Flash Thompson? Or Flash Gordon?
So by now it is no secret that I am a big Agent Venom fan. Flash Thompson has easily been the best man to wear the suit since Eddie Brock, and he's surpassed his predecessor in many ways. When I learned his solo was cancelled, I was miserable. When I saw his disappointing appearance in Superior Spider-Man, I was even more disheartened. When it was released he was going to become a permanent fixture in the Guardians of the Galaxy, I was both intrigued and confused. I knew almost nothing of the Guardians. I knew they had a movie coming out, that was it. So in preparation for both the movie and Flash's enlistment to the team, I dug back through their old runs and their current. I've become a fan of the team for more than just Eugene's eventual joining.
Anyway, onto the book. This book is essentially divided into three separate stories. Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot are all on their ship fleeing from Spartax controlled space. Drax and Flash are at Knowhere's bazaar looking to upgrade Flash from his "primitive Earthling weapons". Gamora is on the run from a threat the Guardians previously encountered. Without giving anything away, this issue essentially sets the stage for it's newest member(s) to prove their worth and perhaps saving the others.
Overall the artwork is good. It is colorful and energetic, the perfect match to the attitude and feel of the Guardians under Bendis' writing.
There are a few minor gripes. Since I was just talking about the art, I'll start there. Rocket's arms seem overly buff. He's definitely known for big guns, but those guns aren't supposed to be his biceps. Rocket's appearance is short (which makes me sad, I do love Rocky) but it seemed very noticeable to me and made Rocky look awkward. The second issue was Flash's language and personality. Other than Rick Remender and Cullen Bunn, the two men who wrote Venom's solo series, no one seems to write Flash correctly. Those two shaped and developed his character and his relationship with his symbiote, but Dan Slott during Darkest Hours and I'm worried Bendis now in Guardians don't strike the right tone. Flash seems like a gibbering fanboy in his trip with Drax, rather than a professional soldier and super hero. Granted, I'll give Bendis some leeway here. It is Flash's FIRST appearance on the team, and his first time in space. He's across the galaxy, meeting dozens if not hundreds of new alien races and new forms of technology. So, in that respect, I'll give Bendis a pass here. On the other hand, Thompson is in a relationship with an Asgardian Angel of War (Valkyrie) so should he really be THAT wide-eyed at Drax and the bazaar? Personally, I don't think so. Also the new look where he always has a mouth, but no razor fangs or tongue, is a bit off to me. I much prefer Kim Jacinto's and Declan Shalvey's Venoms to Nick Bradshaw's thus far.
Overall, it's a good jumping-on issue. If you're like me and a fan of Agent Venom, check this out. It is merely a starting point for the next story, so don't expect too much action, but you get the sense that Flash is going to get highlighted here very soon as to what he brings to the team and how he's going to fit in. Guardians are a great team, even without Venom, and I've quickly become a fan of theirs. Personally, I find them far more interesting than the Avengers. Adding Thompson to the mix can only make things better.