In Review: Star Wars: Dark Times-Fire Carrier #2

The cover: An energy blast encounters the Sith Lord’s lightsaber. The sparks from this contact illuminate Vader in gold, and when combined with the glare of his saber, he truly looks like a visage from Hell. Great image from Douglas Wheatley. Overall grade: A

The story: Part Two by Randy Stradley opens on Coruscant where Vader makes a great entrance and then turns his attentions to Falco Sang, which gains the approval of an Imperial officer. Back on Arkinnea, K’Kruhk, heeding the advice of fellow Jedi-in-hiding Zao, and his group of younglings are leaving a refugee camp, though not unnoticed. Their disappearanvce is learned and the chase begins–off camera. The remainder of the book focuses on the beginning of their journey and the two Jedi discussing choices, future and past. Vader and Sang return for two additional pages, but for what purpose? If you had told me in 1977 that I would be entertained by two Jedi just talking I would have said you were nuts. But, in this comic, I was, immensely. Stradely seems to have his finger right on the pulse of the Jedi soul at this terrible chapter in their order. And, true to form, this issue’s cliffhanger makes you think things can only get darker. Overall grade: A

The art: Gabriel Guzman brings the whole package to this Star Wars tale. His characters have a wide range of emotions that require no words to tell their story (Page 2, panel five and Page 15, panel two), he can capture the cinematic elements of the films (Vader’s arrival on Page 1), he does action well (Page 15), and his details can be shocking (Page 22). Guzman is the right man for this book! Overall grade: A

The colors: This book has a great variety of settings, so opportunity after opportunity is given to Gary Henderson to show what he can do. Coruscant is the metallic clean you would expect, with Vader’s blacks a focal point of every panel. I also like Arkinnea, which has a desert region, farmlands and valleys. And I really liked the interiors in a transport that solidify that Henderson was also the right choice. Overall grade: A

The letters: One page demands many sound effects and they are perfectly rendered. There are a few others, but this issue’s story didn’t require many from Michael Heisler. Always good dialogue and narration from him, plus I get my favorite Star Wars sound effect on Page 20, panel two. Overall grade: A

The final line: Just when you think there is hope on the horizon, something appears to hinder it. These are dark times, indeed, and they’ve never been more interesting. Overall grade: A 

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