In Review: Star Wars #20

An okay final cover from classic Dark Horse Comics Star Wars cover artist Hugh Fleming. Luke is the largest bust on this cover, though the coloring on his face makes him look as though he's already faced off with Darth Vader: he looks bruised.

The cover: An okay final cover from classic Dark Horse Comics Star Wars cover artist Hugh Fleming. Luke is the largest bust on this cover, though the coloring on his face makes him look as though he’s already faced off with Darth Vader: he looks bruised. Leia is next and she looks beautiful. Han’s bust is modeled off his medal acceptance smirk at the end of the original Star Wars. The droids are there looking good. Chewie is the smallest bust and he, too, looks good. The Falcon is blasting off into blazing star on the far right, symbolizing Star Wars’ exit from this publisher after over twenty years. Overall grade: B

The story: Our heroes are in the Millennium Falcon trying to find under deep cover spy and childhood friend of Leia, Seren Song. They’ve had to stop to fix the freighter after IG-88 attacked them. Leia and Han spar as they make repairs and the princess bosses the two smugglers around. She makes a slight change of phrase to have Han save some face before his Wookie friend and they’re soon back on their way. As for Seren, she’s been laying low as part of a Corellian shipping lane, unaware that the assassin droid is closer than she thinks. There’s not a lot of depth to this story from Brian Wood. Heroes must find lost ally and save her from killer droid. There is a nice reveal from Han on Page 13 that sadly goes nowhere fast. Granted, that’s to be expected because of their foe, but for such a dramatic reveal, something other than what occurs would have been better. The person who saves the day is surprising, as that person hadn’t really contributed much to this two parter, but with this issue it’s obvious why this individual came along. The whisper on 16 is the highpoint. As cool as this is, the dialogue atop 17 is superfluous and is corny. It lessens the moment. After all, this individual has no one to speak to, let alone to themself. I didn’t care for the final three pages of the story, as they come as filler rather than resolution. I’m embarrassed that the final page is how this “flagship” title goes out, let alone ends this storyline. Overall grade: C

The art: This issue is set in the interiors and exteriors of ships in space. Artist Carlos D’Anda excels at these settings. The opening pages with Han and Leia “cleaning” are wonderful. I love the designs of the pressure suits, even if they look more Star Wars Episode I, rather than between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. IG-88 also looks exceptional, except for his final appearance, which matches the poor dialogue. I’ve never been thrilled with D’Anda’s versions of the leads, and this issue gave me more grimaces than grins. Leia’s neck would match any Kamino cloner’s. Han doesn’t fare much better, looking nothing like Harrison Ford. Luke is a little better, but falls into the “generic youth” category. Seren, however, looks amazing. I like the way she looks because she is an original character and I don’t have to hold the artist to any previous incarnations. The tech and the settings are great, but the characters just disappoint. Overall grade: C

The colors: These are amazing on this book. The first page shows the mastery that Gabe Eltaeb is bringing: the glare from the “objects,” the slight discoloration of the characters’ heads in their helmets, and the shiny, dull colors of the suits. Once inside the Falcon, the characters’ faces and clothes have a tremendous amount of different lighting effects done to make them look three dimensional. Page 2 is a terrific example of this, as are Pages 3, 6, 8, 13, etc. I also have to call out that great use of green on 9; it really makes the scene more believable. The coloring of the planets is also well done, with a nice effect used for clouds. Eltaeb is aces on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Rounding this issue is stalwart letterer Michael Heisler who contributes pressure suit dialogue, dialogue, Wookie speak, droid speak, IG speak, and sound effects. How can you not love a Star Wars book that has several good CHOOMs! and BDEWs!? Overall grade: A

The final line: The story and the art were never strong enough to last more than one issue. I’m sad to see Star Wars leave Dark Horse and end this way. Overall grade: C+

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two 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.

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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