“Prison Break” by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, and Brad Walker & Carlos Magno
With Blastaar’s attack on 42 under way, this issue begins with a shift in perspective. The prison’s wardens and guards are gone and the freed inmates are defending their fortress against Blastaar’s army. Their leader (sort of) is a man by the name of Jack Flag (aka Jack Harrison) and he doesn’t really dig the cosmic stuff.
Outside the prison walls, a buck ass naked Peter Quill approaches the gate. Inside, he learns that the prisoners have sort of banded together for the sake of self-preservation. Though he claims there are no leaders, Jack Flag appears to hold some sway over some of them. He assembles a group of cons as a sort of makeshift council to hear what Quill has to say.
It’s not long before they’re exchanging punches, but Flag quickly takes them all down with a pistol he had (set to stun, of course). He takes Quill to the one of the prison’s telepaths so he can get a message to the Guardians. Meanwhile, one of his henchman, Skeleton Ki, opens the front door to 42.
On Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, we catch up with Drax and Quasar who are still looking for a girl named Heather.
With a blast of energy, Father Mentor kills them both.
Back on Knowhere, Major Victory sits with Starhawk (remember her? or him? er…whatever). Despite Starhawk’s attempt at conversation, Major Victory hopes that by just sitting down, looking at her, his memory will come back to him. He is interrupted by the return of the Guardians from their meeting with a Kree ambassador. So, far, there’s no trace of the Star-Lord.
It turns out Peter Quill and Jack Flag have gone all Guantanamo Bay on a telepathic prisoner, Quill beating the man to make sure he isn’t lying about sending his message to the Guardians. He wasn’t lying, though. Mantis got the message and was able to deduce that Quill is in The Negative Zone. Using Knowhere’s Continuum Cortex, Cosmo transports the team to The Negative Zone, however, his coordinates are just a little off…
Aside from the introduction of a new character, this issue was pretty by-the-numbers. Not that I’m complaining, though. There were definitely some great character moments. It just looks like they’re getting the pieces in place for what should be a more explosive issue. At the very least, we should get to see Star-Lord back in action with Rocket and the gang. I like this new character Jack Flag, though. As a former “mask” who has done some time, he should fit right in, if he’s brought into the fold. He is a prisoner, after all. I’m curious to see what happens with him.
If there’s one thing about this issue that I’ve got some beef with, though, it’s the art. Most of it is pretty consistent from the last issue, but here, we’ve got the addition of penciller Carlos Magno. Now, I can’t be sure it’s him, or if it’s one of the inkers, but why do most of the Guardians look like they have down syndrome? I mean, look at Rocket. He looks awful.
I don’t know how art that sloppy and inconsistent made it into the final draft of this book. Fortunately, Magno is not credited on the next issue, so hopefully, we’ll go back to the better pencilling, but good lord. I still can’t get over how bad this is.