In Review: Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi–Force War #2

The cover: This goes down in this issue already?!? I thought this would happen a lot later, if not in a different story. Artist David Michael Beck has created this neat image of Xesh choking the life out of–and zapping the life out of–fellow Force Hound Trill. This is the only image I’ve seen of her in fear, but then who wouldn’t be if Xesh was doing his utmost to kill you?  Nice Force lightning effect and good coloring on the characters, but the background sucks some of the life out of the image–light blue or green would have been better than orange. The image I’m using for this review is much brighter and bluer than the copy I have; the colors on mine are much more faded. Overall grade: A-

The story: This is only the second issue from John Ostrander & Jan Duursema, with Mr. Ostrander scripting, and everything happens! The story opens with Xesh having a horrible nightmare, which causes Shae Koda to come to his tent to see what’s going on. This leads to an admission that any loyal reader knew long ago, and that in turn leads to a revelation that comes out of the blue on Page 3 that was just awesome, which culminates in an action on Page 4. Wow. I hate to admit it, but if this was all the story was, I would have been happy. I’ve been waiting a forever for this! However, the war wages on and Xesh gets to go where only Doctor Strange used to go, allowing our heroes to have a new direction. What could possibly go wrong? Heh, heh, heh…A battle is begun and faster than you can say, “Admiral Ackbar!” things go south. This was epic drama on every page, be it conversations between two characters or armies in battle. I didn’t things could get any better, and that’s when Pages 19 – 22 snuck up on me. Wow. It can’t possibly get any better than this, can it? One heck of a story! Overall grade: A+

The art: Penciller Jan Duursema and inker Dan Parsons do everything in this book. No, really–flippin’ everything! They get to start out with a really cool nightmare, which leads into a perfect three page conversation I’ve waited months on! Pages 12 and 13 are fantastic battle scenes tied together with the image at the bottom. This is as close as a comic can get to resembling cinema. The main panel on 15 actually made me wince! The power in the final panel on 16 was appropriately stunning. And then the battle leaves the ground and goes aerial! Holy crud! The result of one of the battles at the top of 18 was terrific, and the look on the survivor’s face frightening! The final four pages are chock full of “wow” moments, with the final page being the perfect tease to get readers to return next month. Perfection on every page! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Each page is wonderfully vivid thanks to Wes Dzioba. I loved the black and whites of the nightmare, the dark colors for Pages 2 – 4 (and how each character can still be clearly seen!), the dark war room to emphasize the serious nature of its purpose, the orange holograms, the bright beginning of the battle contrasted with the tiny blue panel below each, the Force lighting, and Trill’s stark red. A perfect compliment to the art. Overall grade: A+

The letters: A whole lot of dialogue and narration, with some really cool sounds from letterer Michael Heisler. You know how you can tell you’re looking at a talented letterer? None of his or her work eclipses the artwork. Heisler never does that. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Christmas has come early, kiddies! This is awesomeness in only 22 pages. Amazing in every way. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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