Guardians of Knowhere #2

"Guardians of Knowhere" #2 contains the origin of Yotat and, as the cover brands him, he is "the Destroyer of the Destroyer." Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato put the spotlight squarely on Yotat and fill this issue with the character's origins and motivations. Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax and Mantis all make appearances, but three of the four characters have little more than glorified cameos.

The downside to those cameos is that Deodato and colorist Frank Martin simply don't seem to be connecting completely. Deodato leaves a lot of his drawings sketchily detailed, choosing to tell the story with fewer lines. Unfortunately, the drawings come off more like a bad photocopy of a bad photocopy. Details are lost and dark spots become muddy patches. This is not an effective look for sequential storytelling, and a lot of the art just falls flat. The storytelling relies on motion lines to tell the tale of the action, rather than depicting the equivalent of keyframes, and the actual critical beats wind up obscured or lost. Additionally, Rocket's tail disappears in a few panels and, when Mantis first appears, she doesn't have much facial definition. Deodato used to employ copious detail, but that simply is not the case in this issue. Martin appears to try to compensate with brighter colors and intense hues, but -- more often than not -- those choices accentuate where Deodato's art is wanting.

Likewise, Bendis' story is left wanting. Like Martin's work over Deodato, letterer Cory Petit keeps the word balloons clean and the reading flow direct. It simply seems that the balloons are fairly generic, especially for a story that should carry a variation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket could easily be swapped out for any other character in the Marvel Universe, and "Guardians of Knowhere" #2 would still tell the story of Yotat. It would be detached and humdrum, but it would have different supporting characters.

By the end of the issue, Bendis and Deodato have given the reader all they need to know about Yotat, except for the reason they should care. Yotat isn't sympathetic or overly cool. He's kind of a generic, by-the-numbers, strong guy villain with an overly fussy costume. The path he's blazing is defined, but readers simply aren't given enough of a reason to care.

Even the stars of this title are pinched out of the issue, a fact magnified by the appearance of a handful of cosmic-related characters reimagined through the lens of the Nova Corps. So many concepts and characters received a signal boost through their "Secret Wars" connections, but the Guardians fail to connect in a story that seems largely forgettable when held under the lens of crossover saga.

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