As the Penultimate issue in the Black Vortex crossover, you’d expect something big to happen in Legendary Star-Lord 11. With an entire planet encased in amber thanks to cosmically upgraded Thane, including a good chunk of the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d think the story would develop in huge ways. That’s not quite what happens in today’s entry.
Legendary Star-Lord 11 isn’t a bad comic in itself. It mostly focuses on Kitty Pryde’s thoughts on the Black Vortex, an ancient artifact that grants anyone who submits to it cosmic powers. Unfortunately, the artifact is inherently corrupt and has led to the destruction of countless planets and civilizations, most recently Hala, the center of the Kree Empire (Guardians of the Galaxy 25 aka chapter 7). Kitty’s thoughts are well-written, and Gara’s speech adds depth. Gara would be the first person who ever submitted to the vortex.
The problem is, not only does that make for a penultimate chapter that adds little to the actual story, but that makes three character-focused issues in a row. It means the heroes who remain encased in amber are sidelined for almost an entire half of the crossover. It suggests that the writer doesn’t even know what to do with those characters, and that implies a lack of imagination. Considering how compelling the black vortex artifact is that’s not the case, but this event could have been thought out more for their sake. Most of this issue’s action takes place in isolated panels that show little progress, as if to only remind us that they’re happening.
The art by Paco Medina is great for the most part. The pages that do contain action show plenty of detail, with a good variety of characters fighting in space. There are plenty of lighting effects thrown around, and the backgrounds of both the stars and the destroyed home planet of Gara’s are well detailed. The first and last pages are particularly good, with an opening montage of faces in the shattered amber and Kitty’s shocked face in the middle, and the final spread hinting at one character’s upcoming cosmic upgrade. Character expressions are good, most notably with Jean Grey’s obvious fatigue and Star-Lord’s progressing thoughts on the artifact when he considers submitting. There are maybe a few too many wide open mouths though.
Again, this isn’t a bad comic, but it’s lacking as a penultimate issue for a major crossover. We already know Kitty Pryde’s thoughts on the artifact, and while her internal narration is well-written, it could have been done in half the time and still carry the same effect. We could have seen more of the action, or perhaps the initial result of what happens after one last character submits to the Black Vortex. The final issue may yet turn this event around, but the second half is dreadfully slow when compared to the first seven chapters. If you’re reading the event anyway this is still worth picking up, but at this point it’s hard to recommend anyone start reading it if you haven’t already. If you haven’t read any of Black Vortex yet, wait until the last issue releases to see how it’s received.