In Review: Star Wars #66

The penultimate chapter to "The Scourging of Shu-Torun" takes a turn as things worsen.

The covers: Two outstanding covers to choose between if you’re not going to pick them both up. The Regular cover by Gerald Parel is a stunner. As Shu-Torun begins to crumble in explosions of magma, Leia leaps to the boulder that Queen Trios stands upon. The traitor has an ax held ready to swing at the princess when she lands. Outstanding characters and settings and the coloring is exceptional. This is the most energetic Star Wars cover I’ve seen in a while. Simply perfection. The Action Figure Variant cover by John Tyler Christopher and is a faux Kenner carded figure of Han Solo: Trench Coat. This features Han Solo in his Endor coat. The figure looks fantastic, as they always do, but there’s no gun in there with him? That’s a slight bummer. The image of Harrison Ford as the iconic smuggler is excellent. I always seek out these variants because I’m old enough to remember when these figures first came out and I love Christopher’s re-imagining of the characters. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Three mysterious arrivals stand on one of the few surfaces on Shu-Torun waiting for the Spike, which is sparking violet energy, to fall. At the Rebel Retreat, Han and Leia exchange blasts with Queen Trios and her men. The fighting stops when blasts come out of the sky to hit the force field that surrounds the setting. The Rebels take the moment to retreat, while Trios discovers that the Star Destroyer Tributum is bombarding them. She contacts its commander, “Kanchar! It’s Trios! I’m here! Cease pummeling my castle! Immediately!” The outcome of the conversation between the two does not go as Trios had wanted, though it does focus her resolve to take down the Rebels. Meanwhile, Luke is trying to keep Artoo away from Benthic and his men because the astromech has the means to destroy the Spike which would result in the planet being torn asunder. I love when any story splits the action in two or more locations and writer Kieron Gillen is doing a great job in doing so this issue. There is a climatic battle between Leia and Trios, while Artoo makes a decision because he loves his master. Great action, great tension, and great characters. This is what a Star Wars story should be. Overall grade: A

The art: Angel Unzueta has mastered the human elements and the epic scale of this franchise perfectly. The issue begins with a distant image of the trio making their way to a viewpoint. The next panel shows a terrific close-up of the three enclosed in their masks and garb, ending with a large panel of the Spike caught in violet energy. This large image is slightly titled giving it a more dangerous appearance, as if it’s already begun to topple. A turn of the page is a image of the fire between forces, shown from the back of the Rebels. The bottom panel of Han yelling is good, though the line work around his mouth looks as if he’s got on lipstick. The barrage that rains down upon the castle is great. I like how the panels at the bottom of the page are crooked, amplifying the shaking the characters are enduring. The close up on 4 is stellar — it’s a stunning image of an angry Trios. Notice the angle Kanchar is given when he first appears: the reader is looking up at him, as if he were a superior to look down upon everyone. The large panel on 7 continues to make a character look strong. The point of views given in each panel on 10 increases the action wonderfully. The shape of the panels on 14 also increases the action, making the proceedings seem frantic. The strike and reaction on 16 is the visual payoff the reader needs. Excellent! The third and fourth panels on Page 18 are killer and are perfect lead ins to the large final panel. The final page features something occurring and has me wondering how Unzueta can outdo himself next issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors by Guru-eFX enrich the art. The use of oranges in the first two panels give the reader a ominous feeling, but the large panel’s harsh reds and violets make the images explode off the page. I was glad to see that blues were used for the interior of the scene settings because it makes them stand out. The blaster fire and Destroyer blasts look excellent. The shine on Trios’s armor is outstanding. The shades of characters’ flesh is equally superior. The cool blues within the Tributum are excellent, making it seem like they’re operating in the dark. Artoo’s sounds are brilliant in a strong blue. The blues on 19 and 20 are also gorgeous. Just a superior job throughout. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles creates this issue’s dialogue, scene settings, sounds, yells, a Wookiee response, Benthic’s speech, and weakened speech. My usual complaints for dialogue remain. The scene settings work in this issue because they’re colored correctly. The sounds and yells look fine, though the rumble of the ground is too close to Chewbacca’s lone outburst. Benthic’s speech is always a delight to see. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The penultimate chapter to “The Scourging of Shu-Torun” takes a turn as things worsen. Exciting story with great action sequences. The visuals are powerful, with the settings being especially outstanding. A terrific issue. 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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