The definitive issue-by-issue comic book collecting guide and reading order for Marvel’s Star-Lord, Peter Quill, in omnibus, hardcover, trade paperback, and digital. Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated March 2023 with titles scheduled for release through July 2023.
Star-Lord is a Marvel character who has multiple versions and multiple origins, and what can sometimes seem like multiple personalities thanks to a tug-of-war between his comic stories and his happy-go-lucky Marvel Cinematic Universe persona.
Star-Lord was originally a pulp sci-fi character whose feature ran across a handful of Marvel magazines and anthology titles in the 1970s, as penned by his creator Steve Englehart (as well as Chris Claremont).
None of the worlds or characters he interacted with closely corresponded with Marvel’s version of space at that time. And, a close reading of his comics show that his taking on his heroic name occurred in our future (but his past) in 1990. That seemed to confirm he was not meant to coexist with the Marvel Universe of the 1970s. That character was completely forgotten throughout the 80s and 90s, and was relaunched with a different character taking on the title in a 1996 mini-series.
That pair of Star-Lords are now known as The Star-Lords of Earth-791. How did they wind up excommunicated from Marvel’s mainstream continuity? That’s down to his film success and Brian Bendis,
In March 2005, Keith Giffen & Ron Lim introduced an old, grizzled, partly-cybernetic man named Peter Quill into their Thanos ongoing series. Quill had an unnamed off-panel history with Thanos and was imprisoned for life after a galactic defense gone wrong resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. That explained why he refused to acknowledge anyone else calling him Star-Lord.
Peter Quill was freed from his sentence by Gladiator of the Imperial Guard and next turned up as the second-in-command to Richard Rider as the last Nova in the 2007 Annihilation event. This was the same cynical, cybernetic Peter Quill. He was promoted to a title star in a mini-series that lead into the next cosmic event, Annihilation Conquest. Quill’s cybernetic implants were removed and he assembled a team readers and film fans will recognize as an early iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy. The team’s roster and name would be formalized coming out of the event and leading into the Guardians ongoing series in 2008.
As Peter resumed the title of Star-Lord, authors Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning slightly softened his personality and youthened him, but he was still the battle-scarred veteran of the Annihilation events. Abnett & Lanning ended their run on the character with his disappearance at the end of The Thanos Imperative.
Throughout all of those stories, the unspoken implication was that our present-day Marvel-616 Peter Quill was in fact the same as Englehart’s future version, meaning that he (or, perhaps, his father) had traveled back in time from those original 1970s stories.
That slate was wiped clean by Brian Bendis in 2012. Bendis brought Quill back as the leader of the Guardians with no explanation in his Avengers Assemble series, a tie-in the impending Avengers film as well as a stealth reboot of a Guardians team that would perfectly match their impending film incarnation. Bendis continued that continuity-wipe with the point-one issue of the new Guardians ongoing, in which he completely revised Peter Quill’s origins to be based definitively on the Marvel-616 Earth (in a story that would be somewhat echoed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Although all of the Annihilation stories were still in continuity, Bendis’s version of Peter Quill was younger and funnier – though he still wasn’t quite the silly, somewhat-bumbling version we’d meet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As the MCU version of Star-Lord became a hit with the public, Bendis leaned into exploring his parentage and his connection to the planet Spartax while solo runs by Sam Humphries and Chip Zdarsky detailed his romance with Kitty Pryde and his solo adventures. Further Guardians books by Gerry Duggan and Donny Cates hewed closely to the Bendis template of the character.
It was Al Ewing in his 2020-21 Guardians of the Galaxy run who truly transformed Peter Quill’s character to align his present-day version and his comic origins, as well as exploring his devotion to Richard Rider and Gamora. Finally, by the end of Ewing’s run, it felt as though we had a Star-Lord who made sense as the combat-hardened Annihilation veteran as well as the happy-go-lucky Bendis-era Guardians. [Read more…] about Star-Lord, Peter Quill – Definitive Collecting Guide and Reading Order