|Guardians of the Galaxy #8 cover by Francesco Francavilla|
By Brett White
The Guardians of the Galaxy just can't catch a break.
Marvel's ragtag group of cosmic adventurers have found themselves listed as public enemy number one by just about every government in the galaxy, no thanks to the machinations of Star-Lord's father, the king of Spartax.
Now the threat of an ancient alien race known as the Builders looms even larger over the cosmos. Every planet in their path gets destroyed and reborn at a whim, with entire populations wiped out from existence. Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers, have joined the intergalactic resistance, leaving Earth unprotected against the mad Titan himself: Thanos.
Marvel.com: These issues of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY team you up with artist Francesco Francavilla. Is this your first time working with him?
|Guardians of the Galaxy sketch by Francesco Francavilla|
Brian Michael Bendis: Yes it is. I’m a big fan of his; all of my friends are big fans of his. We have communicated via things that we like on Tumblr and every once in a while he comes up to me and says, “By the way, I really like sci-fi.” Because GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is one of the few real sci-fi books, you know? This seemed perfect for him and it fit into his schedule.
Marvel.com: How does handling this set of tie-in issues compare to previous big Marvel events?
Brian Michael Bendis: [INFINITY] feels exactly like Civil War, in which there were a lot of parts that I thought were the best and Mark Millar had no interest in writing or looking at [them]. In this area, it’s the same thing, in that Jonathan [Hickman] has such a huge cast and so many pieces. When he didn’t go where I’m going with my tie-ins, I was shocked. I was like, “Oh, are you not going to do that with the Guardians? It’s mine!” And he said, “Great, it’s yours.” It’s what I would have written if I wrote this event, so I’m very excited that we get this very big juicy chapter of the INFINITY storyline that actually completely follows what we were already doing in the book. And sometimes—people will know this—an event tie-in can seem like it’s already derailing what’s going on in the book. And that’s like in real life, when you wake up one day and go to do this but you end up having to do that for whatever reason, so there’s always a way to justify it. But rarely is there an opportunity like this where the characters and the Guardians are already dealing with Thanos and dealing with a lot of stuff that’s going on in the galaxy and it’s all coming to a head right outside Earth. They were already there. And for people who aren’t reading INFINITY, which I don’t think is going to be many, you can read just straight through, but for those who are reading it, you’ll find the connection between the two quite juicy.
|Thanos sketch by Francesco Francavilla|
Marvel.com: With your cast, you have two people who have arguably the strongest ties to Thanos: Gamora and Drax. Are we going to see different sides of them?
Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah. It also touches back on what people have been asking about for almost every day of my life for the last year. More and more Gamora is wondering how is it that Peter Quill and Thanos are back from the dead [as they were believed to be prior to this volume of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY]. Did Peter make some kind of deal with the devil to come back? And if he did, is what Thanos is doing right now one hundred percent Peter’s fault? For those who know their Guardians lore, there is a lot going on. But if you’re just finding out now that there’s some weird secret that Peter has, we’re going to be dealing with it right now.
Marvel.com: Will there be kind of a Guardians schism?
|Guardians of the Galaxy #9 cover by Francesco Francavilla|
Brian Michael Bendis: Gamora more than the others. Drax is looking for a smart way to do what he’s gotta do. Gamora is on fire. As much as INFINITY is the Avengers’ worst nightmare, it’s also her worst nightmare. She’s taking it very personally.
Marvel.com: The last issue—issue #5--had Thanos as well as a special guest star named Angela, fresh off of her Marvel debut. Is Angela going to be playing into your INFINITY issues at all?
Brian Michael Bendis: Yes, she is. I don’t want to say too much because there’s some surprises there as we unfold more and more about who she is and where she’s from, but Angela is in this book.
Marvel.com: Her and Gamora’s first meeting wasn’t exactly on the friendliest terms.
Brian Michael Bendis: But just like in summer camp where the person that you hate in the first couple of days may end up being your best friend at the end of the camp, there’s a lot for them to bond over as well. Just because they start on bad footing doesn’t mean that’s where it’s going to stay.
|Groot sketch by Francesco Francavilla|
Marvel.com: How is this event going to affect the status quo of the Guardians going forward? Is it going to have huge ramifications?
Brian Michael Bendis: It’s going to have huge ramifications. Some of it is going to be dealt with in INFINITY and other things will come to light because of INFINITY. A lot of people’s feelings about things are going to change because of INFINITY. I don’t want to say a lot because it would spoil INFINITY but I could not be happier that INFINITY is shining a light on this corner of the Marvel Universe because that is what I’ll be dealing with going forward afterwards as well.
Marvel.com: It’s kind of like the rest of the Marvel Universe is coming to play in the Guardians’ sandbox, in a way.
Brian Michael Bendis: The Guardians’ sandbox and the Avengers’ sandbox were closer together than some people had given them credit for, and now this is showing how close that is.
Marvel.com: Where do you think the Guardians fit in with the wider scheme of the Marvel Universe?
|Groot sketch by Francesco Francavilla|
Brian Michael Bendis: Fantastic Four is a family. Avengers is an organization. Guardians are almost like pirates. They’re almost like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. They’re doing their own thing by their own rules. With that comes a lot of cool stuff and a lot of freedom; little to no compromise. There’s also a huge cost to personal life and personal safety. It makes them very unique to the Marvel Universe. Even if they were on Earth, it would be a very unique team.
Marvel.com: Because of the huge scope of this event, will the rest of the universe lay off the Guardians for a while?
Brian Michael Bendis: The Guardians are a gigantic threat to the broken system of the galaxy and how it’s being run. Whenever Thanos rears his head, everyone has to turn and look. But I don’t think any of this is good for the Guardians.
|Rocket Raccoon sketch by Francesco Francavilla|
Marvel.com: They’re not going to come out of this looking any better.
Brian Michael Bendis: No, and in fact there’s going to be a bigger target on them, without saying too much.
Marvel.com: They can never catch a break.
Brian Michael Bendis: That’s what we do at Marvel! Nobody catches a break!
Marvel.com: The next few issues of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY feature a wide range of talent, too.
Brian Michael Bendis: We’re looking at some of the best artists in the world. In issue #6, we’ll have some pages by Olivier Coipel that they haven’t shown anybody. In issue #7, on top of Sara Pichelli being the regular artist, we have some awesome pages by Valerio Schiti. We’re very excited about that. Issues #8 and #9 are by Francesco. And as we said online last week, issue #10 is the return of Kevin Maguire to the pages of Marvel Comics and the book he was born to draw. He’s doing an issue that I think will answer a lot of the questions that you just asked, which is the fallout from INFINITY.
|Guardians of the Galaxy #6 cover by Sara Pichelli|
What I’m excited to do is what I set out to do with GUARDIANS and what I did with Avengers for many years: have a parade of the best artists that work in comics. Some of them are the last people that you’d expect to be on a book like this and others are people that you’ve been dying to see on a book like this. The book is really becoming a centerpiece for what’s going on in the Marvel Universe. As you said, in INFINITY, as more and more becomes clear about what’s going on in the Marvel Universe, the book will continue to shine the light on things like that.