In Review: Star Wars #5

This continues to fall short of what Dark Horse Comics did from the get go.

The covers: Luke draws a pistol while wearing a cloak that looks as though Ben passed it down to him. Behind the Jedi is Leia in her Episode IV hood, with Han next to her, his pistol also drawn and looking worried about something. Perhaps it’s the TIE Fighter appearing from the rear, launching a flurry of laser blasts at them. The interior team of John Cassaday and Laura Martin created this image and it looks good. Leia is exceptional, Luke pretty good, Han looks odd, and the fighter slick. The coloring is very strong with the red and orange blasts standing out against the white and blues. There’s also a Variant cover by John Tyler Christopher continuing the classic Kenner action figure covers, with this one featuring See-Threepio. It’s as good as the previous covers in this line, but “Goldenrod” is nowhere in this issue. Boba Fett or a Sandperson would have been more fitting. Overall grades: Both B+

The story: Luke has gone back to Tatooine to seek clues to destiny, unaware that Darth Vader has hired Boba Fett to track him down. Three panels on Page 2 show the bounty hunter making his way across the desert world, until arriving at the cantina where Luke and Ben met Han and Chewbacca. One individual isn’t going to let the bounty hunter intimidate anyone, but this obviously doesn’t go as he had planned. Jason Aaron’s inclusion of Boba Fett this early into the Star Wars saga as a major player caters to the lowest common denominator of fan: everything Fett says and does is completely predictable. It would have been better to create an entirely new bounty hunter to seek Luke, but Boba has a rampant following and I’m sure he sells books. What’s much better in this book are the scenes between Han and Leia that have tremendous, but not obvious, foreshadowing of a future relationship, and Luke on his quest encountering some familiar foes. It’s the adventures of the these three heroes that propel this book into new territory, and not that of the villain. Overall grade: B

The art: Mixed work this issue from John Cassaday. As much as I’m not a fan of Fett, Cassaday is rendering him spectacularly. The double-spread atop Pages 3 and 4 is really good, with some stunning work on all the denizens of the cantina. The six armed alien looks the best, and I believe it’s an original creation not seen in any film. Cassaday can obviously create new characters for Star Wars and I hope Aaron can give him more opportunities to do so. There’s a nice progression of action on Page 6 involving Fett and a character cut from the original film. I like how the hunter uses his rope to catch the important person. Cassaday is also a master at drawing Leia. She looks perfect in every panel. Han, though, is a different story. His brows look oversized in a few panels, with him looking like a Cro-Magnon in the second panel on 13. Luke and the group he encounters on Tatoonie are spectacular. I love the look of the Jedi and his action is extremely fluid when he confronts some unwanted individuals. The backgrounds on this book are good until Page 16, when a photograph is obviously used for the backgrounds. This looks terrible. The illustrations of the ships are good, but against those clouds and their drawn lightning blasts, they look like green screen effects. The use of pictures has been appearing with more frequency in comics, and more often that not it doesn’t work, as it fails here. J.J. Abrams has famously hyped the use of practical effects in his new Star Wars installment. It is too much to hope for practical art in a comic that bears the same name? Overall grade: B- 

The colors: Beautiful work by Laura Martin throughout. She uses exceptional blues on the opening page to establish the never ending suns of Tatoonie. The second page has some stunning work with orange for blaster fire, a desert storm, and a sunset. Inside the cantina the lightsource just above Wuher provides an excellent way to highlight the characters, and there’s a nice pair of screams that stand out in red. Luke’s scenes are wowsers with pink and violet as the sun sets. Very strong work, indeed. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, yells, screams, sounds, and Artoo exclamations populate this book, thanks to Chris Eliopoulos. Another example of how the dialogue font is not working on this series can be found at the top of Page 9. That one word does not look as though it is a powerful uttering by that character. If a different font were used, there would be more emotion punch to it. As it stands now, it’s too flowery. Overall grade: B-

The final line: This continues to fall short of what Dark Horse Comics did from the get go. Time to step up your game, Marvel. Overall grade: B

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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