Face It, I Rule: ‘Legendary Star-Lord’ Launches In Spectacular (And Funny) Fashion [Review]
Despite the fact that he's been floating around the Marvel Universe for the past 38 years, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord has always been a bit of a blank slate. His costume, origin, powers, and personality have seen numerous iterations, depending on where he appeared and which creators were steering the ship at any given moment. He's been portrayed as an emotionally unstable hothead, a space-faring zen master, and a fun-loving scoundrel. He's been guided by such talents as Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Keith Giffen, Carmine Infantino, Doug Monech, Gene Colan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning. And despite being a cornerstone of Marvel's cosmic sagas for the past decade, and serving as the leader of the modern iteration of the Guardians Of The Galaxy, he's remained a steadfastly second-string character in the publishing line and broader media.
But now that's about to change. The Guardians Of The Galaxy are moving to the silver screen in just a few short weeks, and this week the first issue of a new ongoing Star-Lord series hits comic shop shelves and digital storefronts courtesy of writer Sam Humphries and artist Paco Medina.
The best thing about it? You don't need to know a single thing about those 38 years of Star-Lord in order to enjoy the story. The Legendary Star-Lord #1 stands on its own as an enjoyable astronomical romp, grabbing what it needs, jettisoning unnecessary baggage, and blasting straight into hyperspace.
Humphries wastes no time attempting to explain or apologize for what's come before – instead, he synthesizes the best bits of past portrayals, sets up Peter Quill as a relatable human protagonist, and then throws him headlong into a ridiculous scenario worthy of the writer of Our Love Is Real. This Star-Lord is a hero who dances along the line between dashing and foolhardy with reckless laser-blasting abandon. He's a ne'er-do-well with a heart of gold, a galactic swashbuckling troublemaker whose incredible powers are kept in check by his innately terrible judgement and perpetual bad luck. He's the sort of fun-loving bad idea that you can't help but be drawn to. And over the course of this issue, he gets himself in all kinds of trouble: doing battle with the Badoon (one of Marvel's all-purpose evil alien races), getting imprisoned in space jail, conducting a high-stakes heist, and pulling off an explosive escape from certain doom.
The knack for characterization that made Humphries' run on Avengers A.I. so compelling is in full evidence here – he makes sure to include all the breakneck action one could expect in a debut issue, but balances it nicely with smaller emotional interludes (including a well-handled Kitty Pryde cameo, and a single-page mostly-silent flashback splash that made me giggle out loud). Artists Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco are at home with both the emotional plot beats and widescreen space sequences, capturing the glee and excitement of interstellar adventure in every sidewards grin and breathless expression. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention David Curiel's colors, which give an appropriately otherworldly look to the entire proceedings.
In short, this does just about everything a first issue should do – it's entertaining and exciting; it's substantial enough to satisfy, but still leaves you wanting more. Sure, this is a tie-in to an upcoming movie, but it's also a tasty sample of what has the potential to be a grand space-opera adventure.