WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #9 by Donny Cates, Cory Smith, Victor Olazaba, David Curiel and VC's Cory Petit, on sale Wednesday, Sept. 18.
The newest iteration of Marvel Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy is going about as well as previous versions of the cosmic superhero team. Star-Lord, Beta Ray Bill, Phyla-Vell and Gamora are currently under the spell of the Universal Church of Truth, led by Peter Quill's own father.
J'son, the former Emporer of Spartax, is the Universal Church of Truth's newest Patriarch, leading the cult as they siphon life force from individuals to power the engines of its massive floating spacecraft. Groot and Moondragon escaped before they could be brainwashed, turning to a sickly Groot for assistance.
Before we see how the trio fares against this powered-up force of nature, a preview of this week's Guardians of the Galaxy #9 takes a jump to the far-flung future of the Marvel Universe. The preview shows what the future of the Marvel U could look like if the Universal Church of Truth prevails in its mission, and the end result does not look good for our favorite heroes.
We're immediately shown a world where everything is burning, the sky lit up with fiery red flames. A caption on the first page says this is millions of years in the future, where it's the "End of Everything." The decomposed bones of The Avengers, Spider-Man and the X-Men lay scattered in various locations, with the Universal Church of Truth's spacecraft floating over what's left of the Earth.
Somehow, Star-Lord is still alive and the only human left standing, with one look over his eye revealing the figure of Death standing "high atop a throne of Annihilation..."
Now, the embodiment of Death is typically associated with Thanos, another Guardians of the Galaxy villain, but the dark hood and cloak is similar to the one worn by the Patriarch. If this is true, then the Universal Church of Truth is responsible for this dark future. Of course, there are other scenarios. The scenes of the galaxy burning and the dead superhero bodies are possibly due to their life forces being taken from them, which again points to the villainous cult succeeding in its mission to kill Death. The only way to raise Death is to cause enough loss of life.
Of course, this isn't the first time we've been witnesses to a post-apocalyptic future in the Marvel U. The History of the Marvel Universe features Galactus and Franklin Richards at the end of time, while the X-Men miniseries Powers of X shows what the future holds for Marvel's merry mutants. We'll have to wait and see how the future in Guardians of the Galaxy #9 is any different.