In Review: Chewbacca #2

A fantastic story with amazing art make this one of Marvel's best Star Wars titles.

The cover: The protagonists of this book give each other a serious stare down…Okay, Chewbacca’s doing the staring down and Zarro has no choice but to stare up. Phil Noto has created a neat cover that shows how opposite each lead is to the other. It’s humorous for the obvious differences in size, yet it’s also very cool for having these two share a silent, intense glance. Adding to the tension of the scene is a red circular overlay that resembles the possible view of a targeting device. Could these two be in eminent peril? Only by reading this book can a reader find out. Overall grade: A

The story: Gerry Duggan continues his sensational story continuing the story begun in the previous issue. After Zarro landed in Chewbacca’s lap, and the Wookie felt obliged to help her, the two are now discussing ways to enter gangster Jaum’s mine so that Zarro can rescue her father. The diminutive girl suggest finding an air vent and having her new friend go down with a hoist line so everyone can climb up. This doesn’t sound good to Chewie, but Zarro doesn’t care, she’s already on to the next step of her plan: allowing herself to be caught. She is and is brought before Jaum, who immediately has her sent to the mines to join her father in harvesting beetles that contain an organic element that the Empire needs for their blasters. Unfortunately Jaum and his men weren’t smart enough to check Zarro for a tracker that Chewbacca is using to follow her. Finding the closest vent to her location, the Wookie climbs into the tight shaft and starts to squirm his way down. This story is full of adventure and is a stunning piece of writing because Chewie’s words are never translated for the reader: no one knows what he’s saying, so Duggan has to make sure that the situation and the visuals allow the Wookie’s words to come across clearly to the reader. The quick flashback on Page 6 is very enlightening and completely supports the title character’s current position. His actions on 7 aren’t really surprising, and I could hear his thoughts without Duggan giving them voice in the final panel. Page 11 captures a wonderfully appropriate youthful reaction to the action, with the final panel eliciting a big laugh from me. I loved seeing Chewie show his skills as a master of improv-engineering on 14, with the action on 18 making me give a “Hell, yeah!” to the proceedings at the top of the page. The cliffhanger is great and I’m on the edge of my seat wondering how the mighty Chewbacca will get out of this situation. Overall grade: A+

The art: Every page is illustrated and colored by Phil Noto and it’s exceptional work. Chewbacca is picture perfect in this book. Since the character doesn’t speak in any way understandable to readers, or characters, Noto has really got to have him emote in such a way so that he’s understandable. Noto does so amazingly. Look at the first page of this issue, at panels four and five. The first has him mulling over what he’s heard and the second shows his reaction that is easily understood by any reader of any age. His frustration is palpable on Page 7 and the final panel on that page contains so much emotion without a word said or his face shown. His appearance on Page 10 is humorous and exciting, which leads to him being in action on 11. However, Noto has set this up so that the battle isn’t truly scene, but done in a way that makes it much more exciting and violent. Again, the last panel on that page was laugh out loud funny. The full page splash on 12 is awesome, giving every Star Wars fan the “hero shot” that will be spoken of for years to come. The realization that Chewie has in the sixth panel on 19 is relatable to everyone. The coloring on the Wookie is also outstanding, with just the right blending of browns and tans to mimic the coloring of the character from the films. Zarro has also got some great emotions, with her being cocky, joyful, and disgusted (the second panel on Page 2) which make her come to life. The coloring of the mine is also good. It should be a dingy brown locale, but Noto is smart enough to color it in shades where Chewbacca’s pelt doesn’t blend in with it to render him invisible. This book looks fantastic. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Dialogue, a wide range of Wookie speech, sounds, yells, droid speak, and next issue’s tease are created by VC’s Joe Caramagna. I won’t repeat my disappointment with the dialogue font, but instead focus on how sensational Chewbacca’s utterances are. They come in a wide range of fonts and sizes and they bring him completely to life. The other sounds are also great, and judging by what occurs in this issue, there’ll be more to follow in the next installment. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: A fantastic story with amazing art make this one of Marvel’s best Star Wars titles. Recommended. Overall grade: A

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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