WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #8 by Donny Cates, Cory Smith, David Curiel and Cory Petit, in stores now.
In the Guardians of the Galaxy series, the Universal Church of Truth has been slowly becoming a dangerous threat behind the scenes. In the last issue of the series, the Church finally made its move by wiping out nearly all of the Nova Corps, taking J'son of Spartax as its new, mind-controlled leader the Patriarch. The Church also took over half the Guardians prisoner.
Previously, in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1, we learned that the Church had hundreds of prisoners like the Guardians held in stasis. Later on, the comic revealed this version of the Universal Church of Truth is more powerful than ever before because it actually comes from the future. But, until now, we've had no idea exactly what it's been up to, or aiming for. However, Guardians of the Galaxy #8 reveals the Church's plans -- and they lead to an even bigger question.
As the Patriarch, J'son of Spartax is under the control of the Universal Church of Truth collective, and effectively its figurehead. While other Guardians such as Beta Ray Bill, Lockjaw and Phyla-Vell have also fallen victim to the Church's control, J'son has spared his son Peter Quill for the time being. The Patriarch leads Star-Lord on a stroll through the Church's massive ship, where we see all of its prisoners in stasis: Darkhawk, Quasar, Skrulls and more. He explains that the Church isn't just siphoning its prisoners' life essence to power its ship, the prisoners also have something he calls a "trace psychic residue" the villains need to extract.
According to him, this psychic residue is what will help them "kill death" in the future. Then, he finally reveals what this psychic extracting is powering: Adam Warlock's cocoon, which is used to bring the character back to life every time he dies.
However, Adam Warlock is not the one in the cocoon. In fact, the Patriarch himself says so. And how could he be? The last we saw of him, Adam Warlock had helped save an alien race in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1, and he was very much alive. While the Church tried to capture him, it was unsuccessful.
The Church's plan only grows worse when the Patriarch reveals the full scope of what the Church is trying to achieve. It doesn't have just one cocoon -- it has dozens, enough to build an entire army. So who, or what, is in this cocoon? One possibility is that Adam's dark double Magus is the one in the cocoon. After all, Magus was killed by Ultron at the start of the 2018 Infinity Wars event series. What's more, the purple light glowing at the top of each cocoon could further point to Magus, whose skin is colored purple.
However, there's another possibility. Ever since the start of this Guardians of the Galaxy series, Thanos has had a looming presence. Although the Mad Titan is dead, his allies have gone through tremendous trouble to bring him back to life. Unfortunately, their efforts ultimately failed in Guardians of the Galaxy #6, and that was the last we heard of it. But could Thanos be what the Universal Church of Truth is looking to bring back? The color purple certainly applies to the Mad Titan, and the Patriarch's revelation that he intends to "kill death" in the future also has ties to Thanos. What if it's not a figurative "death," but a more literal "Death," with a capital D?
Thanos has had a long and tumultuous relationship with the Marvel Universe's embodiment of Death, and perhaps the Church knows the Mad Titan is its best bet to defeat her. But if it really is Thanos in the cocoon, that means an entire army of Mad Titans is about to be awakened. The Marvel Universe was nearly destroyed by one Thanos. Could it really survive an entire army's worth of them?