Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy meets Dude, Where’s My Car? as Rocket and Drax wake up with no memory of the night before and the rest of the team has to help them piece together what happened. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Lyin’ Eyes.”
Humor Over Plot
We open on a duct tape joke because, of course we do. The show has proven it’s not serious on many occasions, almost twice as many as it’s proven its dismissal of even the simplest continuity. The showrunners typically go for a joke rather than a plot point. I think this is to the detriment of the characters, rather than aiming low for the audience.
The cartoon reaches back to the movie once again for, I’ll be kind for the moment, inspiration. When Drax and Rocket hit Starlin’s bar on Knowhere, it is essentially for the latter to sell Adam Warlock’s cocoon (obtained in the last episode) to the Broker. When they start racing F’sakis as in the film, they black out, only to awake hung upside down in the bar owing damages.
And thus begins the quest to remember what happened last night a la Dude, Where’s My Car?. As this episode was written by Kevin Burke and Chris “Doc” Wyatt whose work I’ve dug before on Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man, I happily gave it the benefit of the doubt. The trail to Rocket’s lost vial with the cocoon leads to Yondu, with the F’sakis comically following along.
Yondu sold the vial, which Rocket claims contains ‘the last lock of tail fur from his sainted mother,’ to the Broker. The Broker in turn sold it to an auction house when he could not open the vial. When trying to sneak into the auction house the two are stopped by a very familiar Starlin-esque bouncer.
The Blood Brothers
When the bouncer splits into two beings, it becomes obvious why he/they look so familiar, it’s the Blood Brothers. I first encountered them in their first appearance in Iron Man #55, created by Jim Starlin, patron saint of all things Marvel cosmic. That comic also introduced me to Drax the Destroyer, looking more like the Martian Manhunter at the time, and not quite so literal or dense.
Here they are just brute muscle enforcers watching the door for intruders like Drax and Rocket, interestingly on a list to be terminated on sight. Their reputations precede them. While I would have enjoyed more of a fight, Rocket senses their symbiotic relationship as a weakness and defeats them fairly quickly. I like when he thinks rather than just blasts.
Just as we saw the cocoon in the Collector’s collection in the movie, the auction house also includes another item from there – Howard the Duck. Drax and Rocket also run into two Believers, of the Universal Church, although they don’t say that. Previously they met Mantis on Spartax who was a Believer. Notably, she is a former Guardian in the comics, and will be making her live action debut on the big screen in just a few days.
Speak of the devil, Mantis is there, green-skinned but dressed in a close approximation of her Avengers costume. She and the Believers are there for the cocoon, spurred on by a prophecy. Mantis is surprisingly the bad guy here. And she’s aligned with Ebony Maw of the Black Order, now a Believer, and the Blood Brothers.
The Universal Church of Truth
I should learn to trust Burke and Wyatt. What started as a duct tape joke has elevated to a serious story. These Believers are big bads, even though I dislike Mantis being a part of this, and could be a major ongoing problem. Anyone familiar with the Universal Church of Truth in the comics knows how dangerous these cultists are.
A major threat to Adam Warlock, the Church was actually formed by him and controlled by his evil alter-ego the Magus. Of course that’s an oversimplification of one of the most epic cosmic storylines of 1970s Marvel, but it covers it for the moment. Like I said, these Believers are bad news.
United, the Guardians infiltrate the Church, and find, as did the Believers, that the vial is full of duct tape. They also find the Believers to be dangerous foes, their belief allowing them to manifest weapons and powers through sheer will. They are confounded and defeated when they realize Rocket is a liar… and they no longer know what to believe. Literal, but clever, I loved it.
As the Church satellite powered by positive thinking plummets, the Guardians escape to safety with the vial. Rocket discovers that it contains no sarcophagus as Yondu stole it from under both the Guardians and the Believers’ noses. Yondu gets ‘eaten’ by it when he tries to open it, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens next…
This was the best episode of the season so far, and now, despite duct tape jokes, I’m excited again about this series. I’m a Mantis fan, villainess or not, so I’m invested, and interested in what happens with Adam Warlock and the Church. Bring it on.
Next: Free Bird!