In Review: Star Wars #59

Plans are revealed and familiar foes arrive to cause trouble for the heroes.

The covers: The new year brings three different covers for fans to find. The Regular cover by Jamal Campbell is only missing the music of Ennio Morricone. Han Solo has his arms wide, ready to reach for his gun when his opponent, who’s in the foreground, shown only by his hand and right leg, reaches for his own weapon. This is a Western inspired image, complete with a ramshackle town on the left and an honest to goodness tumbleweed tumbling behind the Corellian. One of my favorite characters the Action Figure Variant cover by John Tyler Christopher: the Biker Scout from Return of the Jedi. This illustration resembles a classic carded Kenner Action Figure. The figure looks great, but where’s his pistol? That’s a little nick with this gorgeous frontpiece, with the large image of the character looking incredible. This character is popular among the fans and I’m going to have my work cut out for me trying to track this down. New this year, are the Greatest Moments Variant covers, with this initial cover is “Duel of the Fates” by Leinil Francis Yu. This has Obi-Wan on the left and Qui-Gon on the right with their lightsabers held high. Behind the pair is a violet background, with a stream of lighter violet between them. In the foreground is Darth Maul ready to attack. The logo is at the bottom along with the publisher and barcode, as well as the text for this variant cover. Really cool and if the second installment in this series looks just as good, I’ll track them down. Overall grades: Regular B, Action Figure Variant A+, and Greatest Moments Variant A

The story: On Thane’s estate on Hubin, Leia explains to Han why she’s been so distant from him and Luke: she’s been plotting how the Rebellion can get back at Queen Trios after her helping the Empire decimate the Rebel fleet. “When we’re finished, Shu-Torun will have all the importance to the galactic economy of Tatooine.” Han makes some snarky comments about how royals behave toward one another before his next comment gets him shoved out of the princess’s quarters. Also having words are Luke and Tula, with her confronting him about using a communications beacon. He activated it because “Our friend should have been here long ago. Something must have gone wrong.” She’s angry because he may have alerted others to Hubin’s location, placing her and all its inhabitants in danger. She leaves, with both of them unhappy. This was some solid character building from writer Kieron Gillen, and the turn of the page brings a new day with a situation involving Han. It’s quick, predictable, and has Han coming off as unlikable in his action on Page 7 and with his words on 8. I know he’s not fully involved with the Rebellion yet, but there has to be a moment where he’s completely in. It’s not happened, with him being really forward with Leia and really glib with Luke. There’s a dinner sequence which begins to address the elephant in the room, but it’s interrupted by the arrival of some characters that Luke had not planned on. I was happy to see these characters, I was overjoyed to see who was with them, and the ending is a cliffhanger that fans of this series have been waiting for. This is a transition chapter of “The Escape.” Leia’s long term plans are revealed, the Markonas learn what the Rebels have been up to, and some familiar antagonists return. Next issue should be the payoff. Overall grade: B

The art: The faces of the three lead characters are very realistic. Artist Angel Unzueta obviously used photo references and they look great. Though there are times where the heads don’t look as though they are placed well on the bodies, or, if a reader has seen the original trilogy several times, it’s obvious from what scenes are film they are referenced. For example, Leia has no neck in the second panel on the opening page, while Luke has been told by Uncle Owen he can’t attend the academy in the fourth panel on Page 10. The best looking character in the issue is Tula: she is believable in every panel she appears and always looks incredible. Also looking incredible are the antagonists that arrive in the book’s final third — they are awesome. The settings are well done in the Markonas’ residence, with it being striking. I’m not keen on the speed lines in this issue used for quick actions because they are inconsistent. I don’t know why they are needed at the bottom of Page 6, but they are definitely needed, and look great, on 7. I also don’t like their use in the fourth panel on the second page, which are just too far from the action. I do like the setting that’s used on a weapon on Pages 7 and 18, as it was abandoned from the films after Episode IV. It has a very unique look and Unzueta has flawlessly captured it so well that I knew what it was before a character identified it. The many points of view throughout the book make the exposition scenes great. This is true during the dinner sequence and the arrival of the antagonists. There’s a reveal on 16 that’s done without any text explaining who the individual is and Unzueta has captured her likeness well so that fans of this series will recognize her. The weapon used at the bottom of the page is exciting looking and I love how it dominates every panel it’s in, reminding the characters and the reader of its danger. The full-paged splash that ends the issue is a great way to keep fans on the edge of their seats until the next issue. I like the stance of each character, but there’s a lot of empty space in the top fourth of the illustration. Pulling in tighter to the characters would have eliminated this and made the final image more intense. Overall grade: B

The colors: The first two pages have the colors by Guru-eFX communicate to the reader that Han and Leia are having their conversation at night, with them colored darkly, but not so much that the artwork cannot be discerned. The coloring of the characters’ skin is incredibly strong, giving them a photorealistic feel, with Han looking as though he was taken from a scene in The Empire Strikes Back in the third panel on the first page. It’s also really strong when Tula and Luke have words, with the highlights done incredibly well with a white outline. The next day has the colors brighter, due to the exterior scenes. I like that Hubin doesn’t have a blue sky, but a constant soft peach: it’s alien, but not over the top. I love the color of the weapon expulsion on 7 and 18 which resembles that of the one in the film. The highlights of the antagonists add immensely to their believability. The color of the weapon that appears on 16 dominates every time it’s shown, as it should. Great job by Guru-eFX on this issue. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s text is by VC’s Clayton Cowles and consists of scene settings, dialogue, droid speech, and yells. The scene settings have improved over previous issues because they are no longer outlined in white. This makes them much easier to read, and by outlining them in black they really stand out. Big thumbs up, Marvel! Sadly, the wispy dialogue continues to make every speaker sound weak. I like that the droid dialogue is different from living speakers, visually separating them from others. I was disappointed that there were no sounds in this issue. That’s not Cowles’s decision, it’s writer Gillen’s. There aren’t many needed for this issue, but there are several iconic weapons that have iconic sounds that are disappointingly mute. Overall grade: B

The final line: Plans are revealed and familiar foes arrive to cause trouble for the heroes. This is an okay outing, with the story being a transition issue and the visuals being serviceable. Han Solo is really unlikable in this issue, so I’m hoping that a moment arrives, soon, where he becomes more loyal to Luke, Leia, and the Rebellion. 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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