In Review: Star Wars #65

Luke and Benthic have a conversation that leads to trouble.

The covers: A trio of covers to find if one is strong with the Force. The Regular cover by Gerald Parel foreshadows what’s to be found within this issue: Luke Skywalker makes his way down a corridor with his lightsaber in his hands. Unknown to him, Benthic is hiding around a corner, his gun ready for the Jedi. The characters both resemble their film counterparts and I like how Benthic’s head is just slightly above the title, giving him a neat 3-D effect. Also neat is that Luke is in the light and Benthic in the dark corridor. Very nice. The Action Figure Variant cover by outstanding John Tyler Christopher features Arvel Crynyd; Hilton McRae played this character in Return of the Jedi. The faux Kenner action figure has got an absolutely intense look on his face, with brow furrowed just like the character in the film. He’s clothed in green, as he was Green Leader in the battle against the Death Star over Endor’s moon. The large image of the character is spectacular, with the pilot looking ready for action, unaware his death will fell the mighty Executioner. The final cover is the Greatest Moments Variant by Cory Smith and Stephane Paitreau. This has Old Ben Kenobi wielding his lightsaber in the Mos Eisley cantina, warding off Ponda Baba and Doctor Evazan. I don’t like the way the characters look. At least the dark coloring is cool. Overall grades: Regular A, Action Figure Variant A+, and Greatest Moments Variant D

The story: Queen Trios and all of Shu-Torun’s nobility are trapped in the Abyssal Rooms by the Rebels. She asks an aide if they can get out. He says they can, however, “we’d have to use explosives or mining equipment to breach the walls. Even then, direct exposure to external temperature this far beneath the surface will ignite flesh in seconds.” The Queen doesn’t care. The Rebels can do anything while they’re locked up and she wants to take action. Writer Kieron Gillen then moves to the Imperial Retreat, showing that Leia, Han, Meorti, Tunga, and Threepio are safe, contacting Chewbacca on the Falcon to see if he’s heard from Luke. Where’s Luke? He’s with Benthic and his partisans trying to take down the Spike, the structure that controls the planet. Last issue it was revealed that Benthic wants to make a statement to the Empire and destroy the planet, rather than just ruin its ability to produce supplies for the Imperials. Those are the dual plots of this issue: will Trios get out and will Luke discover Benthic’s plans? Adding to the troubles of the heroes is Commander Kanchar learning that Trios is in trouble and deciding to get involved. This was an action packed read with tension rising on every page. I love the caper aspect of this story and, in perfect Star Wars fashion, how everything starts to go wrong. Very enjoyable. Overall grade: A

The art: The first page is a fantastic introduction to the setting and one of the book’s antagonists: a large panel showing the structure that Queen Trios is trapped in, followed by a horizontal panel that shows the angry queen. The details in her golden clothing are exceptional. Page 3 has artist Angel Unzueta moving to a new location, this time to show most of the heroes. They look great and, again, the setting is outstanding. But wait! –Get a load of that first panel on 4 — Wow! This is a fantastic internal structure and showing the firefight occurring at the bottom of the image is a great way to direct the reader’s eye. The bottom three panels show Luke in action and they are terrific. Also good is the page that follows, showing Artoo joining his master. The action and pull in to Trios at the bottom of 7 ups the intensity of her actions by showing the venom in her face. I’m not thrilled by the design of the ship that debuts on 8, with it’s clunky nose and the submarine tower that rises out of it. Kanchar’s Star Destroyer looks excellent, so kudos to Unzueta for that. The opening point of view on 11 is killer! The final two panels on 12 really punctuate the tension between two characters and I adore the individual that goes into action on 13, showing once again that this character is the ace in the hole for Star Wars characters. Pages 17 – 19 have some excellent action, with the point of view moving around and the awesome actions and reactions. The book ends on a close-up of a villain who is overjoyed at what the future may hold, though I’m thinking this might end up as this character’s swan song. Overall grade: A

The colors: Outstanding colors on this book from Guru-eFX. The oranges and reds on the opening page instantly illustrate the external threat facing Trios and her guests. The cool blue for the spire is a slick way to create a temperature difference. This blue is carried over into part of Trios’s garb, with the gold punctuating her look regally. The dark blues in the Imperial Retreat is a good way to show how the heroes are working covertly since they’re in a dark room. I love the blues and whites that open Page 4, with the blaster fire at the bottom a great way to transition from this large panel to the ones that follow. Artoo’s speech has a calming blue that makes his every utterance a joy even when he’s stressed. The yellow armor of those that accompany Trios is a great way to have them stand out and look like royal guards. The reds and browns on 17 – 19 make the action look very realistic. I love the colors on this issue. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles creates the book’s text, which includes scene settings, dialogue, Wookiee dialogue, Benthic’s unique speech, Artoo’s dialogue, and some sounds. I say some sounds because blasters and ships crashing are mute. This is extremely disappointing. It’s up to the writer to determine what sounds are in a book, but having select sounds, which are quieter than the blaster sequences, draws attention to the their omissions. The scene settings are not good, looking blurry due to them being atop a white border, and neither is the dialogue, which is in a font that holds no tension, even when characters are angry — take a look at Trios’s scenes to see how faint her words sound due to the font’s design. Other Star Wars books have changed the scene settings and font and this, the flagship title, should follow suit. Benthic and Artoo’s dialogue is neat, though why Chewie’s roars are in wavering letters has him look as though he’s a markdown from Halloween whenever he speaks. Overall grade: C  

The final line: Luke and Benthic have a conversation that leads to trouble, creating more chaos. Great action, great characters, and great visuals. I love everything about this issue except the lettering, which continues to be the weakest element of this series. Still, it’s not so bad as to destroy the book…but it could have been perfect! Overall grade: B+

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-2015-65/digital-comic/51369?r=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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.
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