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Imperial Guard: Starjamming

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning talk about putting the Shi'Ar's elite group alongside the Starjammers

By Marc Strom

Monumental tears in the fabric of space-time make the strangest bedfellows. Recently, the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard has had to join forces with their longtime foes, the band of space pirates known as the Starjammers, in order to explore the nature of the Fault, a rift in reality which threatens the existence of every living thing in the universe. Now, the two groups will have to learn to trust one another if they hope to escape alive in REALM OF KINGS: IMPERIAL GUARD #3 on January 13, from writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Kev Walker.

"It's simply a case of the Guard being official and establishment and the Starjammers being outlaws," relates Abnett of the animosity between the two. "Particularly after the events of War of Kings, the Guardsmen feel like they have a lot to prove-that they are in control, that they do have authority, that they can keep an Empire safe. The Starjammers are outlaws, and they kind of represent every last rebellious tendency the Guard opposes."

REALM OF KINGS: IMPERIAL GUARD #3 preview art by Kev Walker
In the past, the Imperial Guard and the Starjammers have mostly clashed while despotic rulers such as D'Ken or Vulcan controlled the Shi'Ar Empire. As such, Lanning notes that the Guard "probably do, deep down," recognize their rivals as noble warriors fighting for what they see as the greater good.

"But [the Guard] wants to preserve that sense of control, and they really don't want to give a bunch of anti-establishment freebooters the chance to say 'we told you so,'" he continues.

Despite their antagonistic past, the combined group of cosmic defenders soon realizes the necessity of working together and trusting one another in order to survive the Fault.

"They're going to have to," confirms Abnett. "Neither the Guard nor the Starjammers are stupid. They know about survival. And they're going to need to use every last shred of survival ability to get out of this."

On the other hand, the pirates have their own reasons for putting aside their conflict with the Shi'Ar and helping them in their current mission.

REALM OF KINGS: IMPERIAL GUARD #3 preview art by Kev Walker
"They see this as the kind of brave new dawn they have always been fighting for, and they respect [Gladiator]," notes Lanning. "This is like Lilandra's legacy."

While the groups expected to find trouble in the Fault, according to Abnett they'll still have a tough time keeping their heads above water.

"They're braced for all kinds of strange and crazy things, but they're not going to be prepared for the sheer levels of threat and horror coming at them," cautions the writer.

Though the Guard and Starjammers don't know what lies in store for them, readers of Abnett and Lanning's other cosmic stories will certainly recognize the threat they face.

"The strange 'Cancerverse' dimension that Quasar glimpsed in the REALM OF KINGS one-shot is coming to the fore, here and now," warns Lanning. "And it is not a nice thing at all."

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      Wow, a whole article on Marvel.com about the tension between the Imperial Guard and the Starjammers, and they can't even mention in passing what has happened to the X-half of the 'Jammers?What tripe.