Earlier this year, Comic Book Herald was added to the Diamond Comics top sellers distribution list, which is a fancy way of saying I am super important (wait, why are you laughing?).
While this comic book sales insight has been fascinating (Wow, Marvel & DC really dominate market share, and Batman always wins), it’s rarely been as intriguing as a development from February 2014. The little-known Star-Lord: Annihilation Conquest mini series is a top 10 selling graphic novel for the month! Is this just Guardians of the Galaxy fever run wild, or is this trade worth your dollars?
Having very recently completed my complete Marvel Cosmic reading order, I feel particularly up to speed with this four issue Star-Lord tie-in series.
In many ways, the Annihilation Conquest tie-in lays the groundwork for Guardians of the Galaxy, and especially lays the groundwork for Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord.
The Star-Lord mini is undoubtedly the best of the Annihilation Conquest tie-ins, and operates as a fascinating prequel to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
So here’s the real question: Should you start with this Star-Lord origin, or dive right into Guardians of the Galaxy? Let’s take a closer look.
Star-Lord Origins Done Right
Although Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning tend to get most of the credit for all things Marvel Cosmic, it’s Keith Giffen that pulls Star-Lord out of the pit of obscurity and revamps the character’s origins.
Up until this point in the Marvel Cosmic scene, Peter Quill was a seemingly random hanger-on during the Annihilation war. He becomes Nova’s right hand war sergeant, but aside from having cybernetic implants and a sarcastic quip for every occasion, it’s unclear what Peter Quill is about.
Giffen starts to fix that. Quill’s sardonic ambivalence to galaxy-shattering events is further established (think Raylon Givens in Justified), but more importantly, Quill is saddled with a sense of responsibility for the events of Annihilation Conquest.
Although the Kree don’t necessarily give him much choice in the matter, Quill becomes responsible for leading a rag-tag team of criminals and outcasts to save the universe. It’s almost like they’re guardians… ass-kickers of the fantastic or something.
Guardians of the Galaxy Origins… Sort of
For anyone interested in this trade because of it’s connection to Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s important to note this is not the Guardians team of the movie.
Does this story lay the groundwork for that team? Yep. Absolutely. But this is a Guardians without Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, or Adam Warlock.
Even the characters that will carry over are still finding their voice. The most obvious example is Groot. Famous for only ever speaking in a tone that registers as “I am Groot!” to human ears, here we find Groot waxing eloquent!
So again, this is a really fun, interesting lead-in to the team that would become Guardians of the Galaxy. But if you’re really just here for the main show, jump straight to the start of Guardians!
Problems with Star-Lord: Annihilation Conquest
As I’ve stated, this is actually my favorite Annihilation Conquest tie-in, by a fairly wide margin.
But end of the day, it’s just that; an Annihilation Conquest tie-in.
Honestly, Star-Lord is better than most tie-ins at operating without too much reliance on other comic issues. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the full story, I lay it out in my Marvel Cosmic guide.
The Verdict: Star-Lord Annihilation Conquest
What I find most confusing about this books sudden resurgence as the sixth best selling trade of the month is that you can’t even buy this trade standalone on Amazon. If you want these four issues collected in a trade, you have to buy Annihilation Conquest: Book One.
This implies to me Marvel and comic book retailers have done a fairly remarkable job repackaging a tossed aside event tie-in as a movie origins trade. While largely true, this feels slightly off.
Again, I like Star-Lord’s four issue mini here. It just seems necessary to make it very clear that this is a Guardians of the Galaxy prologue in a very broad sense. This is Star-Lord finding his footing as a character in the Marvel Universe, and while that’s a fun process to watch for voracious readers, it’s also a little tedious.
If you really just want to dive into the movie action, I’d recommend the start of Guardians of the Galaxy from Abnett & Lanning. If you’re already a huge Guardians fan, or want to find out everything you can about Peter Quill? The Star-Lord mini series is your trade.
As a final note, if you’re reading on Marvel Unlimited, this is where you’ll find the Star-Lord mini.