Marvel is getting back into the cosmic book business with its next epic crossover event (between the current one and the one after, I mean); The Black Vortex. Announced at New York Comic-Con this past weekend, the event bring together the Guardians Of The Galaxy with all of Marvel's current outer space books -- plus increasingly frequent visitors the All-New X-Men.

The event was devised by Legendary Star-Lord writer Sam Humphries, who also kicks things off with Black Vortex: Alpha in February, with art by Ed McGuinness. ComicsAlliance spoke to Humphries to find out more about the ancient artifact at the heart of the story that will pit heroes against heroes and spark up a different kind of space race.



ComicsAlliance: This looks to be a "cosmic event" in the grand Marvel tradition of Annihilation, Thanos Quest, etc – so are there particular older stories it builds off that we should go back to, re-read, and refresh our memories of?

Sam Humphries: The seeds of this story have been planted in The Legendary Star-Lord since issue #1 – we've been building an event right under your nose and you never knew it! In terms of themes, Guardians Of The Galaxy And X-Men: The Black Vortex takes its cues from one of Marvel's most devastating moral quandaries; how far will I go to do the right thing?

CA: This is a crossover with a one-shot prologue, but how closely will everything be tied together, and how is it structured?

SH:This event is bookended by The Black Vortex: Alpha and The Black Vortex: Omega, written by myself and drawn by the titanic Ed McGuinness. This is such a perfect showcase for Ed's massive style – he truly brings this epic tale to life. The middle chapters will be crossing over The Legendary Star-Lord, All-New X-Men, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Nova, and a few surprise titles!

CA: It sounds like you've assembled an interesting line-up of heroes for this space opera. How did you settle on the cast of characters?

SH: Black Vortex is an event with a big, action-packed plot, but it really is driven by the characters. What will they see reflected in the Black Vortex? What decision will they make based on what they see? How will that decision change them forever? So we brought together characters who will have the most compelling reactions to the Black Vortex, the people who would make the most shocking decisions.Also, a lot of smart asses.

CA: We know who the major villains of this piece are -- the Brood, Thane, Mr Knife -- but we understand there will be some strife within the heroes' own ranks as well. What can you tell us about those conflicts?

SH: The Black Vortex is an ancient artifact with the power to unlock the cosmic potential within yourself. Imagine the metamorphosis that turned Norrin Radd into the Silver Surfer, or Jean Grey into Dark Phoenix, available to anyone in the Marvel Universe. The beneficial properties of the Black Vortex are unlimited... but so are the destructive properties. The Guardians and the X-Men have to come together to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

But this story will pit teammate against teammate, friend against friend, and even divide romantic partners. Encountering the Black Vortex causes each character to ask a question, and no one will come up with the same answer. And with the stakes so high, our heroes may be forced to put their friendships aside to do what they feel is the right thing. No one can cross paths with the Black Vortex and remain the same.


From Legendary Star-Lord #1, art by Paco Medina


CA: Having assembled the team and thrown them into this conflict, which characters have emerged as your favorites to write? Were there interactions that you found surprisingly fertile or entertaining?

SH: Peter [Quill, Star-Lord] and Kitty [Pryde] are in many ways central to this story – I've been building their romance in The Legendary Star-Lord, and their relationship will be sorely tested in this event. Beyond that, there's some great team ups and antagonisms in this event that readers are going to love.

But really, the most fertile and entertaining interactions have been between myself and my co-authors. I wrote the outline of this event, but the credit belongs to Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Gerry Duggan, and the others who are working on this project -- as well as our editors, Mike Marts and Katie Kubert. They have elevated The Black Vortex into a truly epic event.

CA: Will this story line up with the big Time Runs Out/Secret Wars story that Jonathan Hickman is building in the Avengers books?

SH: I'm afraid I'm gonna have to say "wait and see" with this one. Hickman has nanites in my bloodstream that will lobotomize me if I speak further. All I can say is we're all aware of what's going on, and it all fits.

CA: And beyond this story, can you drop any hints about where you're taking Star-Lord next?

SH: Issue 5: The Slaughter Squad and the first appearance of the Black Vortex. Issue 6: Peter and Kitty's date. Issue 7: Kitty to the rescue. Issue 8: Peter pops "the question." Issue 9: THE BLACK VORTEX!