In Review: Star Wars Adventures #21

This will win over fans and create new ones.

The covers: A trio of different frontpieces to find and all are outstanding. Derek Charm is the artist of the A cover that has Luke Skywalker, in his clothing from the end of Empire, holding a lightsaber in the reader’s face while Han runs to support him with his pistol held high. Luke has deflected a blast with his saber as evidenced by the explosion on his blade. The background is in several shades of red, magnifying the action’s intensity. The B is by Nicoletta Baldari and is a wonderful bust shot of Kabe with her arms crossed, smiling at the reader. To the right is a shape that contains images of X-wings, TIE Fighter pilot helmets, and hearts. This is absolutely cute and I need Baldari to do covers for every issue of this series. The Retailer Incentive cover is by Michael Avon Oeming and has Luke, Han, and Chewie inside the Millennium Falcon. Solo has an elbow resting on the farmboy’s shoulder, with him holding his medal from Leia and Luke wearing his. Great image and cool colors. Overall grades: A A, B A+, and Retailer Incentive A

The stories: “Swoop Racers” is the first story and it’s written by Cavan Scott. Han, Luke, and Chewie go to Rion to meet with Razian to purchase supplies for the Rebellion. Luke is put in charge of negotiating the price, leaving Han to his own devices and discovering there’s a swoop race. He “borrows” half of the money Leia gave them to hire a swoop to enter the race. This leaves Luke looking bad when he’s missing half of the credits after the negotiations. Complicating matters are some of the drivers recognizing the amount of money they could make bringing in Imperial fugitive Han, dead or alive. There’s a good amount of action and some fun lines, mostly given by Luke who’s exasperated by Han. The names of the aliens out to get Han are fun, and I’ll not spoil them. The door is left open to return to these villains and Razian and I hope that it happens. This issue’s Tales From Wild Space is “The Heist” by Shane McCarthy. Kabe can’t get a drink at the Mos Eisley cantina because she has no credits. Overhearing a patron turning down a job to steal something from an Imperial cruiser, she takes the job on the sly, racing off to complete it. This is extremely funny, cute as all get out, and shows how talented and nimble the little Chadra-Fan is. Overall grades: Both A 

The art: Derek Charm is terrific on the first story. Han’s cocky smile and Luke’s incredulity come through in every panel they appear, with both on display in the fourth panel on the opening page. The landing of the Falcon also looks cool, kicking up quite the cloud of dust. The pair of aliens that Han should have never spoken to on Page 3 look perfectly suited to the Star Wars Universe and will instantly tell the reader they aren’t on the straight and narrow path. I don’t know what it is about Razian, but he looks really familiar to me. I love his design and his stretched out mouth of teeth. The faces in the crowd on 6 are great and the action of the speeders flying is cool. The leap on 11 is awesome and the large panel on 12 is a great visual payoff. I found myself grinning like an eight-year-old with the way the winner’s cup is delivered to an individual at the bottom of 12. Nicoletta Baldari illustrates the “The Heist” and it is to die for. This looks like cells from a gorgeous cartoon. Kabe is as cute as the dickens as she’s running, leaping, and tumbling about. The stormtroopers look incredible, even while engaging in unseen foes. The reaction in the third panel on 19 is fantastic, as is the change in his character’s demeanor in the final panel. The panel that tops the last page has Wuher looking absolutely sweet. I didn’t think it was possible for this happen or an artist to be able to pull it off. Overall grades: “Swoop Racers” A and “The Heist” A+

The colors: “Swoop Racers” is colored by Matt Herms who uses some incredibly bright colors. The opening page has a cool looking Rion in greens, followed by the colorful buttons behind the heroes in the Falcon‘s cockpit. The violet eyes of the first alien that speaks to Han are gorgeous and give him an wholly foreign feel. Luke’s anxiety explodes on 4 with an intense red behind him. This color is also used for Han’s swoop, making his vehicle the focus whenever it appears. The yellows and oranges on 6 are explosive and perfectly suited for the race. The purples for Glunge’s skin make him stand out, too. Baldari colors her own work and it’s beautiful. The exterior of the cantina is beautiful — I know, right? — with the interiors on 13 gorgeous. I love how the colors become stronger on 14 when Kabe tries to use her appearance to get a drink. I love the coloring of the stormtroopers and the action that follows their introduction. Reds are intense for an obstacle on 18. This same shade is applied to a sound on the next page that links the actions to the noise. The gorgeous colors of the cantina’s interiors return for the last page. Just outstanding. Overall grades: “Swoop Racers” A and “The Heist” A+

The letters: This issue’s text by Tom B. Long includes scene settings, sounds, dialogue, Wookiee roars, yells, the title for the second story, and Boo’s speech. The scene settings are done in an 80’s “futuristic” font and effectively move the reader from one location to another. The sounds are really fun in this book, with the swoop race having several. The dialogue is easy to read, and is also used for transmissions and droid speech. They are differed by the shape and color of their dialogue balloons. I would have preferred them to be different fonts, but it is what it is. Chewie’s vocalizations are good in big, bold letters. I wish Marvel comics used this font for the Wookiee. Boo’s speech is in a very smooth font, making him sound friendly to younger readers. Overall grade: A- 

The final line: Both tales are fun and well illustrated, but the Kabe story is gorgeous. The familiar trio’s personalities are absolutely true in the first tale, with Han being cocky and Luke a worrier. The Kabe tale is sweet, cute, and an absolute reason Baldari should be given her own series to illustrate. This will win over fans and create new ones. 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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