In Review: Star Wars #72

This is the comic book you're looking for. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: Two to find before your flight to Hoth. Regular cover by Phil Noto has created a gorgeous Regular cover. With Darth Vader’s helmet consuming the background and facing the left, Leia is dancing with Dar Champion, who looks like he’s about to dip the princess. In the center, Luke holds his lightsaber high with both hands. Behind him to the left is Warba Calip. The bottom left corner has a circle that contains Chewbacca and See-Threepio. In the opposite corner is one of the Stone Elders. Simply fantastic! The Action Figure Variant cover by John Tyler Christopher features one of the strangest looking characters from Return of the Jedi: Prune Face. This is Dressellian named Orrimaarko, played by Colin Hunt. The figure’s head is much larger than his body, which is exactly how the Kenner figure was designed. The close-up of the character on the card is flawless. I’m already missing Christopher’s covers to this series. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: The heroes of the Rebellion are in three different settings all filled with peril. The first seven pages are on K43 where Darth Vader, accompanied by several stormtroopers and an Imperial officer, wants See-Threepio to communicate with the rock creatures that live under the world’s surface. The droid picks up a comlink and opens it so that Chewbacca, who was in the process of disarming the charges that were to blow up the world, can overhear his dialogue with the Stone Elders as well as with the Sith Lord. The Wookiee places the bombs on pause as he listens in. After Goldenrod speaks as he’s told, the elders retreat to consider what’s been said to them. Vader speaks with the droid, asking questions about these creatures of rock of whom he can sense no fear. Something occurs on page 6, causing Vader to make a judgment he believes will pay off later. Meanwhile on Sergia, Luke’s joy at last issue’s mission has him asking Warba to teach him about the Force and she does something that won’t surprise the reader, but causes the farmboy distress. On Lanz Carpo, Leia and Han switch dance partners, leading to one of them getting into trouble. Greg Pak has got this story perfectly paced with each character being true to their film personas as they make their way through this untold tale. I love every page of this and am already sad that this comic concludes in three issues. Perfect Star Wars reading. Overall grade: A+

The art and colors: The reader is looking down upon Darth Vader as he looks up at one of the Stone Elders that is mere feet from him. Behind him Threepio is being yelled at by an Imperial officer with a stormtrooper in tow, with another pair at the far right. Two small panels are inserted on the right: one showing the droid’s hesitancy and the other showing him picking up the comlink. Chewbacca appears on the next page and he is fantastic. Phil Noto is the master illustrator of this character, as demonstrated by his work on the Chewbacca limited series and every appearance of this character in this story. The face off between the pair of characters in the second and third panels on 3, though small, clearly delivers emotion from both individuals. I love how Vader never looks at the droid; he speaks to it, but never looks upon it — which provides some shudders from the reader who will obviously recall who built the iconic droid. It’s rare to see Vader ever look up at anyone or anything and this issue has lots of opportunities for that. This allows the reader to get inside the character’s head and wonder what he’s thinking. If the second panel on Page 6 doesn’t melt your heart, you’re made of stone. There’s some great action on this page followed up with a pair of falls that had me hearing the Wilhelm scream. Luke and Warba look stunning on every page they appear. Luke’s eagerness and naiveté are outstanding, with his close-ups beautiful. Han’s confusion on his pages are fun, with Leia looking in command of every panel she’s in. The last page is a full-paged splash that shows one character off to a new location. This looks fine, but didn’t really need to be this large an image because the story doesn’t give it an emotional punch. This didn’t hurt my love of this book’s visuals, which are superb. The only way this book could look better is if George Lucas designed it. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles is the book’s letterer creating scene settings, dialogue, droid speech, Wookiee speech, a mechanical device’s warning, the voices of the rock people of K42, sounds, and a yell. The scene settings work on this issue because they’re colored correctly so that they don’t blend into the background. The dialogue is fine, though such a thin font makes Vader sound weakened. The droid speech is set apart not only by the shape of the balloons that contain them, but also by the font being in italics. Chewie’s exclamations are okay, though I’m still not keen on the letters being so warbled. I did like that the mechanical warning was in a different font than Threepio, making it sound different. The sounds and yells are excellent, with one character’s fall on 7 had me hearing the iconic Wilhelm scream. Overall grade: A 

The final line: This is the comic book you’re looking for. Action, surprises, humor, excellent writing, and superb visuals. You’ll never want to leave this story from a long time ago…in a galaxy far, far away. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-2015-72/digital-comic/52504?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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