Thanos is dead! Long live Thanos! It should surprise no one that the supervillain’s recent decapitation isn’t the end of his story, and the new Guardians Of The Galaxy series reveals that while Thanos’ body may be dead, his consciousness has been transferred to a new living host. Reuniting frequent collaborators Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw (The Paybacks, God Country, Thanos), Guardians Of The Galaxy assembles a new team of space-faring heroes to hunt down the revived Thanos, but personal relationships complicate their mission. The first issue of the series brings together nearly every major cosmic character in the Marvel Universe for the reading of Thanos’ last rites, seemingly killing them all off when the event is interrupted by Thanos’ old henchmen, the Black Order. The only survivors are Cosmic Ghost Rider, Moondragon, Phyla-Vell, and Beta Ray Bill, who reluctantly unite with Star-Lord and Groot to stop the Black Order and rescue their probably-not-dead allies.
This exclusive preview of next week’s Guardians Of The Galaxy #2 begins with Peter Quill reaching out to his ex-fiancée, Kitty Pryde, because he has no one else to turn to. (Coincidentally, this issue lands in the middle of a tiff between the actors who play those characters on screen, Chris Pratt and Ellen Page.) One of Cates’ greatest strengths as a superhero writer is his ability to use continuity for character development, embracing the past to heighten the struggles of his heroes in the present. Kitty and Peter don’t have a great relationship, and having Peter get back in touch indicates just how desperate he is for companionship after losing the majority of his old team. Kitty sees exactly what he’s trying to do, though, and refuses to be used as a therapist replacement.
The visuals from Shaw, colorist Marte Gracia, and letterer Cory Petit balance realistic detail with cosmic superhero spectacle, and the opening pages of this excerpt highlight the expressive qualities of Shaw’s artwork as he depicts a despondent Peter. Kitty’s comment about Peter not showering is supported by Shaw’s greasy, scraggly interpretation, and there are a lot of subtle emotional moments in this conversation that make the story more personal before it jumps to the high drama of the Black Order searching for Thanos’ head. Gracia’s vibrant coloring energizes Shaw’s linework with purple, orange, and blue, taking advantage of the extraterrestrial landscape to fill the page with bright colors.