Before you play the new game, read up on its comic book prequel!

The Guardians of the Galaxy have defied expectations, as the ragtag team of space adventurers jumped from comics to movies to cartoons and now video games with “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series,” an interactive episodic game series launching today.

But wait—it doesn’t end there.

The team has now come full circle, as writer Fred Van Lente and artist Salva Espin get set to tell the story of what happened before the story that will unfold in the game with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE TELLTALE SERIES, a five-issue comic book prequel to Telltale’s game beginning in July.

We caught up with Van Lente and Marvel Games Creative Director Bill Rosemann to find out more about the new series.

Marvel.com: Fred, you’re working on a comic based on the Guardians of the Galaxy video game…which in turn was based on the comic. What’s it been like working on this particular version of the characters?

Fred Van Lente: Though the Telltale Series takes place in its own universe separate from either [the Marvel Universe] or the [Marvel Cinematic Universe], the Guardians should be pretty familiar with everyone who’s seen the movie. Star-Lord is brash and cocky, Gamora is a badass, Drax doesn’t get metaphors, Rocket is driven by money and gadgetry, and Groot is…you know. He’s Groot.

Marvel.com: What details can you share on the story? I hear there’s a heist. Any hints on what the Guardians are looking for?

Fred Van Lente: Let’s see here…how to answer this without getting too spoilery…they have to perform a rescue mission from the gladiatorial pits of Sakaar—which I wrote way before the “Thor: Ragnarok” trailer came out; I swear—that leads them to an even bigger score. I won’t give away what it is they’re after, but it sets [up] the plot of the Telltale Series nicely. Suffice it to say it is found [on] Titan, the homeworld of the Death-obsessed Thanos, currently taken over by wall-to-wall scum and villainy who worship him as a god! This is a science fiction heist like no other, where one misstep is death.

Marvel.com: Which characters have you really enjoyed writing for this project? Who stands out or surprised you with how much you enjoyed writing them?

Fred Van Lente: You know, I’ve long been a big Guardians fan, dating back to the original team with Martinex and Vance Astro and the like, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually written them. I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy Quill. I always like lovable rogue characters, but he’s vulnerable enough—and just unsure enough of himself—to make his arc really interesting.

Marvel.com: What sort of “research” has gone into this book? And by that I mean, how many hours have you logged playing the game?

Fred Van Lente: [Laughs] Telltale was kind enough to send the first chapter of the series over for me, and I must say it is pretty rad. I think both Telltale fans and Guardians fans are going to be super-pleased.

Marvel.com: Telltale has a reputation for telling great stories with their games. What’s it been like working with them on the comic?

Fred Van Lente: Very cool. I have actually written for them before on the games side, and it is great to work with a gaming company that places such an importance on story; and this comics adventure will reflect that as well.

Marvel.com: Bill, you have a long history with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Did you ever expect to see this ragtag group you helped put together find such success both in comics and in other media?

Bill Rosemann: Yes, I absolutely believed in the Guardians’ potential. Our underdogs were a diamond in the rough. They are as relatable and complex and inspirational as all of Marvel’s best characters; they just needed the platform and spotlight. And as a real-life father, this feels—in an odd and smaller way—like a proud papa watching his kids up on stage showing the world what you’ve always loved and believed about them. You’re happy, you’re proud, you’re humbled, and you know you’re lucky to have been given the opportunity to have—along with many, many others who equally love them—a [role] in their well-earned and deserved success.

Marvel.com: Do you have any hints or teases as to what folks can expect from the comic as well as the game it’s based on?

Bill Rosemann: As with all of Telltale’s award-winning games, our experience is chock full of the drama, humor, spectacle, emotion and stakes that are shaped by every decision that the player makes. You are Star-Lord, and the choices you make—both your words to your actions—influence in positive and negative ways the health and very survival of not only entire civilizations, but in a very personal way, your [makeshift]—and no less loved—family. Accordingly, the editorial team of Jordan White, Darren Shan and Kathleen Wisneski, were so smart in their casting of writer Fred Van Lente and artist Salva Espin, who are perfect picks to not only deliver all of these elements, but expand the story to look at the crazy events that led to the start of our game!

Marvel.com: With Guardians and other games like “Marvel Avengers Academy,” it seems that your team is creating worlds that are similar to, yet also somewhat distinct from, what we’re seeing in the comic book Marvel Universe. Are there other video game projects you’d like to see become comics as well?

Bill Rosemann: Our team views each of our games as standalone experiences that—while being inspired by our awesome comics, TV shows and films—unite the greatest characters with the best partners to deliver the most accessible, epic and all-new stories to Marvel fans. We are obsessed with delivering the best games, period. That said, if editors and creators are inspired to join the fun, we’d love to see additional games like “Marvel Future Fight,” “Marvel Heroes Omega,” “Avengers Academy,” “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite,” “Spider-Man” and [our upcoming] Avengers project leap into comic book form. So as Stan Lee himself says, “Stay tuned, True Believers!”

Play “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series” right now, and read GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE TELLTALE SERIES from Fred Van Lente and Salva Espin starting in July!

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Download the series premiere episode featuring Star-Lord and company!

Award-winning developer and publisher of digital entertainment, Telltale Games, along with Marvel Entertainment, today announced that the first of five “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series” episodes is now available for $4.99 USD or equivalent on PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One®, Windows PC, and Mac. The episode will also be available to download on the App Store® and Google Play™ later this week.

The series will also be available as a special “Season Pass Disc” on May 2 at retailers across North America for an MSRP of $29.99 USD, and on May 5 at retailers elsewhere across the globe. The special “Season Pass Disc” will include Episode One: Tangled Up in Blue, and will grant access to download the subsequent four episodes via online updates as they are released in the coming months of 2017. Additional platforms for release are yet to be announced.

“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series” is a brand-new story of the universe’s unlikeliest Super Heroes: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot. In the wake of an epic battle, the Guardians discover an artifact of unspeakable power. Each of them has a reason to desire this relic, as does a ruthless enemy who is the last of her kind, and who will stop at nothing to tear it from their hands.

From Earth to the Milano to Knowhere and beyond, and set to the beat of awesome music, you wear the rocket-powered boots of Star-Lord in an original Guardians adventure, where your decisions and actions drive the story you experience.

The series will feature a star-studded cast of voice talent, including Scott Porter (“Friday Night Lights,” “The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series”) as Star-Lord, Emily O’Brien (“The Young and the Restless,” “Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor”) as Gamora, Nolan North (the Uncharted series, “Pretty Little Liars”) as Rocket, Brandon Paul Eells (“Watch Dogs”) as Drax, and Adam Harrington (“The Wolf Among Us,” “League of Legends”) as Groot.

For more on “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series,” visit the official website!

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Discover what happened to Star-Lord, Nova, and Thanos in the Cancerverse!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

One of the biggest mysteries ever surrounding the Guardians of the Galaxy finally got answered as part of the Original Sin event in the pages of Brian Michael Bendis’ first run on the series during issues #1820. Drawn by Ed McGuinness and Valerio Schiti, these issues explained exactly what happened to Star-Lord, Nova, Drax, and Thanos when they locked themselves away in the Cancerverse at the end of THE THANOS IMPERATIVE. Readers knew that Peter Quill along with Drax and Thanos had mysteriously returned from that death-defying dimension sans Nova, but didn’t know the how or the why until Gamora literally knocked Star-Lord out, tied him to a chair and demanded to hear the truth.

Peter Quill and Richard Rider sealed themselves in the Cancerverse armed with their powers as well as a Cosmic Cube in an effort to imprison Thanos there and then kill him, probably losing their own lives in the process. After the two sides beat up on each other for a bit, the Mad Titan tried stopping the aggression, telling Quill that he should hand over the Cube in order for them to escape. The heroes didn’t think that such a great idea, but the conversation officially ended when Drax reappeared, surprising all as he had apparently died earlier in THANOS IMPERATIVE.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #18

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #18

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The ensuing battles proved one basic thing: this quartet from another dimension could not die in the Cancerverse. Adding to the problems, the Cube nearly took over Star-Lord and then the Revengers appeared to wreak their own brand of havoc. Understanding that the never-ending cycle of battle, death, and rebirth would become a kind of hell they did not envision when developing this plan originally, the heroes wanted to return home. Ultimately, Rider used the combined power of the Nova Force and the Cosmic Cube to become a door through which they could venture back to the Marvel Universe.

Before sacrificing himself, Nova ran down some of his never-to-be wants and desires, including an admission that he loved Gamora. He also made Peter and Drax swear not to tell her what happened to them on this adventure. With that, they blinked back to existence on Earth and the rest, as they say, is history.

Transmissions from Knowhere

The GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: ORIGINAL SIN trade collection not only included the above story, but also the symbiote-themed tale seen in issues #2123. Still wandering around Knowhere, Flash Thompson seemed to have gone nuts along with his Venom symbiote. Thanks to happenstance, Gamora showed up, beat him down and then recaptured her teammate. After Groot, Rocket, and Drax got taken over by the alien “costume,” the last one got them all to the planet of the symbiotes—otherwise known as the Klyntar—where they healed Venom and upgraded his interface with Thompson. The story also set up the idea that the Klyntar actually fancy themselves intergalactic protectors, but noted that many hosts offer plenty of problems, especially if they’re damaged like Venom and Carnage. This then lead directly into the VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT series that lasted for 13 issues!

Next time, find out the big deal about this whole Black Vortex thing in an epic crossover event!

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Peter Quill finds trouble on his own with Thanos, Mister Knife, and more!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

In 2014, Peter Quill broke out on his own in a series called LEGENDARY STAR-LORD that ran for 12 issues, leading into and ending with a story tied to the Black Vortex event. Sam Humphries wrote the book for its full run with artwork by Paco Medina, Joshua Williams II, and Freddie Williams.

To kick things off, Star-Lord got caught trying to steal the Mandalay Gem from an orphanage not only by the people living there, but by a bunch of barbaric Badoon. Even though he got captured, Peter used rocket boots, his space phone, a call to Kitty Pryde, and a bit of cunning to get out with gem in hand.

He then ran into Captain Victoria of Spartax, who happened to be his half-sister. Though they didn’t hit it off right off the bat, the two did agree to steal huge amounts of cash from Fortress Viderdoom. This marked one of many acts on Quill’s part that garnered the attention of the nefarious Mister Knife.

Legendary Star-Lord (2014) #1

Legendary Star-Lord (2014) #1

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Not long after, another prison escape introduced Peter to Lydia, the operating system driving a hot-rodded ship called Bad Boy. He flew in that vessel to confront Thanos with the Mandalay Gem, but the brawl didn’t result in much as a killing blow would have also destroyed the Moon, throwing Earth out of whack in the process.

From there, the rest of the story focused on Star-Lord taking on Mister Knife’s Slaughter Squad. First they stole the Black Vortex and then they continually tried to kill Peter while on a holo-date with Kitty. When that ended with Peter’s capture, Kitty stole one of Tony Stark’s spaceships and took off to save her super-long-distance boyfriend.

Kitty used her powers to fly through the prison, grab Peter, and then phase them both through the planet itself in order to save him. While the love birds enjoyed being in physical proximity to one another again, Mister Knife continued his plans for the Black Vortex by scheming to recruit Thanos’ son Thane.

Oh, by the way, did we mention that Mister Knife is actually Peter’s dad, J’Son, the deposed emperor of Spartax? Talk about taking the whole adversarial parent thing too far! We’ll see how all of this shakes out when we get to the Black Vortex crossover after examining how the Guardians made it through Original Sin!

Transmissions from Knowhere

We’ve gotten pretty far into the Guardians’ history without actually talking about Star-Lord’s origins, so let’s take care of that now. The character debuted in the black and white magazine MARVEL PREVIEW #4 in a story by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan. In that issue, his dad flipped out immediately after Peter’s birth and attempted to cut the baby up with an ax because the new addition didn’t look enough like the supposed father. Luckily for the baby, the old man had a heart attack and died, leaving him to sit under the stars until his mom could recover enough to find him. Later, aliens murdered his mother, which drove his fascination with the stars even further, leading him down a path that would head to NASA and eventually space. Once there, a being called the Master of the Sun made him a Starlord. As you can tell, these stories don’t exactly jive with the ones told in current comics. That’s because they’ve been retconned to an alternate reality dubbed Earth-791.

Find out what happened to Star-Lord, Nova, and Thanos in the Cancerverse with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1823!

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Before facing a new foe, the team takes time to bond closer together!

The space-faring team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy—a self-appointed title with no formal rights or responsibilities—came to our office with a request that our staff help them improve the ways in which they interact and work with one another. After meeting with the entire team and each member individual, what follows below is the program of workshops we are presenting to them to address their stated needs.

Recognizing Leadership- The Guardians—like so many groups of diverse people who consistently are placed in stressful situations—sometimes struggle with the chain of command. They can be prone to disrespecting those in leadership roles, rejecting plans to do things on their own, or—either consciously or not—failing to step up and seize a leadership position when necessary. This workshop seeks to empower all members to be both good leaders and good team members and better recognize when the time is to be one or the other.

Communication is Key!– Continuing from the theme above, even when roles are clear and understood, there are moments where it is necessary to convey disagreement, ask for clarification, or express feelings of being underappreciated. When such times come and the people involved are unprepared to communicate their needs, wants, opinions, or facts clearly and concisely, it can cause great strains on team cohesion. This breakout session will teach the Guardians how to decide when and where it is appropriate to raise objections, express feelings, or ask for more information and the best way to do that in a number of scenarios. This session is high in role plays and tends to be a lot of fun for all involved!

Resisting All-Powerful Beings– A relatively new addition to our staff, the Stepford Cuckoos are full of great tips and tricks on how to take on impossibly powerful cosmic beings without losing one’s head. Some past participants have found this workshop to be “overly aggressive” but we have been working on improving that aspect of it because we believe in the content.

Stress as Friend…and FOE!– Space travel in and of itself can be a mental and physical stressor. Add in evading hostile attempts to destroy your space craft, landing on worlds unlike ones you have ever seen before, and a wide range of violent encounters from hand to hand combat to small nuclear arms—and beyond—and you have a situation where your heart may be getting a workout all day every day. This three hour two session workshop helps participants recognize “good” and “bad” stress and how they can affect us all similarly and differently.

Mastering Your Brain– Once the Guardians have the psychoeducation about stress presented above, this breakout session will give them the tools to deal with it. Increasing their range of coping skills by reviewing mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques will help these adventurers be more effective at their jobs and in their personal lives. Another participation heavy group that participants seem to find just find delightful.

Telling Stress to Go Boom– We are outsourcing on this and cannot speak to its validity. However, the Guardian known as Rocket insisted on discussing “the therapeutic benefits of making stuff blow up” or “no deal,” so we found what we believe to be one of the better instructors in this area, a Mr. Paul Denning. We look forward to seeing his approach in action and possibly adding it to future retreat programs.

Trust Me!– This classic series of rapport building and trust exercises is everyone’s favorite breakout group and for good reason! Any team worth its weight in the crushing responsibility of knowing you are the only thing standing between the universe and a being that seeks to enslave every living creature and reduce freedom to nil cannot help but “graduate” from this one feeling closer than ever to be one another.

The retreat begins with Doctors Jim Starlin and Alan Davis on May 3 and runs every Wednesday through the end of the month. You can review the program as it progresses in the file GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MOTHER ENTROPY!

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who loves a good breakout sesh.

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So, you think you know the Guardians of the Galaxy?

With the incredibly epic “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” coming out in May, it’s time for you to brush up on the history of the Guardians.

Let’s start with the team’s heroic members…ALL of them. Don’t be surprised when you’re told by hard core fans that the first movie barely scratches the surface when it comes to the team’s lore. Did you know that there are two different teams? From two different universes? That’s right. The quirky, yet valiant, team of Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), Gamora, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Drax the Destroyer are only a small part of the group. The first formation of the group starts in the distant future of the 31st century, in alternate universe, where a couple of unlikely heroes emerged, including Yondu Udonta (yes, you read that right). For now, let’s begin with some familiar faces.

The Current Guardians

With their first appearance in 2008, these Guardians of the Galaxy formed as a group opposing the Phalanx conquest of the Kree system and stayed together in an attempt to prevent any further catastrophes from ever occurring. 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

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Peter Quill

Peter Quill

Peter Quill was conceived from the love between the terran Meredith Quill and the Spartoi Emperor J’son. After being abducted by a pirate crew, captained by the fearsome Yondu, Quill would eventually escape and set out to become “Star-Lord,” a title his father once dawned. After the events of the Phalanx Invasion, Quill realized that the universe was in dire need of protecting. With the aid of Mantis telepathically urging his recruits, Quill formed the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Spartoi Physiology: Peter is half-Human, half-Spartoi giving him peak human abilities such as human strength, durability, agility, stamina, and longevity
  • Link with Ship: He is psionically linked to his starship, “Ship,” a living entity

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Kree Heat-Dampening Espionage Battle Suit: Star-Lord was outfitted with a Kree-issued heat-dampening espionage battle suit, his hallmark look; a battle helmet; and a universal translator. His famous battle helmet analyzes strategy data, as well as improve vision and regulate oxygen while in space.
  • Star-Lord Armor: Quill wears a suit that grants augmented strength and durability, and the ability to travel through space with ease.
  • Mandalay Gem: Alien technological mineral of celestial making; the gem utilizes cosmic energies to provide its user with vast and versatile capability, both in combat and travel
  • Element Gun: A pistol capable of conjuring one of the four elements
  • Kree Sub-Machine Gun: Star-Lord’s chosen weapons are two Kree sub-machine guns with various types of ammunition, including explosives

First Appearance: Marvel Preview #4 (January, 1976)

Marvel Preview (1977) #4

Marvel Preview (1977) #4

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Drax the Destroyer

Drax the Destroyer

Originally a real estate agent, this unlucky soul bumped into Thanos, setting off a chain of events. Thanos’ grandfather, Kronos, fashioned a new body made from the Earth’s soil to give Arthur Douglas superhuman abilities, transforming him into the awesome Drax the Destroyer. After the events of Annihilation, Drax was recruited by the legendary Star-Lord to join the butt-kicking Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Enhanced Physiology: Due to his new body, Drax has a number of superhuman abilities including strength, stamina, durability, senses, and an accelerated healing factor
  • Cosmic Awareness: He possesses a low-level form of cosmic awareness that allows him to track Thanos

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Twin Knives: While Drax is more than proficient in combat, he is always carrying his handy twin Knives

First Appearance: Iron Man #55 (February, 1973) 

Iron Man (1968) #55

Iron Man (1968) #55

  • Published: February 10, 1973
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 05, 2008
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Cosmo

Cosmo

A former test animal of the Soviet Space Program, Cosmo launched into Earth’s orbit as part of an experiment. He drifted off into space during the 1960’s, arriving in “Knowhere.” Mysteriously mutated, this daring Golden Labrador Retriever mix came to serve as the station’s security chief. Currently, Cosmo acts as a liaison for the Guardians and assists them in plotting courses for areas of the universe in peril.

Powers:

  • Telekinesis: A wide range of telekinetic powers including telepathic cloak, illusions, mind control, mental paralysis, psionic blast, and mental detection
  • Extended Longevity: Cosmo is decades older than the normal life expectancy of other dogs

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Space suit: Cosmo’s original Soviet Space suit given to him during the space race of the 1960’s.

First appearance: Nova #8 (January, 2008)  

Nova (2007) #8

Nova (2007) #8

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Bug

Bug

Bug is a master thief from the Insectivorid homeworld “Kaliklak” based in the Microverse. A member of the Microns, Bug is an adept fighter who joined the Guardians after Rocket Raccoon asked him when the original group disbanded.

Powers:

  • Insectivorid Physiology: Bug’s native abilities are considered superhuman compared to other humanoids. His powers include great strength, speed, stamina, agility, durability, reflexes, recuperative powers, balance, coordination, and sense of equilibrium.
  • Wall-Crawling: Ability to cling to surfaces and scale them like any insect
  • Danger-Sense: Similar to Spider-Man, this ability, in the form of a tingling sensation at the base of his skull, alerts him to danger
  • Antennae: Ability to communicate with other antennae-beings over a limited amount of space

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Gilder-Pac: A telepathically-controlled glider-pac enabling flight
  • Rocket Lance: Bug’s weapon of choice, which can fire varying intensities of energy, and can return to his hand if thrown

First Appearance: Micronauts #1 (January, 1979)

Gamora

Gamora

Gamora is the sole survivor of an alien humanoid race called the Zen Whoberis, a peace-loving tribe whose population was wiped out by a zealous religious order seeking to establish a galaxy-wide empire. The mad Titan Thanos rescued Gamora and brought her to a time period at least two decades prior to her people’s deaths, travelling from Earth-7528 to Earth-616. Aboard his space station Sanctuary, Thanos raised Gamora and used advanced technology to endow her with enhanced humanoid abilities. Feeling lost after the Phalanx Invasion, Gamora joined the Guardians of the Galaxy to give new purpose to her life

Powers:

  • Zen Whoberis Physiology: Slight superhuman strength, durability, endurance and reflexes, as well as a healing factor
  • Enhanced Physiology: Raised to be a deadly assassin by Thanos, he enhanced her body with advanced technologies; because of this, Gamora is a master in martial arts, various weaponry and an expert marksman and tactician.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Time Gem
  • The Godslayer

First Appearance: Strange Tales #180 (June, 1975)  

Strange Tales (1973) #180

Strange Tales (1973) #180

  • Published: June 10, 1975
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 30, 2012
  • Writer: Jim Starlin
  • Penciler: Jim Starlin
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Groot

Groot

Groot is a Flora colossus from Planet X, the capital of the branch worlds. During his adulthood, Groot wandered around Kree space exploring galaxies until he was captured and imprisoned. While in jail, he formed a rapport with Rocket Raccoon and was assigned to a covert ops team led by Star-Lord, which would eventually become the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Cellular Regeneration: As a flora, Groot can regenerate any part of his body. He has almost died on three separate occasions, each time regenerating from a twig.
  • Growth: Apart of the cellular regeneration, Groot can grow and extend his body at extreme speeds
  • Plasticity: Ability to stretch his limbs for long distances and reshape them for a variety of tasks
  • Superhuman Strength: Groot’s tree-like form provides him great strength
  • Control Over Other Plants: Groot has the power to control other plants, especially his own physical form. He can turn his hands into blades, grow in size altogether, or even use that power to heal himself from fatal wounds.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Groot’s Body: As mentioned before, Groot can manipulate his body in various ways as well as manipulate other plants, using them as weapons in place of more conventional ones

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (November, 1960)  

Tales to Astonish (1959) #13

Tales to Astonish (1959) #13

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Jack Flag

Jack Flag

Born Jack Harrison, he took on the alias Jack Flag to impress Captain America. During an undercover mission accident, Jack Flag was drenched in chemicals created by Mr. Hyde, giving him superhuman abilities. During a time in Prison 42, he crossed paths with Star-Lord who saved his life by bringing him back to his base. Grateful, Flag decided to stick around and join the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Hyde Formula: Various superhuman attributes as a result of being doused with the chemicals that Calvin Zabo used to transform himself into Mr. Hyde. These attributes include superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and a regenerative healing factor.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Weapon Technology: Various weapons and tech designed by his brother, Drake, including a boom box which contained rockets and fireworks

First Appearance: Captain America #434 (December, 1994)  

Captain America (1968) #434

Captain America (1968) #434

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Mantis

Mantis

As a child, Mantis trained with the alien Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree, who believed that she might become the “Celestial Madonna.” Experiencing a vision during the time of the Annihilation Wave, she allowed herself to become imprisoned to wait for Star-Lord to aid in his quest. After a series of events saving and being saved by Star-Lord and his crew, she joined the ranks of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Telepathy: Repeatedly demonstrated telepathy as well as a variety of other mental powers
  • Astral Projection: Projects her astral form, allowing her to travel interplanetary distances. Recreating a body out of the destination planet’s local vegetation, her fighting skills remain intact and her emphatic abilities heightened to a superhuman degree and extended to the planet’s flora and biosphere.
  • Chlorokinesis: The ability to control the vegetation within her vicinity. Mantis was able to accelerate her teammate Groot’s cellular growth rate.
  • Pyrokinesis: Mantis burned her teammate Groot’s internal sap with her mental powers, immediately lighting him on fire from the inside
  • Precognition: The ability to foresee almost all the events that would occur during her mission with Star-Lord and their teammates
  • Enhanced Durability: Physically-enhanced durability as well as immunity to mental and metaphysical assaults
  • Self-Healing: The ability to will herself to heal

Weapons & Equipment: None

First Appearance: Avengers #112 (June, 1973)  

Avengers (1963) #112

Avengers (1963) #112

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Moondragon

Moondragon

Heather Douglas is the daughter of Arthur Douglas, whose reanimated corpse had transformed into Drax the Destroyer. After a car explosion killed her parents, Thanos’ father Mentor took Heather back to Titan. After unlocking her psychic powers, she came under the influence of a powerful entity known as the Dragon of the Moon. Escaping his clutches and filled with pride, she took the name Moondragon. Like many of the other members, Moondragon crossed paths with Star-Lord after the Annihilation Wave and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy where she continues to fight alongside them.

Powers:

  • Psionics: One of the most powerful human born telepaths ever; repeatedly demonstrating mental psionic energy usage far in advance of all human and human mutants, including that of the world-renowned telepaths Professor Charles Xavier, Emma Frost and Jean Grey. Some of the abilities with this power include telepathy and telekinesis.
  • Dragon Form: The ability to assume the form of a strong and durable dragon capable of faster-than-light speed travel and surviving in outer space without air

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Conventional and Unconventional Weapons: Guns, staffs, and plasma weapons

First Appearance: Iron Man #54 (January, 1973)  

Phyla-Vell

Phyla-Vell

When a new universe was created (after the destruction from the insane Genis-Vell), Phyla-Vell emerged as one of the new alterations. She is the second artificially-created offspring of Captain Marvel. After the events of the Annihilation Wave, Phyla-Vell decided to join a group that would protect the universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Kree Heritage: Possesses superhuman strength, the ability to fly, and a fraction of her father’s cosmic awareness
  • Energy Absorption: Like a sponge, she can absorb most outside energy sources directed at her

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Nega Bands: These powerful bands give the wearer a wide array of powers and abilities including: increased physical strength, interstellar flight, the ability to absorb & manipulate various types of energy, increased invulnerability to physical attacks, survival in the vacuum of space, and no need for food, water, air or sleep

First Appearance: Captain Marvel Vol 5 #16 (January, 2004) 

Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon is the result of sentient robots who used genetic engineering to give intelligence and sentience to animals so they wouldn’t have to take care of crazy people, and instead, could start their own colony far away. Think that sounds crazy? Well, clearly you haven’t met Rocket Raccoon. A near diabolical genius and weapons expert with a love for violence, this raccoon has it all. During the events of the Phalanx Invasion, Rocket was paired with Star-Lord, Groot, and others to form a tactical team. Eventually they would form the Guardians of the Galaxy where Rocket would act as a second-in-command, sometimes acting as a de-facto leader.

Powers:

  • Raccoon Physiology: Rocket possesses the same enhanced abilities attributed to Earth raccoons, including an acute sense of smell and sharp eyesight
  • Enhanced Physiology: Enhancements from the robot stewards gave Rocket enhanced intelligence, which over time, allowed him to become an expert in marksmanship, martial arts, tactician, and strategist.

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Rocket-Powered Jet Boots: Also known as his “rocket skates,” not only do they propel him around but the exhaust is powerful enough to be used as a short ranged weapon
  • Dual Laser Pistols: One of Rocket’s go-to weapons are his dual laser pistols as well as other assorted heavy weapons

First Appearance: Marvel Preview #7 (June 1976)  

Marvel Preview (1977) #7

Marvel Preview (1977) #7

  • Published: July 10, 1976
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 28, 2016
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Adam Warlock

Adam Warlock

Created by a group of researches known as “The Enclave,” Adam Warlock is the pinnacle of future human evolution. Adam Warlock commands the mighty Soul Gem, given to him by the High Evolutionary. Due to disastrous events after the Annihilation Wave, he was given newfound powers and became an active force in the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Enhanced Biology: Possesses a number of superhuman properties and powers derived from his artificially-altered genetic structure including strength, speed, stamina, durability, and agility
  • Immortality: While Warlock can be killed, he never truly dies due to the fact his soul is so strong, even Death herself cannot claim his soul
  • Matter Manipulation: Ability to convert energy into matter and the ability to have absolute control over the process
  • Cosmic Awareness: Ability to detect or produce wormholes and other irregularities in space on a cosmic scale

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Soul Gem (Formerly): At one point Warlock possessed the Soul Gem, one of the legendary Infinity Gems, giving him the power to drain and control the life essences (or spirits) of living (or dead) organisms. This gem possessed a consciousness of its own, and displayed a vampiric hunger for the life-essences of living beings. Warlock was so accomplished at the gem’s usage that he could use its energies to project energy blasts, protective shields, and blasts of mystic energies capable of disrupting the karmic centers of living beings.
  • Karmic Staff: An extension of Warlock’s own life-essence, and its properties make it seemingly unbreakable. He can focus mystic energies through this staff with greater accuracy than he could by other means.

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #66 (September 1967)  

Fantastic Four (1961) #66

Fantastic Four (1961) #66

  • Published: September 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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Guardians of the Galaxy (3000)

Guardians of the Galaxy (3000)

The original group under this galactic moniker, first appeared in the January 1969 publication of Marvel Super-Heroes! Forming in the year 3007, after the Badoon held each member captive and invading their solar system, the team escaped to kick major butt and continued to fight for peace and prosperity throughout the galaxy.

Charlie-27

Charlie-27

Genetically engineered to live in Jupiter’s gravity, Charlie-27 is a soldier and space pilot, once captain in the United Lands Earth Space Militia. In 3007 A.D., the alien Badoon invaded the solar system, performing various acts of genocide. Charlie was the only survivor of his world due to being on a long-term space mission. He joined forces with Martinex, Yondu, and Vance Astro to form the Guardians of the Galaxy, a band of freedom fighters.

Powers:

  • Jovian Ancestry: His Jovian ancestry makes him 11 times stronger and 11 times denser than a normal human being, giving him superhuman strength, stamina, and durability

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Guardian Communicator/ Teleporter Star: Allows the Guardians to access their ships’ teleportation system
  • Yondu’s Yaka Dagger: Given as a gift from Yondu, Charlie is never seen without it

First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)  

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

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Martinex T’Naga

Martinex T’Naga

Pluvian scientist Martinex’s body is completely covered by facets that were crystalline in appearance, allowing Pluvians to withstand the extreme temperatures of their world. When the Badoon attempted to exterminate all the Pluvians, Martinex escaped the Badoon and teamed with Vance Astro, Charlie-27, and Yondu to fight the Badoon as the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Pluvian Physiology: Descended from the original human colonists of Pluto who were genetically-engineered to survive on that world. As a result, Martinex is a silicone-based lifeform with strength, durability, enhanced vision, ability to survive in a vacuum, and temperature resistance. He can withstand a greater range of hot or cold temperatures than humans
  • Thermokinesis: Martinex’s physiology can further improve his resistance to temperature extremes by siphoning excess heat out of the environment to warm up, or venting his own body heat to cool down. Martinex can also focus this effect offensively to project thermal beams of heat or cold.

Weapons & Equipment: None

First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)

Nikki Gold

Nikki Gold

Born on the Planet Mercury in the 31st Century, Nicholette “Nikki” Gold joined the Guardians of the Galaxy when she escaped the clutches of the Badoon invasion that killed her parents right before her eyes. Discovered on an abandoned spacecraft by the Guardians, she joined their ranks seeking excitement and adventures after years of solitude.

Powers:

  • Mercurian Physiology: A member of the genetically-engineered offshoot of humanity whose traits were designed for survival in the harsh conditions of the planet Mercury. As such, she possesses the ability to see in intense light, has a built-up resistance to heat and most types of radiation. Nikki’s hair is made of fire and she can potentially burn people with just a touch of her hand, due to an incredibly high body temperature.
  • Combat Skills: Extensive proficiency in hand-to-hand combat and proficiency in gymnastics and sharp-shooting

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Wrist Blasters: Twin wrist blasters with a range of settings from stun to kill

First Appearance: Marvel Presents #4 (April, 1976)

Starhawk

Starhawk

Stakar Ogord is the adoptive son of Ogord the Reaver. Growing up, he was raised alongside Ogord’s true daughter Aleta. The two found a statue of the Hawk God, which merged their beings together. Stakar emerged as the dominant being causing him to take on the mantle of Starhawk. At some point, his adult mind was sent back in time to his infant body to repeat his life, with the cycle repeating over and over again. He adopts the title “The One Who Knows,” predicting things that would happen in people’s lives. Starhawk would go on to nudge events in the right direction to allow for the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He joins their ranks and convinces them to lead a life as space explorers and protect the universe.

Powers:

  • Hawk God: The true extent of these powers are unknown. However, his inherited powers include superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes, and enhanced senses
  • Immortality: No longer ages and is immune to disease and infection
  • Light Manipulation: He can manipulate light to create concussive force blasts of photonic energy, heat, and solid-light constructs
  • Flight: Surrounding himself with intermingled photons and anti-gravitons, Starhawk can fly at great speeds

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Starhawk’s Suit: Made of alien materials, including a retracting transparent face-mask, life support system, and retractable solar wind collector wings, which can harness light waves and photonic particles from solar winds, producing easier and faster flight

First Appearance: Defenders #27 (September, 1975)  

Defenders (1972) #27

Defenders (1972) #27

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Talon

Talon

A member of the Inhumans in the 31st century, Talon is a beastly-looking creature with a heart of gold. Working under the tutelage of Soccer Supreme Krugarr, Talon saved Major Victory after battling a gang of thugs.

Powers:

  • Inhuman Superpower: As a member of the Inhumans, he possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes
  • Beastly Physique: As a literal beast, Talon possesses razor sharp claws on his hands and feet. Aside from being razor sharp and used in the conventional sense, Talon has the unique ability to fire these claws as projectile weapons, re-growing new ones almost instantly. These claw projectiles could be as deadly as high caliber bullets.

Weapons & Equipment: None

First Appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #18 (November, 1991)  

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #18

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) #18

  • Published: November 01, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 21, 2016
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Jim Valentino
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Yondu Udonta

Yondu Udonta

Yondu Udonta started his life as a game hunter from the primitive Zatoan tribe native to Centauri-IV. After being captured by the vicious Badoon, he encountered Vance Astro, Charlie-27, and Martinex T’naga, where they banded together to fight the Badoon and become the incredibly impressive Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Zatoan Intuition: While Yondu displays no superhuman physical powers, he is a natural mystic like his entire tribe. He possesses an intuitive sixth sense that permits him limited emphatic relationships with other lifeforms. The higher the lifeform, the more limited his emphatic potential

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Yaka Arrow: Yondu always carries a 5-foot single curve bow and a quiver of arrows composed of Yaka, a special sound-sensitive metal found only on Centauri IV. A Yaka Arrow can change its direction (but not speed) in response to certain high-octave whistle sounds some Centaurians produce.

First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)  

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

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Major Victory

Major Victory

Last, but certainly not least, U.S. Air Force pilot turned astronaut, Vance Astro, took on a special mission to colonize a distant planet. After escaping the clutches of an evil organization and realizing he had been in suspended animation for centuries, Astro would go on to lead a group of fellow adventurers called the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers:

  • Psychokinesis: Vance Astro possesses the psionic ability to affect matter with his mind

Weapons & Equipment:

  • Passport armbands: Allows him to use Knowhere’s teleporters to teleport instantly
  • Captain America’s Shield: During the time when he carried Cap’s shield in combat, he would use his power to propel the shield and manipulate its flight path, simulating Cap’s use of the shield as a throwing weapon

First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January, 1969)  

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

Marvel Super-Heroes (1967) #18

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Can Peter Quill escape his father in time to save his friends?

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

The Guardians of the Galaxy made plenty of enemies in the first year of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ run on their book. In addition to continually embarrassing King J’Son of Spartax, they also interfered in a Shi’Ar trial and continually put the beat down on the Badoon. So, it didn’t come as an incredible surprise when their foes made a big play, taking the team members out when they were alone or in pairs. Bendis began the tale in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #14 and carried through issue #17 with artists Nick Bradshaw, Cameron Stewart, Todd Nauck, David Marquez, Michael Avon Oeming, and others.

Spartax ships captured Star-Lord and Rocket in a space fight, an Accuser bounty hunter nailed Gamora, and the Shi’Ar grabbed Drax, leaving new member Agent Venom behind to fend for himself. That proved just the beginning of the trouble, though. Rocket wound up being experimented on by the Kree Supreme Intelligence’s best scientists while Drax found himself facing Gladiator in combat. Gamora’s captor delivered her to the Badoon homeworld to pay for earlier transgressions, Skrulls experimented on Venom’s symbiote, the Brood stranded Groot on a desert planet, and J’Son imprisoned his son.

In an attempt to escape, Peter Quill jumped off a building while still handcuffed only to have Captain Marvel swoop in and grab him. After getting his gear back, Star-Lord humiliated his dad on intergalactic broadcast. This time, the people of Spartax listened and decided to overthrow their leader.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #14

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #14

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As Star-Lord and Captain Marvel flew away, they got in contact with Gamora, who had been saved by Angela. After reuniting, they travelled to get Drax, who had entered into mortal combat with Gladiator. The Kree then returned Rocket of their own volition and gave the Guardians Groot’s coordinates.

However, when the team returned to Knowhere to get Venom, he hid so they couldn’t find him. He’d been separated from the symbiote by a rogue band of Skrulls, but they failed to control it like he could. Flash Thompson and Venom reunited, but something obviously changed in the warrior, as will be explored in a future installment.

Transmissions from Knowhere

You might have noticed that Agent Venom appeared in this arc as a new member of the Guardians. To get the full story on how that happened, check out the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2014 special. In the story, Tony Stark—who had left the group by then—talked to Flash Thompson about using his Venom symbiote to represent Earth on the team. As they spoke, Stark summed up the Guardians pretty well for new readers while also setting Flash up for what he’d be in for when he joined. The other Guardians welcomed him into the fold pretty quickly. Drax recognized the symbiote but could not yet place it. That’s a story for another time!

Next time, LEGENDARY STAR-LORD shines the solo spotlight on Peter Quill as he tries to make a long distance relationship work with Kitty Pryde and dodge the murderous efforts of Mr. Knife. 

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Enter the X-Men as the Shi’Ar Empire goes after the mighty mutants!

Celebrate this incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s tenth anniversary while also prepping for the May 5 release of the new film with these gems from Marvel Unlimited!

The past has a way of catching up with you, even if it’s technically your future.

That’s the kind of life lesson most people can’t relate to, but most people aren’t the time-displaced Jean Grey from ALL NEW X-MEN. She and her pals traveled to the present and continue to be awed by the way the world turned out. Of course, that initial shock didn’t hold a candle to the mind-blowing surprise of aliens popping out of the sky and kidnapping their psychic teammate, an event that kicked off a crossover with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY called “The Trial of Jean Grey.” Brian Michael Bendis wrote every issue—GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1113 and ALL-NEW X-MEN #2224—with artwork by Sara Pichelli, Stuart Immonen, and David Marquez.

All the trouble started when Gladiator and the Shi’Ar empire decided to punish the young mutant for the crimes her older self committed under the influence of the Phoenix Force. Even J’Son of Spartax thought the idea seemed a bit thin, but that didn’t stop them from following through. The Guardians got wind of the plan and decided to help, but arrived on Earth too late to actually save Jean Grey, so they gathered the young X-Men—including X-23 at that point—to travel with them into space and track the errant X-Man down.

While the Shi’Ar held Jean, they informed her of her charges, yet another revelation that left her wide-eyed. At the same time, the Guardians and X-Men continued to give chase, getting some help from the Starjammers along the way. Emotions continued to run high as the young Scott Summers met his dad Christopher, otherwise known as the cosmic pirates’ leader Corsair.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #11

Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #11

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Jean Grey’s hearing continued on with Gladiator officially leveling charges against her. In a surprising move, J-Son appeared out of nowhere to challenge the legitimacy of the claims, which inadvertently stalled the proceedings so Jean could escape and her friends could land on the planet. During the final conflict with Gladiator and the Imperial Guard, Jean developed some new powers that her other self never possessed. This proved, to some extent, that this young woman could not be the same person who committed murder on a planetary level. With that new information, the Shi’Ar agreed to let her go.

With the immediate trouble out of the way, most of the X-Men returned to Earth—Scott decided to travel around with his dad in his own solo series—and the Guardians got back to their own endeavors.

Transmissions from Knowhere

With everything going on in this crossover, you might be surprised to find that it also planted the seeds of romance between Peter Quill—Star-Lord—and Kitty Pryde. Before returning to the stars, Peter handed Kitty a space phone that would allow them to chat anytime. “Call me,” he said. “Just to whine about the universe.” To see how that goes down, keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post!

Next time, Brian Michael Bendis continues his run on the Guardians by disassembling the team and then building them back up with all new members!

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A closed beta of Marvel Heroes Omega has been confirmed for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One!

Earth’s mightiest heroes will unite for Marvel Heroes Omega on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this spring! Gazillion Entertainment and Marvel announced today the action-packed RPG/MMO, a spin-off of Marvel Heroes 2016, will bring together the Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, the Avengers, the Defenders and more. Play as your favorite hero from the Marvel Universe across the nine-chapter story campaign and take on some of our most infamous super villains, including Doctor Doom and Loki.

Lovers of lore can also expect a fantastic tour through famous locations, from the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen to the mystical realm of Asgard. Players can look forward to joining forces with fellow Super Heroes in the game’s many Headquarter areas to tackle the game’s most challenging end-game content. Other modes available include Operations, Midtown Patrol, and Danger Room. For loot seekers, tackle the Legendary Missions and Heroic/Superheroic/Cosmic Trials.

Take a look at the announce trailer and photo gallery above.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Heroes Omega” news.

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Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning propel the Guardians of the Galaxy into history!

In the first installment of The Great Guardians Retrospective, we talked with editor Bill Rosemann about how he hand-picked the wild cast of characters seen in ANNHILATION CONQUEST: STAR-LORD and then handed over the reins for an ongoing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series to NOVA writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

Now, it’s time to hear from the writers themselves as they reminisce on everything from first getting word of the book itself to working on this motley crew of characters to condensing Groot’s dialog to those now-famous three words.

Marvel.com: When you started ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST, was the plan to launch a new Guardians of the Galaxy series out of that?

Andy Lanning: Not at the outset, though I believe our editor, Bill Rosemann, was harboring plans to launch another monthly title as we did with NOVA out of the original ANNIHILATION series. It was around the midpoint of the series that Bill confirmed Marvel were looking to add another monthly cosmic title.

Dan Abnett: Yes, we had the solo cosmic book, NOVA, already running, and a team book looked like a good idea. It seemed obvious to launch it organically out of ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST.

Marvel.com: As you mentioned, you’d been involved with the cosmic books with NOVA; was it a natural progression to expand that to the Guardians?

Dan Abnett: I think what NOVA and the previous Annihilation event had done was to explore and “map” the Marvel Cosmic Universe, and readers seemed to be loving that, so a team book in that setting was very desirable.

Andy Lanning: Absolutely, once Bill announced we were lined up to produce another monthly title, Dan and I jumped at the chance and, working with Bill, we decided to make it a team book to compliment the fact that NOVA was a single hero title.

Marvel.com: What made the original Guardians the right springboard for this new team?

Andy Lanning: That was Bill’s idea. While we were developing the concept of a new cosmic team book he called one day to say how’d we fancy the idea of calling the team the Guardians of the Galaxy? We jumped at the chance; both Dan and I were big fans of the original team right back to the origin story by Gene Colan and Arnold Drake and the opportunity to tie our team to the rich continuity of the original team was something we could [not] pass on.

Dan Abnett: It was more a case of theft. We had a team line up—the characters we ideally wanted to use—and when it came to naming them, it seemed in their rag-tag, thrown-together spirit to borrow the name form the original team. I made naming the new team—and the theft of the original name—a running gag.

Marvel.com: Where did your original Guardians line-up come from?

Dan Abnett: Between us, we’d already made a shortlist of “great but forgotten” cosmic characters who could be used in these books. Editor Bill Rosemann had dug into the archives, and I certainly had my own favorites, like Gamora, Drax, and Star-Lord. Though not major Marvel heroes, I’d always loved them. A rough cut of the team appeared first in Keith Giffen’s STAR-LORD [limited series], like a Dirty Dozen, and that became the basis for the new team, though I was channeling in other likely candidates organically from the story itself. They were real misfits. The point, at the start, was that they shouldn’t gel.

Andy Lanning: The credit for this has to go to Keith Giffen and Bill: Keith wrote a fantastic STAR-LORD series as part of the Conquest event which introduced the nascent team including Rocket and Groot as well as Mantis. Bill suggested building the team title around that nucleus and we added Drax, Gamora, and Adam Warlock to the roster; building out from the characters that had been highlighted during Annihilation and Conquest and setting the book on-board Knowhere which we had introduced in the NOVA series.

Marvel.com: Was it always the intent to take that team and connect it with the Guardians of the Galaxy?

Andy Lanning: Absolutely! Once we decided to call the book Guardians of the Galaxy, we knew we wanted to connect it to the previous incarnation’s continuity as it gave us a rich narrative world and cast of characters we could play with. At that point we were happy to be allowed to play with any of the cosmic characters, let alone classic versions of characters we grew up reading and loving. We reasoned that the original series was actually set in the 31st century, so who was to say that there was never another team by the same name? It could even be that the future version named themselves after the exploits of our team!

Dan Abnett: I wanted to draw in connections with the original team—again, old favorites of mine—and also to use key characters like Vance Astro and Starhawk, so using the name made the conceptual connection.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #1

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Marvel.com: What made Peter Quill, Star-Lord, the right character to anchor this team?

Dan Abnett: Well, it was either going to be him or Nova, and Nova had his own book. Adam Warlock sees himself as the leader at first, but it’s Star-Lord’s grit, and his urgency to find some redemption for himself—to be a hero again—that makes him perfect. They’re all rogues and renegades, and he epitomizes that. They know they’re underpowered and don’t stand a cat’s chance of saving anything, let alone the universe. But they’ll try anyway.

Andy Lanning: During his Annihilation run, Keith had done a great job reinventing Peter into a battle hardened and weary cosmic veteran with a very dry and sardonic sense of humor. His experience, cynicism, and reluctance to take on the role of team leader made him a really interesting character to develop. In the aftermath of the events in Annihilation and then Conquest he was carrying a lot of guilt as Ultron’s invasion happened on his watch and he was determined not to let something like that happen again. In the absence of the Nova Corps he established a new team to prevent such cosmic scale events before they can happen.

Marvel.com: You really developed Rocket into a fun character. How much of that was pulling from existing stories and how much did you create?

Dan Abnett: Rocket has always been a great character. I think the trick was to take him seriously—despite the fact he was a wisecracking, talking animal—and make his role important. The other trick—which just happened—was to pair him with Groot as a double act. Two characters that had previously been interesting as solo figures became really interesting as a double-act, as a partnership. As friends.

Andy Lanning: It was a mixture of the two: when you take over writing an established character, even one who hadn’t been that fleshed out like Rocket, you always try to build on the previous versions. Again, we were picking up the baton from Keith who established a tone with Rocket that made him more of a [MacGyver], tactical genius with a snarky sense of humor versus the previous incarnation of him in the Mike Mignola, Bill Mantlo [limited series] from the [80s]. We took that foundation and ran with it; fleshing out and developing the notion of his relationship with Groot as well as his ability with weapons: we reasoned he would be very dexterous as raccoons are incredibly nimble with their fingers. We also took his snarkiness to new levels because there’s something incredibly amusing and charming about a tiny cute furry creature with a potty mouth and a bad attitude!

Marvel.com: Bug was there in the STAR-LORD series, but didn’t make the immediate jump over to the GUARDIANS book. Why was that?

Dan Abnett: As I said, we had lots of characters we wanted to use, but we didn’t want to make the team too big and cumbersome. The idea was that the membership would be rotating, calling reserves when they needed back-up or had suffered losses. The whole team was expendable and vulnerable because they were so out-classed when it came to big cosmic menaces. Bug—a great character—was a perfect reservist and that became a running joke too.

Andy Lanning: I hate insects, especially [six-foot-tall insects]! Actually, we wanted to keep the team focused on the core group we had as we had stories planned around them, like Adam Warlock and Major Victory, and Bug just didn’t make the initial cut but we always knew we had him on the reserve list and planned to call him up at some point, which we did when the time was right and had huge fun writing him as he was another firm favorite from comics we read growing up.

Marvel.com: Were there any challenges mixing so many unusual characters with their own, deep histories?

Dan Abnett: Of course, but to me, the fun of the team was that it was swarming with clashing characters with vivid personalities, who all carried their own baggage. That’s what made them so compelling.

Andy Lanning: No actually, the complete opposite: we were such huge fans of all the previous cosmic continuity that it was an absolute pleasure to play with these legendary characters and their long histories. We were constantly surprised by what we were able to do and the characters we were able to use. We would tentatively ask if we could perhaps use characters, like the Kree, and Bill would come back to us and say, “Yup,” and a whole new vein of potential stories would open up. We were so fortunate to get to add to the continuity of characters and series we loved and respected: Adam Warlock, the Inhumans, the Shi’Ar, the Kree, Blastaar, the Phalanx, Ultron, and ultimately, Thanos.

Marvel.com: Groot speaks somewhat normally for a while. Where did the now iconic “I am Groot” idea come from?

Andy Lanning: I am asked this a lot and can’t for the life of me remember! I know that when we wrote him in CONQUEST he was speaking in sentences but referring to himself as “I am Groot.” At the end of that series he had sacrificed himself and was being grown by Rocket as a sprout. It wasn’t until issue #7 of the new Guardians title that he was fully grown and from that point on all he said was “I am Groot.” That’s all I got!

Dan Abnett: That was my choice, actually. In the past, he’d been that “one-line” monster, and then we’d tried having him talk. I decided it would be fun and interesting to go back to the same one liner for everything, but to make that mean different things if you were “keyed into” his language. It was a gimmick, but it made him very appealing and friendly, and it certainly stuck.

Marvel.com: How does it feel knowing you created this group that continues to not only appeal to so many, but also work so well in just about every medium?

Dan Abnett: It’s extraordinary. I had no idea this ramshackle “team” would have any life beyond the fun and games we were having in the comic. I’m delighted that, together, they have found the A-list status that had eluded them for so long.

Andy Lanning: Bloody brilliant! I mean if you told someone five years ago that Rocket Raccoon and Groot would be as popular as Spider-Man and [Captain America], you’d have been laughed out of the joint! Now they are part of the public conscious which is testament to what [director] James [Gunn] did with the movie but it’s nice to know that I played a part in the whole thing!

Continue celebrating a decade of Guardians by watching the cartoon on Disney XD, the new film on May 5 and the ongoing comic adventures of the characters!

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