Cosmic heroes, and villains for that matter, are basically characters that operate in space and deal with sci-fi stuff like alien armadas, sentient planets and worm holes that lead to alternate realities. Often the costumes that the characters are wearing will be more of a uniform rather than a funky outfit that people make fun of. Generally the stakes and threats that cosmic characters are faced with are of a much grander scale than the stuff that your regular superheroes face. Generally that applies to pretty much everything in these stories. Most often they're just bigger and I guess that's part of the appeal to me. To see how the writers balance these great big, epic concepts with the deeper character moments that gives any story it's true worth.
As always I'm more a Marvel fan than a DC fan in these matters and as such you'll most likely find me reading Guardians of the Galaxy instead of Green Lantern... or rather I would be but I'll get to that in a minute.
After a bit of slump the Marvel cosmic characters got a shot in the arm with the modern master piece, at least it is in my opinion, Annihilation. Someday I'll go more in-depth about the series but for now you'll have to settle for this brief summary. An alien-bug army from he anti-matter universe invades the regular Marvel universe and it is so overwhelmingly destructive that the heroes, villains and even gods of the cosmos have to join forces to defeat it.
I bought the series simply because it sounded cool and I expected to see some more well-known cosmic characters do their thing. Nowadays I hold it as a gold standard for how to write a action-packed comic story and it turned a bunch of characters that I never heard about into some of my favourite persons in the Marvel universe.
While the stories that followed weren't as awesome they still held a high quality and it eventually led to one of my favourite monthly series Guardians of the Galaxy.
Love those guys.
Anyway, while most of these comics were awesome and they do have their own cult following they're not exactly what you'd call the biggest of sellers, though they do sell reasonably well from what I can see, and around 2009/2010 we were all left without any monthly titles and a generaly uncertainty about where the cosmic line would go.
We've had to settle with a bunch of minis, the last of which was kind of mediocre, and vague promises that we fans of cosmic Marvel comics will be very happy with the coming things. That's been going on for almost two years now. It's been kind of fun to see the cosmic community react to basically anything even remotely cosmic related. But finally the patience seems to be paying off as there's been a bit of possible push for cosmic characters.
For one thing they've been appearing a bit more outside of comics, which is generally a good thing really to increase public awareness of these character's existence. Nova, the hero of Annihilation, and Rocket Raccon, anthropomorphic fan favourite, are both appearing in the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video game.
In the popular, and awesome, cartoon Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, we might very well get a guest appearance by the above-mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy. At least that's what we're hoping based on some art being released on the web months ago.
Again, love those guys.
What about in the comics then? Well there's a one-shot coming out in November that's supposed to set the stage for most of Marvel's comics for 2012. Part of the promotional art for this one-shot was this little thing.
That's a new design for the aforementioned Nova, who was last seen battling a mad titan inside of a collapsing universe. We don't know if it's the same character or somebody new with the power or what. But it has peaked at least my interest enough to give the one-shot a chance, despite it being written by a writer I'm not very fond of. I just hope that Loeb brings his Red Hulk writing style rather than his Ultimatum writing style to the table.
And Axl Alonoso has been quoted as saying that Marvel loves Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. So the cosmic fandom, me included, is cautiously optimistic about where things are going. Currently we're enjoying the Annihilators: Earthfall mini-series, which is a definite improvement over the last series so far. It brings the mightest of all cosmic teams to earth which might set a trend in trying to connect the cosmic stuff with the more popular earth-based stuff.
So, here's to 2012 hopefully propelling the cosmic side of Marvel comics to new heights.