In the last episode of “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” a war between Asgard and Spartax, that was built largely on manipulation, accusation, and a tragic comedy of errors, was ended abruptly by the presence of the cosmic death-worshipping super-villain Thanos. We know whose side he’s on… Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Asgard War, Part Two: Rescue Me.”
What Has Gone Before
As we open, writer Steven Melching does a pretty fair job of concisely wrapping up the relentlessly convoluted storyline so far. Using the narrative tool of ‘Star-Lord’s super awesome adventure log,’ and the even simpler narrator Star-Lord, he breaks it down to the bare bones.
Star-Lord’s dad J’Son stole the Cosmic Seed from Asgard, Loki stole it back. J’Son gets his son to try to steal it back from Asgard, thus inciting a war which allows Loki to steal the throne of Asgard from his hated brother Thor. With me so far? However, J’Son made a deal with Thanos to get the Seed, and he’s here to collect.
Thanos to the Rescue
J’Son’s intent in dealing with Thanos was to protect Spartax from the treachery of Loki and Asgard. Too bad that Thanos’ idea of help was to bring an invasion force to Spartax. Two things struck me about this opening. First, the way the Asgardians are just standing around all mellow like, “Yeah, we know, but he’s Loki, that’s just what he does, we’re used to it.”
The other thing, as the Asgardians, Spartaxians, and Guardians of the Galaxy join forces against Thanos, is that in all this time, a whole season, the only time we’ve actually seen the Cosmic Seed is in flashback. I have to wonder, does it even exist anymore at all? And maybe, just maybe, might it actually be in the logical hands of a player we haven’t seen in a while… the Collector? It might actually make more sense. Just a thought…
Of course as suspected, it is confirmed, like all Thanos stories in the comics -yawn- it’s Thanos vs everybody. I was a bit disappointed that Thor and the Asgardians were dispatched so easily, especially after their excellent showing against the Spartaxian fleet last episode. He should have lasted a bit longer, he is Thor, after all.
The Guardians do last a bit longer, it is their name on the marquee, and they do have a personal stake in any melee with the mad Titan. They are of course no match. As seen in this week’s sneak preview, when only Star-Lord remains, Thanos takes him prisoner to help find the Cosmic Seed. Here’s a question, if it’s the genetically coded CryptoCube that will lead to the Seed, why does it matter who Thanos takes – Star-Lord or J’Son?
While the Guardians and the Asgardians with J’Son pursue, Thanos tries to get Star-Lord to open the CryptoCube using some very nasty hallucinations, and some Joe Walsh. Star-Lord wakes at his mother’s side in the hospital as she lay dying. The Guardians are there, albeit in other guises as the care staff, as if it was all a dream, Wizard of Oz style. All he has to do is open the Cube, and he’ll save his mom.
Except for that last part, a dead giveaway that it’s Thanos’ doing, this all being a dream isn’t that unfeasible. I’ve talked before about how this animated series sticks out like a sore thumb in Marvel Animated Universe continuity. I could almost accept this explanation that this has all been a dream.
I would really have rather had the Wizard of Oz dream ending than what we actually got. Battle ensues and while Drax and Gamora try to once more get their revenge dramatically on Thanos, they are once again simply brushed aside. A series of deus ex machina moments (including Loki’s appearance out of nowhere) ensure Thanos’ escape. Really? Not even a faux defeat or death? It’s not like we don’t know Thanos will be back.
In the end, Loki also gets away (I would love to go to Asgardian law school, it must be hilarious), J’Son is imprisoned, Victoria is made ruler of Spartax, and it seems the Cosmic Seed is on Earth. When we get a second season, I guess we know where we’re headed. Though why Loki would hide something where even he wouldn’t know sounds like another of his lies…
So much lost potential in this series, mostly because it chose to focus more on comedy and childish jokes rather than the grand theater of Marvel Cosmic. Rather than trying to ape the movie for nineteen episodes, perhaps the showrunners should have read Annihilation or Infinity, or listened to the Steal the Galaxy audiobook.
I can’t really get my head around another season of hunting for the Cosmic Seed or prepping for a pointless battle with Thanos. I hope they get their sh!t together for something a little different. These are rich characters and some of the animation techniques of the series are amazing – I hope they up the game with the stories.