Dan Slott and C.B. Cebulski bring the family back together!

Written by Jess Harrold

The Fantastic Four are back! After three years away, the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine returns, with writer Dan Slott and artist Sara Pichelli at the helm. Here, Slott and Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski share their excitement in bringing the awesome foursome back to comics!

Marvel: Pinch us, we’re dreaming. Can it be true, Dan? You’re writing a new FANTASTIC FOUR series?

Dan Slott: Yep. As of this August, I’ll be writing and Sara Pichelli will be drawing the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine: the one, the only, FANTASTIC FOUR! Oh, boy. We have been under such lock and key when it comes to talking about this book. For months this has been the biggest secret at Marvel. It feels so good to finally tell anybody outside of the loop. Heck, let me yell it: “I’M WRITING THE FF!”

Honestly, this is a lifetime dream. The first super hero comics I ever read were my cousin’s copies of FANTASTIC FOUR #4850, with “The Coming of Galactus” and the first appearance of the Silver Surfer. For me, personally, this has been a long time coming. I’ve got notebooks filled with the stories I’d like to do if I ever got my hands on these characters!

Marvel: It’s a great way to start your tenure as Editor-in-Chief, C.B. When you got the job, how high up on your to-do list was “bring back the FF”?

C.B. Cebulski: FANTASTIC FOUR was top of the list. It’s a book that is near and dear to my heart. I know how important the characters are to the fans and the company, and bringing them back was the first thing I talked to Tom Brevoort about. They are the heart of the Marvel Universe. They are the First Family, and the fact that they are a family is something everyone can relate to—good and bad. There’s the good times you have with family, and there’s the bad times: the quarreling, not everyone always gets along. Just look at the first-ever FF cover—they weren’t in costume. That’s what Marvel is—it’s not about the super heroes, it’s about the people underneath those costumes, the alter egos. The core of Marvel is that we’re human first and superhuman second.

Marvel: Speaking of those humans, we’re talking Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny, right?

Dan Slott: Ooh. Sorry. We’re replacing Johnny with a robot. NO! Kidding. Just kidding. Of course it’s going to be Reed, Sue, Johnny and the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing! And Franklin! And Val! And Alicia! And who knows? Maybe Willie Lumpkin and Aunt Petunia, too! Wait and see.

Marvel: C.B., you’re renowned for knowing a thing or two about talent. What, for you, makes Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli the ideal team for FF?

C.B. Cebulski: Dan is coming off a ten-year run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and has proven time and time again that he can tell these small stories with heart that get to the core of individual characters—but also tell these big, bold, brash super hero stories. Now with the Fantastic Four, we knew if we unleashed Dan on those characters and let his mind go wild on their crazy intergalactic adventures, he would nail it. Dan came in and pitched to around six of us at a restaurant one afternoon, and jaws dropped, literally. I think it was Nick Lowe, the Spider-Man editor, who said, “I think that just brought a tear to my eye.” Dan really nailed it in one shot. And Sara is one of the most wonderful pencilers out there when it comes to capturing emotion. Just like Dan’s mind thinks so visually and outside of the box, there are very few pencilers who can capture the scope like her. In comics you’re confined by the boundaries of the panel borders, and the best artists can make you look past those borders. Sara’s one of the few people who can do that—you really feel like you’re watching a movie when you’re looking at her panels.

Dan Slott: Sara Pichelli is AWESOME! Her work on everything from RUNAWAYS to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and especially every single page she’s drawn of Miles Morales’ stories—she’s one of the most talented artists in the entire industry! I couldn’t be more excited to be working with her! And I can’t wait for fans to see her take on the FF!

C.B. Cebulski: And in Dan Slott and [editor] Tom Brevoort, you have two of, not just the biggest fans of Marvel Comics out there, but the biggest fans of Marvel’s history. When the costume designs came up, Tom and Dan had very specific ideas that date all the way back to the original FF through every incarnation, with specific designs and color schemes that would fit into this story.

Marvel: Dan, your SILVER SURFER book showed your passion for exploring new landscapes across the Marvel Universe—and beyond. Will that sense of adventure and wonder carry through to FF?

Dan Slott: Definitely. The FF are super heroes. But they’re not about stopping bank robbers or defeating clandestine secret societies. Sure, if a world-eater comes to devour the Earth, or a giant Kirby monster starts stomping through the city, you can count on them to save the day. That said, first and foremost, they’re explorers. They’re out to see new planets, dimensions and universes! They live to push the boundaries of both science and the imagination! More importantly, they live to do that together, as a family.

Marvel: The motto for your Surfer book was “Anywhere and everywhere—hang on!” What would it be for the FF book?

Dan Slott: The First Family of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel: There hasn’t been an FF book in a while, and in the absence of Reed and Sue Richards, a certain Victor Von Doom has undergone some changes. Will that traditional rivalry take on a new slant going forward?

Dan Slott: After the events of Secret Wars and INFAMOUS IRON MAN, Victor Von Doom will be on new, but familiar footing. We will be building on what came before, and from that will come a Doctor Doom who will be far deadlier, misunderstood and incredibly iconic. You’re going to have to wait and see. But the wait won’t be too long.

Marvel: Are there any other classic FF villains you’re looking forward to using, or is the emphasis on new threats?

Dan Slott: We will absolutely mix it up and give you classic FF goodness and all-new, modern-day weirdness, too. I’ll be honest with you, though: we’ve been away from the Fantastic Four for years now, and I am dying to start off and lean into the most FF-ish stories possible! Stan and Jack, Byrne, Simonson, Waid and Ringo, Hickman and everyone in between—I have so much love for every era of this book, I really can’t wait to play with all the toys in the toy box!

The new FF team, creative and editorial, we are going to do everything we can to honor, respect and build off of the rich legacy of these characters, while moving forward and telling all-new chapters in their ongoing story.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli is on sale August 1!

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Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli rekindle the flame this August!

Four heroes. One team. They’re back.

Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny: welcome home.

After a spacefaring foray into the unknown, Marvel’s First Family returns this August with FANTASTIC FOUR #1.

Written by Dan Slott with art by Sara Pichelli, Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing, and the Human Torch reunite this summer.

Fantastic Four art by Sara Pichelli

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and Marvel on Twitter and Facebook for more from C.B. Cebulski, Dan Slott, and Sara Pichelli in the coming days!

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Explore the treacherous history of Monster Island!

On January 24, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm return to the site of their very first adventure as founding members of the famous Fantastic Four: Monster Island.

This small piece of real estate looms large in the history of the Marvel Universe, owing to its role in not only the foundation of the FF, but also to its incredible pedigree of denizens over the years. And next month, writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung make their own visit to the isle in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #2!

Though sometimes obscured on maps, Monster Island sits somewhere in the Sea of Japan, a craggy crest of rock and scrubby vegetation haunted by moaning winds and, often times, an air of hopelessness. The island’s surface offers little in the way of landmarks or artificial structures, but underneath that seemingly desolate exterior lays the caverns of Subterranea. Rumor has it that the tunnels stretch across the entire globe, reaching directly beneath the major cities of the world. If any truth to this rumor exists, only the strange beings called Moloids—the blind tunnel-runners of Monster Island—know for certain.

A small army of monsters live as the other permanent inhabitants of the remote location. Over the years, a who’s who of monstrous notables called the island home, including Googam, Gigantus, Giganto, Fin Fang Foom, and the dreaded Tricephalous. The latter owed its creation to the Deviant race, which once occupied Monster Island away from their enemies, namely humans and Eternals.

Perhaps the most infamous of those who lived on the island called himself The Mole Man. Hiding away from the scorn and ridicule of his peers in the scientific community, the diminutive Mole Man used Monster Island as a hideout during his attempted destruction of the surface world, only to be eventually defeated by the newly-formed Fantastic Four. The heroes flew to the island to confront the man who’d become their lifelong opponent, discovering not only adversity, but a place that would forever be etched into their memories.

In later days, The Mole Man allowed the space-faring Adam Warlock and his Infinity Watch to utilize the island as a base of operations, though the little man himself would later receive the world’s recognition as the governmental sovereign of the island. The Watch experienced many adventures at the site, but abandoned it after a relatively short time there.

Today, little information on the island’s current status travels across the ocean to more civilized places. One hopes that The Thing and The Human Torch will not only find what they seek there during their upcoming journey, but also bring back news to the world of who and what still calls Monster Island home.

Book your trip for MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #2, by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung, on January 24!

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Writer Brandon Montclare dishes on the Fantastic Three for Marvel Legacy!

written by Dominic Griffin

Lunella Lafayette first crossed paths with a member of Marvel’s First Family when she met Ben Grimm back in issue #14 of MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR, but now she’ll be joining forces with The Thing and ol’ Flamehead himself, The Human Torch!

On November 22, writer Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos jump into Marvel Legacy with a new Fantastic Three in MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #25! When The Silver Surfer returns to Manhattan in advance of a cosmic threat, Lunella steps up for the job, but without Devil Dinosaur by her side, she needs some help. And that’s where Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm come in!

We spoke with Montclare to hear more about this unlikely trio.

Marvel.com: Since Lunella has taken the “smartest person on the planet” crown from Reed Richards, having her interact with the two Fantastic Four members who aren’t missing seemed like a no brainer, right?

Brandon Montclare: Precisely. It all lined up. And I think that happens because MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR has a lot of thought put into it. Even though a kid can read and enjoy it as much as an adult, it’s really layered. That doesn’t just come from me; that comes from the whole creative team. And when you have that kind of dedication, it creates an internal consistency where new things fit as if by magic!

But most of all, the FF leftovers are missing their brains—and now Moon Girl is missing her brawn. So it makes sense on paper! But Natacha and I have to make it make sense on the page.

Marvel.com: When you first created this character, did you know from the outset what kind of legacy characters she’d be likely to interact with?

Brandon Montclare: Not really. I always appreciated that Devil Dinosaur started as one of Jack Kirby’s many babies. Not the most loved! But he came from the King. So that became the inspiration for putting Lunella Lafayette on Yancy Street—as a nod to Kirby’s fictionalized version of the real Delancey Street where he grew up. So I like Lunella growing up there too. And Yancy Street leads to, of course, The Thing. But when I helped create Moon Girl with Amy Reeder and Natacha Bustos, we didn’t have the idea yet that she would be the smartest person in the world. That came to me later, and Marvel supported it. At first, she was just a typical genius! I say typical, because there’s a definite Marvel legacy of Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Hank Pym filling that role. But Reed Richards, to my mind, acted as the prototype. So I think all that stuff pointed us toward a connection with the Fantastic Four.

Marvel.com: Can you talk a little about the chemistry Lunella has with Ben and Johnny?

Brandon Montclare: MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #14 (guest starring The Thing) felt like the most fun for me to write. So I was happy to get back there. Chemistry in these situations becomes as much (actually, probably more) about their personality conflicts than their teamwork. Again: they hail from the same neighborhood, but have had totally different experiences (and exist at least a generation apart). Plus, they’re natural opposites. So I love the dynamic. And for the Legacy arc, I can take them in a new direction. They both miss big parts of their families, so it becomes an opportunity to bond.

As for The Human Torch, he’s fun too. I like writing him and Ben bouncing off each other. I’m definitely awed by this one short story in MARVEL FANFARE by Barry Windsor-Smith about the two of them. It’s so good that it’s intimidating! But luckily most people haven’t read it. So it just acts as motivation for me to do even better with these two members of the Fantastic Four.

Marvel.com: Do you thinkif Lunella had been created earliershe’d have been a good fit for the Future Foundation?

Brandon Montclare: No. Sometimes I default to being contrary…and Future Foundation will always be something I can’t disassociate from Jonathan Hickman…but nonetheless it wouldn’t work story-wise. Lunella has been overlooked her whole life—it’s a big part of who she is. So while she wanted to get into the Future Foundation, or anyplace other than the school she resents—that never happened. It didn’t help her social skills, but it did create a certain kind of self-reliance.

Marvel.com: We know you can’t spoil anything, but can you give us a tease as to where this team-up might be headed?

Brandon Montclare: I can say it will head to Galactus and Silver Surfer—so that’s awesome. A blast from FF past. Lots of FANTASTIC FOUR Easter eggs. And a surprise character returns. But I think the best part of working for Marvel is being a part of the big universe. So I want to tie her into FANTASTIC FOUR lore. Marvel Legacy feels very personal to me. I grew up on Marvel. And to contribute something lasting to this Universe scratches just about all the itches I have.

Before Fantastic Three, Lunella was already becoming a big part of the world: a counterpoint for the Inhumans, sympathy with the X-Men, the world tour of heroes in “The Smartest There Is.” Fantastic Three and Legacy just cement her into the ongoing continuity, which gets mirrored in both the story and my experience writing it. It couldn’t have worked out better if I’d planned it.

Catch the team-up in MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #25, by Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos, on November 22!

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Can the combined Avengers and Fantastic Four halt a Hulk-Thing fight?

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

An old philosophical question once asked, what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? Well, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby didn’t answer that one, but they sure dug into what takes place when the Incredible Hulk comes to blows with the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing! The two titans came to blows in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #25 and #26 from 1964 and the very Earth shook! It all started with Thing refusing to take an accidentally discovered serum that could have cured him of his rocky visage because he didn’t know if Alicia Masters would still love him as just Ben Grimm.

Fantastic Four (1961) #25

Fantastic Four (1961) #25

  • Published: April 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
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Meanwhile, The Hulk wanted peace and quiet after his fight with his old teammates in AVENGERS #3. The group quickly replaced him with Captain America, but still wanted to find their errant ally. The Jade Giant decided to get rid of every trace of Bruce Banner and smashed up his secret lab. He then saw the newspaper about Cap’s return and Rick Jones palling around with him. Feeling jealous and spurned, Hulk decided to hop to New York City and “destroy the Avengers forever.”

With Earth’s Mightiest Heroes actually near the old lab looking for Hulk, he jumped right past them and wound up causing such a ruckus that the FF took notice and moved to stop him. With Reed Richards out of commission and both Johnny and Sue Storm quickly felled by the emerald brute, Ben Grimm took it upon himself to stop the rampage. This duo had come to blows previously in FANTASTIC FOUR #12, but this time they tore through buses, buildings, and even the street to clobber one another. Thanks to some help from the Yancy Street boys, the pair wound up fighting underwater and then on boats before moving on to the George Washington Bridge!

Moving into issue #26, Hulk continued to call for the Avengers, but Thing still stood to fight another day, or at least a few more rounds! A battered Human Torch even got back in on the action, but the Fantatsic twosome didn’t stand a chance. Hulk messed them up and then went to Tony Stark’s mansion to visit his old friends.

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

  • Published: May 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Hulk tore into the Avengers who gave as good as they got. A rejuvenated Reed Richards soon led his own team to attack Jade Jaws as well, but all those heroes together proved more calamity than anything else. After figuring out how to actually work together, both crews converged on Hulk who had perched himself on a skyscraper construction site. Though the combined might of the Avengers and Fantastic Four could barely stop the rampage, Rick Jones wound up saving the day by tossing an “emergency gamma-ray treated capsule” that Banner had supplied him with months prior.

Hulk ran off, jumping into the water and soon turned back into Bruce, floating along to his next adventure. With that, both teams pledged to work well together in the future and returned to their own lives with an unspoken promise from Kirby and Lee that, when that happened, it would be just as exciting and groundbreaking as this time!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Ben Grimm comes for Victor Von Doom in the latest round of their ongoing feud!

Ben Grimm, the world-famous Thing, and Victor Von Doom possess a shared history marked by near-constant strife and struggle—against each other. They’re about to throw down once again in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #4, out January 25, but it’s anyone’s guess how it will go. From past experience, it’s bound to be messy.

Here’s a look at some of Doctor Doom’s past matches with The Thing. Better bring a helmet…

Fantastic Four (1961) #23

Fantastic Four (1961) #23

  • Published: February 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?
After a few near-skirmishes with his armored foe, Ben finally got his big mitts on Doom when the Latverian monarch laid a trap for the Fantastic Four in the path of a “solar wave.” Too bad for Victor: the Thing’s actions sent him spiraling into space, armor and all.

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

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With a surge of returned power, the Thing managed to grab Doom’s arms in this battle and crush both his evil devices and his hands. Realizing he’d humbled his enemy, Ben allowed the doctor to slink away, beaten.

Fantastic Four (1961) #60

Fantastic Four (1961) #60

  • Published: March 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?
Desiring revenge for the injury to his hands, Doom laid into The Thing with the Power Cosmic, and though he held the upper hand that time, the armored despot marveled at Ben’s tenacity in the face of the overwhelming odds against him to win.

Fantastic Four (1961) #157

Fantastic Four (1961) #157

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After defeating the android Doomsman, Thing jumped at the chance to clobber Doom once more, but Victor surprised Ben with new and improved armor that withstood his rocky punches and led to a sobering stalemate.

Fantastic Four (1961) #350

Fantastic Four (1961) #350

  • Published: March 01, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 29, 2011
  • Writer: Walter Simonson
What is Marvel Unlimited?
Doctor Doom returned with new armor after a long absence and again found himself in the path of Ben Grimm’s fists. The battle ended with the untimely interference of Ben’s former partner Sharon Ventura before anything could be proved on either side of the argument.

Fantastic Four (1961) #361

Fantastic Four (1961) #361

What is Marvel Unlimited?
When The Thing returned to his old stomping grounds on Yancy Street he discovered Doctor Doom attempting to design a cure for drug addiction. Nevertheless, Ben attacked and drove Doom away from his cherished neighborhood before the despot managed to complete his work.

Fantastic Four (1998) #552

Fantastic Four (1998) #552

What is Marvel Unlimited?
A future version of Victor Von Doom arrived in the present to warn the Fantastic Four of the Reed Richards of tomorrow’s coming mischief. When Ben felt his foe insulted Reed, he slammed Doom so hard the armored monarch ended up in another building across the street.

Found out who will come out on top in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #4 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, available January 25!

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T’Challa and Storm experience further adventures as members of the Fantastic Four!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

As we discussed when covering Dwayne McDuffie’s FANTASTIC FOUR #544-550, T’Challa and Storm took over for Reed and Sue Richards in the wake of Civil War. The team only stuck together for six issues in that book, but continued on in BLACK PANTHER #2634 by Reginald Hudlin, Manuel Garcia, Francis Portela, Andrea Divito, Cafu, and Bit.

In issue #26, T’Challa explained to his government back home that he needed to remain in the United States to work with his allies in the United Nations to figure out the post-Civil War relationships. Instead, he, Storm, and the Wakandan delegate moved into the Baxter Building and started going on adventures as the new Fantastic Four! BLACK PANTHER #27 actually picked up where FANTASTIC FOUR #550 ended, launching the team against new threats like a super-adaptive bug monster from the Negative Zone and a trip to a Skrull planet in the Marvel Zombies universe thanks to the Solomon Frogs.

At this stage in their monstrous evolution, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Giant Man had already fallen to the zombie invasion and consumed Galactus to become even more powerful and formidable. The FF did their best to save the Skrull planet, but the stakes skyrocketed after Cage realized that the Frogs could allow them to move between dimensions and realities on a cosmic buffet of worlds to devour.

Black Panther (2005) #26

Black Panther (2005) #26

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The group did its best, but the planet exploded. From there, the Frogs sent the FF first into the clutches of Psycho Man and then to Kral, the mobster-obsessed planet of Skrulls first seen back in FANTASTIC FOUR #91. When the Thing escaped the clutches of the gladiatorial system in place, he trashed a lot of the infrastructure. They erased his name from the records and rebuilt, but some of the Skrulls modeled themselves after Civil Rights Era African Americans demanding equality and peace. That failed to sit well with the establishment, as you might imagine, but Storm and Black Panther found themselves fighting not just for their own lives, but for the oppressed members of the society, two of whom took on the looks and outlooks of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.

As Skrull MLK said in issue #33: “We saw a very different world than the one taught to us decades ago. There was a new movement that emphasized morality and self-worth. We were inspired to model our lives after them.”

Before long, Storm teamed up with the planet’s version of the Black Panthers while T’Challa and Thing came face to face in the arena, but helped one another break free and also unleashed the imprisoned Human Torch. Our heroes worked together to take out the bad guys—with the Panther actually killing their leader—and then zapped back to Earth by way of the Solomon Frogs who revealed they could speak!

Secrets of Wakanda

In the original MARVEL ZOMBIES five issue limited series by Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips, that world’s Black Panther fell into the clutches of Zombie Hank Pym who kept him alive in a secret lab so he could cut off pieces and eat them when he needed to. Eventually he escaped and teamed up with Zombie Wasp’s severed head and Magneto’s Acolytes who took them back to Asteroid M in outer space. While they hung out up there, the Zombies ate Galactus and took on his Power Cosmic.

Five years later, T’Challa and the Acolytes discovered that the monsters had left the planet. In that time Forge replaced his missing limbs with cybernetics and he started a relationship with Acolyte Lisa Hendricks that resulted in a child called K’Shamba. The Black Panther played important roles in MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 and MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN, but even the great king couldn’t outrun the undead forever.

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Brian Michael Bendis wraps his time with the interstellar super team by stranding them on Earth!

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Brian Michael Bendis knows this better than anyone after opening and closing his fair share of comic series over the years. His latest soon-to-end run will kick off with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #15 in a story called “Grounded” this December.

Thanks to a call for help from Captain Marvel, the Guardians traveled to Earth in an effort to help out, but with the Civil War II conflict coming to an end, they’re left with a problem: they’ve got no way off this green and blue rock. Luckily for the various members, they have new ongoing series ready to launch, but before the squad goes their separate ways, Bendis and artist Valerio Schiti plan on giving them an appropriately epic sendoff.

We talked with Bendis about his plans for going out in style.

Marvel.com: With Civil War II coming to a close, how do the Guardians feels about getting involved in this conflict?

Brian Michael Bendis: Conflicted. Like everyone else in the Marvel Universe. Sides are drawn. Everyone came back to Earth as a favor to Carol, but when they got here they were faced with the moral choice. Some, like Peter, see Carol’s hard choices as big truths that need to happen and others see Tony’s side totally.

And in the battle they lost their ship and now have no way home. Yes, there are spaceships on Earth—at least three—but they aren’t for sale and nowhere near as advanced as the one Rocket put together for them.

Marvel.com: What does being stuck on Earth mean for the Guardians themselves? I’m guessing some won’t take kindly to be being in just one place for a long period of time.

Brian Michael Bendis: Some get to go have their favorite pizza and reunite with old friends and maybe even call it a night for their Guardians tour of duty. Peter gets to see what life would be like as an Earthbound super hero. Kitty gets to go find the X-Men…

And then there is Rocket and Groot. That is an entirely different story.

Marvel.com: On the other hand, the readers might enjoy seeing these space-bound characters interacting with a few familiar faces. Were there some specific characters you’d been just waiting to meet the Guardians?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes. I do want those to be a page turn surprise so you’ll pardon my vagueness, but it does give us a lot of “Star Trek IV” stuck-on-Earth-fun. They are almost all fish out of water and those who aren’t, like Venom, have changed so much from their travels that it’s a whole new world to them.

Marvel.com: This arc will also lead into solo ongoing series for the members of the team. What has the communication been like between you and the writers of those books?

Brian Michael Bendis: This is where Jordan [White] and the other editors shine. Other than the friendship-ending disagreements between me, Chip [Zdarsky] and Kris Anka over Peter Quill’s facial hair, the writers seem to get a big kick out of classic fish out of water stories for their characters.

When you’re writing a team book and a franchise book part of the fun is throwing out ideas and story concepts for other writers to pick up and play with if they see fit.

Marvel.com: How do you feel about the place you’ll be leaving these characters with this last arc after shepherding them along for several years?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, even though we are ending most of the last arc on Earth we are still leaving big. Big! First of all, as some readers already know, Thanos is on Earth. When Gamora and Drax get ahold of this information all hell is going to break loose. We have an issue about Groot that is all told in a style that is a big tip of the cat hat to Dr. Seuss, one of those ideas that is much harder to pull off than you might think.

And a big triple or quadruple sized 100-page big finale that is going to wrap up my very long, longest actually, run on Guardians. A lot is going to happen.

All this plus, Ben Grimm comes back home; we discover why he went out to space in the first place and why he is going to stay on Earth. It ties right into INFAMOUS IRON MAN.

Witness the beginning of the end of Brian Michael Bendis’ run on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY starting with #15 drawn by Valerio Schiti in December!

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T'Challa recruits The Thing and Human Torch for international intrigue and adventure!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

Even a hero and champion like T’Challa can fall to nefarious influences, especially the kind that stole his Vibrotron invention and led him into the white supremacist nation of Rudyarda. Luckily, the king of Wakanda has allied himself with the likes of the Fantastic Four who can offer a hand as they did in FANTASTIC FOUR #119 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. 

The issue kicked off with a fairly intense fight between teammates Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm that soon dissipated after Reed and Sue broke it up and returned to a call from Wakanda. Ben and Johnny take care of an attempted hijacking on their flight before landing in Rudyarda where the overly xenophobic and racist nature of the people spreads to The Thing and his rocky visage.

Before long, they tracked down Nathan Kumalo, one of the guys who kidnapped T’Challa. After some persuasion and yet another look at the realities of a racist place like this, they break into the prison where their ally had been held and sprang him!

Fantastic Four (1961) #119

Fantastic Four (1961) #119

  • Published: February 10, 1972
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Roy Thomas
  • Penciller: John Buscema
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T’Challa—then going by Black Leopard—told his friends about heading to Rudyarda to track down the thieves who stole the Vibrotron. In his haste, he forgot to take a fake I.D. and soon found himself the victim of racist cops who locked up the king of Wakanda without even knowing it.

Banded together and brought up to speed, the trio leapt back into action, tracking down the other thief, Jeth Robards and soon came into conflict with the true orchestrator of the caper: Klaw!

Though Klaw tried to take on the combined might of Human Torch, The Thing and Black Leopard, he ultimately failed as the heroes regained the upper hand and T’Challa destroyed his Soni-Claw in the fracas. Probably more importantly, though, Ben came to understand a bit of the plight in places like Rudyarda, letting his rage lead him to destroy separate doors for “Europeans” and “Coloreds” before leaving the country.

Secrets of Wakanda

You might be wondering what’s up with the whole Black Leopard moniker. Well, Thing also asked about the name change to which T’Challa responded with, “I contemplated a return to your country, Ben Grimm, where the latter term [Black Panther] has—political connotations. I neither condemn nor condone those who have taken up the name—but T’Challa is a law unto himself.” He went on to point out that a panther is a leopard, so it’s not that big of a deal. Still, the change didn’t stick and he took back his usual name before long.

T’Challa takes over for Daredevil not just in Hell’s Kitchen, but also in his book in the first arc of BLACK PANTHER: MAN WITHOUT FEAR kicks off from David Liss, Francesco Francavilla and Jefte Palo.

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The Thing embarks on a Christmas Eve mission that brings him back to Yancy Street!

Celebrate 12 Days of Marvel with a showcase of holiday-themed comic books ready to read on Marvel Unlimited!

The early 1990’s brought about some of the more interesting holiday-themed comics. In 1992’s FANTASTIC FOUR #361, the Thing finds himself stirring up all kinds of trouble while simply trying to help an old chum find his son on Christmas Eve.

“Miracle on Yancy St.” by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan picks up soon after the first family of super-heroics returns to Earth from a trip to space where Thing broke his arm and Johnny learned that the Skrull Lyja had been impersonating his wife Alicia Masters for years. In other words, the team’s holiday cheer levels sat pretty low.

Even so, the ever loving blue eyed Thing jumps at the chance to help his old friend Slugger Sokolowski find his drug addicted son Jimmy. In the process, Ben meets the latest incarnation of the Yancy Street Gang, a group of kids with alliterative nicknames also looking for Jimmy.

Meanwhile, sensing everyone’s sadness, Franklin Richards tries to brighten the mood by decorating for Christmas. Johnny decides to help saying, “We’ll make this the best Christmas of all! I promise!”

Fantastic Four (1961) #361

Fantastic Four (1961) #361

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Later, Thing and the Gang enter an old warehouse where a pair of robots attacks them before the real brains behind the operation stands revealed as Doctor Doom! He’s in town grabbing kids that no one would miss to experiment on.

Luckily for everyone involved, Doom takes it easy on them because Thing’s got a busted arm and even the despot of Latveria refrains from killing kids. The good guys bail from the place before Doom blows it to kingdom come, but the Yancy gang still pin a holiday-themed Kick Me sign on Ben’s back before taking off.

Back at Fantastic Four HQ, Thing comes in cranky, but his friends get him to calm down with a little eggnog—with an extra cinnamon stick—and some nice mistletoe-enabled cheek kisses from Alicia and Sue. He ends the issue with another bit of solid advice: “Ah, shoot! Sometimes, it just don’t pay to be ornery.”

On the second day of X-Mas my True Believer gave to me two Doom Bots and a demon in the X-Mansion.

Come back tomorrow for another Holiday Grab Bag featuring GLX-MAS #1!

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