Meet Marvel's All New Guardians Of The Galaxy

They're on a mission to stop Thanos--and offering up a great way to start reading Marvel in the process.

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This week marked the all-new number one issue of Marvel's latest Guardians Of The Galaxy series--an ongoing comic that has been ominously teased for the past few months by releasing a roster of extremely eclectic heroes as potential candidates for the roster. It's eclectic even by Guardians' standards, which is certainly saying something. But with the wait finally over and the truth of the new lineup revealed, the new trajectory for everyone's favorite rag-tag space heroes has finally been revealed.

Of course, as with most superhero comics, there are some things you should probably be aware of before you pick up this new #1. First, it directly jumps off from the latest crossover event, Infinity Wars--not to be confused with the MCU's Infinity War, though it did involve Thanos and the Infinity Stones--which means some characters have been shuffled around in major ways. The most obvious of the lot is Gamora, who had a rather disturbing heel turn during the Infinity Wars fiasco as she finally found herself more than fed up with her adopted father's antics. It's a bit dicey whether or not she could be called a proper villain right now, but she's certainly not one of the good guys.

And speaking of that adopted father, Thanos himself is, well, dead--but that's another semi-complicated thing to understand if you're making the jump from the movies to the comics. Comics Thanos is obsessed with Death--that is Death with a capital D, the personification of mortality--and his insane universe purging with the Infinity Gauntlet is motivated by his desire to impress her. As such, death (lowercase "d" this time) is a little bit tricky for Thanos, even by comic book standards. During Infinity Wars, he was summerily beheaded, leaving him about as "dead" as any one person could be--but things may not be what they seem.

That's where the new Guardians come in. Everything kicks off with a massive gathering of cosmic heroes (and villains) to see the Mad Titan's last will and testament when things go a bit awry.

It's just turns out that maybe things aren't so final for him after all, and, for as much as Thanos is in love with Death, he's more than happy to try and cheat her, too. So that's really the inciting incident for the formation of the new team--whether they like it or not, Star-Lord and Groot have to join forces with some friends to clean up Thanos' mess, yet again. Hopefully, it'll go a little bit smoother than the time Peter faced off against him on the big screen and basically got everyone killed in the process.

The rest of the team has less cinematic baggage to carry. Beta Ray Bill, one of the most eccentric (and beloved) offshoots of the Thor mythology is tagging along with cosmic telepath Moondragon and kree-hybrid Phyla-Vell, who are joined by a newer addition to the Marvel pantheon: Cosmic Ghost Rider, an alternate take on Frank Castle--yes, that Frank Castle--who has all the powers of Ghost Rider and is also based in space. If that all sounds like nonsense to you, think "Deadpool, but different" and you're most of the way there.

So, yeah, okay, maybe Frank has had his time in the live-action arena on screens both big and small but not this particular version of Frank. You've never seen anything like this, we promise.

At the end of the day, Guardians of the Galaxy #1 manages to serve up a surprisingly accessible on-ramp for one of the Marvel universe's trickiest and most complicated corners by cherry picking just the right of familiarity for new readers and mixing it in with some of the most bonkers deep cuts the cosmic superheroes have to offer. If you're looking for a way to dive into the deep end and you're not afraid of having to do a handful of Wikipedia searches for added context, this is the book for you. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may be in an endless spiral of development controversy, but the dream of the plucky space heroes is alive and well in the comics.

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