Before the Guardians of the Galaxy movie was released to universal (AND GALACTIC, AMIRITE?) acclaim, Brian Michael Bendis relaunched the title through Marvel as an epic comic-book space opera. High stakes, royal politics, crossovers with other superhero titles – basically, doing following through on his concept and early subtitle of Cosmic Avengers. I really like his take, as different as it is from the film’s feel, but it made a certain kind of sense that Marvel would attempt to launch some more Guardians titles that are more in line with the tone people expect from that title these days.
Legendary Star-Lord seems tailor-made for that purpose, launching a snarky Star-Lord, complete with the movie’s costume, out on his own for an adventure written by Sam Humphries, a witty and subversive writer who made his name off of independent books like Our Love is Real and Sacrifice before coming to Marvel and DC. He is joined by mainstay penciler Paco Medina, inker Juan Vlasco, colorist David Curiel, letterer Joe Caramagna, and guest artist Freddie Williams II. Their take on Star-Lord is effective, taking the humor of the film but turning the pace and the craziness up to hazardous levels, effectively duct-taping the reader to the spaceship and blasting off into the depths of the universe.
I recently read the first volume of Legendary Star-Lord (there are now four) and I can say this: the vibe is cool, and it seems to achieve exactly what was intended with such a series, but that isn’t what makes the book stand out. The most unique thing about Legendary Star-Lord amongst the other incredibly high quality Guardians of the Galaxy books, and really most superhero comics, is that this series is completely episodic. That might change down the line, because I’m far behind in the series due to a towering To-Read pile, but the volume I read is made up of essentially standalone issues. An overarching story slowly builds involving the mysterious Mr. Knife, but the execution reminds me more of the way television shows like Veronica Mars and The Sopranos handled their stories. Each issue has a problem that resolves itself while contributing, sometimes in major ways sometimes in less, to a story that connects the individual chapters. I see a lot of comics get critiqued for playing into the idea of Trade WaitingTM, which I don’t think is entirely fair considering that this is a serialized medium… so we should expect serialized stories. However, even though I did actually read this one in trade form, it was a nice change of pace that each chapter felt like a complete adventure unto itself.
Action-packed, quippy as all hell, and with a pace set to light-speed, Legendary Star-Lord kicks off with a bang. Also, Kitty Pryde gets some nice page time, and you know what? I just can’t hate on Kitty Pryde in space.
(Though, for real, I cant wait to dig into Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka’s Star-Lord as well. They seem born for this title.)