By: Brian Wood (Writer), Carlos D’Anda (Artist), Gabe Eltaeb (Colorist)
The Story: Han Solo tries to escape from Coruscant, Leia goes on with her plan to find out the rat in the rebellion and Darth Vader is awesome.
The Review: When I reviewed the last issue of Brian Wood’s take on Star Wars, I mentioned the fact that there were parts that were much stronger, or at least, more interesting than others. I now realize, in retrospect, that it was not absolutely fair, as it seemed to come a bit from personal taste rather than actual appreciation and critical analysis of the various scenes. However, while I do admit that I rather prefer Han Solo to Leia Skywalker as a character, this issue made me see just why perhaps this analysis was closer to the truth than what I thought.
The problem, in a way, lies a lot in the way those scenes are paced and what they show. In simpler terms, the problem lies not in the concepts, the idea or the executions of the various ideas. The problem, from my perspective, lies more in the art. Sure, those seem like strong words, a big bad accusation that seems more mean-spirited than truly objective, but it is very easy to explain why. In this issue, the Leia issues are spent in deep space, as we are shown her and her own squadron in their X-wing, flying as they talk to each other. In short, what we see usually is this: a talking head, a shot of the X-wing, a shot of the interior of the X-wing, rinse and repeat. This lacks a bit in dynamism, as while what they say is utterly interesting as Leia tries various methods to detect the traitor in her midst while we get some development on her part and on some of her compatriots as well. In the movie, these kinds of scene worked rather well, since the ships in question were in constant movement, showing us the amazing width of space in action. Here, it just doesn’t work so well.
In contrast, we have the much better working scene with Darth Vader, who is hands down the most iconic character from the entire franchise. His scene, while it only happen in a small room, is a bit more dynamic as in the span of five pages, we get some interesting development of the empire’s side of the war, the introduction of a new character and even some very good actions from our favorite Sith lord. While this scene is about the same in importance with Leia’s own, the fact that it is set in less vague setting, shows much more than just the same shots and differentiate itself in tone in the span of five pages makes it more interesting visually.
Still, as much as I am saying the visual pacing could be better, I would be hard-pressed to say the plot itself is not interesting or entertaining, as it brings politic, espionage and space action to the Star Wars universe while managing to pay homage and respect the canon between the two films. Brian Wood shows he has a good handle on each character, as Leia is shown as a determined and strong woman, Han Solo and Chewbacca as two cunning, yet out of their depths rogue, while Darth Vader is fittingly evil, yet kind of tortured about it. The story is promising, which is something that few writers can manage to do in such a beloved universe, especially with those characters.
If there is also one who does manage to do good here, it would be Carlos D’Anda. Despite what I am saying about the visual pacing, I have to say that D’Anda really draws the original Star Wars design with utmost respect, with the X-wing, Tie fighter and other spaceships looking very good on each pages and panels. Even the more technological aspects of the architecture and the background look good here, which is something quite admirable. If he could manage to bring more to his visual repertory for the space scenes and anything involving the dog fight, Carlos D’Anda would be a real beast in the many artists depicting the beloved Star Wars universe.
The Conclusion: While it may suffer a bit from repetition in the visual department in key scenes, this issue still continues to bring some good advancement in the plot while respecting the canon of the main Star Wars universe in an interesting way.
Hugo Robberts Larivière