This is a Groot-centric story told via Seussian rhyme. It’s also a collection of full and double page spreads which to me sounds like a very unique comic indeed, but is it good?
Guardians of the Galaxy #16 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out the preview to learn more.
Why does this book matter?
Groot fanatics must buy this. That’s a given. Anyone who is interested in comic books that push boundaries or do something different should also get plenty of enjoyment out of this one.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Quite a few pretty images in this one.
This is one of those comics where you might think the creative team will abandon the angle they’re taking halfway through, but they do not. It takes major cajones to go all in with a comic with rhyming captions (more like stanzas here) and you have to respect that. Does writer Brian Michael Bendis pull it off? More or less. There are certainly some hiccups where he forces the rhyme – or it just comes off as silly – but if you roll with it you should find quite a lot of grin inducing moments. That’s because the silly and sometimes infectiously cute rhyme pattern overall suits the kindhearted Groot. There are moments where the rhyme is straight out of a Grinch remake, which further makes the stanzas infectious, and it’s a valiant effort through and through.
Ultimately the message is loud and clear as Bendis shows us why Groot is great, why the Marvel universe and its heroes are great, and at its core why goodness in your heart is great. There’s a kindness to this issue that you just don’t see in this day and age anymore and that sweetness makes this quite unique.
The art by Valerio Schiti is fluid in its lines which helps make Groot seem organic and every inch of him alive. The full page spreads that make up the issue are all very dynamic, which is important given the focus on a single image to hold up the stanzas. There isn’t a bad page in the book really and since the rhyming and poems going on take the narrative in different directions the art doesn’t have to hold up as much visually to work. There’s also a nice use of black text over white and white text over color which allows the lettering (by VC’s Cory Petit) to pop. The colors by Richard Isanove are colorful and somewhat cartoony which help sell the sometimes overly silly stanzas.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As I said above, some of the rhymes are forced and the general flow has a few sections that stall out and go in new directions. There are some very strong moments for sure, but overall the Seussian silliness breaks which makes the overall production feel less cohesive and unfinished. Since the creative team chose to do this via full page spreads the art can’t hold up the stanzas when they shift or feel forced.
The opening salvo.
Is It Good?
Guardians of the Galaxy #16 is a valiant and intriguing aside for conventional comic book storytelling that’s admirable, but isn’t quite as perfect as it could be. This issue will make you smile and maybe even hoot with some truly touching moments. Because it doesn’t quite hit a home run – though a home run is in sight – you’re left wishing it was just a little bit better.
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