Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Guardians of the Galaxy"

Second appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy overall, and the first one for Ultimate Spider-Man. How does this episode fare? Let’s discuss.

This episode was just an inferior rehash of EMH’s “Michael Korvac,” which in and of itself was a loose adaptation of the Korvac Saga. So basically, they took a story, simplified it, and we got “Michael Korvac.” Then they bastardized that, took away all the charm, copied and pasted in part of the plot from A New Hope, and that’s how we got “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I swear, nearly everything about this episode is an inferior rehash of “Michael Korvac.”

In terms of the Guardians team-up, Spidey is the poor man’s Avengers. You might say that it’s unfair to continually compare this episode with the one from Avengers: EMH, and you might be right, but I’m going to do it anyway. Because I have a blog.

In terms of the actual characters, the Guardians are all just blank slates. In all seriousness, how did the writers take all the unique, interesting Guardians, and make them blank slates? We don’t get to see their personalities, Nova just straight-up tells us about all of them. Not only is that terrible writing in and of itself, but the writers used it as a replacement for actual personalities. Except for Rocket, the Guardians are pretty much only seen fighting aliens, which doesn’t leave much time for any sort of characterization.

Actually, it’s weird. In this episode, we literally get the characters explained to us, and yet it seems like we knew more about them in EMH. The power of “show, don’t tell,” I guess.

However, I will say that this episode does open up some nice depths for Nova. We get some information about his past with the Guardians, and the revelation that his shallow jerkishness is partially for the same reasons that Spider-Man himself constantly makes wisecracks. It’s an absolute shame that this depth was surrounded by the rest of this episode, though.

What is the moral of this episode? Is it that Nova is really great? Is it that even terrible people can have hidden depths? Is there no moral? Could it simply be that this episode is simply supposed to be a fun romp through space in the classic Star Wars-esque Rebels vs. Empire format? But even then, what is this episode about?

Spider-Man tags along with Nova on a cosmic mission with his old team, they rescue the rest of them, and then they take out a superweapon. Now, that’s not a bad premise. You could make an absolutely fun romp with that premise. But this episode just isn’t fun. It’s a non-fun romp. How do you take an episode about fighting aliens with a ragtag group of rebels (including a raccoon and a tree) and make it boring? Somehow, they found a way.

It certainly says something about an episode when the random cameo within the first ten seconds proves more interesting than the actual guest stars.

Lookin' fine, girl.
The majority of the action takes place on spaceships, and whenever we see space it’s just vague blueness; a far cry from the swirly, cosmic, Kirby-inspired acid trip that represented the cosmos in the Guardians’ last outing.

The point of “Michael Korvac” was to give the Avengers a glimpse into a larger world that they do not want to have to deal with. Once again, what is the point of this episode? Like I said earlier, the Guardians were all flat. There was just no reason for them to be in this episode. How do you write an episode for the express purpose of showing off this team and then fail to use them properly? They spent a good chunk of it locked up offscreen!

All things considered, this is the weak link in the Guardians of the Galaxy chain of appearances. Next time, it’s over to Avengers Assemble for "Guardians and Space Knights." Hopefully, now that we don’t need to introduce this team into the MAU again, we can have less time for introductions and more time for… plot? Characterization? Something resembling fun?

See you then.

As for looking at Ultimate Spider-Man, after this, we get an episode focusing on Power Man to go along with the Nova and White Tiger episodes.

See you then, too.


  1. I believe by "the Nova" you meant "Iron Fist".

    1. No, I meant Nova. I was referring to this episode. But yeah, I totally forgot to mention the episode focusing on Iron Fist after this. Whoops!

  2. Iron Fist, what bout Iron FIst?

    1. The Iron Fist episode is coming, don't you worry.