Old Man Quill: Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Ethan Sacks, Robert Gill, Ibraim Roberson & Andres Mossa (Marvel)

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He was Peter Quill. With his rag-tag bunch of friends he saved more people, planets and solar systems than he can probably remember and somewhere in the midst of saving creation for the umpteenth time, he became Star-Lord and the oddball family that he was a part of turned into the Guardians of the Galaxy. For a while, things were good – really, really good. The Guardians did the rescuing everything and everyone thing that they did so well and they were all sort of happy, or as happy as a bunch of troubled, former mercenaries and thieves can ever hope to be.  Nothing lasts forever though, and Star-Lord, thanks to a familial obligation, left the Guardians, became the King of Spartax, settled into domesticity, family life and his royal duties and without him, his former friends drifted apart. 

Then the Universal Church of Truth arrived on, and cleansed, Spartax, leaving Quill a broken, defeated man haunted by the memories of his wife and children, trapped in a state of permanent inebriation in high orbit above his former kingdom.  For nearly five decades, that was Quill’s life; drunken memories and self-recrimination. Until the Guardians, driven by prophecy, arrived to take him to Earth so that he, like Flash Gordon before him, can save every one of us.  The us who Quill is supposed to saving being whoever is around in this incredibly bleak and more than a little grim future.

Quill’s home world has changed since he was last there, and like every planet that his arch nemeses, the  Universal Church, visit, it’s been blasted into a far-less civilised age.  But Quill, according to the Guardians, with a little help with a doohickey hidden in the Baxter Building is the only man who can restore things to the way they were and so together again, they set off on a quest that may not be quite as noble as it’s been made out to be , involves lots of fighting and may or may not be the catalyst that starts a revolution.  Between the Church, Doom and the big bad who makes his presence felt in the closing moments of the book, Quill and his chums, who are a lot older than the last time they went adventuring, really have their work cut out for them. And if this opening salvo is any indication of what’s to come, then Old Man Quill is going to be one of the series that all of the cool kids, the ones who hang out at the back of the comic shop in limited edition shirts from obscure cons and talk about even more obscure craft beers and fifties monster movies, will be reading

Like a spaghetti Western playing out in Sergio Leone’s version of Mad Max, Nobody’s Fault But Mine isn’t exactly a run of the mill Guardians book. Following in Old Man Hawkeye’s footsteps, Ethan Sacks story of one last shot at redemption and revenge isn’t likely to qualify for a PG rating anytime soon. Brutal and uncompromising, all of the fat and anything that could slow the plot down has been trimmed to the bone, driving the linear narrative in a single, focused direction that gives both the characters and story a sense of purpose and drive. And Gill and Roberson’s sublimely detailed art that leaves nothing to the imagination is the perfect vessel for Sacks to run wild with; which he does in full, gory glory. Nobody’s Fault But Mine is the Guardian’s book that you didn’t know you wanted or needed, but once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never forget it. Everything gets better with age. Even Peter Quill… Tim Cundle


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