By Marc Strom
The Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova and their fellow cosmic heroes will have to answer a call to arms in THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #1 this June from writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Miguel Sepulveda.
The Mad Titan, Thanos, makes his return as the Guardians and their compatriots face the threat of the Fault, a rip in space-time that already has our heroes scrambling.
"If you drop Thanos into the cosmic pool, there are going to be some big ripples," remarks Lanning. "It's fair to say that this will shake things up in a major way. However, you never know exactly where Thanos will place himself, because you can never be sure quite what he wants to accomplish, or how. He is cunning. Really cunning."
As to what makes Thanos so crucial to the larger events occurring in the Marvel cosmos, Abnett notes: "That's the real point here. The mystery of his return is the engine that drives the entire story along. It's what it's all about. Why has he come back, how, for what purpose, and who arranged it? The fun part is no one may be in control, not even the forces that conspired to resurrect him. Everything may be snowballing out of control."
|THE THANOS IMPERATIVE: IGNITION #1 cover by Aleksi Briclot|
"Thanos has always been a real favorite character, and we were just getting to work on the cosmic books during Annihilation when he was so brilliantly killed off by [ANNIHILATION writer] Keith Giffen," remembers Lanning. "We didn't want to spoil that story and rush his return, but we also knew he would be back because that's the way comics work, so we planned it. We thought we'd make his return the 'Very Big Deal' pay-off to a major story arc, the climax to our cosmic meta-story."
Given his long absence, however, fans can expect a somewhat different Thanos when he makes his return.
"He is seriously angry," warns Abnett. "Seriously, seriously angry. He's berserk with rage, like a cosmic Hulk on a very bad day."
Besides Thanos, a number of Abnett and Lanning mainstays will also play significant roles in the series.
"Thanos, obviously, and the dark forces of the Fault, some of whom will be a delicious surprise," lists Lanning of the series' antagonists. "They're
|THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #1 cover by Aleksi Briclot|
"On the side of the angels, Nova and Star-Lord are our main focus heroes, old buddies who have fought in cosmic wars together since Annihilation," adds Abnett. "They are our 'Luke and Han', though Nova is a Jedi now, if you'll allow us to push our analogy. We'll also see the Guardians, the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard. Our big co-stars this time will be the likes of Quasar and [The Silver Surfer]. Since we started on the cosmic books, we've focused on the lower power characters a little; Nova's an exception, but we were the ones who powered him up. This time the big guns come out to play, and Nova's now a serious enough cosmic player to do the old [slow-motion] 'Armageddon' walk to camera alongside the biggest of them."
"Don't forget Star-Lord and his team of no-hopers, rejects, rascals and renegades," reminds Lanning. "It's all about the underdog, especially when the biggest cosmic powers are clashing. If you're that small, you might get overlooked by, I don't know, Galactus."
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