In Review: Star Wars #64

An improvement over previous chapters.

The covers: A trio to track down as the Rebels continue their path of revenge upon Queen Trios. The Regular cover by Gerald Parel has the the top two-thirds of the illustration showing Luke piloting the Millennium Falcon, wearing his Tatoonie farmer outfit from Episode IV. The bottom shows this iconic ship avoiding fire while speeding between structures on Shu-Torun. This cover is fine, but is loosely constructed compared to the previous two covers from Parel. The Action Figure Variant cover by John Tyler Christopher showcases Princess Leia Organa: Boushh Disguise from Return of the Jedi. The action figure looks smart, with her helmet laying loose next to her feet. I love the expression on her face, making her intense and focused on her task. The large illustration of her in her disguise is fantastic. Once again, Christopher has me searching far and wide to get one of these variants. “Princess of Alderaan” is the title of the Greatest Moments Variant cover by Adi Granov. Surrounded by four stormtroopers, Leia is being taken to be interviewed by Darth Vader aboard the Rebel Blockade Runner. Even though the troopers are in white, Leia is the standout on this illustration receiving the brightest light. Having everything around her get increasing darker the farther one gets from makes this a somber image. I love the look on her face and stormtroopers always look cool. Overall grades: Regular B, Action Figure Variant A+, and Greatest Moments Variant B+

The story: Shape changer Tunga and See-Threepio have gotten Queen Trio’s eye scan so the heroes can use it to take control of Shu-Torun’s computers and run the planet. Aboard the drilling machine piloted by Han, they, Leia, and slicer Meroti make their exit. Leia contacts Luke who’s in the Falcon with Chewie and Benthic that they can begin to storm the Spike to plant explosives to render the Queen’s world ruined for Imperial use. There’s a light moment from writer Kieron Gillen when Han makes a comment about Benthic who’s in the cockpit to hear it. There’s also a really fun line from Tunga as he prepares himself for his next role on Page 6. This is followed by two more funny lines about Tunga on 8 from two different characters. Han and Meroti have a good exchange in the middle of 10. I enjoyed Meroti’s response; not everything the Rebels do has to result in explosions and death. That said, Luke and company make their way to the Spike and one character is looking for some payback upon the citizens of Shu-Torun. I was expecting this character to try something, though I didn’t expect it would be so massive. Nothing has occurred yet, but I don’t doubt this character will be successful. This is the most enjoyable chapter of “The Scourging of Shu-Torun.” It’s been a slow build, but payoffs are beginning. Overall grade: A-

The art: Also improving this issue are the visuals by Angel Unzueta. Previous issues have had several panels too heavily influenced by photo references, making me rather see photos used than an artist’s recreations. This issue had much more original art, or the references weren’t so obvious to me. The bottom panel on Page 1 is a great reference shot to show where all the characters are in reference to one another. This is needed because they remain on this ship for the next few pages. Meroti is an original character and she looks great as she rapidly tries to slice into the Queen’s scan from Threepio. The points of view at the bottom of 2 make the heroes’ escape exciting. Their exit on Page 3 brilliantly shows how hostile this planet is to life. The bottom panel on 6 really shouldn’t make me smile because of the visual, but when combined with the dialogue it’s fantastic. The large panel on 8 is beautiful and the panel that immediately follows it is as effective as the last panel on 6. The first panel on 11 is, again, a really awesome point of view by Unzueta. He’s really moving things around well in this issue; one can tell from this angle where everyone is located. The smile that ends 12 wonderfully shows the joy Leia has for what she’s thinking. The expressions on the two women’s faces on 13 are outstanding, clearly showing the reader how they feel about what they’re hearing. The angry gesture made at the bottom of 14 is a great visual to show the character’s emotion and how it provides a great transition to Luke and his companions’ tale. The Spike is a massive monster of a construction. The exit from the Falcon on Page 16 is great and I love the “Charge!” panel on 17, though I have to express my disappointment in the use of silhouettes when the confrontation occurs — I felt cheated by not clearly seeing the action. Benthic is a real stand out on the assault team looking amazing every time he appears. This issue looks good. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Guru-eFX creates some great colors on this issue. The pale blues for the royal backgrounds that open this book are so calming and are in complete conflict to the raging reds and oranges of magma swirling about them. Pages 3 and 4 are incredible for the vivid reds and oranges that show the perils of Shu-Torun. Tunga’s pale greens are classic sci-fi alien colors and make him stand out every time he shows his true appearance. I love the neon blues for the ship’s engines and the forcefield from the ship. It was interesting to see that Queen Trios and Luke have the same brilliantly colored blue eyes, providing for a neat transition between pages and subtly showing how each could have been in the other’s shoes with different choices. A neat use of colors is having Benthic’s translations in pale violet boxes, providing a visual hallmark for the reader to recognize what they are reading. Smart. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue’s text by VC’s Clayton Cowles includes scene settings, dialogue, Threepio’s speech, Wookie dialogue, sounds, Benthic’s speech, and yells. Scene settings continue to be painful to look upon due to the white border around them. The painfully skinny font for dialogue continues to weaken every characters’ speech whenever they raise their voices. Thickening the same font for someone’s yells doesn’t improve them. Threepio’s speech is in italics which is what’s often used for mechanical speech and it works. Chewie’s roars continue to be all over the place, with his speech extending beyond the front, the middle, and the end of his dialogue balloons for no rhyme or reason. The sounds, thankfully, are outstanding, with the closing of some doors excellent. This franchise’s lettering has been in need of an overhaul for years. I won’t drop a book’s grade dramatically because the lettering is poor. Overall grade: D+

The final line: An improvement over previous chapters with the story going somewhere and the visuals not looking so heavily photo referenced. Sadly, the letters continue to bring the book’s look down. I’m looking forward to where this story is heading and the end is finally in sight. 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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