In Review: Star Wars #4

A mixed bag that has me fretting the future of this book.

The cover: An image of Darth Vader towers over a cowl covered character on the Tatooine desert. The Sith Lord’s head takes the place of the letter A in “Wars” and the twin suns of this planet are at his knees. This is an excellent idea for a cover but John Cassaday doesn’t pull it off. Vader’s face doesn’t look right and his chest looks odd. The colors by Laura Martin are okay. I’m not used to seeing his much color in the desert sky and she also does some good work on the sand dunes and the structure that’s typical of the planet. Overall grade: C+

The story: Jason Aaron goes in some interesting directions with this installment, but ends in cliché. On Tatoonie Darth Vader and a squad of stormtroopers have arrived to see Jabba the Hutt. The Sith is there to see that the crime boss provides whatever the Empire wants. Jabba agrees, but does so while provoking the Emperor’s mouthpiece, bringing up the destruction of the Death Star and the Empire’s main weapons facility on Cymoon 1. He additionally says that his world is a long way from Coruscant and there are pirates and giant space slugs that could intercept or eat the shipments. Vader reassures him that the Empire can deal with such nuisances and is on his way out, but stops when Jabba says he must stay to watch as they seal their deal by watching something die. Meanwhile, in the Rebel fleet, Luke is having a hard time dealing with what happened during his encounter with Vader last issue. His scenes with Leia are good and believable. I liked them. What I didn’t care for was the bounty hunter shtick. This is such a small portion of the Star Wars universe, but the fan base for bounty hunters is so huge, they inevitably find their way into every comic, novel, cartoon, and film. There’s a bounty hunter looking for someone and has an exchange with some Rodians. The scene begins on Page 11 and anyone with half a brain can see the outcome in three panels. Worse still, it leads no where. This encounter could have been completed in a page, but is milked to increase this new antagonist’s cool factor. And the story stretches the situation further by having the last two pages return to this setting, with the biggest fan favorite of the original films appearing. I hated it. I loved the focus on the heroes and Vader, who has a great final tease with Jabba in their showing, but for heaven’s sake, Marvel, shoot the bounty hunters into their own series and keep them out of this flagship book. Overall grade: C-

The art: John Cassaday’s visuals are all over the place. The first page opens with a really nice establishment shot of Jabba’s palace, but the second panel has the fattest Bib Fortuna I’ve ever seen. Vader is gaunt in the final panel of that page. The double-paged spread of 2 and 3 has Vader and the troopers addressing Jabba in his throne room. Every character looks okay, but there is a tremendous waste of space in the top half of Page 2 which only shows the blank ceiling of the room. Why was this allowed to happen? Vader’s mask on the next two pages looks terrible and Jabba is also inconsistent; his forehead grows and shortens on Page 5. Things greatly improve with Leia’s scenes with the council and Luke. The young Jedi looks really good, especially when he gets angry. The aliens of the book look good, with the Rodians being a real stand out. The individual on the last page is drawn very well, but I’m just so tired of this character’s continual appearances in all things Star Wars. Overall grade: C+

The colors: Excellent work throughout by Laura Martin starting with a gorgeous coloring of Jabba’s palace. A really nice touch is the sparse coloring used in the circular patterns that adorn the walls of its interiors. I also like the overhead lighting that shines down on Vader, making the coloring on his helmet cool. Though I didn’t care for the scene itself, the coloring with the Rodians is outstanding. Excellent oranges and the lighting effects are, again, superior. Luke’s one scene in his pilot’s costume is also really perfectly colored, instantly creating memories of him from the original film. Overall grade: A+

The letters: I don’t like Chris Eliopoulos’s font for dialogue and really dislike utterances that exceed their dialogue balloons, which happens with Chewbacca. I’d like the balloon to be expanded or his Wookie wails not to be in balloons. I have no idea how this is supposed to be read, for there is no justification for it to be done with such a tiny balloon as there is more than enough space both times to have a larger container. Overall grade: C-

The final line: A mixed bag that has me fretting the future of this book. Overall grade: C

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    No Comment

    Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 25 other subscribers

    Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!