For almost a year-and-a-half, Brian Bendis has piloted the adventures of Peter Quill and his cohorts throughout the galaxy. It doesn't feel like the Guardians have done much during the course of this volume, and that doesn't change in "Guardians of the Galaxy" #17.
As Quill and Captain Marvel escape the Spartax Empire, Bendis fills the rest of this issue with an uninspiring "getting the band back together" story that picks up the end of each of the individual Guardians' adventures scattered throughout the galaxy. It registers as uneventful due to the fact that this team hasn't done much aside from their role in the "Trial of Jean Grey" crossover. This is yet another issue with minor notes being pounded out about the troubled relationship between Peter Quill and his father, J'son (or Jason), King of the Spartax.
The greatest pieces of "Guardians of the Galaxy" #17 are two battle/post-battle scenes. One features Angela and Gamora post-battle against the Badoon while the other is the actual fight between Drax and Gladiator. Neither battle is over-choreographed, nor is either one filled with dialog or narration. It's simply a chance for Bendis to inject some action into an otherwise low-key issue while giving his artists a chance to stretch.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" #17 has two artists, but doesn't get either's best work. Regular series artist Nick Bradshaw starts the issue, the earlier pages less detailed than the later. Michael Oeming chips in on the art towards the end. He appears to try to remain inline with Bradshaw, and clearly was brought onboard to finish the story, but the end result just doesn't work. This may attributable to inker Walden Wong trying to provide a smooth finish or transition, but without a play-by-play on the division of labor, it just looks like Bradshaw turned in some pages and Oeming turned in some others. Had Oeming been given a little more room to work, his storytelling would be stronger and the final page wouldn't make this issue feel like it was missing a true conclusion.
This issue feels like filler and with "Original Sin" crossing over next issue, that feeling is theoretically justified. With a growing myriad of titles to choose from flying the "Guardians of the Galaxy" banner or featuring Guardians characters, Bendis and company need to step things up to stay relevant. Hopefully the reveals from the Cancerverse story in the "Original Sin" tie-ins satiate readers for what happened there and how Quill returned, answering the question that has been providing an undercurrent for this series since it started. Hopefully, "Original Sin" can serve as a much-needed story booster shot for the series.