Hey everybody, welcome to another great week in Ye Olde School Café! In this installment, we’ll be looking at a book that definitely isn’t on most people’s radar, but it probably will get more exposure in 2014 due to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out in August. A man named Peter Quill, not of this Earth, but very human looking, is known by another name – Star-Lord! Yes, the de facto leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy is brash, blond, and able to get himself out of any situation! In Marvel Spotlight (vol. 2) #7, we see Star-Lord in a solo story, but believe me, it’s a good one! Brought to us in 1980 by Doug Moench (writer), Tom Sutton (pencils/inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Jim Novak (letters), and Jim Salicrup (editor). The cover is by none other than Frank Miller and Bob Wiacek!
As Peter Quill and his “ship” (a sentient vessel that he uses to hop around the galaxy) swoop around a new world, they don’t notice a scuffle on a nearby ridge. It seems that a man is being punished for some crime by being tossed off the ridge to his death! At the last second Peter sees this, and using a jet pack he flies down to save the alien. Just as he’s about to question the man, a female of the winged species flies down and attacks! Quill uses his wits and also his element gun to quickly stop the assassin. The man then tells him that basically he owes him a debt for saving his life, and that it must be repaid. After a quick ritualistic cleansing by water, Quill and the man board “ship.” Quill then tells his new friend of his origin. Of how his mother was a simple woman of Earth, but one day she witnessed a space ship crash in the mountains of Colorado. She helped the pilot to safety, and the two became lovers. After some “space whoopie,” she gave birth to a son, named Peter Quill. She was soon after killed by enemies of her lover, and Peter vowed to track them down and make them pay. He eventually returned to Earth for a time, but again left for the stars, and revenge. He was then approached by a being called “The Master of the Sun.” This entity asked him if he wanted to continue his quest for revenge, or change his ways and become a champion for others.
Quill and Thorn then approach a massive structure. Thorn tells Quill that the thousands of people heading into the building are there to honor him, and to give him some kind of act of supplication. Apparently, he’s some kind of leader or messiah. Quill watches as Thorn hooks himself into some kind of helmeted device, and all of the others in the building do as well. They somehow transfer their energy to Thorn, and after hours of this process, he removes the helmet, and bows in thanks. He tells Quill that in doing this, his wings will grow back, and maybe someday, theirs will too. He also tells Quill that they are immortal, as well, but it came with a price. There are no more “little ones” (children), so when they do die from execution or other means, it takes them one step closer to extinction.
As Thorn is waiting for his wings to fully regrow, he tells Quill that when they do, he’ll ascend to the “Cloudlands” (Heaven?), and all will be OK. The only problem is that Shreen (the assassin) is on her way, and she means to kill him. He cannot leave until the wings are fully regenerated, so basically he’s a sitting duck. Once Shreen finds him, Quill challenges her to a duel, and she tells him that it will be to the death! The two warriors battle it out, with both gaining an advantage for a second, then losing it just as fast. In the end, though, Quill’s Element Gun proves to be too much for Shreen, and she’s defeated. Rather than try to repay this debt in a normal way, she throws herself off of the ledge and onto a spear shaped rock below, committing suicide.
I won’t spoil the last couple of pages, but believe me, it gets even more emotional than that last scene I mentioned above. The underlying themes and messages that are at play here will definitely resonate with you after reading this book. You can feel the magnitude of the words and panels that Moench and Sutton were aiming for, no doubt about it. Until next time, read some awesome books, and look to the stars!