Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guardians of the Galaxy #11

Overall- I'll admit that I wasn't as enthusiastic about this comic book as I've been about the last couple of issues of this series, but, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning(writers)pulled out such an obscure character and an even more obscure concept that I couldn't help but like this comic.

This issue is focused totally on Drax and Quasar(Phyla-Vell), which was a bit of a letdown, since I was REALLY enjoying the exploits of the rest of the Guardians, especially after Jack Flag(!)joined the team. Before I go any further, some background. In Guardians #8 or 9, I can't remember the exact issue, Drax and Phyla went to Saturn's moon, Titan, to visit Mentor, the leader of the Eternals living there. Drax and Phyla explain to Mentor that they suspect that Mentor's adopted daughter, Moondragon, might still be alive. Mentor responds to this news by striking Drax and Phyla down with a fatal telepathic attack.

Phyla wakes up in a barren wasteland, and the Quantum Bands slip off of her wrists and get lost in the weird, sandy environment. Phyla turns around and is attacked by a zombified version of her father, the first Captain Marvel(Mar-Vell). Cap Marvel is soon joined by a zombie Genis-Vell and a zombie Annihilus. Phyla is taken totally off-guard and winds up catching a beating, before Drax arrives to make the save. The zombified version of these dead characters then slowly creep away.

Phyla assumes that she and Drax are dead, but Drax tells her that they aren't dead, they're in a dimension that borders our own. Drax explains some other stuff, but my brain just refuses to absorb it, so I'll just move on. Drax does realize that Mentor really did kill them when he notices that Phyla's Bands were gone, since a dead person can't use the Bands. Drax figures that Mentor killed them so they would find Moondragon and return her to life. However, before Drax can figure out what his next step is, Maelstrom attacks the duo. Maelstrom!?! Awesome! Anyway, Maelstrom explains that they are all trapped in Oblivion and that Maelstrom had lured Drax and Phyla to Oblivion in order to return to the land of the living.

After losing the element of surprise, Phyla and Drax manage to subdue Maelstrom. Phyla is pretty pissed that Maelstrom tricked her into believing that Moondragon was alive, and Maelstrom explains that it wasn't a trick and that Moondragon really was also in Oblivion. Maelstrom leads the duo to a large crater, where the demonic Dragon of the Moon is sleeping. Maelstrom explains that Moondragon is somewhere in the Dragon and it's up to Drax and Phyla to find a way to release her from the Dragon. While Drax and Phyla discuss how they could rescue Moondragon, Maelstrom begins to dig in the sand, finding the Quantum Bands that fell off of Phyla. Before Phyla or Drax can react, Maelstrom is wearing the Bands and traps Drax and Phyla. The issue ends with Maelstrom screaming to the sleeping Dragon that if it would use it's demonic powers to free him from the realm of Oblivion, he'd supply it with supper, obviously referring to Drax and Phyla.

Before any criticism, I have to say, when Maelstrom put the Quantum Bands on and said, "They remember me", I was nearly giddy! Maelstrom is actually making reference to an old issue of "Quasar". In that comic, after cutting off the arms of the first Quasar(Wendell Vaughn), Maelstrom was briefly in possession of the Quantum Bands. I am probably one of a VERY select few people who not only remember those old "Quasar" comic books, but is still in possession of them. I actually have the entire "Quasar" series, which once again should prove just how deeply my love for the Marvel Universe ran... That is, until the dread LORD BENDIS destroyed so much of Marvel's rich history with his halfassed plots and his decimation of established characters personalities/histories...

My problem with this comic book was the fact that the highlight(for me anyway)was Maelstrom referencing an event that probably only the most hardcore fans of Marvel even remember... The rest of this issue really didn't do much for me. With how outstanding the last couple of issues of this series had been, this issue was a let down. I really don't like Moondragon, and don't want her to return to life. Sorry. I'd also much rather read about the rest of the Guardians as opposed to Phyla and Drax. For a score, I'll give this comic a 7 out of 10, but I really could/should have scored this issue even lower. Everyone is entitled to a bad issue here and there, and this was definitely not the best work I've read from Dan and Andy. But, once again, let me temper that criticism by saying that I LOVE the way Dan and Andy continue to implement obscure characters/events from the 1990's. I grew up reading Marvel comics in the 90's, and I'm particularly fond of the lesser known characters of the 90's. Darkhawk, Quasar, Jack Flag, even Nova, Adam Warlock and Gamora, I loved reading about those characters growing up then, and I love that Dan and Andy are keeping these characters alive and flourishing today.

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