In Review: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: Jabba the Hutt #1

Purchase this only for the covers. A major disappointment.

The covers: Five covers to find, and if you don’t you’re Bantha poodoo! The Regular cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson has Jabba almost dominating the entire space because he is, let’s face it, a large guy. Before him is Salacious Crumb, looking as though he’s about to let loose with one of his high pitched laughs. It deserves to be repeated: anything by the Dodsons belongs in your collection. The Concept Design Variant has an extremely early sketch of Jabba by Nilo Rodis-Jamero. The Hutt is wearing a hat and has six long spindly arms before him. The face and girth are on point, but the arms and hat have this Jabba looking very different from what appeared on the screen. Worth picking up. The Photo Variant is from Return of the Jedi with Jabba in three-quarters view looking to the left. Everything about him is great and grotesque. The eyes, the arms, and all those chins make him a beautiful mess. The Puzzle Piece Variant by Mike McKone & Guru-eFX was teased on the earlier Lando Calrissian issue of Age of Rebellion with the Hutt’s tail shwoing. Now the majority of Jabba can be seen, along with Salacious perched on his right shoulder. Before the Hutt on his left is his hookah. There’s just barely enough space for the red and blue background to appear, as well as a lone B-wing and several A-wings, as well as a single TIE Fighter. Outstanding as always! The final cover is the Variant by Gerald Parel and this looks to be the cover that will used for the collected edition of the villain issues from this series. Darth Vader is shown in the lower center with his lightsaber ignited. To his right is a very rat-like Grand Moff Tarkin. Behind him and to the right is Jabba. A very tiny Boba Fett is behind the Hutt. Two TIE Fighters zip over Jabba firing their guns, the Death Star is above Tarkin, and a tiny Executor is flying before Jabba. Nice, but I would have liked to have seen the focus on the title character. Overall grades: Regular A, Concept Design Variant A+, Photo Variant A, Puzzle Piece Variant A, and Variant B-

The story: I was not thrilled with this story because Jabba is only on eight of the twenty pages. Is he responsible for what occurs in the rest of this tale by Greg Pak? Barely. The premise is that there is a highly expensive drink making the rounds among the filthy rich — Tusken Wind. It’s only made by the Sandpeople on Tatooine, with a group of them before Jabba in his palace. They’re complaining about Jawas and Imperials invading their lands, but the Hutt doesn’t want to do anything about it. They threaten Jabba, causing Boba Fett to raise his rifle, which has them quickly apologizing. They leave with Jabba saying, “Tell your people there will be no more trouble.” A pair of “humble traders” then appear before Jabba asking to purchase Tusken Wind. That’s when the story kicks in. Their dialogue with Jabba doesn’t go well, causing them to seek it out on their own. This leads to a convoluted climax on 15 and 16 that isn’t created by Jabba, but by the two traders and a domino effect that follows. Yes, the situation is aggravated by someone on Page 14, but his input isn’t really necessary. The last four pages return to the Tusken Raiders with a punchline that is empty. Jabba is a tough character to write for because he’s not often out of his throne room (though he does get out as shown in The Phantom Menace). This would have been the perfect opportunity to do so. Major letdown. Overall grade: D+

The art: Also not helping this issue was having three different artists on it: Emilio Laiso, Roland Boschi, and Marco Turini. It’s not stated in the credits who is responsible for which pages, which shows how last minute this issue was in being completed. The opening two pages are set in Canto Bight. The first page is very simple in characters and settings, with many not completely finished. The second page looks to be a different artist because characters’ faces and bodies are more complete. If it’s the same artist, what the heck was going on with the first page? The pages in Jabba’s palace look good. The thin line work is great and there’s a smattering of dust and debris everywhere, creating a delightfully dirty tone for the location and characters. In Mos Eisley the art changes, with it resembling the style of the artist on Page 2. I like this art, but it stands out as very different from the Jabba pages that proceeded it. When the story moves to the Dunes the quality drops substantially. It’s hard to justify Stormtroopers that look like this. There’s a full-paged splash on 16 and, given what’s shown, had no reason to be. The page that follows is a sketchy mess, until returning to the throne room. However, what the heck is Jabba holding? I have no clue. And having no clue makes the punchline of the story vague. What a disappointment. Overall grade: D-

The colors: As with the artists, there are three and no specific credit is given to who is responsible for what. The colorists are Andres Mossa, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Neeraj Menon. The first page is a blasé visual experience for the art, with bland colors that look nothing like those from The Last Jedi. The second page is considerably better, with gold dominating. The characters in Jabba’s throne chamber blend in too much to each, with nothing bright; even Boba Fett blends in with the colors of Jabba — How is that possible? Look how dark the Rodian is on Page 7 and then goes a deep neon on 8. Continuity issues between pages? 8 and 9 are the best colored pages of the book, looking resplendent. At night, things don’t look good, but the artist isn’t giving the colorist much to work with. The final page has the Sandpeople blending into each other way too much. The colors are an additional shortcoming on this issue. Overall grade: D

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates scene settings, droid speech, dialogue, sounds, Sandpeople speech, and Kowakian monkey laughter. I’m ecstatic with the scene settings and dialogue of this book. I wish other Star Wars titles employed the fantastic fonts of both, with the scene settings being formal and catching the eye and the dialogue being in a strong font that gives strength to whoever is speaking. The sounds are also very well done, with there being a great variety that look as cool as they are to read aloud. I also like the laughter of a small individual that resembles the insane tittering from film and television. One major gaffe is the Tusken Raider speech. It’s the same speech font that’s identified as Ithorian in Galaxy’s Edge #2. I doubt Sandpeople speak the same dialect. They don’t sound the same. Different alien races require different fonts. This should be corrected for future Star Wars books. Overall grade: B+

The final line: This is a Star Wars series and not one artist could be found to complete this issue? With all the talent out there, all the artists hungry to create, this was the best that could happen? Very disappointed, Marvel. This is a prime example of a book that should not have been solicited until it was completed — by one artist. And not having the title character in the majority of the book is a mistake. To paraphrase Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park, “You do have a Hutt in your Jabba the Hutt comic?” This is only worth purchasing for the covers. A major disappointment. Overall grade: D+

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-Age-Of-Rebellion-Jabba-The-Hutt-2019-1/digital-comic/51454?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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