ASGARDIANS OF GALAXY #3 by Cullen Bunn, Matteo Loli, Andre Lima Araujo, Jill Thompson, and Mike Del Mundo
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 isn't for everyone. Actually, I don't think it's probably for most people. Bunn is really struggling to give the series an identity beyond INFINITY WARS and the MCU. With Angela on the cover, you might assume she's going to have a starring role, yet Bunn refuses to give her much characterization beyond a few lines. Nebula and Kid Loki's roles are a little too strong and the pacing is noticeably off. The art in the issue is really it's most redeeming quality (and it is pretty breathtaking).
75 %
Confusing Ride
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ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a strange series. At the moment, Cullen Bunn is really struggling to decide where and what this comic wants to accomplish, which is usually something Marvel decides before they even publish the comic. So, why didn’t they in this case? ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 has an amazing cast of characters and some of the best artists in the business, including Matteo Loli, Andre Lima Araujo, Jill Thompson, and Mike Del Mundo. This series has the tools it needs, but it fails to deliver a story that is comprehensible and entertaining. Although Angela is front and center on the cover, Bunn hardly gives her a role. Instead, he focuses too heavily on creating a comic that relates to the current MCU. This can be a good thing in some cases, but for ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3, it just doesn’t work.

asgardians of the galaxy #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Ragnarok is Coming in ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3

Nebula, granddaughter of Thanos, has her eyes on complete control of the universe, and that starts with setting Ragnarok in motion via the Naglfar. In ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2, Nebula used the Asgardian horn to bring forth an army of undead Asgardian warriors. In ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3, we see the warriors’ destructive effects as they begin to decimate various Shi’ar populations. Throg, back from the dead, makes a heroic entry into battle, along with our other Asgardian heroes. Before they can end the fight, the Nova Corps arrive, conveniently right after Nebula flees. It looks like Angela and her team will be answering to the intergalactic Nova force in ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #4.

asgardians of the galaxy #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Page Isn’t Screen

In MCU movies, almost every film features a life-or-death storyline. The on-screen Avengers are constantly dealing with huge, universal threats to humanity. There are countless comic arcs that create this same sort of drama, so I’m not trying to say that comics don’t do that, because they do.

However, they usually save that sort of excitement for the end of the arc and not the beginning. ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 is the third issue in the series. Readers have had very little character or plot development because Bunn is constantly trying to build excitement over quality. In movies, that’s okay because a film can only be so long. But comics are inherently different. Their sequential form makes them the perfect medium to tell long, involved arcs. This is especially true when you’re dealing with characters like Valkyrie and Angela who aren’t super well known. They need character development for readers to become invested in their story.

At the moment, ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY reads more like a movie that’s hastily racing towards its own ending. If it doesn’t slow down and give readers something beyond confusing action sequences, Marvel executives will quickly add it to their ever-expanding chopping block.

asgardians of the galaxy #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Where’s Angela?

I don’t think I was wrong to assume that ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was supposed to be geared towards Angela fans. The covers presented Angela as the dominant character in the series, which is one of the reasons I picked it up in the first place. The bits that we do see her are okay, but Bunn seems to be actively avoiding her character. Nebula and Kid Loki take up a lot of this issue, which might be because they are easy characters to write. Nebula, at the moment, is your typical tyrant with the inklings of a soft spot. Kid Loki is just Loki but smaller, more annoying, and (currently) less important to the Marvel universe. These characters have strictly defined personalities that don’t present a lot of writing challenges.

Angela, on the other hand, is extremely difficult for writers to tackle. Although she’s had three amazing solo series, Angela requires a certain writer to really “get” her character. She’s quiet but not shy, solemn but not sad, and violent but not malicious. In her solo series, Angela’s girlfriend, Sera, always accompanied her and acted as her translator of sorts. Sera really helped create Angela’s character without compromising Angela’s stony exterior. For Bunn, I’m not really sure what he can do with Angela’s character, aside from bringing Sera back. Angela should be in more panels, but since he’s clearly not comfortable writing her, I don’t know if I can really condone that. There’s really only one answer: bring in Sera.

asgardians of the galaxy #3
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Changing Scenes

As many problems as ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 has, its art isn’t one of them. This issue features four different pencillers who help create a surprisingly synchronous work. Jill Thompson’s watercolor page in the issue (Throg’s vision of frog Valhalla) is the perfect transition from Loli and Araujo’s harsher style. Mike Del Mundo’s two-page spread of the Executioner in Hel is a nice easter egg for readers familiar with his current work on Jason Aaron’s THOR series. The predominant artists of the issue, Loli and Araujo, have a defined, harsh style that works well with a ragtag bunch of Asgardian warriors.

Color-wise, colorists Federico Blee and Erick Arciniega offer one of the most unique palettes I’ve ever seen in comics. The alien fluorescent shades of purple, blue, and orange reinforce the intergalactic setting of the series.  

Final Thoughts

If you’re currently reading and enjoying INFINITY WARS, ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 could definitely be an enjoyable read. If you’re not the biggest fan of INFINITY WARS (but enjoy the character roster of ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) I don’t think this is the series for you. Bunn is giving Nebula the focus in the series, which means the other characters get little characterization. Until he changes that (along with the fast, film-like pacing), ASGARDIANS OF THE GALAXY won’t be as successful as it could be.

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