WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #6 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, David Curiel and Cory Petit, on sale now.
Donny Cates has been taking Marvel's cosmic realm to new heights recently, culminating with a fractured Guardians of the Galaxy trying to stop Thanos' rebirth under the watch of his mistress Hela. Just when they thought Gamora was going to be the vessel for his resurgence, the last issue revealed it was actually his brother Eros, aka Starfox, that would be Hela's pawn.
But, as Issue 6 reaches a fever pitch, the Guardians thankfully arrive in the nick of time to stop Thanos' essence from being transferred into his new body. Sadly, wrapping the "Final Gauntlet" arc comes at a huge price, as two heroes fall in the heat of battle.
Arriving on Knowhere with assistance from the Inhumans' teleporting dog, Lockjaw, Star-Lord (Peter Quill) rallies the troops for the mission of their lives. They can't let Thanos be reborn and so, Quill, Groot, Phylla-Vell, Moondragon, Nova (Richard Rider), the Shi'ar Majestor known as Gladiator, Beta Ray Bill and Nebula form a temporary alliance to stop Hela's sinister quest. They engage the Outriders and the Black Order in one of Star-Lord's most strategically sound plans ever.
With the heavy-hitting Hela preoccupied by Moondragon and Bill, Star-Lord rushes over to stop the transfer of Thanos' mind from Starfox's brain into the clone Hela had. However, Gamora beats him to the punch, and as he tries to talk her into finding a safer alternative, she admits such hope isn't in her nature before she impales Starfox (her uncle) with her sword. He eventually dies from the wound, accepting Gamora had to think about the greater good. Thanos turns into a zombie as a result of this severance, but as Bill deflects a black hole bullet from Hela into the villain, it embeds itself in the purple-skinned tyrant, exploding inside him. Trying to flee, Hela gets sucked in, giving Bill a two-for-one knockout blow.
Now, while it's worth celebrating Thanos' apparent demise again, Starfox's passing brings to an end the tenure of an Avenger who made his debut in 1973's Iron Man #55. Created by Jim Starlin, who often put Starfox and his brother at odds as Titans who had very different visions for the cosmos. Eros became a close friend of Tony Stark and helped Mar-Vell through his cancer battle, also befriending quirky characters like Pip the Troll along the way.
As a member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Eros helped them fight Thanos on numerous occasions, as well as other enemies like Morgan LeFay. Admittedly, due to his powers of persuasion and love of women, he found himself in a few spots of bother, famously going up on trial for tricking She-Hulk into intimate relations. That sexual assault debacle aside, he tried to redeem himself by helping the Avengers fight Ultron and also, aiding Thanos' son, Thane, in his quest to stop the Mad Titan in modern arcs.
Well, it looks like his rivalry with Thanos has finally caught up with him, although Eros died grateful the universe is safe again.
It's a massive cost which goes beyond Eros, though, because as Hela's overpowered by Bill and his Stormbreaker hammer, her hold on the Cosmic Ghost Rider, Frank Castle, is broken, leading to him being dropped into the pits of hell as a dead soul. Frank's been an anti-hero in this title, and someone a remorseful Quill knows he could have turned into an ally, but it looks like that won't be coming to fruition anytime soon.
Lastly, another toll for Thanos' death comes via Gamora's lack of compassion. She's so robotic now and an unforgiving killer, leaving Quill scared of what the woman he loves has devoted into. He's still keeping her on the team, probably to monitor her, but it's clear with this murder of her uncle and her attempts to reshape the universe as Requiem, Gamora's soul is well and truly broken.
Guardians of the Galaxy #7 goes on sale July 24.