Brian Michael Bendis has announced that he's leaving Marvel Comics' "Guardians of the Galaxy" series. But before he goes, the writer has plans for Rocket, Groot, Drax and the rest of the interstellar team, inclusion running them through one last gauntlet culminating in a double, if not triple-sized final issue.
In an interview with ComicBook, Bendis explained that the decision to leave the series was a multi-faceted one, involving the fact that he's got a number of other series on his plate at the moment (including several as-yet unannounced projects), and that he's maneuvered all the pieces into place for him to "unleash" "the end story that I've been building to."
"I'm actually getting really brassy and ballsy at the end here with the way we're telling our stories in the last few issues," Bendis said. "Each issue is very different, giving [artist] Valerio [Schiti] a big send-off with a lot of challenges and then we're going to end on a big jam issue coming in the spring."
As for why he decided to bow out now rather than stretch his final story in order to continue writing the series when the anticipated "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2" arrives in theaters, Bendis said he'd rather allow the next creative team have a chance to take advantage of the group's heightened profile.
"It was like, "Well, I could leave Guardians, and I could leave Guardians the month the movie comes out or the month before, giving the new creative team the opportunity to really blow the roof off the place,” and that's cool," Bendis said. "The new creative team is one that I like. I want to tee them up in a good way, but at the same time, I really want to land my ending in a big way."
"I said, "Well, I could have them stuck here on earth and in Civil War II" and then it ends with this double, if not triple-sized, final issue, which we're putting together right now. All the pieces fell together in the way that said I can leave in a big, classy cool way, and at the same time, get the new guys ready and give them a really strong push, because I know the new writer very well, I was able to go, 'What do you want? What do you need from me? What don't you need from me? Who’s staying? Who's going?'"
"I’m making a concerted effort to leave big and for the statement of the book that I've been working on for all these years to have it's final moment and at the same time, setup for a new person."
Bendis' final "Guardians of the Galaxy" arc, "Grounded," kicked off earlier this month in Issue #15 with art by Valerio Schiti and a cover by Arthur Adams.