Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is getting a shake-up this fall with "All-New All-Different Marvel," with members leaving, members joining, and a new leader whom Brian Michael Bendis describes as having "a Napoleon Complex." In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the long-time Marvel writer talks about the title's upcoming relaunch with Valerio Schiti for "All-New All-Different Marvel" and how the team is the "underdogs of the underdogs."
"One of the things we’ve had a lot of luck with, that I enjoy, is for people who have seen the movie or the cartoon that the comic book surprises them. It’s not exactly like the movie," said Bendis, who has written the series since 2013. "There are things that are similar and relationships that are similar, but there are also some differences. Our characters are so entrenched in what’s going on in the Marvel Universe that they have all kinds of cool relationships they might not get in the movies. Right now we have Star-Lord, Peter Quill, and when we last left him, his father, who was the emperor of Peter’s other home planet, ended up turning rather villainous. He was ousted as the head of his planet, and the governments of the planets came to Peter and offered him to take over as president of the planet. We didn’t see what decision he made, but there’s obviously a lot of pros and cons."
Bendis explains that while he's absent from the team, Kitty Pryde takes his spot as their blossoming romance continues.
"I know that’s one of those things that some die-hard fans see and their dander rises, because change is bad. But wait and see," promises Bendis. "You’ll see exactly what that means. Some people feel like I’m personally going over to the house and breaking new toys, but that’s not the case. We’re making them vital and interesting and finding new stuff. Some of my favorite things that have ever happened in literature, and in comics specifically, were when people did do things."
Pryde will now go by the moniker of Star-Lady, but no mention is made by Bendis or EW about the status of the book's previous female lead, Gamora.
Another new addition to the book is the Fantastic Four's Ben Grimm, a.k.a. the Thing. Bendis cites Grimm's early aspirations to be an astronaut in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four run as his original impetus for considering him as part of Guardians of the Galaxy, and says that this experience and the fact that space is more accomodating to those with unique looks as the Thing's made for an interesting story.
" So what’s that life going to be like for him if he’s kind of labeled, but now he’s in a place where that’s not a problem anymore?" Bendis added. "The other cool thing is that with Kitty Pryde and Ben Grimm on the team, we have my goal of having a 'Jews In Space' book which is what I pitched when I first came to Marvel."
When asked about Rocket Raccoon assumming the leadership role of the team with Quill's departure, Bendis says it's been a long time coming.
"It is a lot of fun because all of a sudden you’ve got a sense that he’s been waiting for this moment. Peter had to leave the group to do his thing, and Rocket just decides that means he’s in charge," the writer said. "That doesn’t mean anyone else agrees or wants to even fight with him about it, so he just keeps announcing how he’s in charge and everyone’s just doing whatever they want. He’s really having a bit of a Napoleon Complex. Really, we’re having a lot of fun with it, and he’s not the greatest leader."
In describing the new volume of Guardians of the Galaxy as a whole, Bendis said he's trying to be different than what the team is in other mediums such as movies or the upcoming animated series.
"We’ve got some really cool unique stuff that you’re only going to see in the comics, and it’s very big and very bold and very funny and very cute at the same time," said Bendis. "So I’m excited to get people’s feedback and see what they think about the new team and the new team dynamic. And could it be that ben Grimm and Groot are the new cutest couple in comics? It very well could be. We’ll see!"