In Review: Star Wars #27

A familiar story with mixed visuals leads to a surprisingly unsatisfactory issue.

The covers: Boos and hisses to Marvel for not following through and posting all the covers available for this issue as they did with Monsters Unleashed! #1. Disappointed, Marvel! Sigh…The Regular cover is a beauty by Stuart Immonen that has Yoda looking intense as he gazes upon something the reader isn’t privy to. Nice lighting effect beside him makes the shadow work on his face believable and makes this one of the better Yoda covers ever created to feature the iconic Jedi Master. The Action Figure Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher and features Artoo-Detoo “with Sensorscope”. I remember this action figure coming out after The Empire Strikes Back came out and I love seeing it replicated on this faux Kenner Card. Christopher’s covers are tops! The Star Wars 40th Anniversary cover is by Ryan Stegman and Jordan Boyd and is a very interesting piece. It is an extreme close up of C-3PO, looking downward, creating a screaming effect with his immobile mouth. In the top of this head Darth Vader, reaching out to the droid, and a pair of stromtroopers are reflected. It’s a cool idea, but comes off as really odd because of Threepio. Weird droid and not enough Vader. This is the first of the Anniversary covers that I haven’t been thrilled with. The final cover is a Mile High Comics Variant that features an enormous image of Yoda with his head back, his eyes just opening. Below him is a bust shot of Qui-Gon Jinn. This looks cover by Mike Deodato, Jr. is amazing, with the younger Jedi looking awesome and the older looking very spooky. Definitely one to track down! Overall grades: Regular A, Action Figure Variant A+, Star Wars 40th Anniversary C, and Mile High Comics Variant A

The story: “Yoda’s Secret War” Part II by Jason Aaron begins really oddly. It opens on what appears to be Tatoonie, as Ben Kenobi dictates to a Force controlled stylus to write in a book a story from Yoda’s past. The story then transitions to Luke, who’s flying in deep space in an X-wing, reading Kenobi’s book. Was this page and a third really necessary? It is summed up on the first page that contains all the book’s credits. Anyhoo, the story begins (where the opening credits say it begins) with Yoda surrounded by a group of children pointing their spears at him. The Jedi Master’s appearance causes the children to believe he’s a monster, so they throw a spear at him. He barely deflects the weapon because its tip is “alive in the Force” and glows a neon blue. More spears are then thrown his way and more things happen. Yoda and the reader learn bits of the children’s origin, which is not clear cut, given their inability to fully realize what’s going on. The mystery of the blue rocks is furthered by the reveal of an antagonist, but is still a mystery by the book’s end. I’m not wild about groups of children that are running about in the wilds, having had my fill of Barrie’s characters done to death. However, these characters had me thinking more of Beyond Thunderdome. Where Yoda ends up by the end of the issue doesn’t inspire any thrills, as it seems to have taken so long to get to the conclusion: smaller panels with the art could have sped things up. This story was unfulfilling and seemed really milked. Overall grade: C-

The art: I’m a huge fan of Salvador Larroca’s art, who was stunning on the Darth Vader series that wrapped some time ago. That’s why this issue really surprised me, because it wasn’t at the same level that his other works are. I was disappointed not to have a clear shot of Ben on the first page, since he’s a fan favorite; this was a missed opportunity. Yoda’s reveal on Page 2 is good, with the look on his face communicating much to the reader. However, the tree behind him and shown in the second panel on 3 look like photos dropped into the art. They really do stand out, but for negative reasons. Much better is Yoda’s confrontation with the children. All of these pages work. I was let down by the design of the children and their garb, which is too similar to Pan’s Lost Boys, having it come off as a visually low budget Star Wars outing. The antagonist that appears on 10 has a sensational reveal, but the character is masked later by goggles, weakening his threat. Yoda looks really poor in the third and fourth panels on 13. The way Yoda is colored makes it seem as if the colors did much of the heavy lifting on the visual: look at the minimum line work on the final panel — it stands out immensely on his ears and hairline, because the linework is nonexistent. This might just be the style Larroca is doing for this story, but it does not look as good as his previous books. The final page is a full-paged splash that shows what Yoda has to overcome in next month’s installment and it looks good, with the crumbling statue looking impressive. This was a surprisingly mixed bag for me. Overall grade: C

The colors: Edgar Delgado does much on this book. The swirls in the sand and the bright suns over Tatooine are great, the interiors of Luke’s ship are picture perfect, and the blue rocks that spur questions from the Jedi are gorgeous. The mountain settings are also very well done, with the massive mountain spectacular. The red used in the bottom panel of 10 is startling and creates a fearsome tone for that character. 13 is the page that has me scratching my head wondering what artist was responsible for what: I can’t tell what Larroca or Delgado did. Judging from the linework, it looks like Delgado did the most work. The last page is the best of the book from Delgado, with that blue being jaw dropping. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, quoted text, a chant, and yells are crafted by VC’s Clayton Cowles. I’ve enjoyed Cowles work on other books and he’s to be congratulated in following the design for the dialogue from earlier Star Wars books, though I wish he could have deviated from it. I was pleased to see that whenever Ben’s voice takes over the story it’s given a different font. Sadly, Cowles is not allowed to do some sounds with this issue as there were several opportunities to do so. It seemed like Cowles could have punched this tale up if he’d been allowed. Overall grade: B 

The final line: A familiar story with mixed visuals leads to a surprisingly unsatisfactory issue. For the hard core Star Wars fan only. Overall grade: C+ 

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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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