Legendary Star-Lord: Out of Orbit puts the focus on the fractured relationship of Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde.
Just before Secret Wars, the duo got engaged and one of the better Wars tie-in series focused on an alternate reality version of the pair. When the “All New, All Different” era cranked up, Peter had been made king of his home planet, while Kitty had taken up the Star-Lord identity and remained with the Guardians of the Galaxy, their engagement definitely broken. In Out of Orbit, the two are stubbornly refusing to deal with one another, in spite of their teammates’ urging. When The Collector shanghais the duo, he forces them to relate the details of their break-up. Peter and Kitty work together to free themselves from their captor and come to a turning point in their relationship.
Writer Sam Humphries has done a nice job of developing Peter over the course of a couple volumes of Legendary Star-Lord. The focus on the Peter/Kitty relationship provides a solid backdrop for a madcap adventure that provides a fresh perspective on the romance, while giving it room to breathe and develop in new ways. Humphries mixes in lots of humor and creative twists (how has no one thought of “theater troupe Skrulls” before?) and sets the stage for some fun action sequences. The Collector appears in a very different light, coming across as some kind of ’70s glam rock-cum-Oprah wannabe creation that leans more heavily on the movie interpretation than the classic villain. Artists Javier Garron and Will Robson provide clean, dynamic art that fits the personal dimension of the story quite well. They pack a lot of imagination into the panels and devise lay-outs that are creative without being too fussy.
The problem with Out of Orbit is that it covers only one three-part arc. The dearth of issues results from Marvel’s constant re-launching of its series, which often results in volumes wrapping before they’ve produced enough installments for a proper collection. Out of Orbit pads itself out with three classic Avengers issues from the ’60s and ’70s featuring The Collector. They’re fine outings and worth reading, but they don’t really justify the cover price. Marvel has been using this strategy more and more frequently in an attempt to get away with providing a lesser amount of current material while still charging premium prices for collected editions. It’s really not a customer-friendly trend and this book may be one of the most ridiculous examples.
Which makes it hard to recommend Out of Orbit. For fans of Peter and Kitty, the main story is absolutely worth reading. But given the archival padding, interested fans might be better served picking this up only if they can get it at a discount or can find a used copy.