A new era for Marvel Comics' flagship cosmic team began in this week's Guardians of the Galaxy #13. The space-faring family of misfits is being corralled into something more legitimate - and becoming actual superheroes! - as part of Marvel Comics' 'New Age of Space'.
According to Al Ewing, who has been writing the title for the past year, part of the series' new direction is due to the recent cosmic-centric wars in the event storylines Empyre and King in Black, and it's also about new team leader Nova getting a chance to reclaim his own classic superheroic roots.
"Nova began as a superhero in the classic mold. More recently, his life's taken a darker turn - he's a soldier, a veteran, someone who's seen terrible things, and now he's in therapy for that," Ewing tells Newsarama. "Part of this new direction for the Guardians is him rediscovering some of the joy he felt in the past - so, in that sense, it's a positive direction for him."
From a positive to a negative, the team's new mission statement has garnered the attention of classic supervillain Doctor Doom. And although Doom might refute being called a villain, we have no qualms about it - and neither does Ewing.
"It's surprising to me that Doom doesn't do more in a galactic context - he's such a big deal in his own mind that he should let the whole universe know of his greatness," says Ewing. "And of course, he's literally created a whole universe of his own in the past, and ruled it. So it's not that he's short of ambition."
Doom made his customary dramatic entrance at the end of this week's Guardians of the Galaxy #13, and Ewing tells us that there's "a larger story being told here" and this isn't a bit of stunt-casting, as "Doom is going to be a very big part of it."
Speaking of big, the roster for Guardians of the Galaxy is growing and is even more than the 17-member roster showcased on Brett Booth's interconnecting covers to issues #13, #14, and #15.
"I want to expand the roster of space-based heroes further than who's on those covers - that's kind of the starting point for me, where we are right now," says the writer. "I wouldn't mind bringing some new faces in for what's next. So this isn't so much a roster as a selection from a box I'd like to build out even more."
With this new era comes a new creative co-captain with Ewing - new series artist Juan Frigeri. Recently seen in the pages of Ghost Rider, Frigeri is not only drawing the series - but also designing the team's new outfits.
"Juan does a lot of great work - there are sequences in #13 that are absolutely jaw-dropping - and we went to various places with the colors of the new uniforms," says Ewing. "In the end, we settled on something both reminiscent of Guardians past, but with some more classic primary colors, to point up the superheroic tone of this new direction.
"Not that everybody's getting a new look - Quill needs a little more time in his new duds, so we'll see if he makes the switch to a jumpsuit in the future."
Guardians of the Galaxy #14 preview
As for why the team is now wearing matching jackets? Someone's a fan of the '90s Avengers leather jacket era (We admit it - so are we.)
"Remember when the Avengers did that in the '90s? They had these leather jackets with the 'A' on them. I always thought that was cool," Ewing says. "I've been trying to make it happen with one team or other for ages, and now it's happening in two books at once. Jackets!"
That other book? SWORD. Stay tuned for more on that - and the entire 'New Age of Space' - later this month on Newsarama.
Guardians of the Galaxy #13 is on sale now, with Guardians of the Galaxy #14 due out May 12.