When it comes to technology, Earth may not have advanced as far as some of the Marvel Universe's vast intergalactic empires. The planet does, however, have something else that makes one of the most feared and dangerous locales in the cosmos: a large population of super powered people. When an ideological schism erupts that pits Earth's superheroes against one another it's not just a planetary problem, it's a galactic one. Enter the Marvel Universe's premier band of space-faring heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy.
While "Civil War II" has placed Iron Man, Captain Marvel and their respective armies into conflict over the idea of preemptive crime fighting and an Inhuman whose powers would allow such a crusade to happen, this August's "Guardians of the Galaxy" #11 by Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti brings the team to Earth and throws them right into the divide. Considering both Captain Marvel and Iron Man have ties to the Guardians, whose side will the team take? And what other troubles await them on Earth?
For the answers to those questions and more CBR News spoke with Bendis about his continuing plans for the "Guardians of the Galaxy" ongoing series including Angel's recent return to the team; a confrontation with the Badoon; and pitting the Guardians against a number of Earth-based problems, one of which followed them from the cosmos back to Earth.
CBR News: The most recent issue of "Guardians of the Galaxy" welcomed Angela back to the team. What does she bring back to the book, and do you have plans for her lover, Sera, to appear as well?
Brian Michael Bendis: I do! And this was one of those weird things where Angela was in our book and then all of a sudden they were like, "Angela is getting her own series and here's the pitch." So it was like, "Okay, she's not in my book anymore." [Laughs] Sometimes the pitch for an ongoing won't effect the team at all, but the Guardians kind of live in a camper together and you're either in the camper or your not in the camper. It's different than Avengers Tower. They're always moving around the galaxy.
So I hoped I would get to write her again and then when her series wrapped up I immediately got a call asking, "Would you like Angela back?" And I was like, "I never wanted to let her go." Her coming back to the series gives me an opportunity to give everybody a chance to appreciate each other. I know that sounds small, but sometimes on a rip roaring adventure title or really any team book, you have to remind the characters that they like each other or that they love each other, or appreciate each other. When there's chaos all around you sometime it's not easy to remember to say that.
So when someone is missing and you get them back it's a good time to go, "Hey, I really appreciate you." Having Angela be rescued by her friends is a meaningful experience for a warrior and something profound that I think can center the Guardians.
I particularly liked this storyline from a structural point of view because it allowed a lot of things we don't normally see. It gave us one issue team-ups that we had never seen before like Rocket and Thing. By the second page of writing them I knew they were great together. Or Groot and Venom; I want that book. These were things that I would buy that I didn't know I wanted.
So those all came together, and by the end of this storyline another large thing will have happened in the Marvel cosmos. We've seen that a lot of big pieces have fallen or risen in the galaxy right in time for "Civil War II." So that's pretty exciting.
Definitely. Right now you're dealing with the Badoon, a rising galactic power looking to make their mark on the universe.
Yeah, I wanted to build up the Badoon a little more and make them more than just mustache twirlers. I wanted to give a sense of how bad they are and what they're doing. Every culture or society has a group that's trying to take advantage of the other parts of that culture and society. So I wanted to show what the Badoon was up to and this whole planet of prisoners.
It was like, "Oh! That's where the Skrulls and all these other characters went." So it was pretty exciting to lay all these little foundations for us to build new stories upon.
In August, you bring the Guardians into "Civil War II." Will your "Civil War II" tie-in for "Guardians" be like your other monthly Marvel books in that we'll be able to see the clues you planted about the direction things were heading for quite some time?
Yes! In my earliest outline drafts for "Civil War II" I had the Guardians coming into the story midway through, because the first two human members of the Guardians from my run were Tony Stark and Carol Danvers. So it's 'who called them into the fight'? And whose side are they on? Because there won't be an agreement. Star-Lord might think one way while Rocket will believe another.
Also, they haven't been part of past big events with the exception of like "Infinity." So it's cool to have them in this Earth bound event and being called in as cavalry and seeing how that works out.â€¨Venom has been off planet since he cleansed his symbiote and he's never met Miles Morales. Kitty [Pryde] hasn't been home in a while and isn't necessarily caught up on what's going on in the X-Men universe. Ben [Grimm] and Johnny [Storm] can reunite, and where is Ben's stuff? Has he got everything in a U-Haul, or a storage unit? So there's a lot we can do with the Guardians returning to Earth.
What are some of the issues the Guardians will wrestle with as they try to decide whose side they're on?
You're going to get the behind the scenes of the first couple of issues of "Civil War II" from the Guardians' perspective right away, starting with issue #11.
They're going to have a heads up on stuff before it happens in a pretty profound way. I'm pretty excited about it. I'm also excited about whose side they end up on, what it does to the team, and what the shape of the team will be going forward. I've liked how worried some fans are at what shape the team will take at any given moment.
Speaking of which, I wanted to talk about Valerio who is doing absolutely wonderful work. He's a pleasure to work with. Almost every issue he's called on to do something different. We're doing things like prison breaks and cosmic battles. He does all of that wonderfully and reminds me of Mark Bagley in that way. There's nothing you can give this guy that he can't bring to life.
He's evolving too. The collaboration you guys had on the last volume of "Guardians" was great, but I think he's become even better with this volume.
Yeah, he's very comfortable, and he's very into the book in the way you want your artist to be into it.
I'm so blessed in this area because every single book I'm working on the artists are doing the work of their life, and they're immensely invested. It's the thing I'm most spoiled on and I'm very grateful for it as well.
Will you and Valerio continue to check in with the large matters in space while the Guardians are on Earth for "Civil War II"?
Wouldn't you think that someone might follow them back to Earth? It's like, "Oh, they're going to be on Earth? Let's get them there! We can shut them down while they're distracted." They've made themselves wide open by coming back to Earth.â€¨Also here's something to watch out for! Remember the Free Comic Book Day Special? Remember who killed Rhodey?
A couple of people have been looking for that dude! See there's a lot of meat on these bones. Let's say Thanos is on the planet and no one wants to tell Gamora or Drax because they have other things they're worried about and then Gamora and Drax find out?
I also like the idea of the Guardians stuck on Earth for a while. I've been wanting to have some "Star Trek IV"-style fun with them. [Laughs] Maybe they'll have to find a whale to get out of this one...
[Laughs] I imagine what happens here is bound to have some consequences for "Guardians of the Galaxy" come this fall. Might we see some new members?
Yes, we had a lot of conversation about that in the retreat. The Guardians have a pliable, malleable rotation. So what will the face of the team be like after this event?
I also understand that a wide demographic of ages will be interested in the Guardians' possible new line up, correct?
I purposefully write "Guardians" for any age, and by that I mean anyone could pick it up and enjoy it without being punished for not reading other books. It's rip roaring adventure and it's the book that I'm more aware of kids reading; that and Miles' [Morales] book.
I just did a couple of signings and it's gotten to the point now where I can often guess when people walk up to me what book they're going to have before they put it down. When it's a 10 year-old boy it's always Guardians and Miles. So I think about that. I want that 10 year old boy to be able to enjoy the book and I want Captain Blasphemy6969 to be able to enjoy it as well.
So it's almost like a different set of tools from my creator owned books like "Scarlet." It still has its own challenges in being that; to be fun and exciting and have an edge to it. It's the most kinetic book I write as well. There's a lot of movement.
I'm really trying to be as unique to the characters as I can be with the heavy shadow of the movie and the DnA run. Not imitating either one of those things is the biggest compliment I can give them. I don't think anybody wants that from anybody. So it's fun to defy expectations of what the book should be, and at the same time pleasantly surprise people.
Also the most controversial aspect of the title is Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde. That will continue to be controversial. They are the "Will they? Or won't they?" couple of the Marvel Universe; the Sam and Diane; the "Moonlighting." So for people who love to hate that or hate to love it, it will be there for you.
Also Shadowcat will do the most disgusting thing she's ever done in issue #10. It's the first time on the book where we had a meeting about it. So we'll see what people think of that. [Laughs]
"Guardians of the Galaxy" #10 is scheduled for release July 13 from Marvel Comics.