In Review: Star Wars #13
The cover: Darth Vader tries to grasp the wild card in his plans for the galaxy: Luke Skywalker. I actually thought I was looking at a photograph of Vader when I picked this issue up. Major credit must be given to Hugh Fleming for making this look so good. I love seeing the Sith Lord frustrated and he looks really upset as his hands try to grasp the hologram of his son. Overall grade: A
The story: Yes, I said I would not be buying this series again because I was so frustrated at the direction of the leads, but writer Brian Wood has taken a break from the heroes and is focusing exclusively on Vader and his quest to find out how Colonel Bircher, Rebel spy, was able to enter Imperial ranks and rise in them. The tale is told by twenty-one year old Ensign Nanda, who says on Page 1, “I was detailed to Darth Vader as a special assistant. They were the most brutal and terrifying five days of my life.” That’s all readers need to know because we’re instantly off on a search for vengeance. This is the best written issue of this series, so far. The fear going through Nanda as she works with Vader, as he stands next to her, as she watches him torture others, is so palpable you’re going to be fearful of her future. Page 8 is a reality check for any Imperial officer. Page 12 was shocking as the dialogue ended abruptly: I’ve never seen Vader do this in any book. Pages 18 and 19 contain the classic Star Wars conversation I’ve waited 37 years for! Brian Wood has fulfilled something I’ve always wanted to read/see. These two pages are worth the price of this book alone. Vader and his crew’s mission isn’t finished in one issue, it continues next month. I’ll be jumping up and down waiting for it to arrive. Overall grade: A+
The art: A new art team comes in with this issue: Facundo Percio on pencils and Dan Parsons, who can be found in each issue of Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, on inks. I like the look of this book. The art is very detailed, with Vader and all the shine on him quite amazing. Nanda is a great looking character, who seems like the typical spit and polish Imperial, but when Vader isn’t around, the reality of her situation hits her hard (Page 8). The troopers look great, though all I can think of is a target on their helmets above their eyes, and the weapons they carry look great. The settings are also really well done, with the interiors of ships looking amazing. My favorite panel was the third on Page 16: Wow! This book looks incredible! Overall grade: A
The colors: Fantastic work throughout by Gabe Eltaeb who makes each shine on Vader the only light that resonates from him. Vader has a specifically colored shine on Page 12 due to the person he’s talking to, and I appreciate that Eltaeb mixed it up. He could have gotten away with the usually white shine, but he didn’t and I’m grateful for it. I also like the subtle effects he adds, such as the shields on the Executor‘s docking bay. He does a great sunset on Coruscant and I like that Nanda’s narration is set apart from other text by being in yellow; this is a nice reminder to the reader as to who’s telling this tale. Excellent in every way. Overall grade: A+
The letters: A lot of variety this month from Michael Heisler, including dialogue, narration, scene setting, coughing, transmission dialogue, and sound effects. DOW! was the show stopper this month on Page 16. Overall grade: A+
The final line: The best issue yet and a must-own for every Star Wars fan. 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 this up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.