Brian Michael Bendis took to the Marvel Conference Phone this week, to listen in awe to the sonorous sounds of the comics press. Talking about his imminent relaunch of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY with Steve McNiven, he was joined on the call by editor Steve Wacker, who alternately sighed and yelped “NO” every time the writer revealed a little too much about the upcoming stories.
I don’t think I’ve spoken to anybody who sounds more excited to be writing comics than Bendis, who at one point spent a good few minutes talking about his love for previous runs on the book by writers like Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. As somebody who doesn’t know the Guardians very well (sorry!), I asked about the status of the team come issue #1, and how they’ll enter the series.
“”We want to show you what they’re like together as a team, but we’re going to backtrack early on and see how they got together and why they stay together, because they’ve been through a lot,” said Bendis. “People will realize how much of a family they are – and a lot of characters don’t have anything outside of this team. I think what I like about them is they don’t answer to anybody. That makes them very dangerous.
He also likened them to pirates — because whenever they’re around, everybody else feels nervous. The team will be made up of Gamora, Starlord, Groot, Drax and Rocket Raccoon to begin with – building from their previous appearance in his Avengers Assemble series – but will then draw in other team members as the book goes on. I did ask about Moondragon, because I know she has a particularly keen fanbase, but Bendis kept quiet on the matter. To Steve Wacker’s quiet joy.
Bendis talked about the central ideas of the book without going too much into the plot. It looks as though this team will be very deeply ingrained into the rest of the Marvel Universe, as Iron Man will be joining the team fairly early on. But the team will also be having adventures on Earth, which they have decided is a planet they particularly need to protect. Their mission statement will be “nobody touches this planet”. Which, then, I’m assuming tempts everybody else to try and touch the planet.
Steve McNiven will be drawing the series, and has redesigned the costumes. Halfway through the call Marvel decided that they couldn’t hold back on a particular two-page spread McNiven’s drawn, and so they giddily sent it across to us:
There were a variety of other bits and pieces, such as Bendis reaffirming his determination that one day he’ll be able to write the name “ROM” into a script, and confirmation of a story which crosses the team into ALL-NEW X-MEN, as the angry broccoli people killed by The Phoenix during The Dark Phoenix Saga (ten points if you can name the race of creatures she killed?) seem to be looking for revenge on the galactic bird, and Jean in particular. There will also be some kind of connection between Guardians of the Galaxy and Jason Aaron’s current Thor series, and the Age of Ultron event will also ripple into the book.
It was an energetic call from Bendis, in which he repeatedly made clear how much he respects the stories which have gone before. He seems passionate and engaged with the book in the same way he has been so far in ALL-NEW X-MEN, with the cobwebs from the Avengers run properly shaken off. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY starts with a Starlord origin issue in February’s point one, before kicking off with issue #1 in March.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.