Now that the dust has literally settled from the very awesome fight on the Moon, it's time for Brian Michael Bendis and consultant Neil Gaiman to tell readers who Angela really is. Sure, we know she's a fan of absurdly large belts and can kick all kinds of ass, but what else is there to her? Yes, fans of Spawn likely know her well, but for everyone else -- which includes me -- this issue finally gives the character some depth and provides us with a reason to care about her. As someone who has no prior experience with the character, I found her tale to be quite intriguing and I won't elaborate on it in the event many others are unaware of where she's from and why she was going to Earth.
Even when the issue is basically pure exposition and mostly in one room, Bendis has what it takes to keep things energetic. The chemistry between the characters remains particularly strong, and while Star-Lord and Iron Man seem to have interchangeable personalities, they're especially humorous. "I am Groot" is dropped a little too much, but more than a couple of them felt appropriate and made me crack a smirk.
As usual, Sara Pichelli (art) and Justin Ponsor (colorist) are able to provide visuals which match the tone Bendis provides. There's super lovable expressions from the unique cast and the few looks at Earth/space just ooze a great sci-fi atmosphere. The transition to Valerio Schiti's art isn't jarring in the least since it's used for a flashback scene and, truth be told, isn't a majorly drastic change in style.
Also, is it just me or are whales really popular in comics now?
Ultimately, this issue boils down to telling us the basics of who Angela is and recapping why she's here (AGE OF ULTRON). It's exposition heavy (which Bendis does handle pretty well) and then delivers an obligatory link to Marvel's big latest big event. It's thoroughly enjoyable -- no doubt about it -- but to me, nothing really warrants a bump to 5-stars.
In a series loaded with magnificent sci-fi potential, Bendis has the ability to keep matters fun even when a good chunk of the issue is just characters standing around and talking in one room. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is nothing if not consistently entertaining. Clearly, that's what Marvel wants, too, since we all know they'd like to boost the popularity of these individuals before they make the leap to the big screen next summer (which I am beyond excited for, by the way). And while it is a bit overdue, this chapter finally does a fine job informing us that Angela's more than an oddly dressed woman who can demolish entire teams.