The first three issues of Legendary Star-Lord made it seem like Peter Quill’s quest to go after Thanos might be one of those ongoing storylines that gets stretched out for a while before building to a payoff down the road.
Not quite. Star-Lord and Thanos meet up on the moon in this issue, and it’s not just to exchange pleasantries — though there is some of that too. That makes this a necessarily more serious issue than the three that preceded it, a tone that is aided by the rougher lines of artist Freddie Williams II when compared to series regular Paco Medina.
Before anyone complains that Star-Lord should not be able to stand toe-to-toe with Thanos, you’re right, he shouldn’t. But writer Sam Humphries evens the odds in a way that you should be able to deduce if you’ve been paying attention to the book so far.
There are some lighter moments, mostly involving Quill’s new smart-mouthed ship, and Humphries didn’t forget about the Kitty Pryde or Mister Knife subplots either. They just get pushed to the back of a book that is essentially a big slugfest, one that has been building since the Guardians of the Galaxy had their misadventure in the Cancerverse.
The characterization of Thanos here is pretty much spot on as well, which can be tricky when a character has passed through as many different writers’ hands as he has. But he sounds the way you’d expect him to: confident, condescending and angry in turns. He’s also apparently been studying MMA while pursuing his evil ends, as he throws a mean knee from the clinch. Who knew?
And with that, we’ve talked about this issue all we can without journeying beyond the …
SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT!
Star-Lord has located Thanos on the Moon, and even though the guy is simply constructing another of his many shrines to Death, Quill wants to settle the score with him. He tells Lydia to scram (she doesn’t listen, naturally) and as Bruce Buffer might sau, “It’s … time!”
A bout with Thanos is usually a bad idea, but Star-Lord fares surprisingly well. Why? Well, the Mandalay Gem is no MacGuffin, but a powerful piece of Celestial technology that is able to absorb and return Thanos’ cosmic energy. In other words, it’s a really big help.
Peter ends up getting the upper hand, but Thanos is able to blackmail his way to freedom by threatening the Moon, and thus Earth as well. Along the way, he gives Star-Lord some surprisingly good advice about finding something to fight for other than vengeance. That Thanos isn’t such a bad guy once you get past his wanting to destroy all life as a tribute to Death!
That leaves just enough pages for Peter to make something of a romantic gesture toward Kitty Pryde for not stopping to see her, and for Mister Knife and his crew to enter a Celestial graveyard to find the next item of immense power we’re going to be learning about, the Black Vortex. Place your bets now on what that turns out to be.
Favorite moment: Lydia’s list of possible date ideas for Peter and Kitty: Kree comedy night, Brood mini golf and Medieval Times!
Final thought: Not sure I’d want to be traipsing around in a Celestial graveyard. Those would be some big, scary ghosts …