In Review: Star Wars #11

Terrific action and slick visuals make this an issue worthy of the Star Wars franchise.

The cover: Chewbacca and Dengar exchange punches as they fall into the unknown on this cover from interior artist Stuart Immonen, interior inker Wade von Grawbadger, and interior colorist Justin Ponsor. I really like how the characters are positioned, falling downward, with even the title of this book being moved to make way for the illustration. I’ve never been a big fan of Dengar, who always seemed like a third string character, but having him fighting a Wookie, let alone the Wookie, has him moving up a class or two. Great expressions on both characters’ faces and the coloring is great, especially against that pale mustard background. Excellent action image. Overall grade: A+

The story: Chewbacca and the droids are trying to rescue Luke from Grakkus the Hutt on Nar Shaddaa. With all the criminals of the world coming to the Hutt’s palace, Threepio says, “The odds of us successfully infiltrating such a place while remaining undetected…are 895 to one. In other words…it would be utterly impossible for anyone to sneak inside.” However, a famous astromech droid has no problem going in unnoticed with the throng of villains entering. Chewbacca and Threepio watch him enter, while his companion bemoans their possible fates if they were to be caught. Unfortunately his drone conceals Dengar who shoots the Wookie with a shock bolt which has him fall to the ground, the electric web keeping him from fighting back. Dengar appears, gives his regards from Jabba, and then asks the protocol droid where Solo is. Showing an unbelievable amount of bravery, Threepio touches the bolt in Chewie, shorting it out, as well as himself. As the Wookie rises, the bounty hunter says, “Well come on then, big guy. There’s a lot more where that came from.” Chewbacca lets loose a fierce bellow, and it’s on. Writer Jason Aaron jumps between three stories simultaneously, keeping the tension up for each piece of the story, moving to another’s tale just as things reach a high point. In addition to Chewie fighting Dengar, Luke is being made to fight in an arena against someone called Kongo the Disembowler and Han and Leia are having major relationship issues as he’s trying to defend himself against her deserved anger for not saying he was married. The action is strong, with Luke seeming to have an ally in the stands, though he doesn’t show it, yet. The last two pages are incredibly tense with the final dialogue being a yell worthy moment for fans. This was tremendous fun. Overall grade: A+

The art: Having Luke fighting Kongo in the arena was amazing stuff. There’s a two page conversation between Luke and Grakkus before he goes in and it’s visual gold: the first panel showing the Jedi in manacles and his face in the shadows of depression, the enormity of the Hutt with his necklace of lightsabers, the close-up of Luke in fourth panel, the opening of the doors with their blinding lights, and the sensational spread across Pages 7 and 8 with Skywalker taking in the setting. Page 9 has a large panel showing the monstrosity that Luke is to fight and it makes a rancor look like a teddy bear. I thought that this would be the highpoint of the issue for me, being such a Luke fan, but, surprisingly, it wasn’t. Chewbacca versus Dengar is amazing. Artist Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger absolutely kill on these scenes. I’ve considered this bounty hunter a C-level character and Chewie is — let’s be honest — a mask, plain and simple, but the emotion that these artists endow these characters with is wonderful, and as they’re beating the tar out of each other, in different locations, it’s fantastic. What Chewbacca does to Dengar in the third panel on Page 12 is exactly what any reader would want him do, as is what’s done to him at the top of 20. Several panels in this book are print/tee shirt worthy. This is a visual feast for fans of comic book art or Star Wars. The drama and action captured in still images that are breathtaking. Overall grade: A+

The colors: And how about the fine work by Justin Ponsor? The world of Nar Shaddaa is fantastic in the tainted orange, brown, and tan of industrialization, including the skies which look filthy. I was impressed with the second panel on Page 2: Chewie and Threepio are in the foreground against the polluted sky of this world, yet the brown Wookie and dulled droid stand out against the murky horizon. When the stun bold hits Chewie the colors are brilliant in white and become even stronger when See-Threepio gets involved. The lighting effects with color are strong throughout the entire issue, such as when Luke enters the arena or the interior of the Millennium Falcon. The colors add to the drama of the visuals and the punch of the story. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Chris Eliopoulos creates dialogue, Chewie’s utterances, Threepio’s speech and the arena’s broadcast (same font), Artoo’s wails, and character yells. I’m not a fan of the thin font chosen for this book’s dialogue and I’m surprised that the protocol droid and the arena’s broadcast are the same font, making it seem as though both speakers are droids, which I doubt. Overall grade: B- 

The final line: Terrific action and slick visuals make this an issue worthy of the Star Wars franchise. 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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