This is a pretty nice cover by Art Adams. It promises at intra-team rivalry, a Gamora not on the same page as the rest of the team. Maybe Drax has gone rogue once again, his desire to kill Thanos overriding his reasons for being on the team. Let's also take a look at the solicitation text for the issue:
Gamora is back, but things have changed! What has she been doing for the last eight months?
Between this text and the cover, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this was going to be a Gamora-heavy issue. Which is why I was more than surprised to find that Gamora spends almost the whole issue unconscious. Again.
I'm trying not to go off on a long rant about the complete mis-selling of the contents of a comic by the cover and solicits, especially on books by Brian Michael Bendis (remember when the cover of a previous GotG issue showed Captain Marvel proudly taking up position on the team, only for her not to appear in the book at all?), but it's very difficult to avoid this. Especially when the element of the book I should be focusing on - The Thing - is barely in this issue.
He's there in the background of a lot of panels, and he was about to punch someone when Gamora woke up and then got herself knocked out again a few panels later, but there was previous little for me to take away from this issue.
Heck, there was even a tease of a Cosmo appearance - the opening pages take place on Knowhere, and the threat of Cosmo turning up hangs over the scene - but for some reason, Cosmo can't be in a Bendis-written Guardians of the Galaxy book, and this makes me sad.
One of the very few things that we learn in this issue is that a Destroyer destroyer named Yotat The Destroyer is going to hunt down Drax The Destroyer and destroy him. Drax, naturally, knows nothing of this, which is problematic. I've written before how having everyone hang out on a spaceship with no individual motivation just doesn't work for me, and it feels like there's a missed opportunity here. Drax, knowing that he can't take Yotat in a fair fight, hangs around with the Guardians so that they are forced to jump in and help him, gives him agency and a reason to be hanging around beyond 'there's a movie coming next year'. Having him the unwitting prey does a disservice to a character repeatedly characterised as shrewd and cunning over the past decade.
The artwork in the book continues to impress. Again, the focus on big action over character means that Valerio Schiti's strengths are being played to, and this book looks great from cover to cover. It's just a shame that the plot barely moves anywhere.
Oh, and once again, Venom contributes nothing to this issue. He's told to provide cover, but we never see him do this. It's a very poorly-written 'stand over there and look pretty' moment, and the only focus he gets in the entire issue.
Until I catch-up to month of publication, I'll be able to refer to the sales charts to take a look at how well this book is performing. Guardians of the Galaxy #3 was 37th on the sales charts for December 2015, a rise of 2 places.. Sales in North America were estimated to be a little over 53,627, a rise of approx. 1667, or 3%.