In Review: Star Wars #57

Things are progressing, slowly.

The covers: Two very different choices for your selection this issue. The Regular cover by Jamal Campbell features Star Wars take on Grant Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic. Leia and Han are posed in front of a barn with the smuggler holding a spacey pitchfork. It looks fine, but this doesn’t do anything for me. Action Figure Variant cover by John Tyler Christopher has General Madine from The Return of the Jedi getting his turn on a faux Kenner carded toy. These are always variant covers I seek out because Christopher makes them look so cool. The action figure resembles the actual one that came out back in the day and the large illustration of the character looks like Dermot Crowley. I need to find a copy. Overall grades: Regular B- and Action Figure Variant A

The story: Kieron Gillen’s second chapter of “The Escape” finds Han, Leia, and Luke meeting with their host Thane Markona on Hubin. He wants to keep the Rebels on a first name basis only because “The less I know, the less I could reveal in an unfortunate circumstance.” Luke doesn’t trust their host, who is very coy, while Han just wants to make the best of the situation. Leia goes to her room, with her obviously doing something that will be revealed later. Markona has a daughter named Tula that almost tells Luke something, until the timely invention of her father. This issue is intended to make the reader uneasy because the trustworthiness of the Markonas is questionable. This is okay, but the story does become tiresome with question, deflection, question, interruption, etc. Page 17 has an incredibly awkward dialogue moment during an action; it just doesn’t come off believable. In fact, Thane comes off as a proto-Lando, just not as strong a character. Though there is a welcome beefcake moment, which pulls the Leia closer to Han. The plot builds, but painfully slowly. Overall grade: B-

The art: Angel Unzueta’s visuals are obviously modeled directly off of scenes from the films, with several instances of them noticeable, such as on Page 4 with the book’s leads. They look good, but look like film stills. This has them not blending in well with the Markonas on some pages, especially Tula. The top of Page 7 has a neat layout idea that doesn’t fully work because the pair of characters on either side aren’t in full profile, telling me that Unzueta couldn’t find an image of the character on the right in profile to mirror the one on the left. And what’s up with the gesture in the fourth panel on that page? That’s the strangest pose for this individual because it doesn’t tie in at all to what is being said. The droids look great throughout, with Threepio still in disrepair from the previous issue, attached to the front of Artoo. The animal life that’s shown in the opening pages look cool, but the creatures that create the cliffhanger aren’t too different from the mammals they’re based on. The interior settings are really well done, looking lavish and unearthly, but not over-the-top science fictiony. The exteriors are okay, though the foliage looks computer inserted rather than drawn. There’s a scene for Han lovers, and I chose that last word correctly. It’s on Page 15 and I’m sure it will be dog eared in some people’s collection. Two of the characters are running on the last few pages and there’s a lot of speed lines used to show their pace, and it’s too much. A mixed bag this go around. Overall grade: B-

The colors: There’s some nice work on this issue by Guru-eFX. The animals on the first two pages have a cool shade of violet and this location creates rays of sun entering the scene extremely well. This same lighting effect continues with the interiors and was a bit distracting. I like that Artoo’s beeps got a cool blue, making his utterances sound mechanical. I wish that the exteriors had brighter colors for the greenery, with what’s shown in fall colors. It would have made things pop a bit more. The roar from the creatures at the closing is in a brilliant red, increasing their threat. Overall grade: A-

The letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles is responsible for the issue’s scene settings, dialogue, droid speech, Artoo’s utterances, and the howl of the closing creatures. I’m happy to see the scene settings much easier to read since they’ve lost their shadow effect and the letters remain uncolored; this allows them to pop off the page. Sadly, the dialogue is still too svelte to command any emotion. The sounds and droid speech look fine, though. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Things are progressing, slowly. The new characters are clunky in their revelations and dialogue is given at weird times. The art is also uneven, with obvious inspiration for images not blending well with original characters. I’m still on board for more Star Wars, but I’m waiting for something to happen. 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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