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Comic Book / Guardians of the Galaxy (2019)

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Marvel Cosmic Reborn

Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2019 relaunch of the titular Marvel Comics team, written by Donny Cates (Venom) with art by Geoff Shaw.

After the events of the Infinity Wars, Thanos the Mad Titan has died, Gamora is on the run from authorities and the Guardians of the Galaxy have disbanded. Eros, brother of Thanos, calls together a council of figures such as the Silver Surfer, Beta Ray Bill, the Shi’ar, the Starjammers and more to read the last will and testament of the Mad Titan himself. Thanos reveals in his message to the gathered champions that he installed a backup plan should anyone kill his physical form that would transfer his consciousness into the body of another being. Before the gathered cosmic heroes can react, they are ambushed and sent through a wormhole. The only figures left standing to track down the “new” Thanos are the hastily reformed Guardians of the Galaxy.

The members of this reformed team of Guardians include Star-Lord, Groot, Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, Beta Ray Bill and Cosmic Ghost Rider.

The series serves as something of a Grand Finale for Cates' Cosmic work up until that point. It ended after 12 issues, after which a new series by Al Ewing began.

Guardians of the Galaxy provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: Cates and Gerry Duggan's Thanos Legacy one-shot from Infinity Wars serves as a prelude to the run. It answers how, when, and where Eros retrieved Thanos' body and how he acquired his brother's Last Will and Testament.
  • Apple of Discord: The prologue issue has Eros state that Thanos' Will may cause more strife for the universe than he ever did living. This is proven true when his will states that he plans to revive himself by taking over the body of someone, potentially anyone if not someone he knew in life, which draws multiple factions into open conflict over who that is.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Though she doesn’t actually say it to Eros, Proxima Midnight pokes a pretty huge hole in his claims about Thanos transferring his mind into someone with a simple question; why would Thanos want to revive himself, considering his whole motive is to be with Death?
  • Bad Boss: The Black Order show zero concern about sending their own Outrider mooks into a vortex to get rid of the assembly of heroes.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Thanos or Hela are competing for the title of Big Bad, assuming Thanos is coming back like he claims.
  • Body Backup Drive: Thanos claims he’s done this after dying at the start of Infinity Wars (2018). Whether he’s telling the truth or not is unclear.
  • Bothering by the Book: How the new team is formed. The Nova Corps insist on trying to take the survivors of the Black Order’s assault in for interrogation. To prevent a fight, Star-Lord says they can’t enter his ship and detain them without a warrant. When the Novas point out that right only applies to him and his crew, Star-Lord immediately declares that the survivors are the newest Guardians Of The Galaxy.
  • Cain and Abel: As usual, Eros/Starfox gathers the council to prevent his brother Thanos’ plan of transferring his mind into a new body. But something’s up; he’s strangely insistent on killing a lot of people to prevent Thanos’ return, and his list of suspects just “happens” to largely consist of Thanos’ enemies...
  • Close on Title: This is how Issue #1 ends. Star-Lord declares everyone aboard the Ryder to now be a part of his crew to prevent the Nova Corps from taking them in for questioning. Cosmic Ghost Rider realizes what this means, with his final words being cut off and shown as the title page.
    “Wait, no. No, no, no. I aint signing up to be a member of the damn — GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY”
  • Delinquent Hair: Groot is introduced having fashioned mohawk-like spikes atop his head as he carves spikes into his shoulders. It compliments Star-Lord’s Beard of Sorrow as they drift towards Knowhere in search of drinks.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Star-Lord and Groot are introduced doing this until they’re interrupted by the tiny detail of Knowhere vanishing into thin air.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He doesn’t die, but Beta Ray Bill considers the possibility of going down fighting the Black Order and Outriders alongside his fellow heroes to be a good death. Ghost Rider grumbles “with that attitude it will be”.
  • Enemy Within: Eros is the one Thanos uploaded his consciousness into and it quickly overwhelms Eros's mind.
  • Everyone Has Standards: There was ever only one choice for Thanos's new host. Thanos would never choose someone who's not a Titan Eternal, so Gamora was never in the running. Guess who's the only remaining Titan Eternal in the galaxy...
  • Familial Body Snatcher: Thanos' will claims that he will return himself from death by overwriting the mind of someone with his own. Everyone presumes that it'll be his favored child Gamora but it turns out to be Eros.
  • First-Episode Twist:
    • Issue #1 concerns the reveal of Thanos’ plan to place his mind into a new body should he die. Gamora killed him during the events of Infinity Wars (2018), spoiling one of the major ramifications of said crossover.
    • The fact that Gamora is on the run and the most likely candidate for such a body swapping plot also spoils the end of the event.
    • Much was made in the buildup to the comic’s release as to who would be on the roster of the new Guardians. The first cover features Star-Lord, Darkhawk, Beta Ray Bill, the Silver Surfer, Moondragon, Groot, Cosmic Ghost Rider, Nova, Adam Warlock, Gladiator and Phyla-Vell as potential candidates. Issue #1 ends with Peter and Groot offering Moondragon, Phyla, Bill and Ghost Rider a place on their ship, effectively forming the team in order to skirt a bit of cosmic jurisdiction.
  • Former Friends Photo: A wanted poster of the classic Guardians crew is shown (complete with each of them happily Flipping the Bird) when we first see the Ryder. Seeing as Gamora is a wanted fugitive, Drax is dead and Peter and Groot refuse to speak of Rocket, it’s used to show how shattered the group is after the events of Infinity Wars (2018).
  • He's Back!: Star-Lord is a broken down drunk following the events of Infinity Wars... until he gets both news of what’s going on with Thanos and a new crew, giving him a new quest to go on. He jumps right back to his usual self.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Gladiator asks how much pain could be spared if they were able to travel back and kill Thanos as a child. Cosmic Ghost Rider can be seen muttering to himself how he should have “shot that damn baby in the face” and pouring himself a drink in a Call-Back to his previous miniseries.
  • It's Personal: Phyla Vell is still nursing a grudge against Gamora over the events of Infinity Wars and is eager to hunt her down, causing a rift between her and Moondragon, who finds the whole situation deeply suspicious.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Gamora, upon learning that Star-Lord’s new ship is called the Ryder, asks Groot if it’s named after one of Peter’s “pretty Earth girls”.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Star-Lord, Groot, and the Nova Corps only make it to the Thanos assembly after everything’s gone to hell.
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad: The Black Order is this once more, though they now serve Hela instead of Thanos.
  • MacGyvering: The team escapes the Black Order’s vortex by using Ghost Rider’s chain and Beta Ray Bill’s hammer as a makeshift anchor, which they fling into the Ryder so Star-Lord and Groot can pull them out.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The assembly’s response to Thanos’ claim that he’s transferred his mind to a new body.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Something’s up with Eros; he’s weirdly insistent that stopping Thanos must involve killing tons of innocent people, and his list of suspects is mostly made up of Thanos’ enemies. Not to mention the whole situation requires the heroes take Thanos of all people at his word. Beta Ray Bill, Ghost Rider, and Moondragon are rightfully suspicious, but the Black Order’s attack prevents much discussion of the matter.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Eros is disturbingly (and suspiciously) intent on the idea of killing all of Thanos’ enemies and allies in case Thanos transferred his mind to them. The assembled heroes are quick to point out problems with this, most notably with Ghost Rider noting that, by this logic, everyone in the room should kill each other on the off-chance one of them is Thanos.
  • Mythology Gag: Groot has gained the ability to say things other than “I am Groot”, while also developing a bit of an attitude problem. In other words, he’s back to what he was originally like prior to Characterization Marches On.
  • Noodle Incident: Where is Rocket and why won’t Peter or Groot talk about him? It’s revealed in issue #8 that Rocket realised that his body was failing him, and left without a word because he didn’t want anyone to remember him in an incredibly frail state - and the other Guardians are all pissed at him for giving up.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: A Guardians tradition, though this team is particularly notable. The only previous members of the team are Star-Lord and Groot, who are both still reeling from the events of Infinity Wars (2018) and whatever happened to Rocket. Though Moondragon and Phyla-Vell were on the original modern team the ones seen here are the sole survivors of a universe destroyed by the events of Infinity Wars (2018). The final two members are the horse-headed alien found worthy of carrying Thor’s hammer and the future version of The Punisher possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance and possessing the Power Cosmic.
  • Shout-Out: Star-Lord’s new ship is called the Ryder.
  • Space Police: The Nova Corps, as always.
  • The Stinger: Unusual for a comic book, there’s one at the end of Issue #1 after the Close on Title showing the Black Order’s new master, Hela.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • The Black Order may be working with Hela, but they’re not happy about it; Proxima Midnight is quick to complain that she’s doing pretty much the opposite of what Thanos would’ve wanted by trying to bring him back.
    • Ghost Rider is understandably wary about working with Silver Surfer, given his last encounter with him involved a Bad Future version of him killing Frank.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Befitting his name, Thanos leaves a recording telling Eros’ cosmic council that he has planned to have his mind transferred into a pre-determined body in the event that someone manages to kill him. Whether this is actually true or not is up for debate.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Eros’ reason for not calling The Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men or any other earth heroes to deal with the crisis.
    ”You will notice the intentional lack of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” as well. This is because,, all of do I say this...not adverse to unclean hands.”
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Groot’s picked up a serious attitude problem since Infinity Wars, much to Star-Lord’s chagrin.
  • Troll: The only possible explanation for Thanos revealing his plan to Eros and his council.
  • Villains Never Lie: Mocked by Beta Ray Bill and Moondragon, who rightfully question why Eros is taking Thanos at his words. The Silver Surfer agrees, but also points out that it would be foolish to automatically dismiss it as a lie without investigating.
  • Voice of Reason: Of all people, Cosmic Ghost Rider shares this with notable hot-head Gladiator. It was Frank that talked the group out of torturing Nova and he was one of the people that tried to keep people from panicking over the possibility that anyone in the room might be Thanos.
  • Worf Effect: To a degree, in the 1st issue. The Black Order and the Outriders are powerhouses but they went up against the Annihilators, the Starjammers, the Sh'iar Imperial Guard and mighty independents like Cosmic Ghost Rider, Darkhawk and Wraith. Just a few of those guys could easily wipe out the Black Order and co., instead the good guys lost. Though to be fair, the Black Order were just going for a snatch and grab before dropping a black hole on everyone and the heroes were caught off guard when the enemy warp-jumped in.