In Review: Star Wars #58

Luke takes the lead this issue, though comes off as inconsistent.

The covers: A quartet of covers to add to your cache. The Regular cover captures a romantic moment between Luke and Tula Markona. Against a violet-blue sky the pair gaze into each other’s eyes. All that’s missing is Sebastian the crab singing “Kiss the Girl.” Sweet cover from Jamal Campbell that possibly teases a moment from this issue. The Action Figure Variant by John Tyler Christopher is another sweet faux Kenner carded figure, this time focusing on Nien Nunb in his clothes from Return of the Jedi. The figure looks awesome, just like the one I have in my toy collection, and the image on the card is beautiful. There’s also a Rare Action Figure Variant also by Christopher, sold exclusively on the artist’s website. This carded figure is Leia Organa: Yavin Gown, with the figure in her outfit from the end of Episode IV. I like that the action figure has the necklace around her neck and her gown looks to be composed of the plastic that Ben and Darth’s figure capes were made of. The illustration on the card is a terrific image of Carrie Fisher from the end of the iconic film. This is definitely something that every Star Wars fan should track down. The final cover is the Galactic Icons Variant by Rod Reis. This features astromech droid BB-8 against an orange symbol of the Rebellion. This looks great, as all of Reis’s covers do, and is something I’m going to have be on the look out for. Overall grades: Regular B+, Action Figure Variant A+, Action Figure Variant Rare A+, and Galactic Icons Variant A+

The story: The third chapter of Kieron Gillen’s “The Escape” picks up from last issue with Thane Markona running into action to save a farmer from a ravening thanrax. He tells Luke to join him, since he can tell the Rebel has a lightsaber hidden in his jacket. Luke pulls his weapon, ignites it, and follows him. Arriving at the scene, Thane whistles to warn the creature, to be sporting, and then slits its throat with his long knife. Unfortunately this draws the attention of four other thanraxes, who surround the pair. Thane kills one, while Luke only wounds one, causing the creature to run off crazed toward the village. Luke runs after it, grabbing a tuff of hair on the beast’s side, carried along by the monster. “That was considerably more dashing than I expected,” Thane says to the departing Jedi. The scene then moves to Han and Leia having a very comfortable moment, before becoming distracted. After the distraction ends, Tula reveals something of her past that greatly interests Luke. Luke gets the most amount of focus in this issue and he’s running with a pretty hot head, especially on Page 17, and is absent minded, Page 12. This seemed somewhat out of character for how he’s been in previous issues. This could be Luke’s last time as the emotional uncooth youth before his more focused self in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s possible, but he seemed too quick in his emotional reactions for this issue. Han, on the other hand, is focused on just one thing, and what it was is a little surprising. Page 19 really shows him interested in just this one thing. Leia is really aloof this issue, with the final page revealing why. Her character came off best this issue. I am definitely interested in seeing what happens next, but Leia’s actions are more interesting than what Luke and Han are after. Overall grade: B+ 

The art: Angel Unzueta’s visuals are good, though there are several panels that are obviously based on film images. The first page has Thane and Luke running into action. The speed lines in the second and third panels were odd looking, plus their disappearance in the fourth panel made them stand out even more awkwardly. And what’s up with Luke’s hands in the third panel? The thanraxes are overgrown wolves, which look fine, though their coats aren’t as detailed or as realistic looking as the characters look. The bottom panel of Page 4 is fantastic, making this original character outstanding. Leia and Han look great in their two paged relaxed conversation. Luke makes a dramatic action on 7 and looks sensational, as does the person in the path of the creature. I love this character’s expressions on Page 8. If shirtless Han wasn’t enough beefcake in the previous issue, Luke gets his turn in this installment. Fair is fair, Luke was due for a scene like this and it’s done for a completely justifiable reason. The settings on 10 and 11 are great. Often the backgrounds play second fiddle to character work, but these look really good. I love the silhouette in the third panel on 11, very ominous. I’m not liking the setting on 12 and 13, with it looking like photograph insertions. I would rather have the backgrounds filled in by a colorist than have photos dropped in; they just don’t look good. The three pages that follow look okay, except those trees in the background look as though they were dropped in as well. The structures around the pair look fine, but the trees look like smudgy photographs. On Page 17 the third panel has Luke yelling at witnessing Ben being cut down by Vader, the final panel on 18 is Luke telling Leia he’s there to rescue her, and on 19 the fourth panel has Han looking at his computer on the Falcon realizing Lando could help them. I have no issue with artists using photos for inspiration to draw, but when they’re so similar to images from the films I’m taken out of the comic experience and end up thinking of the film. Unzuteta needs to dial back the film references. The last panel of the book is a great justification for Leia’s attitude from earlier in the issue. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The characters jump off the pages of this issue because Guru-eFX gives them very bright colors, while the backgrounds get faded hues. One can see this right from the first page, with Thane and Luke standing out against light blues and greens. Luke’s lightsaber has a white blade outlined in a cool blue that also makes it pop. The colors on characters’ skin is superior throughout this issue, making each individual in a panel look real. I like that the thanraxes’ cries get a fierce solid crimson to up their fear factor. The skies on Pages 12 and 13 are gorgeous, but I suspect they are photo insertions. Page 16 has the night coming up fast and the colors dim on the characters nicely, though, again, I think the skies are photos. The colors on this are fine. Overall grade: B

The letters: The text of this issue by VC’s Clayton Cowles is composed of scene settings, dialogue, thanrax wails, yells, a whistle, sounds, droid speech, and Artoo speech. The scene settings look a lot smaller than in previous Star Wars comics. I’d like them to be a little bigger, but I don’t think Unzueta factored in leaving space for them in his artwork. The dialogue continues to be frail, but the thanrax cries are terrific. They remind me of Richard Corben art. There are several sounds in this issue and I’m willing to pay extra for a Star Wars comic if lightsaber ignitions get sounds, though there isn’t one on Page 1, while there is one on 8. Why? Overall grade: B

The final line: Luke takes the lead this issue, though comes off as inconsistent. Leia and Han tease their future relationship, while the princess is making plans for something big. The story is okay, as is the art, but nothing thrills. Nonetheless, this is a competent Star Wars outing. 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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