges our conception of how an Infinity Stone works and the sort of story beats we expect (can’t fit that in a gauntlet), and it provides the heavy lifting the rest of the issue doesn’t.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’d like less Ant-Man in SPAAAAAACE! and more Rich Rider

  2. Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Don’t Stop Believing: This came out a couple of weeks ago (in fact,t he next episode of Batman Enemy Within already came out) but as you guys missed reviewing the last issue, this has been my first chance to talk about it. And wow.

    I have been down on Telltale’s take on Guardians of the Galaxy, only really thinking that it turned into something good last episode. Last episode turned what was a generic story into a strong character drama of the Guardians collapse as they simply can’t throw away their emotional baggage (placed across a story all about throwing away literal baggage to survive). And this episode doubled down on everything that made episode 4 great, and created something better.

    THis one is actually really hard to discuss, because it looks like your choices have an impact matter on a scope I don’t think I’ve seen before. I said that episode 3 ended with a massive choice, and as episode 4 ignored it as part of the character focus, this is where that choice matters, and it sounds an episode that has two completely different climaxes, depending on your choice there. I’ve heard about some of the choices that you get on the othe rpath, are they are surprisingly different. This is the advantage of spending an episode and a half doing character work. If you avoid the main plot for long enough, you actually have the resources to do two very different endings.

    But, in my game, I destroyed the magical McGuffin, which meant I had the path where resurrection space magic was much less present.

    Although, before we get to that, there is still the first half of character work. The last episode ended with the Guardians breaking up, torn apart by their differences. You only have one person left by your side (in my case, Rocket). And you have to get the band back together so that the Guardians can save the Galaxy.

    Which creates the massive strength in this episode. Payoff. Lots and lots and lots of sweet, sweet emotional payoff. Catharsis abounds as each character gets a powerful ending, just back-to-back-to-back powerful scenes that really make you wantt o cry adn cheer at the same time.
    It isn’t entirely perfect. The episode begins with Mantis and Groot running to find you guys, instead of you running to find them. While we still have the cathartic scene with them, it feels wrong they they begin by meeting you half way. Peter should have found them. ANd more importantly, one important Guardian misses their scene of cathartic payoff, which is a problem as these also serve as the climaxes of their arc. I missed Rocket’s scene, and depending on your choices, people could miss Gamora’s instead.

    And yet, the scenes are fantastic. Groot actually lacks issues, he only left the team to look after Mantis (I’ll talk more about this later, but at the end of the game, Groot was the only Guardian I had a 100% perfect relationship with. I’m pretty sure that you can’t change it. Groot always loves you). Which means he plays a big part of Mantis’ emotional payoff. Each episode has a flashback scene where you play as another Guardian instead of Quill, and this episode, it is Groot’s turn, where he shows the Guardians first meeting. Not only do you play a scene where no matter what option you choose, Groot only says ‘I am Groot’, you get the funniest Guardians of the Galaxy joke ever* and a real show of why Groot is the heart of the team as he shows Mantis the one thing she was missing – that despite everything, the Guardians are a family that love each other, at their best.

    And then we get to go through the rest of the cast, helping Gamora and Drax finally reach realisation and emotional release in two greatly satisfying scenes. And with the team together again, we enter a giant, epic heist to take down Hala the Accuser, where the entire team has to work together to achieve a plan with multiple roles that you dole otu and see come together, with Peter doing the most important part. The only problem here is that the action is pretty crappy. It is a shame that it lacks the fantastic action of some of Telltale’s other games, like Batman or Tales from the Borderlands, because it really felt like it needed action to sell the heroism. Still feels incredibly great, but would feel greater if done to the standards of the best video game fight scene ever, from Tales from the Borderlands

    ANd then, with the ship crashed on Knowhere, we have the final confrontation with Hala. It cna be easy to compare the finale to the first movie. Guardians blow up Kree accuser’s ship, then fight them in the ruins? But Hala isn’t Ronan, and that makes all the difference. Ronan was purely villainous, a force of hate so powerful that he presented the exact threat that would make Guardians realise they need to give a shit. Hala is much mroe complex. She faces the same demons as the Guardians. SHe is the dark mirror, the one who has been consumed by those demons like the Guardians nearly were instead of rising above them. In fact, no fight or dance off is required here. You face Hala in the ruins of her hsip, and she’s… dying. And in her dying moment, she looks at Peter and sees her son. Lost to illusions, she tries to have one last conversation, beg forgiveness for her actions and get the chance to refute the inhumanity she finally recognises she has become. And I, as Peter, couldn’t refuse her that. Both because Peter needed similar closure with his mother, adn because ultiamtely, Hala deserved that small mercy. We saw the path tha tled her to this point, we almost saw the Guardians fall down that very path. And, witht he knowledge that she will never be able to harm another living being, regardless of our choice, she deserved the chance to heal. And so, I let her make up with her son. Let her have the peace she so desperately needed. Let her die happy. I was loving the episode previously, but this was something special. A true distillation of the themes of humanism that have made Guardians one of the most beautiful franchises around today.

    And when Mantis, during the celebrations afterwards, gives Peter the chance, through the remnants of the Eternity Forge’s power, have one last moment of his own with his mother, I think doign that for Hala means that Peter can truly make that moment special. Having laid his own demons to rest while helping Hala, he instead gets to share the sort of personal, inimiate moment that was important. Have a truly meaningful experience to come closer to his mother, even as he moves forward. Again, it is similar to Peter unwrapping the present and finding Awesome Mix Vol 2, but with Hala providing her own unique context, it is just as magical.

    With the final two episodes, Telltale has touched into the power and meaning that makes Guardians what it is. Some parts of the ending may be among their strongest work. They actually reach the heights of the movies, and that is the highest praise you can give. Because the movies are magical, truly the deepest, most meaningful franchise in the MCU stable.

    Even as I am begging for a third season of Batman (the latest episode of Enemy Within is SO good), I don’t want a second season of this. Part of it is that there is no better ending, but part of it is that this seaosn was too inconsistent. But the best parts? Truly magical.

    I loved the finale. And I did not expect to

    ________________________________________________________

    * When flashback Peter turns up, they intentionally keep his face hidden, all part of not fully revealing Peter so that when he introduces himself to the Guardians for the first time, it is iconic as possible. We know what to expect, some variation of the famous ‘Who?’ joke, where Peter’s attempts at being cool fall flat. And so, as Rocket asks ‘Whose this loser?’, we see Peter get himself off the ground and say ‘Call me… Star Lord’, only to reveal the world’s most hilariously rubbish moustache.

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