In Review: Star Wars #34

Lando and Sana make a terrific team and I would love to see them in their own series.

The covers: Lando Calrissian is back in action, and it looks he’s doing about as well as one would expect. He’s leaping out of building, following Sana Starros, Han Solo’s ex-wife. It’s impressive that neither one is screaming as they plummet to the ground, as three TIE fighters are trying to blast them out of the sky. Mike Mayhew is a sensational artist and he certainly shows it with this Regular cover. Daniel Acuna is responsible for the Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant and it’s the most action-packed cover yet. It showcases the memorable scene from the original film as they take the detention block. Luke and Han are in their stolen stormtrooper outfits, blasting away in every direction, while Chewbacca holds a Death Squad Commander above his head, about to hurl him. There are explosions everywhere in vivid pinks. Everything about this is outstanding. This is the best variant in this run so far. The Action Figure Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher and it’s, again, an awesome one. The faux Kenner figure resembles the actual figure released in the 80s, while the portrait to its left is hilarious: it’s Han’s reaction to seeing the probot self-destruct. I always try to track down Christopher’s covers and this is another to add to my must have list. The Mile High Comics Variant cover is by the superb Phil Noto who has a created a stunningly beautiful cover featuring Lando and Sana. Lando’s full figure is shown, cape splayed and pistol held ready, while behind him is a bust of Sana. Both characters are amazing and the colors gorgeous. Anything by Noto is worth tracking down, as this cover demonstrates. This is the best round of covers I’ve seen on a Star Wars comic, ever. Overall grades: All A+

The story: “The Thirteen Crates” by Jason Aaron begins with Sana recruiting Lando to help her on a deal. He has the contacts she needs to have her deal succeed. Lando mentions they’ve worked together before, so if this story becomes a fan fav, there will be opportunities for more adventures with this pair. The story then flashes back to two days earlier: Sana is trying to sell thirteen crates of Imperial blasters to a group of Krawg pirates in the Outer Rim. She wants 5,000 for the crate she shows them as a down payment on the other twelve, for which she wants 15,000. They make the deal, but Sana keeps one of the blasters. “You can’t expect a frail little thing like me to go unarmed in the rowdy backwoods of space, now, can you?” Back in the present, Lando and Sana are on Coruscant, where she’s going to make another deal, but Lando discovers he’s been kept far out of the loop. The reader will be as lost as Lando trying to keep up with all the scheming that Sana’s done and it’s worthy of Han Solo himself. The deal that’s made on Coruscant is outstanding, as is the one done on a familiar desert world. The four pages that occur after this world are really outstanding, with the majority of Sana’s plan revealed. Lando’s reaction in the second panel on 15 mirrored my own. The penultimate page reveals something about one of the heroes that’s not been shown before and it’s fantastic. The final page is a big surprise, moving to another character who’s having a slight bit of trouble. A good tease for nexg month, but it lessens the power of the rest of the book. Still, it’s only one page. Overall grade: A+

The art: If you’ve never experience the power of Salvador Larroca’s artwork, you must be from the Outer Rim. His Darth Vader run is epic and now he’s done a stellar turn on the most suave rouge in the galaxy. A smile broke out on my face when I took in the second panel of the first page. Look at that pose, that grin, that mustache! It’s so confident and at ease it’s contagious! Compare that to Sana, who’s brooding in the first panel. They couldn’t be more opposite. The Krawg pirates look fantastic. I don’t recall seeing them before, and they are feast for the eyes: crab-like creatures who stand a good seven feet tall, with the most intense faces of any new denizens of the Star Wars Universe. When the action moves to Coruscant, take a look at Lando’s reactions to what’s going on: the look he shoots Sana in the fourth panel on 6 is a wonderful look of surprise. The character doing most of the speaking on 10 is outstanding foreshadowing of a line from Return of the Jedi. My favorite image of the book is the second panel on 15 – I love this! This is to die for art. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Edgar Delgado is the colorist on this book and make the art look marvelous. The coloring on characters’ skin is gorgeous. Again, I point you in the direction of Lando’s first appearance on Page 1, which makes the image photorealistic. The wall surrounding the two characters on that opening page is a soothing shade of violet. The first panel of the first page really snaps the reader to attention with the blazing yellow sun. The Krawg pirates have a sensational one-two punch for their shells in soft red and pale violet. The interior of the setting for Coruscant is a metallic gray that reminds the reader of who’s in charge. The exteriors of Pages 14 -17 have a very warm quality to them; often they’re done in solid blacks, but Delgado gives them an untraditional brightness that makes them incredibly appealing. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue features narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings, droid speak and an infamous villain’s speech (the same font), and laughter by VC’s Clayton Cowles. Again, a Star Wars comic that lacks sounds and uses a wispy font for dialogue, taking all power from the speakers. Worse still is that narration and dialogue are differed by the shape of their balloons, rather than the font itself. Added to that are the two characters on the top of Page 11 speaking with the same font! To believe that these characters should sound the same is terrible. Again, only the dialogue balloons are differed. The case is worsened when a character of the same species speaks on the final page and has different looking speech. This was a terrible error. Many of these missteps occurred on this series long before Cowles lettered a Star Wars comic, so he’s only maintaining the status quo, but what a terrible status to maintain. Overall grade: C

The final line: Lando leaps into this tale fantastically. Lando and Sana make a terrific team and I would love to see them in their own series. The story and visuals are of the highest caliber. If only Marvel would allow their letterers to be creative with their talents. Overall grade: A

To purchase a digital copy go to http://marvel.com/comics/issue/60817/star_wars_2015_34

To see all 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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