Review: There goes Rhymin’ Brian (Michael Bendis) in the whimsical, Groot-centric GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #16

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Guardians of the Galaxy #16

STORY: BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS

ART: VALERIO SCHITI

COLORS: RICHARD ISANOVE

PUBLISHER: MARVEL


A quick note on my reasoning for writing this review the way I did. I decided to follow this issue’s lead and compose my review of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #16 in verse form. I know it’s something a little different, so I hope you dig it as much as I dug this comic. I don’t know how well I did. This isn’t a perfect comic by any means, but it is a fun one.

Without further ado…

Hello there dear reader and welcome to you
I’m so happy you came here to read my review
For here at the Stately COMIC BEAT Manor
We cover many comics that our under our banner
Including this new charming yarn from Marvel, you see
About a Guardian of the Galaxy, a sentient tree
GROOT is his name, and he’s easy to figure
You might have seen him in a recently popular major motion picture

But here Groot is, in his natural habitat
Thirty pages of pure pleasure and pulp-ish combat
Provided by writer extraordinaire Brian Michael Bendis
This is a worthy tale O reader, you won’t want to miss this
For here is a tale that is winsome and witty
About a log who smites his enemies without thoughts of pity*
But in these pages you’ll find something most charming
About ethics and morals that seems, at first, disarming
No, for here is a tale about man’s deepest faults
About his thirst for violence against things he can assault
But even if he may not understand the consequences
Eventually man will come to his senses

The rhyme scheme
The rhyme scheme

“Ok!” you may be wondering, but what is the plot?
Because you just laid down some bread for this comic you’ve bought
Well here it is, I say, so plain and very true
It’s something special, and worthy for you to accrue
For GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY number sixteen
Is a metered type of story
That follows around Groot in all his existential glory
And here is what I mean

For B.M. Bendis and artist Valerio Schiti
Have melded story and images that are immensely pretty
They’ve created a Marvel tale that borrows from the best
Elements of children’s literature, by which now I’m sure you’ve guessed
Using a rhyming scheme so perennial and lasting
They can tell a story that is really quite moving
And even though he can be taken as a creature kinda-cute
Groot is usually mistaken as nothing but a brute
But underneath his roots is a heart of pure gold
A soul that yearns to reject evil and pain
So when villains come to stake claim of their reign
Groot is there to protect Earth so villains can’t cross the threshold

And here too, our story begins with Groot incognito
With his raccoon-ish friend Rocket, motormouth in tow
Grounded from missions with nowhere to go

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Art by Valerio Schiti

Until without warning comes a dreadful sight
A super villain causing trouble, fueled by pure spite
Of humanity? Of heroes? The goal is uncertain
But surely our villain wants to draw back the curtain
Armadillo they call him, and his task is quite apparent
Destroy Earth, the villain’s raison d’etre inherent
But while Groot is around, there is no hemming, no hawing, no delay
He’s there to keep the bad guys at bay
So without pause to consider his very surroundings
Groot leaves his perch and is ever-bounding
To defeat this evildoer and send him away
So no one in New York City could be vanquished that day

And of course, all the things you expect in a comic come to pass
Fighting and biting, kicking and punching galore
Until finally the villain finally crashes to the floor
Alas, what else is there? Alas…

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Art by Valerio Schiti

But here is where the story takes an interesting turn
For it’s not ending here. Oh no! It wouldn’t adjourn
On something so quaint, so easily wrapped up in a bow
No, there is something that the artists want to show
For after the villain is defeated there is talk
That when humans encounter something strange, they squawk and they gawk
Everything that seems foreign is rejected on sight
Even if this foreign creature has just saved them from doom outright
Humanity is quick to judge based on fear
No matter the season, no matter the year
Groot is seemingly no different at first
A sentient, fighting tree? You’d expect the worst!
But no, there is more to appearances than just first impressions
One that could fill several therapist’s sessions
For while others see Groot as nothing but a beast
It takes the eyes of a child to see that Groot only wants peace
And indeed, many brave people come to Groot’s defense
When authorities want to strike him down without consequence
Sure he may look different and have limited diction
But all traces of foreignness are a socially-created fiction

Here is a hero that looks brown and foreboding
But his heart is pure, no need for decoding

Goodness comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds
No matter your station, your religion, your breed
If there’s something apparent that comes from this passage
Then let me remind you of a well-worn adage
There is something worth fighting for, no matter the limit
That’s the purpose of superheroes right now, isn’t it?
To show us that we can be more than we are
And inspire us to reach towards those intangible stars?

So the message found here is solid and needed
Seeing where I fear this country may be headed
There are some valuable life lessons found in this story
Its simplicity underlies a palpable allegory
In times of tumult, uncertainty, and woe
It’s always back to the heroes of your imagination where you can go
For inspiration, for clarity, for emotional succor
Before the swamp repopulates with pestilential bloodsuckers
Whether (wo)men of Iron, Steel, or root
Reading such tales is a worthy pursuit

So, if such a story has gotten your pique
And a tale that’s refreshing and positive is what you seek
Look no further than this charming installment, then
And remember to Make America Groot Again

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Art by Valerio Schiti
*Well, maybe a little!

This review is dedicated to the memory of Mycroft Frost

3 COMMENTS

  1. Yikes. Poetry is hard. Writing anything in rhyming couplets that doesn’t become an aggravating slog for the reader is really, really hard.

    Certainly it doesn’t help when there is no discernible meter, when the writer will put any number of syllables and stressed syllables in a line to get to his next planned end rhyme. Certainly it doesn’t help when the end of virtually every line of poetry aligns with the end of a grammatical phrase, adding a thudding great emphasis to the annoying sing-song nature of the rhyming couplets.

    Most untrained adults know enough not to sing in public, or if they do, they’re at least apologetic about it, and don’t ask you for money to listen. Why on earth would we expect poetry to be different? Once public school is over, you can’t expect much credit for effort, or for simply knowing what a rhyme–or an approximate rhyme–is.

    I should emphasize that these harsh, mean, unwarranted remarks are aimed less at the well-meaning author of this review (who even included a bit of enjambment) and more at professional writer Bendis, who evidently thinks it’s worth four bucks for an unsuspecting reader to learn just how little he understands the structure of language. I know Bendis has a career because of his character work, and because some readers enjoy his dialogue, and because especially earlier in his career he did some different, innovative things with page layout and word-balloon placement, but how could anyone read a Tumblr post from that guy and think, “Hey, here’s a writer who could do something with poetry!”

    I take it from the excerpted page that Groot rhymes with… foot?

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