In Review: Star Wars: Age of Republic–Padmé Amidala #1

This is not a great book by any definition. Very disappointing.

The covers: Four to pick up for if one is a fan of the senator. The Regular cover is by Paolo Rivera and follows in the format as his previous covers: a character against a diagonal backdrop showing a setting that’s framed by black. Padmé is in her white outfit from Episode II and is holding a cable from which she’s most likely descended. She has her pistol in her right hand, expecting action due to the scene behind her that shows a pair of Troop Transports pulling into a mountain location. This setting looks similar to the climax of Attack of the Clones. Nice, but Padmé looks fairly blasé about the entire affair. The cover I picked up was again the Concept Design Variant by Iain McCaig. This is a stunning illustration of Padmé wearing a grandiose version of her queenly reds. The outfit is huge and makes her look seven feet tall. I love this! Beautiful! The Photo Variant features Natalie Portman as Padmé from The Phantom Menace, done up in her Naboo Queen reds. It’s a fantastic photo of her and one I need to track down! An outfit from Attack of the Clones is on the Puzzle Piece Variant by Mike McKone and Guru-eFX. Padmé looks elegant as she stands with her head looking slightly to the left, her pistol held ready in her left hand. Behind her is a swath of red that covers two-thirds of the background with several Naboo fighters flying low. A bit of blue starfield protrudes on the right, featuring a few Naboo fighters, several ARC-170 Starfighters, as well as an unmistakable limb of General Greivous wielding a lightsaber. Nicely done. Padmé looks perfect. Overall grades: Regular B-, Concept Design Variant A+, Photo Variant A+, and Puzzle Piece Variant A

The story: On Coruscant, Anakin Skywalker approaches Padmé telling her he’s missed her. Walking next to him she whispers, “I wish we could see each other more. But as long as the Republic is at war, we each have jobs to do and watching me isn’t yours.” They share a kiss and are interrupted by Moteé, one of the senator’s handmaidens. Leaving the apprentice behind, the women make for a Naboo cruiser. Padmé tells her handmaiden that she has not told Anakin, nor the Chancellor or Senate, her true destination: Clabron. She hopes to bring this neutral world into the Republic. Padmé tells Dormé she’ll be flying the ship. “Accountability. If anything should go wrong…I’ll be the one responsible for navigating us into hostile territory.” Writer Jody H0user then focuses on the two handmaidens discussing the former Queen. This is something I’ve not encountered before in other Star Wars books, so I was glad to have it occur, as brief as it is. Arriving on the planet, something is not right and the women encounter violence. The situation is quickly remedied, after a conversation with the leader of the world. This was a story that was longer than it needed to be, with Pages 16 and 17 conveying a lot of information. These pages are the justification for Padmé’s trip, and they are necessary, but it seemed like much is tossed at the reader. The climax to the threat of the story had two major unresolved questions: how did she get up there? How could she do it and not the locals? The ending is okay, but diplomacy stories have never been one of the exciting elements of Star Wars tales. This does what it can, but comes off as filler. A story focusing on the handmaidens would have been much more interesting. Overall grade: C

The art: Two artists on this issue, Cory Smith and Wilton Santos, and who is responsible for which pages is not given in the credits. I wish they had been so I can better direct my praise or criticism. The same can be said of the inkers, Walden Wong and Marc Deering. This book is very average looking. The first panel shows the exterior of the Senate building, but the ground is bare and the city surrounding it is an outline; very minimalist. The first panel that shows Padmé and Anakin has rough illustrations of the characters, with their faces composed of slits; not the best way to introduce these characters. Better are the panels that follow, with the close-up of Padmé good. The kiss on Page 2 is very well done, as is Anakin’s nervousness at being discovered. The first panel on Page 3 is a hanger where her ship is. The ship is odd looking from the angle and the setting is really loose, with rudimentary outlines and shadows to create perspective. Page 4 is outstanding, with the characters and the backgrounds excellent. Page 5 is bland, with the ship too far from the reader and the interiors boring; pulling in closer to the characters would have eliminated the need for the backgrounds. The exterior of the city on Clabron is not good: vague linework creates a setting that looks rushed. The entrance atop 7 is outstanding. The linework is solid, the composition great, and the characters killer. It stands out compared to every other previous page. The shadowy figure on the next two pages looks odd because there is some depth given to him on his head and nose; having him completely in black would have been more sinister. The final panel on Page 9 is easy to understand, but everything in the distance doesn’t look good, with the ground looking terrible with those sketchy lines. I’m not keen on this book’s visuals and won’t go on, except to say that the design of the inhabitants are rabbits with craters on their heads. This book does not have great visuals: some are good, others are poor. Overall grade: C-

The colors: The first two pages of this book have smoldering oranges and browns because the sun is setting. The colors overwhelm the artwork, but given how these pages, especially the first one, aren’t drawn well, I guess I should be thanking Java Tartaglia. There’s an odd change of colors between the fourth and final panel on Page 3: the light source is coming from within the ship the characters are entering, but when the point of view is changed, there’s no light coming from the cabin. What happened? This final panel is too dark. Better is Page 4, which has bright, vivid colors, with the exteriors a great blue though the ship hasn’t taken off yet, has it? I do like the choice of green for the skies of Clabron, giving it is an instantly alien flavor. The colors for the entrance on 7 are fantastic. The character in shadows on 8 and 9 is a dull black. Why? Black would have made the character more sinister. The coloring of the locals, especially the leader on 16 and 17 doesn’t inspire confidence in this character and reinforces the overgrown bunny imagery. The coloring on 19 is odd, though the antagonist is really dark in the face and his clothes blend in too easily with Padmé’s attire. The coloring is a mixed bag as well on this book. Overall grade: C-

The letters: The book’s scene settings, dialogue, whispered dialogue, sounds, yells, weakened speech come courtesy of VC’s Travis Lanham. The scene settings are great. They look formal and make the entrance of each setting an event. I would love to see other Star Wars titles adopt these. The dialogue is fine, with the whispered text in a smaller size so the reader can recognize it’s more quiet than ordinary speech. The sounds are fine, with only a few needed for blaster fire. There are a few yelled words during the action and they’re thicker letters to communicate their volume. The weakened speech comes from a wounded individual and is appropriate. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: This is not a great book by any definition. The story holds no tension, the art runs from good to poor, as do the colors. The strongest element of this book is the lettering. Even for die hard Star Wars fans this is tough to get through. This book could be skipped and nothing missed. Very disappointing, very average, very meh. Overall grade: C

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-Age-Of-Republic-Padme-Amidala-2019-1/digital-comic/50890?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.
    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 24 other subscribers

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