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‘Legendary Star-Lord’ #9: Wait, whose comic is this again?

‘Legendary Star-Lord’ #9: Wait, whose comic is this again?

legendarystarlordcover

Legendary Star-Lord #9

Written by Sam Humphries

Pencils by Paco Medina

Published by Marvel Comics

After taking time last issue to decide what to do with the mysterious Black Vortex, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men finally come to blows with their cosmically transformed teammates. But while Star-Lord and the other heroes debate their next course of action, another hero may just lead the charge in his place…

The last issue in this crossover didn’t do much in the way of progressing the plot, choosing instead to focus on the tactical and moral choices that the teams faced going forward. Writer Sam Humphries takes the opposite route, turning the tension Bendis built up last issue into good old fashioned superhero fisticuffs. It’s not just mindless action, either. The characters involved bounce off of each other in natural ways from Drax the Destroyer giving young Jean Grey battlefield advice to Storm and Rocket Raccoon combining their natural tactical abilities. He excels at writing characters in their natural voice, something that Bendis sometimes fails to do. Things like these make crossovers truly interesting and elevate them from the average superhero slugfest.

In fact, this issue might as well be renamed The Legendary Storm, because everyone’s favorite weather goddess practically steals the show here. “The Black Vortex” has divided its heroes into two camps: those in favor of using the Vortex to power themselves up, and those who would rather take the safer option and destroy it. Ororo has been firmly in the latter camp, and she takes charge of the situation in a way that Peter Quill himself fails to do, even in his own book. While it’s a joy to see Storm utilized in a way that’s both fun and true to her character, it’s a shame that the main protagonist of the book gets only a few lines and sits out the defining action sequence of the issue. With this many characters, it’s unavoidable that some characters will get the short stick in terms of importance, but as long as it’s done with purpose. Here, it feels like Humphries simply forgot that he was writing Star-Lord.

stormvsgamoraThe biggest flaw, at this point, is the lack of understanding of the Vortex thus far. While it’s still early in the event, and I’d be disappointed if Bendis and Humphries played all their cards right away, the Vortex and its effects feel like retreads of earlier Marvel events, namely Avengers vs. X-Men and Axis. The trope of characters radically altered by a force beyond their control is one that has been played a lot with Marvel’s crossovers, and unless another side to the Vortex is revealed, there won’t be much to this story but costume changes and heroes fighting each other.

Paco Medina returns to Legendary Star-Lord to handle the pencils, and it seems like he gets better with each issue. Another hero, who so far has languished in the background, is changed by the Vortex this chapter, and Medina nails both the electric, Kirby-esque transformation process, and the final result, which is visually unexpected and the best kind of otherworldly. Aside from a couple wonky renderings of the some of the background characters (looking at you, Agent Venom) almost every character is distinct, even in the heat of battle, an important quality in crossovers like this.

With the third chapter of “Black Vortex,” Humphries nails the ever-appealing chaos of seeing heroes duke it out. With the help of Medina’s pencils, Humphries makes it clear that no one can accuse this story of being devoid of fun. Where he falters more, is the actual long-term stakes of the story. Unless more focus is placed on the Vortex and why exactly it’s so important for our heroes to fight each other over it, then it’s just a thirteen issue long fight scene. Based off of the ending of this issue, there’s potential for the story take an interesting twist, but only time will tell.

[wpchatai]