When we last left our heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy had come into possession of a puzzle box, called the Cosmic Seed, with clues to Star-Lord’s true heritage. While investigating its meaning on Knowhere, the dead Celestial’s head began to return to life, shaking things up quite a bit. Meet me after the quantum jump for my thoughts on “Knowhere to Run.”
Not My Guardians
I should post a disclaimer up front here, folks. I don’t really know all that much about this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. At least not since these individuals teamed themselves as such. They first appeared together as a team about a decade ago in a series of cosmic mini-epics primarily by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, pre-existing cosmic Marvel characters thrown together in a time of crisis to save the universe.
They weren’t my Guardians of the Galaxy however. My heroes, the first to go by that name, were a different group. Freedom fighters from the 30th century, my team (which included a noble mohawked archer named Yondu) saved the Earth from the alien Badoon, made frequent trips to the 20th century, and often chilled with the Avengers and the Defenders. Again, this ain’t them, and I came to the party late. I know who all these new Guardians are, but my introduction to them as a team came from the Marvel film of the same name.
Along those same lines, the movie was also the first time I had encountered Knowhere as well. This giant floating head of a Celestial floating on the very edge of the universe, in which a Casablanca-like city has been built, is an intriguing and creepy concept. Especially when you consider this head is still very much alive, and still in communication, through quantum telepathy, with all other Celestials throughout time and space.
Yeah, that kind of trippiness might be why I stayed away from the Marvel cosmic comics of the last decade. And I thought the time travel paradoxes of “Doctor Who” gave me headaches. The concept of Knowhere, and its history and adventures in comics are as if one took the possibly already marijuana-soaked fantasies of the 1970s Steve Englehart and liberally added LSD. Cut back to our cartoon cliffhanger, Knowhere has come back to life, with our heroes on board.
The Bigger They Come
We open on Knowhere defending itself against its invaders, sort of like the antibodies in Fantastic Voyage while some of the Guardians are still fighting it out with Yondu, the Broker, and of course, Korath’s forces. It’s madcap bar fight action Guardians style, and I should add if you like that sort of thing, you might also dig the Rocket Raccoon and Groot audiobook, Steal the Galaxy!, it’s non-stop and great fun.
What waking Knowhere, and growing the wounded Groot as well, is the Cosmic Seed. It accelerates life. Yeah, a bad thing to bring on board a long dormant Celestial’s head. The problem is Groot won’t stop growing and is as much of a threat to his friends as is Korath. The villain beats a quick retreat with the ‘CryptoCube’ holding the Cosmic Seed, as well as the key to opening it – Star-Lord, and also Gamora – something else that he notes “belongs to Thanos.”
Dark and Light
“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” seems to be a nice balance of humor and adventure, as compared to the other entries in the Marvel Animated Universe, but it admittedly does have a darker edge. The cerebral parasite is an e smoke of that edge. Similar to the Black Mercy from the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Superman story, “For the Man Who Has Everything,” featuring Thanos wannabe Mongul, only creating bad fantasies rather than good, this is a nasty piece of business, and Korath briefly gives it to Gamora.
Korath uses it and her pain as leverage to get Star-Lord to open the CryptoCube. It’s empty of course, and the scene quickly turns humorous, clever, and very Oceans 11 before becoming yet another bar fight with the arrival of the other Guardians. This is the charm of these characters, or at least this version of them. They’re the Rat Pack in a dark universe, fighting their way to the next heist.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
While Star-Lord’s solution in fighting Thanos at the end is clever, it’s also rather deus ex machina and too close to the movie’s end as well. It was sad to see Drax actually get his chance to fight Thanos, especially considering that I think the battle would go differently in the comics. Maybe Drax has gotten weaker in this tattooed form. The Martian Manhunter clone Drax I remember from the 1970s was much more powerful I think.
I do like this Thanos better than the one who plagued the Avengers during much of their second season of “Assemble.” And I also like Cosmo and hope we see more of him. Hearing Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away” at the end of the episode was worth the price of admission though. If we get one song from Star-Lord’s tape (or an approximation) per episode I would be happy. I think I’m going to dig this series.