Now in trade paperback form, Guadians of the Galaxy volume 4 “Grounded” is even more available than ever. It’s the end of Bendis’ run, but boy is it a finish.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The Guardians of the Galaxy have been grounded! The spacefaring superheroes are stuck, of all places, on Earth. How and why have the Guardians become stranded here, and what are they going to do about their new situation? And to make matters worse, they’re also not necessarily a team anymore. Just what’s an urban spaceman to do? What would you do?
Why does this matter?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Tell us the plan!
You can break this volume down into who it’s focusing on: starting first with Thing and his new direction with S.H.I.E.L.D., then Groot’s new life in Central Park, zipping over to Gamora and her desire to kill Thanos, then giving Angela a moment to shine, and finally getting an army together to stop a massive alien attack on Earth. In five issues Bendis fits a lot of story and character work in this volume and it pays off. There’s a lot to chew on, reflect on, and enjoy. Bendis uses these last few issues to say goodbye to this team he wrote for over a year and it culminates into a climax that’s so big in scope you’d think it was an event. He’s certifiably left his mark on these characters and this era of the Guardians.
Most readers will want this for the big finish, which is nearly perfect. Bendis writes many endings (as well as mini-endings) and it all comes together masterfully; I’d love to know how many drafts of the script he went through because this issue feels extra thorough and complete. The road to get to this point focuses in on characters, but the end brings them all together and captures the personality of all of them.
The art is mostly done by Valerio Schiti with colors by Richard Isanove, but he’s accompanied by a laundry list of great artists for the last issue. Given the scope of the climactic last chapter and the number of great artists like Arthur Adams, Mark Bagley, and Sara Pichelli to name a few, it’s a fitting end. Schitti draws a wickedly good series throughout this volume, however. His depiction of Thing is touching and it’s always easy to see the humanity in the character. Angela is depicted as the warrior she should be with a grace and control of her body that’s wicked. Groot has a goodness in him instilled by Schiti’s amazing full-page spreads.The art is very colorful too, a reminder that this book is fun.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Portions of this book can be quick to get through with little dialogue and mostly action, especially the Angela portion. The chapters leading up to the finale are also oddly focused on Thing, Gamora, and Angela rather than the team itself. The team is grounded so it’s already an unconventional take on the team, but the lack of participation from them through over half the title is strange.
Is It Good?
This is a focused look at Angela, Gamora, and Thing with a nearly flawless finish. Read this expecting the typical Bendis character work, but be ready for an ending that’ll really clobber you.