WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #4 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, David Curiel and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Traditionally speaking, Death looms large over the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe. The most recent example of this came in the form of Thanos' death at the hands of his daughter, Gamora, in the early days of Infinity Wars. This led to a large portion of Marvel's galactic heroes seemingly perishing at the reading of the Mad Titan's will. The group responsible for the murders was the Black Order, led by the Goddess of Death, Hela.
Two other heroes who died during Infinity Wars were Gamora's former teammates on the Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord and Drax. While Drax's death has stuck so far, Star-Lord was quickly revived after Doctor Strange used the Time Stone to rewind time. However, judging by the way Peter Quill is acting in Guardians of the Galaxy, the memory of his friend killing him is still buried in his head.
It's part of the reason why he is reluctant to help the new Guardians of the Galaxy find Gamora before Starfox's Dark Guardians can hunt her down. The reading of Thanos' will revealed his "Final Gauntlet," which stated his consciousness would be reborn in a new body following his death. Of course, the number one suspect is Gamora, which is why Starfox, Nebula, Guardian, Wraith and Cosmic Ghost Rider are attempting to kill her before that can happen.
Using Nova (Richard Rider) as bait, the Dark Guardians have caught up to Gamora and the Guardians of the Galaxy, leading to a Guardians vs. Guardians showdown of epic proportions. By the time the dust settled, a Marvel hero was left knocking on death's door for a second time.
When Death Comes Calling A Second Time
Even though Gamora is the person responsible for the all-out brawl, Star-Lord prevents her from participating. Yes, he may not want to see her killed, but that doesn't mean Star-Lord fully trust her, which is why he kept her handcuffed inside The Ryder, the Guardians' new ship. But it'll take more than a pair of handcuffs to keep the Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe from joining a fight.
Gamora intervenes just in time to stop her sister, Nebula, from slicing Star-Lord's head off. But when Nebula retaliates with a blast back at Gamora, it's Star-Lord who saves the day by jumping in front of Gamora to take the kill shot.
Before falling silent, Star-Lord told Gamora he didn't know why he sacrificed himself to save her. After all, she did just kill him back in Infinity Wars. As mentally messed up as Peter is, he couldn't stand by and watch someone he cares for being murdered. Now, as for whether Star-Lord is alive or dead by the end of the issue is a completely different story.
We see him cough up blood and have a pretty significant dent in his chest as he's being held by Gamora, which would certainly have us believe he died. But as we've seen in Infinity Wars and other superhero comics, it doesn't take much to undo a death. Star-Lord was also thought to be dead when he and Nova battled Thanos in the Cancerverse, and they all found themselves alive again.
Perhaps instead of being dead, Star-Lord is just unconscious. Or the next issue could see Gamora trade her life for Peter's, though they would still need someone who could make that trade a reality. One last thing to remember is Hela and the Black Order are still out there searching for Thanos' head. Their search could lead them to the Guardians and Dark Guardians, adding yet another wildcard to the cast of characters.
Star-Lord may no longer be the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but something tells us it'll take more than a blaster shot to put him in the ground for good.