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Guarding the Galaxy

Guarding the Galaxy: Star-Lord

Brian Michael Bendis explains what makes Peter Quill fit to lead the most important team in the universe!

Guardians fo the Galaxy #1 cover by Steve McNiven

By Jim Beard

In the new, ongoing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Steve McNiven introduce a team of unlikely heroes who not only protect our solar system but the entirety of outer space.

To say the Guardians’ work’s cut out for them would be an understatement.

So what kind of person willingly tackles such a titanic task? What stripe of hero can rise to the challenge of a job that dwarfs that of the Avengers’ defense of the Earth alone? In anticipation of the release of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1, out March 27, we asked Bendis to define the characteristics of each member of the team and illuminate within them what it takes to be a Guardian.

In part one of our series we look at the man called Star-Lord. Born of an intergalactic inter-species romance, Peter Quill accepted his mantle and the incredible powers and legacy it encompassed to become a galactic soldier of fortune.

Marvel.com: Brian, is it safe to say that this is Star-Lord’s team, no one else’s?

Brian Michael Bendis: It is. It exists because of [Peter]. You get the feeling that if he left the team, it wouldn’t exist for much longer. He’s coming into the galaxy with such a unique point of view, one of which I describe, hopefully dramatically, in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1. He’s half Earthling, half Spartax. He’s the bastard child of two different alien races. His father, as far as he’s concerned, knocked up his mom and abandoned them. He’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about that.

Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 preview art by Steve McNiven

He’s spent most of his adult life trying to get into space to try to figure out who he was and who his father was. And when he got there he found out his father was the king of a galaxy, for lack of a better word. But because he was the winner of a very long war, that by definition makes him the biggest bastard in the universe. The winner isn’t the best guy. It’s just the guy that writes the history books and he won this pretty long battle against the Badoon which created quite a lofty Spartan-like empire for himself.

But with that comes a very cold fist that runs it. He tries so hard to get into space to find out who his father is and he gets there and finds out he’s the [expletive] of the universe. That is what connects him and Gamora, who is the adopted daughter of Thanos. Thanos is seen as the big villain of the galaxy, but there’s an argument to be made that Peter’s father and Thanos are on equal footing as far as the damage they can do if they put their mind to it.

Marvel.com: It all sounds pretty daunting—is Peter going to be ready for this?

Brian Michael Bendis: He is. They’ve got a new ship and they kind of understand each other in a pretty awesome way. What he’s not prepared for is the level of manipulation that his father will put him to. It’s all twisted up in his father’s need to have Peter in his life. But he can’t have his love so he’ll have interaction with him. Peter’s father, in the first few issues of the new series, sets Peter up for a pretty big fall for his own purposes. That’s what Peter’s going to have to deal with.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 preview pencils by Steve McNiven

Marvel.com: But does Peter have the leadership that’s necessary for the job? Does he inherit that gene?

Brian Michael Bendis: I think he rises to the occasion more often than he thinks he does. I don’t think he sees himself as the leader type and I don’t think the other Guardians necessarily do, but at the end of the day he’s the one who starts barking orders. He’s not a reluctant leader but leader by default, let’s say. I think that’s a lot more fun. I think about that bit in “Serenity” where Nathan Fillion says to one of the crew members, “Do you want to run this ship?” and the guy says, “Yes,” and he says, “Well, you can’t.” It’s more like that. [Laughs]

Marvel.com: How strong will Peter’s ties to Earth be once we get into the series?

Brian Michael Bendis: That’s one of the things that’s going to define this book from other takes on these characters. He does have a very strong passion about Earth and as he spends more time in the galaxy he’s going to realize how important the Earth is because it’s such a cauldron of insanity as far as the galaxy’s concerned, with all the mutants, Infinity Gems, and Phoenix Forces and whatever else is running around. He loves Earth and will stay away from it because his calling is elsewhere but at the same time he knows that he’s in a unique position to do something to help it and that’s what he’s going to do.

Marvel.com: In general, how are the other team members going to take him? Will there be a learning curve?

Guardians fo the Galaxy #0.1 cover by Steve McNiven

Brian Michael Bendis: They understand each other. The learning curve is more about where they are as characters right now. They’ve been through the mill together but the mill has been pretty rough on some of them. Drax, in particular, has had a pretty rough time. So it’s not how they’re going to deal with each other now. This isn’t their first outing.

A perfect example is that something really bad had happened to them in a place called the Cancerverse. They were presumed dead and now they’re not. What happened there and how they got out is clearly this big cloud that’s hanging over their heads that we will be dealing with in the future. They’re people with a long history together. They know each other’s darkest secrets and their greatest triumphs and with that comes a relationship where you know each other really well. That kind of stuff can become ammo.

Tomorrow, Brian talks more Drax, and this March, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY begins!

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