This could have been awesome. The idea of a character like Peter Quill, who is often mixed up in high adventure space romps, being brought to the same gritty and dour world of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's "Old Man Logan" story is a fascinating notion. How would the galactic heroes respond to the extermination of all the heroes on Earth? Specifically how would Peter Quill handle that? After all, he's half Earthling and has forged some pretty strong relationships with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. But here's the thing: I don't want to know how Quill fell from grace or where he was when the villains decided to take over.
One of the things that made "Old Man Logan" so captivating was the sense of confusion. Why was the world this way? What happened? Why isn't he Wolverine anymore? When readers have a lot of questions the story answers at a cautious pace, we wind up with resolutions that pack a punch. The problem with Old Man Quill #1 is that is doesn't really want its audience to ask questions. Instead, it plays its hand too early. We begin with Quill as middle-aged ruler, we see what happened to Spartax, and who is responsible. This all transpires in the first ten pages, which seems like a huge misstep. The best part of the other "Old Man" titles is that they act as a character study. We get to see a side of a character that is rarely represented in comics, and how the horrific world around them has hollowed out the hero they once were. Old Man Quill takes a different route, which isn't inherently a bad idea, but here things just didn't work.
Ethan Sacks is a decent writer. His work on Old Man Hawkeye was great, so going into Old Man Quill #1, I had pretty high expectations. Now, don't get me wrong, this issue is by no means poorly written, even if there are few Star-Lord-isms that are cringe-worthy. The dialogue is concise and the pacing is solid, but other than Quill and the other Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, they're in this, too) being wrinkled and grey, there's not distinctive flair to set it apart from the current Guardians stories. All the characters feel as they always have, and while that's fine for a new issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, it's rather off-putting in Old Man Quill.
As for the artwork, Robert Gill does solid work, but it is nothing remarkable. Gill falls in line with a lot of other artists working with Marvel in terms of how the page is structured and the somewhat sketchy feel to the pencils. If this book broke out of the flat-color world Marvel has been implementing in a lot of books, it would have been better for it. Andres Mossa has done phenomenal work with far more vibrancy and contrast before, an approach which could have shined here.
Old Man Quill #1 could have been akin to the latter issues of Rick Remender and Tony Moore's Fear Agent, but instead, the whole thing just feels like a hair metal band reunion tour no one asked for. It's heartbreaking, really. I loved the original "Old Man Logan" story arc (except for the gratuitous ending, which betrayed the tone of the rest of the series), Old Man Hawkeye was surprisingly solid throughout its run, and man, that Old Man Castle story in Old Man Logan Annual #1 was amazing. If you ask me, that's a pretty good track record for comics taking place in this dystopian future world. And it's too soon to count this book out just yet, this first issue didn't do a whole lot to make readers want more.
So is Old Man Quill #1 worth adding to your stack? Well... if you're expecting another post-apocalyptic story about fallen heroes finding their way back to their glory days, this issue will absolutely disappoint you. If you simply crave more Star-Lord in your life and are willing to look past the high bar guys previous creators have set in this world, you might have a good time. Unfortunately, I fall into the former category. In a world where there Galaxy is the limit, it's troubling how quickly we tumble back down to Earth.