With the movie looming on the horizon, Marvel Comics is gearing up for their latest Marvel NOW! release this April with Guardians of the Galaxy. Teaming up on the Marvel cosmic heroes is writer Brian Michael Bendis along with artist Steve McNiven. To help promote and call attention to the upcoming release series editor Steve Wacker and Bendis were present at the Marvel Press Call and gave some background on what we can expect from the upcoming book.
When discussing the task of writing Guardians of the Galaxy, Bendis stressed his fondness not only for the Guardians of the Galaxy as a collection of heroes, but for the character of Peter Quill (Starlord) and his origin as well. In fact, it was revealed that Bendis was approached to write the book after contributing so enthusiastically to the Marvel Studios Creative Committee when discussing the upcoming movie. Bendis further went on to praise the work of Jim Valentino in the 1990s and the more recent work by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, expressing how much he’s enjoyed that work and hopes to add to the rich history of Marvel cosmic books.
In approaching Guardians of the Galaxy, Bendis explained that he sees them as a combination of space pirates and the cosmic Avengers. In the first issue, Bendis promises to show the Guardians of the Galaxy as a team, to show who they are and how they work, but then to go back and show how they came to be. He also revealed that the villain of the first story arc will be related Starlord’s history in that it will be the aliens of the Spartax Empire, which happens to be ruled by Quill’s Father. This launching story will help to tie the current Guardians of the Galaxy to that of Starlord’s origin, which appeared in the 1970s and Bendis is quite fond of. Bendis explained that to the rest of the universe, Earth is seen as a place where crazy things happen, but is also very attractive to other alien races with the hopes of expanding control. The first arc will feature the Spartax manipulating the Guardians as they try to take Earth and then Bendis was quickly shushed by Wacker when he said ”The fallout of Age of Ultron falls directly into Guardians of the Galaxy.”
While not on the call, artist Steve McNiven’s work was praised by both Wacker and Bendis. Bendis described his approach to the visual look of the book, citing that he wanted the cosmic look of Guardians of the Galaxy to look “lived in”, as it was in Firefly and other successful science fiction properties such as that, explaining that their spaceship is not only a means of transportation but also their home. Wacker authorized the release of the interior page (featured below) to be released to the press to exemplify the amount of detail that McNiven is putting into the pages. Bendis elaborated on the attention to design and approach by McNiven, “These worlds look lived in, they look thought out, they look like everything works.”
In terms of the greater Marvel Universe, Bendis talked positively about the use of Iron Man and how excited he was to hear Iron Man writer Kieron Gillen being open to having Tony Stark in space, further saying that he didn’t expect to get approval to use Iron Man when he asked to use them. Additionally and unsurprisingly, Bendis revealed that the Guardians of the Galaxy would be appearing in the pages of All-New X-Men, citing that the presence of Jean Grey being a point of concern for the global community.
While all this info about the Guardian of the Galaxy is interesting, we did ask the question that was on everyone’s minds: what does this mean for ROM: SpaceKnight? After stopping laughing, Bendis responded, “Listen, no one would love the return of ROM: SpaceKnight more than myself. I have made it clear to anyone who will listen, the minute anything like that ever became available to us…” and then clarified that Marvel doesn’t own the rights to ROM: SpaceKnight, “I would stop the story I was in the middle of doing…and I said this about Avengers too. Right in the middle of any event or any storyline…when I was doing Moon Knight, the minute I was able to write the words “ROM: SpaceKnight” into a script, he would literally just crash into the story. Boom! That would be it”.