Sam Humphries did some solid work during the Secret Wars tie ins. I was a big fan of Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde. It was extremely fun and charming. Unfortunately that did not carry over into Star-Lord #1. The attempts at emotional moments fall flat and the arrogance of a young Peter Quill comes off as irritating instead of charming. The first issue is about a child, Peter, who’s mom was murdered. He now has a chip on his shoulder and will stop at nothing to find her killers. As a person who has lost his mother, all I can think when reading this issue is that young Peter needs a grief counsellor to channel some of those emotions.
The story opens on a flashback of Peter’s mom being shot and killed by extraterrestrials. Peter is on his knees in the grass crying out “Mom”. I understand that Humphries needs to inject some emotion into the story if he is going to sustain an ongoing series, but I don’t think this one page flashback accomplishes that. There is not enough time devoted to it to really feel any of the pain Peter is feeling. Before we realize what we are reading, the flashback is over and we are into the story. I quickly forgot about the child kneeling in the grass. The panel of him kneeling was also from very far away, perhaps a closer shot on his pained face would have been more effective.
We then jump forward 8 years to Peter as a janitor on The Asterion One. He is going to get his chance to travel into space and hunt down his mother’s killers, even if it means being a mechanic on the ship. Peter sticks his nose into a conversation the astronauts are having about a Kree Warbird they are having trouble with. They can’t seem to get the warp drive working. Peter has some ideas about this and the pilots are of course very dismissive of the mechanic’s ideas. They were a little rude to him, but as he turns to leave one pilot says, “You don’t have what it takes to be an astronaut”. This causes Peter to turn around and start a fist fight with the astronaut. That doesn’t work as a character moment for me. I don’t feel sorry for Peter or even feel like the astronaut deserved it. I just see Peter as a troubled child acting out, who needs to learn to channel that rage.
Peter’s actions get him kicked off of the crew, as they should and again I am not sympathetic. He is not ready for this mission. He lashes out by breaking his equipment, stealing the Kree Warbird and warping into deep space. I think I am supposed to be on Peter’s side in this book, but I am not. Every step of the way I cringe a little more as an angry Peter makes mistake after mistake.
Garron’s art on the book is a good fit for a Star-Lord book. He keeps things light and fun, but the narrative doesn’t match up. Garron does an impressive job with body language of Peter. He is usually hunched over his janitors equipment, but when he is talking about the Kree ship or in the cockpit he is presenting perfect posture as a proud boy would.
Star-Lord #1 is not my favourite from Humphries as the charm of Peter Quill is no where to be found here.