Marvel’s Next Big Thing: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY with Brian Michael Bendis

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy_1_CoverWith 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”.


  1. This book is going to be awesome.

  2. McNiven’s Rocket Racoon scares me a little.

  3. This book needs Cosmo!

  4. This series makes me feel like a crazy person. I’m a bit sad that it exists. I know it’s just a comic. I know these characters are flexible. I know I can just ignore it. But hell, I loved the DnA series and their entire cosmic run. These characters grew on me so much then. And this new series, from the creators to the character designs, is such a turn off.

    I don’t like McNiven’s take on Rocket Raccoon. It completely changes the tone of the character (see Tim Green for the correct take). Why do they all need Stark tech? The aesthetic of their original outfits from the Giffen series was so unique among the Marvel U. Why does Groot need Stark tech? He is freakin’ Groot! I haven’t enjoyed a Bendis comic in years. And look, the page they show features people sitting at a table talking! 🙂

    I’ll do my best to not rant on every GotG article in the future.

    • @stasisbal: I totally agree. I want to ask all kinds of questions like “Did they even mention Quill supposedly still being in the Cancerverse, or is that just being forgotten!?” even though I’m sure it doesn’t matter. I ran through all of Abnett & Lanning’s work last year, from Annihilation (even though that was Giffen I think) to Annhilators, and it was really great, and I came to so love these characters. So I’m very excited for what the movie could be, and I might be excited about this comic, as long as it isn’t double shipped at $3.99, and I guess I’m just going to let the whole DnA world exist as its own little world.

    • I must be in the minority here but the DnA run really didn’t do much for me. I read everything they did up through War of Kings and then couldn’t take it anymore and dropped off. There were definitely some high points, even very high on occasion, but for me it all just fell short. The build up to every event they did was fun but then the events always seemed very bland and never felt like the climax the long months of build had promised. The overall pacing of their entire grand story was all over the place and felt very awkward. Also I very much disliked their entire run on Nova.

      I enjoyed the original Annihilation by Keith Giffen much more than anything Abnett and Lanning did.

    • Stark Tech.. they are making a GotG movie, and the Iron Man films are the foundation for the Marvel Universe movies… seems like to me they are trying to establish an Iron Man connection to GotG in the comics so when the movie rolls around… SURPRISE, Robert Downey Jr in space mutha f****a. And the average filmgoer eats it up. All of it eventually spinning in to some major Thanos-battle of a movie in Avengers 2 or 3.

      Not that I have anything against it… just saying, that seems most likely the logical reason for pulling in Iron Man to me.

  5. I have no faith in Bendis, and this series has got all kinds of alarm bells going off in terms of probably cocking up all the good things DnA did.

    But god damn it, I’m probably going to at least try it.

    Also all this ROM Space Knight talk is dumb. DnA gave us a perfectly good replacement in Ikon in Annihilators that lets you play with the entire Space Knight toy box.

  6. What’d he say was in the closet? Was it ROM?

  7. First Psylocke and the X-ladies and now Gamora wearing sensible pants. Did Marvel finally get the memo regarding women superheroes and sensible adventuring gear? Oh, sorry Elektra. Hang in there. You’ll get pants, too, I hope.

    • Gamora’s name alone and the fact that she’s the adopted daughter of Thanos (the living embodiment of death) and “the deadliest woman in the universe” with a sword nicknamed “godslayer” gave her all the reason and right in the world to be dressed like a cosmic female Conan The Barbarian. Her look in the Milo Manara variant is perfect for her, but agree not all of the female characters should be dressed half naked…..but they’re not, Rogue, Jubilee, Storm, Jean Grey, Ms/Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Spiderwoman, the upcoming Lady Fantomex…Cammi, Hazmat, Polaris……

  8. I LOVED Annihilation and the DnA Guardian’s stuff, all the way down to the end. I still have all those books though.

    I wasn’t going to get this, but Bendis won a shot for my money with how awesome All New X-Men is. If he can bring that kind of focus to Guardians, it’s gonna be a good damn time.

  9. I loved DnA’s cosmic corner from Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest through Nova & Guardians of the Galaxy culminating in Thanos Imperative. I will definitely check this out being a cosmic marvel guy and McNiven’s one of the best detailed artists out there IMO. I liked hearing the term “lived in” like Firefly about the spaceship and Bendis’ fondness of the 70’s cosmic and DnA’s stuff, made me more confident in his writing this. A cpl things I don’t like is that Starlord’s uniform in the last Guardians run was absolutely perfect for “space pirate” and Gamora needs the cloak, godslayer sword and skull on her belt. I don’t think Ironman needs to be here but they’re connecting the comics with the movies (boo!). All that being said I still have faith in this series and hope they bring back Phyla-Vell, Cosmo, Mantis, Adam Warlock, Major Victory…Quasar…as some of them were in suspended animation alongside Gamora with Magus and she’s here, but its got to start somewhere and they got plenty of time to build and bring them in. Peter Quills outfit was perfect though seriously and Gamoras too and they know it as seen in Manara’s variant. I miss Richard Rider too.

  10. As a huge fan of the recent DnA cosmic run, I must admit that I was originally going to pass on this relaunch. However, I think that I’m going to give it a try, at least an issue a two. Bendis has pleased me in the past, so perhaps he will here again. That said, I found his previous writing of the characters rather bland. Also, I was very turned off by how Starlord & Thanos simply popped up in Avengers Assemble without any explanation for how they escaped from the Cancerverse. Also, wasn’t Drax killed by Thanos as part of that storyline as well? I know, I know, characters come back all the time (especially when the ground for future films needs to be laid), yet at least there’s usually some explanation given of how. Maybe that’ll be forthcoming. We’ll see. As I said, I am skeptical of the new title, but will give it a chance. However, at $3.99 (& double shipping?), it’ll have to win me over pretty quickly . . .

    That Manara variant cover is gorgeous, though . . .

    • That cover is gorgeous and the Cancerverse/Thanos Imperative deaths/suspended animation characters are all fringe factors now cause some are back with no rhyme or reason while others are still gone. Also, this is a cosmic book, one of the few that should absolutely be a 2.99 book and not dbl shipped, not for lack of quality but the opposite, quality over quantity and these titles generally have a smaller fan base and would probably sell more copies at 2.99 than 3.99, making up the difference in profits.

  11. I concur with all the skepticism. Gamora needs to be as close to naked as possible at all times. That’s her thing! Also, like the old character designs better. What’s the deal with all the glowing things on Groot?

  12. I don’t want iron man in this book…

  13. Man people are so possessive over GotG. Whenever a new Avengers or X-Men team or book is announced it’s all smiles and excitement but god forbid someone try a new GotG.

    • I’m super excited. I just don’t see the need for iron man or his tech.

    • Same here, still geeked for the book but see enough of Ironman everywhere else and he’s not part of them and how they came together, just seems unnecessary as a main stay, should be a guest spot, maybe he’ll be just an opening arc idea.

  14. Interesting. I might check this out, mainly to get a glimpse of the characters before the GotG movies comes out. Cosmic ain’t really my thing but I love SF in general so…

  15. I was kind of excited to read this, then I found out it will ie ino Age of Ultron nd X-Men. The book is teen out yet and it’s crossing over already. I will pass on this.

  16. Holy CRAP those pages look great!