In Review: Star Wars #49

This is what you want in a Star Wars comic!

The covers: A trio of frontpieces to find on this conclusion to the “Mutiny at Mon Cala” saga. The Regular cover is by David Marquez & Matthew Wilson and has a lot on it. Leia is front and center holding a staff, wearing an outfit that’s somewhat similar to her Hoth fatigues. To her right his Han with his blaster held ready and to her left is Luke, wearing his outfit from the end of Episode IV, holding his lightsaber with both hands. Behind them is Mon Cala, but it’s what above and below it that one might miss: a fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers is heading downwards, launching a barrage of green lasers. There are a few explosions before them. Emerging from the bottom is the Mon Calamari fleet, hurling orange fire at the Imperials. One ship in the bottom right is engulfed in an explosion, the victim of one of the destroyers. This is a great cover highlighting the heroes and showing the battle that’s occurring in space. The Action Figure Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher and is another of his fantastic faux Kenner carded figures. This focuses on the solemn Emperor’s Royal Guard. The carded figure looks amazing. I love it! The large illustration of the character has the guard looking to his right and he looks awesome. I have to get myself a copy of this. I also need to get myself a copy of the Galactic Icons Variant cover by Rod Reis. This cover features a bust shot of Sheev Palpatine, the Galactic Emperor. He is an absolute monster as he smiles at the reader in his black cloak. Behind him is a light blue Imperial logo. So evil looking! This is fantastic. Overall grades: Regular A, Action Figure Variant A+, and Galactic Icons Variant A+

The story: Mon Calamari king Lee-Char is dead. His final words have been played around the planet by Regent Urtya to urge his people to rebel against the Imperials invading their world. The planet is now being blockaded by the Imperials. Knowing that their troops on the surface have been overrun, orders have changed for the Empire. “Destroy any ship that tries to breach the blockade. Cripple those that do not, then board them one at a time and exterminate all resistance. The Mon Calamari make fine ships, but they have proved poor sailors. Launch the bombers.” Both fleets are moving towards one another, while the Millennium Falcon, always in the wrong place at the wrong time, is flying between them. The ship is hailed by Urtya, asking if Leia would rebel if she knew what would happen to Alderaan. It is a question he has been asking himself with only one possible answer: “I would rebel…If it would make a difference.” Leia vows that his action will make a difference just as a fleet of X-wings arrive. Kieron Gillen’s closing chapter has a tremendous battle in space that I haven’t seen in any previous issue of this series. The stakes are high, the Rebels are outnumbered, but they will not go down easily. The dialogue of all the characters during the battle is great, with everyone getting a moment. Even the Imperials sound terrific. Comedic moments come from Tunga, who wants to escape the chaos with his life. There is an amazing moment that Rebels will have the foresight to see on Page 14. If one is familiar with the films, then one knows who will escape to fight another day, though there is an incredibly silencing moment on 16 that I’ve not felt so painfully since Rogue One. It’s an outstanding reminder from Gillen that not everyone escapes. The final three pages of the book have Leia meet with a recurring character from this series, who does something absolutely shocking on the last page. WOW! Issue #50 is going to be amazing. Gillen continues to be on fire with this series. Overall grade: A

The art: Salvador Larroca is the issue’s artist who does an exceptionally strong job on the characters’ likenesses to the actors who portray them, as well to the original characters. The Imperial officers look amazing in this issue, especially Admiral Meoir. He is young and has all the smirk and arrogance of an Imperial that a reader can boo and hiss at with every delicious grin he makes. The second page is a full-paged splash that shows the two fleets silently moving toward one another while the Falcon goes between them. I was awed with the ship work by Larroca on this page, for every vessel looks amazing, but I started to giggle at seeing Han and Chewie’s ship in the worst possible position yet again. The full-paged splash on 4 is another incredible illustration, this time with a full length shot of Ackbar in his command chair, surrounded by this men, with a window showing all the ships speeding along with his ship. It’s gorgeous and my heart soared at the visuals. The battle breaks out with the X-wings opening fire first and then the action starts. Leia and Luke man the turrets in the Falcon and seeing Leia blasting TIEs is magic! The panel at the top of 7 is a wonderfully busy image of the ships engaging. The arrival of a familiar face on 9 is outstanding. As I looked at that page I heard John Williams’s classic score in my head. The decision made on 10 has a deliberate pace from Larroca, moving away from the action to show one individual making a choice that will be painful. The sneer in the middle of 11 great, the line up of TIEs on 12 awesome, and the second panel on 13 a stunner — the visual telegraphs to the reader exactly what’s about to happen before the character at the bottom of the page realizes it. The art on 14 is great, reminding me, albeit in a smaller way, of a key moment from The Last Jedi. The final two panels on 16 are a gut punch — perfectly illustrated and guaranteed to hit the reader hard. The large panel on 18 is also beautiful, which is a good lead in to whom Leia is about to meet with. The visuals in no way tease the surprise of the last page, which is a full-paged splash. Exceptionally strong work in this issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: The work by Guru-eFX does an equally impressive job on this issue. The opening page uses the traditionally dark colors of a Star Destroyer’s interiors, grays and blacks, but look how well the characters stand out on this ship. The colors on Meoir are terrific. When the story goes underwater, the light blues are fantastic. Ackbar looks fantastic is his iconic white clothing against the blue background of space. The exchange of fire between ships is just as the films, with the Rebels shooting red energy and the Imperials blasting green bolts of fury. The few sound effects in space that are shown are given some strong colors to increase the power of blasts and explosions. The reds and yellows on 13 are just awesome. The purple on 16 is startling. The oranges and yellows on 18 and 19 create a healthy, warm environment, while the blues on Leia’s friend are classy and calming, which make the final page all the better. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles is responsible for this issue’s text: scene settings, dialogue, transmissions and droid speech (the same font), sounds, Wookie speech, and yells. Highlights of Cowles work are the sounds, which he should be allowed to do more of, for they are a key component of the films and Chewie’s dialogue, which looks as it sounds. I have no problem with the transmissions and the droid speech having the same font as both are mechanical. I still have qualms with this series’ scene settings and dialogue. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: A great conclusion, with plenty of action and some great surprises in the climax. The space battle is thrilling and looks fantastic. Every character gets a great moment that contributes to the story. This is what you want in a Star Wars comic! Overall grade: A

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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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