A fun and entertaining arc that sets the team up for life after Brain Michael Bendis.
Bendis gives the Guardians of the Galaxy a final send-off with his last arc Grounded, following the team’s involvement with Civil War.
He had announced that this would be his final run writing for Guardians after starting with the series back in 2015. The series thus far has been fairly successful, but coming off of the Civil War II crossovers, Bendis decided to change up the storytelling format and take a few risks. Grounded documents the team’s struggle to adapt to Earth life after their ship was destroyed in the Civil War, thus stranding the group of outlaws on one of the more militant planets. Of the five issues in the arc, four of them solely focus on individual members of the team: Benjamin Grimm, Groot, Gamora, and Angela.
I recognize that it can be intimidating for writers of a “team” series to dedicate an issue (in this case multiple) to a single character, but Bendis does a fantastic job in making the most of this opportunity and delivers some quality character pieces. Without being forced to incorporate all eight team members, Bendis’ is able to go deeper with these characters and actually contribute some pretty emotional issues. Benjamin Grimm struggles finding his new place on Earth, Gamora is wrought with anger and vengeance in pursuit of her father, and Angela seeks out Sera after years of absence.
However, I believe the highlight of the volume as a whole is Groot’s illustration of both the faults and the beauty of mankind and the significance of heroes in today’s day and age. Not only is Bendis able to do this through the character with the most limited vocabulary, but he’s able to do so through rhyme. The entire issue is written in rhyming couplets, and delivers a more powerful message than most writers could provide without rhyme scheme restrictions. Maybe it’s just because I’m a teacher, but I would consider this one of my favorite issues of all time because it’s just so creative and atypical for a Big Two comic. This will definitely be read to my students this fall and I encourage any parent to do the same with this issue.
Not only is Bendis’ talent on full display, but this issue also abandons panel formatting and allows Schiti to really get creative with full page illustrations throughout the issue. For that matter, Schiti contributes solid artwork throughout the whole volume and shows range between the high emotion character conversations and the dynamic action sequences which the last issue contains a lot of. Overall this is just a fun, entertaining book that isn’t afraid of taking those gambles.
Is it good?
This volume is Bendis’ best of the series which makes it even more difficult to come to terms with the fact it’s his last. The individual character issues are fantastic and Bendis’ shows off his creative genius within his Groot issue that would appeal to readers of any age. This arc is the perfect culmination of Bendis’ work and sets the team up for a new beginning.