‘Star-lord: Grounded’ blends humor and sentimentality into a book that is feel-good without ever getting sappy.
Peter Quill is trapped on Earth and told to behave himself, but he somehow can’t avoid getting mixed up in trouble.
This is a rare instance when a story arc fits perfectly into a trade paperback. Zdarsky and Anka have crafted a perfect six issue arc of a story, contained enough for anyone to pick up and enjoy, but in larger Marvel continuity for regular fans. Thanks to the events of Civil War II, Peter Quill is stranded on Earth with a broken ship and a broken up team. He only knows a few people on Earth, and one of them is his ex-fiance. When a bar fight with Old Man Logan ends up with him in community service, hanging out with a seemingly harmless old man leads to a lot more trouble than Peter bargained for.
Is It Good?
I have loved this book from the first issue, and getting to see the entire story play out in the trade paperback was just as satisfying as that first read. Zdarsky has a knack for blending humor and sentimentality into a book that is feel-good without ever getting sappy. He also does an excellent job of keeping the characterizations familiar while still giving the story his own touch. I loved the inclusion of various Marvel characters into the story; Old Man Logan was particularly a fantastic addition (and I saw what he did there with a Howard the Duck cameo).
But the heart of the story revolves around the father and son relationship of Edmund and Greg. While it does follow a comics-long tradition of story tropes, Zdarksky’s writing and Anka’s art made it feel fresh and meaningful. I love the echo with Peter and Logan at the end of issue #6, and the perfect comic moment to break the tension:
This story would not be nearly as effective without Kris Anka’s art and Matt Wilson’s coloring. Between Anka’s dynamic action sequences, excellent visual gags, and cheesecake pin-up panels, all colored expertly by Wilson, this book is a joy to explore visually.
You get a lot in this book for the $19.99 price tag. Marvel hasn’t been great about collecting issues that go together thematically. Luckily, in this trade you not only get a complete story arc, but the annual issue also fits into the overall story arc, as well as the greater events of Civil War II. It’s also a fun pastiche of Western tropes, illustrated by Djibril Morissette and colored by Mat Lopes. I especially liked how Lopes stuck to dusty tones, adding to the Western feel.
Marvel has had a tough time keeping creators, with so many fleeing to Image and other creator-owned venues. I really hope they are able to keep Zdarsky, Anka, and Wilson on this book for a nice, long run because it’s definitely one of my favorite good-time reads right now.