By: Brian Wood (Writer), Carlos D’Anda (Artist), Gabe Eltaeb (Colorist)
The Story: Han Solo has to find a way out of Coruscant, as Leia and her squad fight some Tie-Fighter as per her plan to guess just who might be the rat in the rebel army.
The Review: I finally understood something about this comic and myself, something that came as some kind of realization as to why I rather disliked some of the scenes while I enjoyed others. I once said that I preferred the Han Solo scenes in general, while I found the space battles to be rather boring, but gave a rather vague assessment of just why I felt that way about those.
Now I know the reason and it becomes much easier to interpret, as the answer is this: I dislike the space battles because they are not visual enough. Let me clarify on this: in most of these scenes, we are told what is happening, either with exposition boxes or via the dialogue of the characters, but we are not shown much of anything except the faces of the characters, a few shots of the X-Wing and fewer explosions. In plainer terms, Wood tells here rather than show what is happening, which does not exactly match up with what most think a visual medium such as a comic book should do. I do understand that these space battles are very hard to interpret in comic format, but it does not exactly makes for a very exciting comic in general.
In contrast, we have Han Solo’s bit in this issue where we see him stranded in the slums of Coruscant, in a bad position as he tries to find a way to get out of here. Contrarily to Leia’s bit in space, we see much more than the vacuum of space and some spaceships, as we are shown the many alien species living on Coruscant and its underworld, as a tone is set while we follow our heroic rogue through his ordeal. We see him directly interact with other characters as he is followed by Boba Fett and Bosk, as we directly see the danger that is following our hero around. The danger can be directly seen, the interactions are direct and there is a greater visual diversity, making this part of the issue much more enjoyable than the other bits.
It sound harsh to say it like that, as there are some very good development in both parts, as we get to see just how Luke reacts to being benched, how Han might have gotten himself an ally in his attempt at fleeing his pursuant and how Leia tries some dangerous moves to further her plan. Most of the dialogue is well-written as the plot does keep on advancing in a meaningful way, yet it could manage to be a bit more visually pleasing.
Not that its Carlos D’Anda’s fault here, as he does the best with what he is given. He does draw the vacuum of space fairly well and respects all the great Star Wars design of yore, be it the ships, the aliens or the key characters. It’s just that in both the script and the art, there are some scenes that are much more stimulating than others. The part where we see Han Solo strut along with Chewbacca on the underworld of Coruscant is beautiful, as we get to see the rich alien tapestry of the universe created by George Lucas. In the colorization, it the very same deal as handed to D’Anda, as Eltaeb does make the most of the Han Solo scene with his colors as well, bringing his best work there with rich and varied colors. The bar scene is especially well-done in terms of colorization, as the ambience is smartly done with a very high number of colors to bring out the alien diversity and the seedier aspect of the place.
The Conclusion: While there are some very strong scenes and development in this issue, Brian Wood would take great benefit in showing rather than telling what is happening in the space battles. Still, the issue is still sound thanks to D’Anda, Eltaeb and the great Han Solo scenes found in the book.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière