Following the latest -- and last -- Incursion event, the multiverse has been reduced to a lone patchwork planet known as Battleworld. Now, with the cosmic landscape and its various interstellar empires no longer in existence, the question has to be asked: what's happened to the Guardians of the Galaxy?
Well, there's still one outer space locale left in orbit around Battleworld, and it's a location the Guardians are very familiar with. Knowhere, the space station built inside the severed head of an ancient armored Celestial, is the new headquarters of the interstellar adventurers. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato's "Guardians of Knowhere" casts the heroes as crusaders trying to clean up the crime and corruption on Battleworld's "Moon."
CBR News spoke with Bendis about the Guardians' new mission, Angela's return to the team, and the new and familiar cosmic characters they'll encounter as the series unfolds.
CBR News: With "Guardians of Knowhere," you've got the first and probably only "Secret Wars" series that's not a "Last Days" tale, nor is it set on Battleworld.
Brian Michael Bendis: Yes, when "Secret Wars" and the "Battleworld" was being put together, I happened to notice that there was no real cosmic area. [Laughs] It was like, "What about my book?" So we talked about it and the idea -- I'm not trying to spoil "Secret Wars," but there is a logic that reveals itself very quickly as to why Knowhere would be here and what it would be. It created this great "Blade Runner"-style landscape for the Guardians to play around in. It also gave us this opportunity to create these new villains and antagonists for the Guardians that may or may not find their way out the other side after "Secret Wars" is done.
Is Knowhere a self-sufficient and independent station? Or does it have ties to the Battleworld nations below it?
All of that is revealed in the first issue. There are characters of varying power on both Battleworld and Knowhere. When you look up at the sky on some parts of Battleworld, you can see Knowhere. That creates its own set of problems.
I talked with Dan Abnett about writing the cast of "Guardians 3000" in "The Korvac Saga" where they have no galaxy to guard. He said it was kind of a fun challenge that let him get to the core of the characters -- what's it like for you, writing the Guardians in this setting?
Absolutely. I had the same experience. Plus, I was going to do a Knowhere-set story anyhow. The book may take place in the galaxy, but it doesn't mean you have to use all of that setting every issue. I wanted to not confine, but put a story in Knowhere and only Knowhere. This gave us a grand opportunity to do that.
Then, when Mike Deodato said he wanted to do it, I knew we were going to get a very special looking Knowhere. He built a beautiful world for us to play in.
Mike has been doing some really great science fiction work for Marvel lately. How does it feel to be reuniting with him on a sci-fi title like this?
I love him, and I have a pretty good instinct on artists based on what you see them drawing. So when I told Mike, "full-on 'Blade Runner' sci-fi, let's go nuts," I knew he would jump at it. Then we got these pages that were so beautiful. I knew he would kill on this project, but I didn't know it was going to be this great.
That's why I love Mike. I love him tremendously and I've never had a bad day working with him. I knew this would be fun, and it has been a blast.
We know from the preview art that the movie Guardians line-up is featured in this story, but it looks like recent team member Angela figures into the story as well.
Yes, Angela is front and center. On page three, you'll find out exactly what her deal is. There have been two things people have been asking for since I brought Angela into the Guardians. They either wanted Angela and Gamora to become best friends and fight space dragons, or they wanted them to fight each other. One of those things is going to happen right away in this series.
When you mention "Blade Runner," it makes me think of the Guardians in the role of future noir-style street cops. Is that a fair description?
Not street cops per se, but Guardians of Knowhere. That's what the title says. [Laughs] There is a lot to protect. They have each other to protect as well.
There's also a mystery. One of the cool things about Battleworld, of which this is a part, is that there's a mystery about how this world came to be a piece of the larger setting and what the perception of it is to the characters. Each one of the books that I'm doing, "Ultimate End," "Old Man Logan" and this, have a very unique perspective on the Battleworld and their place in it. That's one of the reasons why I picked these sections.
In the Marvel 616 reality, Knowhere is known for having a sheriff that walks on four legs and telepathically speaks with a Russian accent. Is Cosmo part of this book?
Cosmo is in here! Mantis is in it as well. There are a couple other characters I want to leave as surprises -- this is a book that features friends both old and new. I'm sorry I'm being a little vague, but I don't want to spoil any of the surprises that Jonathan Hickman has worked so hard on in "Secret Wars."â€¨What can you tell us about the new villains?
People who have followed "Guardians" know that the Kree homeworld has been destroyed, and with that comes some stray Accusers, one of which is pretty sure that she's the sole survivor of the Kree Empire and its Accuser Corps. So she'll wear that mantle strongly. Another is on the cover to issue #2, a brand new character that Mike and I developed and is going to be a sort of space gangster who is going out of his way to pick on and exploit people who need guarding.
One of my goals for this year is to add these new antagonists because A) they're fun and surprising, and B) it does seem like we just go to Thanos every time we need someone gigantic to hit. It's well overdue for new things to be invented.
A galactic gangster and a space station populace in need of protecting suggests a tone perhaps reminiscent of your "Daredevil" run.
It's not really that. There's a real rebellious feel to it. It actually feels a lot more like "Scarlet" when I'm writing it. I feel there's a similar tone.
So corruption is a part of this series, then?
Yes, corruption and people taking advantage of others. It's an ongoing thing I've been dealing with in my stuff, most of the time subconsciously.
Like all "Secret Wars" books, this title is designed to have a lasting impact on what the Guardians and the Marvel Universe will be after the event is done. I also understand that you might be doing something polarizing in this story?
It sometimes seems that everything is polarizing, but in this instance there are a couple of things that are going to happen in "Guardians of the Galaxy" #27 which will cause a shift. Then there will be the end of "Guardians of Knowhere," which will reveal itself when we come out of "Secret Wars" and whatever form the Guardians take after the event is over.â€¨My mandate, and the mandate of a lot of others at Marvel, is the point of "Secret Wars" is to be additive. There's always a lot of death and destruction, but adding things to the Marvel Universe is a joyful birthing process. That's very exciting to me, and each one of the books I'm doing brings something into the Marvel Universe that wasn't there before. If you do that enough times, you're really going to have an exciting Marvel Universe, where you don't know exactly what's going to happen and what's going to come next.
On its base level, "Guardians of Knowhere" is a beautiful, fun, sci-fi book that I'm immensely proud to have my name on. It's a beautiful book. Beyond that, for fans of the Marvel Universe and the Guardians, we've got some good treats coming. Some of the most requested things we've gotten will be featured in "Guardians of Knowhere." That includes Angela and Gamora, more time with Drax, who has not been getting a lot of time, and Knowhere in general. We're going to take the cool stuff that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did with Knowhere, and the cool stuff they did in the movie, and try to build upon that and do new cool stuff with it
My goal for each of these books was to approach them as if all I was doing was this "Secret Wars" book. Let's make it the best thing we're doing all year. It also just so happens that it will feed the next thing that I will more or less be involved in.