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This article contains spoilers for Thanos Legacy #1, Thanos Wins, Guardians of the Galaxy #150, Death of the Inhumans #1–#3, Darkhawk #51, Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #1–#4, Cosmic Ghost Rider #1, and Infinity Wars Prime #1
In this week’s Thanos Legacy #1, the final pages revealed that the all-star creative team of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw will be relaunching Marvel’s premier cosmic title, Guardians of the Galaxy, in January 2019. This was a bit of a surprise announcement, seeing as how Marvel cancelled the book back in March of 2018, ending with the landmark Guardians of the Galaxy #150. This issue saw the return of "space-Jesus" Adam Warlock, disbanded the titular team and kicked off the big summer event, Infinity Countdown, which heavily featured the former members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Now, this isn’t the first time that Cates and Shaw have worked together, having collaborated on God Country for Image Comics and the critically acclaimed Thanos Wins for Marvel Comics. Cates and Shaw have a penchant for crafting high-octane and wild stories, with Cates himself describing the upcoming book as "insane." As part of the announcement, Marvel released a teaser image featuring over 35 characters associated with the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe, along with the tagline: #WhoAreTheGuardians. The stunning teaser image (drawn by Shaw) showcased all kinds of characters, ranging from the modern team of Guardians, the 1969 team, Ronan the Accuser, Moondragon, Nova, and even the world-devourer Galactus. This is a list of the six characters from the teaser who could be included on the team, based on character popularity and relevance to the story Cates and Shaw are crafting.
Eros (known amongst the superhero community as Starfox) is a member of the Eternals, son of A’Lars and Sui-San, former member of the Avengers, and the younger brother of the Mad Titan Thanos. Eros and Thanos share a bit of an odd relationship, what with Thanos’ immense power and warmongering attitude conflicting with Eros’ silver tongue and manipulative tendencies. Their relationship is almost a reverse of Thor’s and Loki’s. In addition to the superhuman strength, durability, and longevity that all Eternals are born with, Eros also possesses the ability to influence the emotions of others, originally using it to seduce multitudes of women and gain widespread popularity before adopting the more noble calling of superheroics. In the final pages of Thanos Legacy #1, Eros reveals to the reader and his companion (who happens to be the next entry on this list) that the now-deceased Mad Titan had hidden what he called the "Endgame," which turned out to be his last will and testament, in his heart (literally) and claimed that what’s contained inside of it could cause a war to end all life. Seeing as how the first arc of Cates and Shaw’s Guardians book will deal with the fallout of this revelation and the consequences thereof, it only makes sense for the man who revealed this information to lead the team.
2. Cosmic Ghost Rider
Cosmic Ghost Rider is a prime example of the wonderful comic book-y ridiculousness Cates and Shaw create when paired together. First appearing in Cates and Shaw’s Thanos Wins, the man formly-known-as Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) is killed in the near future during Thanos’ final and successful assault on Earth, and with his dying breath, The Punisher claims that he would give anything to "punish" Thanos. Hearing this proclamation, the demon lord Mephisto propositions Frank, offering to give him the power he desires to kill the Mad Titan. Frank accepts, taking on the mantle of the Ghost Rider. Roaming the ruined Earth for centuries, Frank went insane, adopting a personality more akin to that of Deadpool. Eventually, he crossed paths with Galactus, wounded from a battle with Thanos. Frank offers to help Galactus kill Thanos in exchange for making him his next Herald, enhancing his demonic powers with that of the Power Cosmic. Galactus later fell to Thanos, and amused with the tenacity Cosmic Ghost Rider displayed, made him his Black Right Hand, serving him for untold eons. Ultimately being killed by a Mjolnir-wielding Silver Surfer in an epic battle, Frank was saved from hell by the All-Father of Asgard, Odin, and taken to Valhalla as a reward for suffering his horrible life before getting kicked out for fighting too much. Now he’s in the current timeline and raising hell across the cosmos—utterly and beautifully ludicrous. Sensing the death of his former-though-not-yet master, Frank was present when Eros dropped the bombshell of the "Endgame, and considering his close association with Thanos, Cosmic Ghost Rider is a shoe-in for a spot on the team.
The Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy, Gamora was only a child when her species was destroyed by the malevolent Badoon. The last of her kind, she was eventually found by Thanos and trained as a warrior and raised as his daughter. She eventually escaped his grasp and became an adventuring cosmic hero, joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, where she struck up an on-again-off-again romance with Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord and teaming up with other space-faring heroes such as Adam Warlock and Pip the Troll. Through her relationship with Adam Warlock, Gamora came into contact with the Soul Stone, which trapped a piece of herself inside its pocket dimension (known as the Soul World). With her desire to regain that missing part of herself, coupled with Warlock and her fellow Guardian’s refusal to allow her to open the dangerous Soul World, Gamora left the Guardians. Stealing the Power Stone and fitting it on the hilt of a new sword, Gamora took on the name Requiem and slew her adoptive father as a means to keep him out of her way as she looked for the remaining Infinity Stones. Her murder of Thanos led Eros and Cosmic Ghost Rider to his will, which in turn will kick off the events of the "Endgame" and the Guardians relaunch. The fact that Gamora is the one who killed Thanos should make her an obvious choice to join this new iteration of the Guardians, seeing as how she’d desire to destroy or ruin any of the Mad Titan’s schemes.
4. Beta Ray Bill
One of the goofiest-looking characters in Marvel’s catalog, Beta Ray Bill was one of the first people outside of Thor’s family to be able to lift his hammer, Mjolnir. After forming a brotherly bond with the Thunder God and receiving a hammer of his own by the name of Stormbreaker, Beta Ray Bill became a hero of the spaceways. Once acting as a defender of his people, the Korbinites, Bill is now the last of his kind thanks to Galactus’ insatiable hunger. Spinning out of a semi-failed adventure to secure the Mjolnir from the Ultimate Marvel Universe for the recenty-unworthy Thor Odinson, an inebriated and disheveled Bill surprisingly turned up on the final pages of Cates’ dark miniseries Death of the Inhumans #3, where Queen Medusa pleads with him to help them save Black Bolt from the Kree and avenge the death of Lockjaw (whom Bill was quite fond of). Bill’s appearance in another one of Cates’ projects, coupled with his status as a cult favorite, bodes well for his inclusion in the new Guardians book. Plus, with the quest this new team’s heading out on, trying to stop the war to end all wars, they could use the might of a pseudo-Thunder God on their side.
Chris Powell was a teenager when he discovered his cop father was on the take. That same night, he discovered an extraterrestrial amulet that allowed him to transform into Razor, a member of the Fraternity of Raptors. Determined to be better than his father, Chris took on this persona and became Darkhawk! Darkhawk has been a hero for quite some time, often playing it solo both in the cosmos and skies of New York City, but also teaming up with various heroes, such as Captain America, Spider-Man, and close friend and fellow cosmic adventurer Nova. Chris eventually lost the amulet, retired from superheroics, and became an honest cop in an effort to redeem his family name. Recently, though, Chris came into contact with the amulet once more, transforming into a more advanced version of Razor, and became Darkhawk once more to take down the extremist Fraternity, who were in pursuit of the Power Stone. Darkhawk’s recent comeback was unexpected and currently underused. He appeared in Darkhawk #51, a one-shot from 2017 detailing how he became Darkhawk once more, and then he was the star of the Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk miniseries this year. That’s all well and good, but all these do is to reintroduce Darkhawk to the Marvel Universe and establish his new powers and status quo. Outside of these titles, he’s barely involved with the rest of the Universe and he hasn’t even been referenced outside of a comic that doesn’t have his name attached to it. This much world-building has to be setting up for a big event that allows Darkhawk to interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe as a whole, and this new Guardians book could be what this new chapter of his story is building to.
6. Cosmo the Spacedog
The wildcard of this list is the psionic canine cosmonaut himself, Cosmo the Spacedog. Like the name implies, Cosmo was used by the Soviet Union to test experimental spacecraft. One fateful day, Cosmo was lost to space before finding his way to Knowhere. The cosmic radiation emitting from the Celestial-head-turned-spaceport mutated Cosmo’s brain, granting him telepathy and telekinesis. With these abilities, Cosmo eventually became the head of security at Knowhere and even joined the 2008 version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, there isn’t really any specific reason for Cosmo to be included on this team, but he’s incredibly intriguing, and he featured quite prominently in Shaw’s promo art. Cosmo is also a virtually blank canvas for which Cates can make his own, much like he’s currently doing to longtime Spider-Man antagonist Venom in the pages of his Venom ongoing series. It might be a longshot, but it might be time for this fan favorite to re-enter the spotlight, and this highly anticipated relaunch could be the way to do that.