Marvel has always tried to sync their comic lines with their current movie offering, hoping to boost cross sales (it almost never does). When Spider-man 3 was released, the comic book version redonned a black costume because he was really angry or some such. Ghost Rider has been a tough sell comic wise for the last 2 decades, but when a new Nic Cage movie came out there was a comic offering. Now the Marvel studios has everything in alignment for their movie slate, the publishing side has more then ample time to plan. Sequels to Iron Man, Thor, and Cap are all due out before the next Avengers movie. These are all pretty much safe bets. There is one interesting gambit (Remy… pun) before Avengers 2; Guardians of the Galaxy.
Each major publisher has their own version of space cops (DC – Green Lantern Corps). Marvel has the Nova Corps. Earth had it’s own Nova, Rich Rider (Yes past tense. More in a minute). Acting independently from that was the self appointed Guardians of the Galaxy. Their roster has varied slightly over the years, but has mainly consisted of Star-Lord (half Earthling Peter Quill), Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot (I am Groot!). I mention them specifically because they will be the characters in the upcoming film.
Quick comic history. In 2006, the Annihilation Wave (hive minded locust headed by Annihilus) hit the Nova Corps, killing them all except Rich Rider. The wave went through space and Nova, working with the Guardians were able to stop it. Stories with this cast of characters continued till 2010 with the amazing Thanos Imperative. Thanos was the villain seen at the end of The Avengers. Basically Nova (Rich) and Star-Lord stalled Thanos long enough for all three of them to be trapped in the cancer-verse (it’s long and complicated but I swear it’s good). This effectively cancelled the space line of Marvel comics, mostly because no one was reading them.
Now that a Guardians feature is on the docket, the publisher is rebooting their space line. With Marvel NOW! in full swing, what better time to launch some new #1’s. Nova #1 hit last week (written by Jeph Loeb) and was surprisingly good. Rich is still M.I.A. so we saw the origin of a new Earth Nova, Sam Alexander. While the first issue had some cliche familiarity to it, I enjoyed it. This week, Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 was released (Marvel has this thing with numbering .1 issues, don’t ask). This told the origin (more or less) of Star-Lord (written by Brian Michael Bendis). The roster this time is the same listed above to coincide with the movie but with the addition of Iron Man. I don’t know if this to help promote the comic or because he’ll be in the movie (doubtful).
It’s nice that Marvel is taking the time to build this line 1.5 years before the movie, rather than rush something out the door. I have no doubt that if Thanos is the villain in the movie, then that’s who will be the antagonist in the comic.
I really enjoyed the previous run of Marvel space comics and have high hopes for this reboot, though admittedly I’m a little nervous. Before the writers (Abnett and Lanning) could do whatever they wanted because no one was paying attention. Now the current writers are beholden to high powers.
Looking forward to the new Marvel movies? Think Chris Pratt would be an awesome Star-Lord? Comment or tweet!