Do The New ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Comics Answer The Thanos Question?

Two movie tie-in issues feature the iconic villain and tease a big role.

It’s a good time to be a Marvel Studios fan. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” hits theaters tomorrow (April 4), and then the only thing standing in between us and another “Avengers” movie is the company’s crazy, ambitious space epic, “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

And for fans eagerly awaiting “Guardians of the Galaxy,” it’s been a good week at the comic book store. Two new prequel comics, written by the team that shaped the modern Guardians team, Dan Abnett and Andy Landing, have shed some light on what to expect when the movie hits in August.

Aside from the first trailer, some character details and a vague sense of the story, we don’t know too many specifics about “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The movie’s version of the team will include Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot, and they’ll face off against Nebula and Ronan.

But what everyone wants to know is what role Thanos, the villain teased at the end of “The Avengers,” has to do with all of this. Director James Gunn has confirmed that Thanos has a presence in the movie, but hasn’t clarified to what extent.

If anything is to be gleaned from both the digital Infinite prequel and official prelude, it’s that Thanos is never far from the action. (But also, both are very good and worth your money.)

The digital-only Infinite comics starts where “Thor: The Dark World” ended, with Sif and Volstagg leaving the Aether with the Collector (Benicio Del Toro), who is eager to find the rest of the Infinity Stones. He then (via hologram) meets with Gamora to persuade her to collect the orb at the center of the “Guardians” story for him. The one-shot ends with a collage of everyone else who is hunting the orb, including the rest of the Guardians… and Thanos.

The big purple guy plays an even bigger role in the first issue of Abnett and Lanning’s prelude series. This week’s issue dishes out some of Nebula’s backstory and how her conflict with Gamora began.

The two started their deadly careers as pupils of Thanos, who imparted the importance of strength over weakness onto them. His tutelage formed them into ruthless killers, and during the events of the issue, he is still very much a big part of their life.

We may not know who is playing Thanos in “Guardians of the Galaxy” or even if he’s going to show up, but now there’s even more evidence that he’s an important figure in the story.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” opens in theaters on August 1.

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