The Guardians of the Galaxy Face Marvel's Deadliest Cosmic Empire

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #11 by Donny Cates, Cory Smith, Victor Olazaba, David Curiel and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.

When Donny Cates introduced the Destroyer Horde -- a brainwashed army of Drax clones -- it seemed Star-Lord/Peter Quill and the remaining members of the Guardians of the Galaxy were up against the most lethal legion in the cosmos, with no hope left.

Issue #11, though, unleashes an army that's way more powerful and, given the heavy hitters it boasts from teams seen throughout several cosmic books over the years, it easily makes the newest enemy the Guardians are facing the deadliest empire Marvel has ever had roving its space realm.

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With Patriarch (formerly J'Son of Spartax) now heading up the Universal Church of Truth, Quill is surprisingly short of solutions as he finds his small crew vastly outnumbered. He's getting assistance fighting off the Drax clones thanks to the arrival of a dying Rocket Raccoon in a mech suit, Moondragon and Groot, but they're clearly overwhelmed. They do have one key weapon in Kid Magus, however, who unleashes his wrath on Patriarch, driven by revenge after the Church tried to turn the boy into an instrument of evil.

As utter chaos and mass destruction ensues aboard the Church's flagship, however, Patriarch has an equalizer to Magus just when he's about to run wild. Ready to deal the killing blow to the leader, the kid's blasted unconscious by none other than Gamora. She was abducted and reconditioned by the Church, and is the reason why Quill came hunting his dad. But she's not alone as we see the full kill-squad the Church boasts is way more than just converted Guardians.

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Gamora's joined by the telepathic space-dog Cosmo, Beta Ray Bill (who's holding the incapacitated Groot and Quill), the energy reservoir known as Quasar/Wendell Vaughn, Nebula, the former heralds of Galactus in Terrax and Firelord, not to mention Darkhawk and Phyla-Vell are there as well, ready to raise hell. We can also see the teleporting Inhuman dog, Lockjaw, alongside Corsair's Starjammers who, while they're more like mercenaries and less like the other godlike warriors mentioned, are still a force to be reckoned with.

These are big players -- heroes and villains alike -- who've been at the heart of Marvel's cosmic scene for decades in catastrophic events such as War of Kings, Realm of Kings, Annihilation and Infinity Wars, to name a few. They've made waves, crisis after crisis, and there's no way these Guardians, not even with Kid Magus cutting loose, could contend with such big players. This Church has raw, unfiltered power with an army that's ready to do its bidding without question -- locking Earth in its sight as its final conquest. We've seen the Shi'ar Empire with its Imperial Guard under Gladiator proving its worth in the past, as well as Vulcan's dynasty causing trouble, but the Church easily creates a huge shadow that may well need the Avengers and X-Men to help out.

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We're not exaggerating: no other army, not the Nova Corps, the Brood or Annihilus' forces are a match for what Patriarch has assembled here. These soldiers are diverse with a wide range of abilities and, seeing as they have everything from teleporters to living, breathing atomic bombs to a warrior who's once wielded the power of Odin in Bill, it's going to be a tough ask of anyone to take them down.

Well, with all odds against, there's one Raccoon left standing before they get to Earth, so hopefully the feeble yet loyal Rocket can engineer one last miracle to save his friends and the galaxy he's spent all his lifeguarding.

Guardians of the Galaxy #12 concludes this run from Cates, and goes on sale Dec. 18.

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