In Review: Star Wars #48

The Mon Calamari are enjoyable, while the leads are adequate.

The covers: A bloody stormtrooper helmet is being firmly held by a Mon Calamari’s hands, with its head, just barely shown behind the title of this series. Very atmospheric Regular cover with just enough of the character shown to make this ominous looking, though I do think the helmet is too small for the Mon Calamari’s hands. Decent enough job by David Marquez & Matthew Wilson. The Action Figure Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher and is another faux Kenner image, this time of a Bespin Security Guard. The figure looks great, but the large portrait of the character is a rare misstep from Christopher. The face of the character is really ultra airbrushed, making it look smeared. This is the first Action Figure Variant cover I would pass on. Overall grades: Regular B and Action Figure Variant C

The story: At the Moncaladrome, the opera has concluded making Clawdite in disguise Tunga Arpagion realize that he can no longer keep up his ruse as Moff Tan Hubi. Threepio tells him that they haven’t received the all clear signal from Luke, Leia, or Han, so they need to think of something else to stall. Goldenrod has an idea that Arpagion loves and the two proceed to the stage and begin an unabridged recital of a grand romance. The Mon Calamari cannot refuse, as he is, after all, a Moff. As this begins, the action continues in an ultra-security prison on Strokill Prime, where the Rebels have discovered King Lee-Char is dying and cannot be moved. The king asks to have a record made of his words that the Rebels can carry to his people to inspire them. Unfortunately no one is playing close attention to Hubi, who activates a silent alarm. Stormtroopers immediately make their way there and alert Mon Cala. Kieron Gillen’s story is then split between Arpagion and the droids escaping from the Moncaladrome and the Rebels escaping from the prison. The Clawdite provides the humor for this installment and most of it works, thought there’s a visual joke that’s really painful. Pages 14 – 18 has a good surprise that’s a solid payoff for this saga, with the final page having a logical cliffhanger for this entire arc. You’re reading this book for 14 – 18, the rest is fairly rote Star Wars reading. Overall grade: B-

The art: Salvadore Larroca’s art is fine. The Mon Calamari look incredible in every panel they are in, and there are quite a few of those. The droids are also excellent looking, which makes the scenes on Mon Cala the strongest of the book. The three human leads look okay, with Leia the best, Han fine, but Luke middling. What is it about Luke Skywalker that gives artists the hardest time in trying to create him? King Lee-Char is on his death bed with an oxygen mask covering his mouth and nose. Because of this, he’s shown from angles that make him difficult to draw. He looks really odd on Pages 3 and 4. When he’s shown later in the book on 17 his mask is shown off and then back on. Why was it off in one panel and then why was it then put back on? It’s a quick sequence, but it took me out of the reading. The action is also well done, with the most occurring on Strokill Prime. The visual joke that’s hard to take is on 10. Larroca didn’t write this and I have no idea how he could have made it palpable. It’s. Just. Too. Far. The ship launch on 12 is great. I like the point of view of the first four panels, showing a ship speeding off. Very well done. The first panel on 14 is terrific. I wish that the story had allowed more of those characters to do more than just appear; the cliffhanger could allow for it next month. The final panel of Luke on 15 is just awful. The best pages of the book are on 17 and 18, with the Mon Calamari getting the focus. The reaction shot on 17 is excellent and the final two panels on 18 outstanding. The visuals on both these pages are so good they tell the story clearly without the dialogue, but you really want to read what’s said on those pages. The final page is a full-paged splash that shows some striking images, though the character focused on in the circular insert panel does not look right. A decent job. Overall grade: B

The colors: This is a beautiful job by Guru-eFX on this book. The work done on the bubbles on the opening page are completely realistic. The different shades used on the Mon Calamari are an excellent way to tell the characters apart. The colors used on the king are weak, nicely reflecting his state. The reds used on the stormtroopers when the alarm is tripped are great; troopers always look cool in red lighting. The violets on the characters on 10 are striking, and I’ll leave it at that. A better use for violet are the fantastic skies of Mon Cala at night. Also well done are the waters on Strokill Prime. When a ship goes to lightspeed it looks exactly like a scene from a film. The colors of the new characters on 14 is outstanding. Even better are the underwater scenes on 16, with the coral being beautiful. The colors are fantastic on this issue. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, See-Threepio dialogue and transmissions (the same font), whispers, dialogue, Artoo sounds, sounds, Wookiee sounds, and yells are created by VC’s Clayton Cowles. I’ve got no problem with Threepio and the transmissions being the same font, as both are mechanical in origin. I love Artoo and Chewie’s exclamations resemble their sounds perfectly. I was also happy to see so many sounds in this issue, though everything makes a noise save blaster shots, whose absence continues to disappoint. The regular dialogue also continues to be unsatisfying for being so lean looking. Overall grade: B

The final line: The Mon Calamari are enjoyable, while the leads are adequate. An okay story with okay art. This story is all over the place, between serious and silly, with the art a bit more consistent. Acceptable Star Wars fare. Overall grade: B  

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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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