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Without a doubt, the biggest bomb dropped by Marvel Comics at this year’s C2E2 was the announcement of Marvel Legacy, the new initiative starting in the fall with ‘Generations’ that will see the return of classic titles’ legacy numbering and a number of other things meant to embrace the House of Ideas’ storied past and ever-changing present. However, before that news was revealed at the company’s Next Big Thing panel, True Believers in attendance were treated to some sneak peeks at what’s coming ahead of the Legacy event.

First, the Guardians of the Galaxy took center stage with their new books starting with ‘All-New Guardians of the Galaxy’ from writer Gerry Duggan with art by Aaron Kuder and Ive Svorcina, which will pick up a few months after the events of Brian Michael Bendis’ acclaimed run with the team. This new tale features the Guardians that the world has come to know and love, but with a few slight tweaks. For instance, Drax the Destroyer has taken a vow of pacifism and is in dire need of a new nickname now. Groot also can’t grow to his former size anymore for some reason. While many will probably point to Baby Groot’s appearance in the upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ as the reason, but apparently there’s some heartbreaking explanation for this change that won’t be revealed right away. And since the book will be shipping twice a month, the readers will slowly get to learn what happened during the time jump from the last series as the issues will alternate between the main story and flashbacks that focus on specific Guardians to reveal what led up to the new status quo for Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. All of this will apparently build up to a massive cosmic storyline crafted by Duggan that the panel could not talk about just yet.

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The next new Guardians book will be ‘Rocket’ by Al Ewing, Adam Gorham, and Michael Garland. Mixing classic heist stories and crime noir with science fiction, this comic will feature Rocket and his crew wearing suits and doing heists across the galaxy. The panel even teased that the story kicks off with that tried and true noir trope of a femme fatale, although this time around, that character is an otter.

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While Rocket is off pulling heists, his best friend/muscle/house plant will be up to some solo adventures of his own. In ‘I Am Groot’ from ‘Unbelievable Gwenpool’ writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flavian Marcio Menyz, Groot gets separated from the Guardians and lands on an alien planet where no one can understand him. The story is his journey back to his family in the same vein as ‘Labyrinth’, ‘The Never Ending Story’, and ‘Return to Oz’. Or to put it another way, it’s ‘Homeward Bound’ if it was about a tree. It definitely sounds like the Chewbacca limited series released not too long ago, which turned out to be a pretty fun read despite not understanding what the main protagonist is saying.

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From there, the panel ventured back down to Earth for Chip Zdarsky’s next highly-anticipated project starring the friendly neighborhood web-slinger. Along with superstar artist Adam Kubert, the ‘Howard the Duck’ and ‘Star-Lord’ writer will bring Spidey back to his roots in ‘Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man’. Chip’s unique brand of humor is sure to mend well with the constantly quipping hero and his many guest stars that will include the Human Torch, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Sam Wilson, and more. Although, the writer insists that this whole thing is “wrong and Marvel will realize their mistake very soon.”

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The discussion then shifted from one of Marvel’s most popular heroes to one of their most popular villains. While Venom has played a more heroic role since pairing with Flash Thompson, the symbiote will reunite with its original host Eddie Brock in ‘Venom’ #150. This “toxic” relationship will be rekindled in a sort of a dysfunctional love story that will see the alien entity want to continue being a hero after spending time with Flash and Lee Price, while Eddie and his more sinister agendas try to sway it back to their old ways. 

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Amidst a pleTHORa of puns, the panel moved on to discuss ‘The Mighty Thor’ from Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Valerio Schiti, and Matthew Wilson. After discussing the conclusion of the Asgard/Shi’ar War, Aaron revealed that yet another Thor would be gracing the pages of his book that already features Jane Foster and Thor Odinson as Thunderers. The All-New Ultimate Thor (or War Thor) will be introduced in issue twenty, which will be sporting a cover that pays homage to the first appearance of Beta Ray Bill. And for those wondering, this new Thor will be someone that we’ve seen before and his identity will be revealed before the end of this issue rather than stretching out the revelation until a number of issues later.

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Extremely talented ‘Black Panther’ artist Brian Stelfreeze was also on hand to talk about the next arc of T’challa’s exploits in Wakanda and beyond that follow an ancient force as it takes advantage of the absence of the Wakandan gods. While he won’t be providing interior artwork for the second story arc, Stelfreeze will be working on covers with Laura Martin and he has designed the ancient Wakandan gods that will appear in the tale titled ‘Avengers of the New World’. Plus, he revealed that the best-selling first arc is being collected into an over-sized hardcover with an all-new cover from him that will be released in August.

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Finally, before talk went completely towards Legacy, Margaret Stohl discussed ‘The Mighty Captain Marvel’ and Carol Danvers’ role in ‘Secret Empire’. While she has been on a redemption tour since ‘Civil War II’, a huge wrench is thrown into Carol’s life when she gets trapped in space outside of Earth’s shield when Steve Rogers’ treacherous plan is executed. Along with the Ultimates, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Alpha Flight, the leader of the Carol Corps must find a way through the shield to help the planet survive. Heavily inspired by World War II, Stohl shared that this storyline known as ‘Band of Sisters’ will see Captain Marvel bring out Soldier Carol in a sort of American Hero sort of way. 

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What do you think about what’s coming in the immediate future from Marvel Comics? Are you looking forward to picking up some of these books in the coming months? Let us know in the comments

horizontal lineDespite being a “professional writer”, Ben likes run-on sentences far too much. For more of his attempts at being funny and the occasional insightful thought, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.