Gamora has long been the most dangerous woman in the Marvel Universe, and a staple member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but every assassin has to start somewhere.
That starting point is explored in the new Gamora series from Marvel Comics. Gamora features art by Marco Checchetto (Star Wars: Shattered Empire) and written by Nicole Perlman, who wrote the original script for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and is currently working on the script for Captain Marvel.
The first issue of Gamora introduced readers to a younger Gamora who was still under the control Thanos and competing with Thanos' other "daughter," Nebula. As Perlman describes it to ComicBook.com, this is a crucible age for Gamora.
Be sure to check out the preview pages of Gamora #2 in the gallery below.
Gamora is a character more of actions than of words, which can make her difficult to get a read on. Who is Gamora in your mind?
Nicole Perlman: My take on Gamora is that she is someone who started from a place of trauma, exploitation, and family dysfunction. Thanos taught her to channel her anger into violence that was useful to his agenda. He stoked a rivalry between Gamora and Nebula so that they would be too focused on competing with each other to ever question his role in their lives or the demands he made of them. Gamora learned to deal with her pain through violence and mistakenly believed that the only way she would ever feel normal was if she had revenge for the death of her people. It's kind of an emotional blind spot for her, which Thanos exploits in order to get what he wants. Thanos has been manipulating Gamora through her rage for years, and she can't become a true warrior until she is no longer controlled by it. A big part of Gamora's emotional arc in this series is going to be the realization that forgiveness heals wounds a lot faster than revenge - and that rage is a weakness, not the source strength she thought it was.
What kind of story is your Gamora tale? What should readers be looking forward to?
NP: My story is one told from the perspective of an adolescent Gamora, who starts out in a really dark place emotionally. I wanted to get inside her head – to understand how someone so young could be a pet assassin for Thanos, and what that kind of upbringing does to a person. To go from being a heartless assassin to a Guardian of the Galaxy is a huge transformation - and I've always been interested in exploring the events that caused her to question everything she knew about herself, and to take that first step towards righteousness. So much of my own personal transformation in life has come from encountering people who challenge my perceptions of the world, and so I wanted Gamora to meet someone who really got under her skin - who turns her worldview upside down. That's why I think of it as an Enemy Mine story set on a doomed planet – with a bit of Mad Max thrown in there for good measure.
What are the themes you're looking to explore with Gamora in this series? The family seemed to be an important theme of the first issue.
NP: Family is definitely an important theme, in that we often get our core values from our families. I thought it was important to show the status quo of Gamora's home life, so we understood her mindset, and why she was willing to risk everything in order to find some sense of peace. But even more than family, I wanted to explore the source of a character's internal strength. Gamora at 18 has this misconception that strength is a function of violence or anger - because that's what she has depended upon thus far, to survive. Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy is a strong character not just because she kicks ass - but because she knows herself and has true integrity. That's what makes her dangerous - and a better warrior, because she can't be goaded or manipulated into flying into a blind rage. I think one of the strongest things about Gamora, is her thoughtfulness and her questioning of authority, and her clear sense of self. These are the aspects of her character which will be challenged and defined as the series progresses.
How will Gamora be changed by this story? Or, if that may give too much away, what aspects of her character are you challenging or threatening?
NP: Gamora will undergo a pretty profound transformation throughout the course of this series when certain assumptions she's made are proven to be false. She's going to be forced to question everything she knows about herself and the world. It is really the first step of her journey towards eventually becoming a Guardian - first, she must acknowledge that she was wrong and that she can choose to be different. She has to make a choice: follow in Thanos's footsteps, or turn away from that path, and set out to define herself on her own terms.
You have experience writing Gamora before, in the script for Guardians of the Galaxy the movie. How different is she here from in your script? Do you feel like you're writing the same character, or does the change in medium and universe make her a fundamentally different person?
NP: I am attempting to walk a respectful tightrope between the Marvel Cinematic Universe version and the comic book versions of Gamora, which are close but not carbon copies. I don't know that it's possible to have a character from the comics feel exactly the same as the films, or vice versa - or whether we would even want that. The mediums are very different and therefore provide different opportunities to explore theme and character. I'd like to think that my backstory for Gamora, being fairly modular, could be applied to the films and comics alike.
One of the reasons I wanted to write Gamora's backstory is that there hasn't been much written about her young adulthood - yet that is where she underwent the greatest character change. I felt like I had the opportunity to say something about people who have survived emotional abuse and trauma, and how they have a profound ability to change the world for the better.
Gamora is known as the most dangerous woman in the universe. How do you find ways to challenge a character with such a reputation, and the skillset to back it up?
NP: I think there's great fun in writing a character who is already at the peak of her performance physically - in terms of being a gifted athlete and a vicious assassin. However in this story what I challenge is the meaning of the word "dangerous." Of course, Gamora is dangerous because she's good with a sword - but an assassin on a leash isn't as dangerous as one who follows her own heart and knows her own mind. This is the story of how she takes back control of her life, beginning by cutting the leash.
This is your first time working on a comic book. What has been the process of working with Marco Checchetto? What are some lessons you've learned?
NP: Marco has been an absolute dream to work with - and he has taught me so much! A big part of the challenge of writing the first five issues has been pacing myself - and making sure I leave enough room on the page for Marco to work his magic. Economy of language and movement have been the two largest lessons for me. But I must say that getting the inks from him has been the best part of my day, every day I receive them in my Inbox.
In addition to writing Gamora, you're also working on the script for the Captain Marvel movie. It doesn't seem likely to happen in this story, but have you given any consideration into how your would write a meeting between those two powerful, cosmic figures?
NP: All I can say on that front, is that I would love to see these two strong women in a story together one day.
Now that you've made your Gamora debut, what are some other Marvel characters you'd like to get to write?
NP: I've got so much on my plate right now with the Captain Marvel script and the Pokémon movie, and a couple other studio projects I can't speak about yet. But I will say that my father called me up after Gamora #1 came out and remarked, "the fight scenes between Gamora and Nebula seem very familiar to your childhood - and Nicky, as I recall, you weren't Gamora." So I guess you could say I relate to Nebula a lot - being the younger sibling in a fairly competitive sibling rivalry. I think it would be fun to spend more time with her.
Are there any last hints or teases that you'd like to leave readers with?
NP: If you want to see Gamora encounter the last remaining member of the Badoon royal family, do battle with a Doomsday Cult, and play a game of Chicken near the event horizon of a black hole- be sure to check out Gamora #2!
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