The latest volume of Star-Lord comes to a close with issue six, entitled “How We Die.” Is this finale as good as what came before it?
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Kris Anka
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The issue begins with a beautiful couple of pages that appear to take place on an alien world. Matthew Wilson’s colors here are gorgeous. The color palette (full of lavender and bright yellow) is uniquely alien for this series, and a nice change of pace from the previous more earthbound art. Wilson also does a great job on the issue’s earthbound scenes; it’s just nice to get a taste of something different. The alien world scene depicts Star-Lord being chased by a gun-wielding figure garbed in all black. Ultimately, the man in black catches up to him, and after feeling the gun get pressed to the back of his head, Peter awakens. It was all a nightmare.
“It was all a dream” reveals can feel cheap when done poorly, but that is not the case here. Peter’s awakening is followed by a page devoid of dialogue or captions, with a simple composition of nine equally-sized panels. They depict Peter getting ready for a major character’s funeral, while also flashing back to the death. Artist Kris Anka does a fantastic job of establishing the scene’s emotional impact without any dialogue to aid him. These panels depict Peter showering, shaving, and getting dressed, all while mulling over the events that led up to the funeral he is about to attend. This page does a great job of conveying the weight of sadness that can hang over people in the wake of death, even as they go through the simplest, most routine motions and behaviors.
Writer Chip Zdarsky does a great job with the dialogue at the funeral; the quiet, solemn tone of the scene feels entirely believable. The complexity of the dead character’s relationships with those who have come to attend the funeral is acknowledged, and skillfully depicted. Wilson’s colors here are also lovely, and help to enhance the beautiful atmosphere of the scene.
Also worth noting is how skillfully Zdarsky wraps up events with all of the series’ various supporting characters. Earlier issues sometimes felt like they had too big of a cast to manage effectively, but this final issue gives everyone involved some much appreciated last moments to shine. Some particularly nice attention is given to Old Man Logan, the Shocker, and 8-Ball. I’m going to miss seeing all these characters together on a regular basis.
Technically, Star-Lord is going to have an annual next month, but this is effectively the series’ final issue, and what a great finale it is. Death (and its impact upon the living) can be one of the most moving topics in fiction when handled well, and the creative team does an exemplary job here. This series may not have lasted long, but it was a fun ride and it ended on one hell of a high-note.