The Guardians of the Galaxy are back with a new creative team and a new core cast.
Following a series of teasers that showed the cast - Nebula, Gamora, Star-Lord, Mantis, and Drax - and teased a story titled 'Grootfall', Marvel has now named Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty writers Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly and artist Kev Walker, who worked with the writers on the recent Captain America and the Winter Soldier one-shot, and colorist Matt Hollingsworth as the new creators for a new volume of the title.(opens in new tab)
Launching in April, the new volume kicks off with a story titled 'Grootfall' that evokes the classic '90s Batman story 'Knightfall,' with the apparent implication that Groot's death may be the catalyst for the formation of the new team - though that remains unconfirmed.
And interestingly, a 'Grootfall' variant cover by interior artist Kev Walker, seen here, shows what appears to be a massive Groot breathing fire over a scorched planet. Could that be a clue to what 'Grootfall' actually means - perhaps some kind of strange villain turn, or a big, Groot-based disaster?
The announcement doesn't specify, but does state that 'Grootfall' is "an overwhelmingly powerful threat that will force the Guardians on a new mission that will test their limits as a found family."
"One year ago, the Guardians of the Galaxy were destroyed. Their optimistic future shattered by the betrayal of one of their own," reads Marvel's description of the new Guardians of the Galaxy title. "Now they ride the space lanes of a lawless corner of the galaxy, trying to outrun their tragedy. Can they rediscover their heroism and humanity on the bleakest frontier? Can they forgive the failures of their past? Or will they fade into the dark, eternally unforgiven?"(opens in new tab)
That description is somewhat reflected in Kev Walker's designs for the cast, seen above, which evoke a kind of far-flung space western aesthetic, especially Star-Lord's Clint Eastwood-esque look. Noticeably absent is Rocket, Groot's usual partner-in-crime, who you'd expect to be along for the ride in a story called 'Grootfall.'
But maybe Rocket's absence is some kind of ominous clue on its own.
"Welcome to a whole new era for the Guardians of the Galaxy, riding like mad through an endless alien dust storm of sun-soaked tragedy, intense violence, and deeply dysfunctional heroes,” Lanzing states in the announcement.(opens in new tab)
"The optimistic peacekeepers that defeated the reborn Olympian Gods and overcame 'The Last Annihilation' have fallen about as far as they possibly could - and now Peter Quill and what remains of his found family will have to fight like hell in a new western-fueled frontier to find a scrap of forgiveness. After all, the Guardians are a fire - and a fire only ends one way."
"Together, we're guiding the Guardians on a new trail - one that will make them look inwards, even as they face the threats over the next horizon. Grab your element gun, True Believers - it's time to go for a brand new ride," adds Kelly.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 goes on sale April 12, with a main cover from Marco Checchetto, seen here.
Of course, a new Guardians ongoing series debuting in April with a team line-up familiar to MCU fans is not a random event. Marvel's Studios Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens May 5.
Read up on the best Guardians of the Galaxy stories of all time.