Marvel has unveiled the new lineup for its forthcoming re-launched Guardians of the Galaxy comic—new being a keyword, given it doesn’t share much in common with versions from recent comics or movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy will relaunch with a fresh #1 in January 2019, helmed by writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw, who have previously collaborated on the publisher’s Thanos Wins comic as well as on the creator-owned hit God Country (soon to be adapted into a movie). Marvel made the announcement Friday with an image of the team online drawn by artist David Marquez.

Starting in the upper left and going clockwise, we have Silver Surfer, Moondragon, Groot, Nova, Adam Warlock, Guardian, Phyla-Vell, Star-Lord, Darkhawk, and Beta Ray Bill, with the Cates’ creation Cosmic Ghost Rider in the center (he’s actually Frank Caste from an alternate future timeline, because: comics).

Two things jump out at me about this lineup right away: one, it’s massive, which makes sense given that the titular mission here is to guard the ENTIRE galaxy; and two, as I noted above, this is a significant departure from the most-recent and famous iteration of the team, the one brought to life in the hella popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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In fact, of this new bunch, only Groot and Star-Lord have so far appeared in the film franchise as members of The Guardians. This (for my money) is maybe an effect of The Guardians film future being in flux, with the writer/director of the first two films, James Gunn, controversially dismissed. Gunn has since gone off to work on Suicide Squad 2 for Warner Bros. and DC.

The big lineup also gives Cates room to tinker with his team via the giant sweeping plot twists that have marked much of his Marvel work. There’s also a precedent for this—after Marvel’s Inhumans TV show flopped and was essentially sidelined in live action until further notice, the publisher gave the comic to Cates, who promptly wrote a mini-series entitled Death of the Inhumans.

UPDATE: Another image released later in the day noted only six of the heroes would be members of the final lineup. Check it out, there’s a new line beneath the creative team and the comic logo…

6 COMMENTS

  1. Also how much longer could Marvel keep relaunching GotG and assorted spin-offs with the exact same characters and having them flop and be cancelled in 6-12 months. For whatever reasons the success of that movie has rarely translated to the comics. This is a big, powerful cast with a top notch writer. It’s a serious effort to try and do something different with the title.

    Marvel’s habit of continuing to relaunch the same characters multiple times in a short window and expecting something different to happen has always driven me nuts. I disapprove of benching the Fantastic Four for as long as they did and why they did, but at least its selling well on its relaunch because they gave it years to build up the demand.

    Which is my roundabout way of saying they really need to relaunch Alpha Flight….;)

  2. This is what happens when comics are allowed to breathe apart from strict movie adherence. The constant need to match the movies or create characters for the next movie keeps me from being excited about the comics. But this sounds fun and unique, and all from the imaginative Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw! Now Marvel better not mess this up with $5 or $6 first issue and other shenanigans. Cates thrives best when his books get a nice slow burn the first month or two, then throttling up to fill boil once the hype is going.

  3. We fired James Gunn so we need a new team in the book. Make sure to get rid of Drax because that actor bad mouthed us. And Rocket should always be with Groot. Finally, Cates is the third worst writer at Marvel. I would hate to take anything away from Slott or Spencer.

  4. I can’t say this is something I’m particularly excited for, even with someone like Donny Cates at the wheel. I just don’t click with cosmic Marvel all that much. I’m significantly more interested in the new Invaders book, personally. Echoing Craig on Alpha Flight.

  5. Finally!! A Guardians of the Galaxy roster that can take on cosmic level threats, and is not trying to be the movies but like the original comic run in 2008.

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