Just as the first season of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy animated series began with a gauntlet of shorts on Disney X-D, so does the second season. Come on, with a movie sequel coming, you knew a second animated season was coming as well, right? Meet me after the jump for my thoughts…
Pick Up the Pieces
We pick up with our heroes in the first animated segment shortly after the defeat of Thanos on Earth, seemingly ignoring the Halloween and Christmas episodes. The Milano can’t quite break Earth orbit due to the added weight of everyone’s souvenirs from Quill’s home planet. Gamora has work out weights, Rocket duct tape, Groot a butterfly, Star-Lord cassette tapes, and Drax corn dogs. As you can imagine, this two and a half minute short is just a gag with the Milano crashing as a punchline.
Perhaps as with the season one versions, these shorts might have been better done as an episode in itself as opposed to bits and pieces. At least Quill’s musical taste has moved into the eighties with synth pop, and he knows that Men Without Hats was not a one hit wonder. I do like the continuation of seventies songs as titles however… for at least this segment.
Star-Lord vs. MODOK!
The Milano crashes into a jungle swamp, with only hours before it sinks. In a move similar to the prison break in the movie, Rocket issues a shopping list to fix the ship. Quill somehow ends up at an A.I.M. facility confronting MODOK. Don’t look at me, it makes as much sense as any episode of this series.
After the prerequisite big-head-tiny-arms-and-legs jokes from Star-Lord (which I’ll allow because of how rare it is that anyone actually comments on MODOK’s bizarre appearance these days), we get a full-on demonstration of how powerful the villain actually is. Much like the Wrecking Crew, folks have forgotten how badass MODOK is. I kinda dug Star-Lord playing Bucky here with the rocket. Not a bad little short, and MODOK will definitely be back.
Drax and Gamora
In the segments “Drax Attacks!” and “Gamora Strikes!,” the showrunners demonstrate they still have no idea what to do with these characters. Drax stumbles into a carnival, blowing my jungle theory, to obtain a stuffed animal, and do his Stranger in a Strange Land literal thing. It’s getting old, folks. Perhaps the movie sequel will give this old dog a new spin.
The Gamora segment is a bit more entertaining but leans into touching awwww territory rather than the same old same old. To fix the ship, Gamora needs a Laser Tag gun, not as dumb as a stuffed animal, but there you go. She helps a bullied little brother get over on his older brothers. There’s even a training sequence that screams for a Survivor-like 1980s montage. Fun.
Rocket! Groot! Man-Thing!
As the title of this segment might imply, our rascally duo meet up with another of Marvel’s monsters, one that was rebooted just recently in the comics, and could actually be considered a Bronze Age version of Groot in some ways – the macabre Man-Thing. They find, in a rather scary sequence, that the swamp creature has invaded the Milano.
There’s a bit of Abbott and Costello wordplay (hard to do when the straight man can only say, “I am Groot,” but it works) convincing Groot there’s another monster on board, but I liked it. Man-Thing is well animated and makes just as good of a partner for Groot as Rocket. Can Manny come with? I dug this segment quite a bit, and would have loved Man-Thing as an addition to the team.
With the other Guardians on board with their particular booty, the battle actually continues against the Man-Thing. As the heroes try to fight it off, it appears that Manny only wanted to help, help them fix a leak. Other than that, it’s back to business, and as expected, Star-Lord’s McGuffin – the nuke – was unneeded. I wonder if this animated series featuring mercenaries against Thanos will ever take itself seriously? Perhaps the season two opener with the Avengers will mark a change of pace.