SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Star-Lord" #2 and "Daredevil" #15, both on sale now.
Let's all sing along: "Sometimes you want to go/To the bar with no naa-aame!"
That riff on the "Cheers" theme will likely be stuck in '80s kid-turned-galaxy-guardian Peter Quill's head following the events of January's "Star-Lord" #2. The issue, written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Kris Anka, saw the Earth-grounded hero faced with a hefty fine and 100 hours of community service. After palling around with an elderly man in a retirement home as part of his service, the strapped-for-cash Star-Lord gets a job from the man's son. Quill is now a bartender at the Bar with No Name.
The last page of the issue, seen above, establishes the gist of the Bar with No Name. It's essentially a supervillain hangout where the low-lives and criminals of the Marvel Universe can retreat to for a little rest and relaxation. Shocker, Lady Bullseye, Jigsaw, the Wrecking Crew and others can be seen drowning their sorrows, chatting with fellow low-lifes, and just generally trying to unwind after a hectic day of attempting to rob, pillage and/or plunder New York City.
But while the Bar with No Name may be new to Peter Quill, it actually has a fairly lengthy history within the Marvel U. Though it's never been stated as such outright, it would appear to be a franchise. The first Bar with No Name was located in Ohio, debuting in 1986's "Captain America" #318. The bar featured heavily in a storyline focusing on a serial killer who was targeting a number of C-level Marvel villains. The killer, dubbed the Scourge of the Underworld, hunted down bad guys and killed them whilst declaring his catchphrase, "Justice is served!" Villains Blue Streak and Firebrand stumbled across what was going on, and wanted to put a stop to the mysterious Scourge's mission.
Sadly for them, that didn't exactly work out. An issue later, the Scourge infiltrated the Bar with No Name by disguising himself as the bartender. When the Bar was filled with villains, the violent vigilante proceeded to clean house, gunning down every lesser-known criminal present before they could get the drop on him.
The New York Bar with No Name debuted a few years later in "Captain America" #394, this time established as a place where criminals go to get information from other criminals.
It ain;t pretty, but it got the job done for super villains looking to buy, trade or sell information. "Captain America" #394 interior art by Larry Alexander, Dan Panosian and Marie Javins/caption]
In the past decade, the bar has frequently popped up in the pages of "Amazing Spider-Man," as many of Spidey's lesser-known foes happen to be regular patrons of the no-named establishment. The supervillains used the bar for a different reason in 2007's "Punisher War Journal" #4. After the death of Stilt-Man, the criminals all gathered at the Bar where they proceeded to hold a wake for the veteran villain.
Knowing this gathering was taking place, the Punisher took a page out of the Scourge's book and targeted the entire gathering of bad guys. Frank Castle passed on machine guns, however, opting instead to spike all the alcohol with poison and set up an explosive in an attempt to take out as many supervillains as possible all at once -- even if they were all in mourning. The Bar blew up, as it often does, taking its denizens with it.
The Bar's frequent destruction actually plays into its history, leading the establishment to move around a lot. As such, it relies on word of mouth for regulars and newcomers alike to find it once its settles on a new location.
In addition to its recent re-emergence as the setting of "Star-Lord," The Bar with No Name popped up just last month in "Daredevil" #15. In that issue, Matt Murdock took a trip to the Bar in order to put a hit out on his alter ego, Daredevil as part of an elaborate plan to lure his arch-enemy Bullseye out of hiding. Because everybody in NYC know, when you want to contact the underworld, the Bar with No Name is the place to go.
Now, it's the setting of "Star-Lord," and it's quite a dangerous locale for the typically space-bound hero to set up shop, indeed. In addition to being frequented by criminals, the Bar's history as a regular target for hardcore vigilantes like the Scourge and the Punisher means Peter Quill will have to keep an eye out for attacks from both the bad guy regulars and the intense heroes bent on vengeance it tends to attract.
Good luck, Pete!
Quill's new gig starts up in "Star-Lord" #3, which arrives in stores on February 15.