AUTHOR: ETHAN SACKS | ARTIST: ROBERT GILL | PUBLISHER: MARVEL COMICS | FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
When Mark Millar’s Old Man Logan was first published in 2008, it became an instant fan-favourite, and readers were hooked by its vision of a future world in which the villains definitively won. And now, over ten years later, the Old Man universe has proven to be a Marvel mainstay, inspiring not only sequels and a prequel miniseries (Old Man Hawkeye) but a movie too. Two major Marvel franchises collide with Old Man Quill, which brings the Guardians of the Galaxy to the Old Man universe.
Future Star-Lord is drunk and depressed, wallowing in and out of hypersleep following the death of his family and many, many others – a tragedy for which he holds himself responsible, as King of Spartax. Quill is awakened from his artificial slumber by his Guardian teammates (ominously missing a guy), recruited for One Last Job. Plans for vengeance, however, go awry when the lot of them are shot down, brought back to Earth – and the Wastelands – with a big crash.
That the story returns to Earth so quickly is a disappointment, given how little we’ve seen of the cosmic end of this universe, and the characters therein. Likewise, the Guardians are re-introduced so fast that there’s very little sense of suspense or build-up to their return. Apart from a quick aside from Rocket (already the book’s scene-stealer) there’s not much mystery to the story – especially compared to the big reveal at the heart of Old Man Logan, which expertly pulled back the curtain over several issues.
But at least Peter Quill lives up to our expectation. This isn’t the wise-cracking prat(t) of the movies, nor the books which follow their lead in terms of characterisation. Wracked with grief and guilt, Old Man Quill is a miserable alcoholic, unable to move on from the massive tragedy which destroyed his life and essentially retired the Star-Lord. No dancing around to The Awesome Mix Vol. 1, then. The Guardians are afforded no such characterisation – in fact, aside from Rocket, most of them don’t get any – but this first issue should be all about Quill anyway.
Robert Gill’s art and Andres Mossa’s colouring deliver the best of both worlds; the cosmic action of Guardians of the Galaxy meshing surprisingly well with the washed-out, gravelly feel of the Old Man Universe. Again, one would have liked to see more of the former, but there’s no telling where Old Man Quill will wind up by the end of the series. After all, it’s a big galaxy. But for now, it’s back to Earth.