Star-Lord is now the Sidewalk-Lord, with his feet planted firmly on terra firma.
Collecting the six issues of the Grounded arc and taking place directly after the Guardians of the Galaxy were stranded on earth after the events of Marvel’s Civil War II, this collected volume gives us a half-Earthman Peter Quill who really doesn’t understand earth.
Peter Quill is on the outs with the rest of the Guardians, and is being watched closely by his own guardian (read: parole officer), Alpha Flight's Abigail Brand. He’s grounded on earth, and grounded from any troublemaking.
Of course, Quill struggles to come to grips with things like “laws” and “common decency.” From being told he’s not allowed to drink an entire slab before 11am, to having his element blasters confiscated, to being told to put on a shirt when he leaves the house, human society is much weirder to Quill than alien life forms. Needless to say, there’s a lot of censor-friendly %$#@!s from a frustrated Quill.
Written by Chip Zdarsky and with art by Kris Anka, Grounded strikes a balance between a fast-paced, genuinely fun story, while still fleshing out Peter Quill as a character. In Grounded, he isn’t just a loveable goofball – he’s a loveable goofball who is going through some stuff.
The comic doesn’t shy away from the fact that Star-Lord is in a pretty dark place – and is understandably a little depressed – after being estranged from the rest of the Guardians, breaking up with Kitty Pryde, and losing his royal position as the Emperor of Spartax. If all of that sounds completely unfamiliar, don’t worry. You definitely don’t need the backstory to get into Grounded.
We’ve already mentioned that Quill has broken up with Kitty Pryde, but a few other Marvel figures make cameos in this short, six issue series. Rather than feeling over-reliant on additional personalities, each of these serves to highlight how Quill is out-of-place on earth. He’s too much of a renegade to fit in with the superheroes, but he’s no super villain. After all, he’s saved the universe a few times – unfortunately that doesn’t qualify him for any jobs.
He bonds with Old Man Logan, another man who doesn’t have a home (in Logan’s case, because he’s literally living in an alternative earth from the one he knows), and finds that he can call on Daredevil for help (even while Matt Murdock is trying to get him locked into community service).
Zdarsky’s writing is light-hearted, witty and quippy, and Anka’s art is punchy and expressive. Colours are by Matthew Wilson, who matches the breezy vibe with rich, warm hues. Zdarsky, Anka and Wilson also combine their efforts to ensure that Star-Lord is shirtless as often as possible. It’s a recurring joke; one no doubt included to flip the trope of the female superhero’s clothes being artfully ripped during battle. To put it simply, Grounded is here to support the female gaze.
As Zdarsky wrote on Tumblr after Marvel announced the end of the arc, “Kris is a master of form and composition and hot, hot abs.”
Grounded is a character study, not a cosmic adventure. Now that the six issues are over, hopefully some of the new humanity imbued in Quill by the Grounded team sticks with the character as he heads back into space.
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