In Review: Star Wars Adventures #22

The stories are fun, quick adventures with one story's visuals better than the other.

The covers: Three to collect if an Aleena youngling doesn’t grab your copies first. The A cover is by Elsa Charretier with colors by Sarah Stern. Leia has opened some grating in the floor and shoots a look at Threepio who says, “An intruder? We’re doomed!” Artoo is behind the princess, silently obeying what she commands. This is an unknown setting and it’s fairly dark, with a lot of browns. Heck, even Goldenrod is dirt-like. This coloring emphasizes their working in secret, but it gloms all the artwork together. The B by Tony Fleecs has a wild Tauntaun on Hoth being startled by a ginormous Wampa that emerges behind it. Great emotion on each characters’ face and the colors definitely communicate the cold ice planet. I’m a sucker for Hoth, so this is a cover I have to have in my collection. Michael Avon Oeming is the artist on the Retailer Incentive cover. This has Leia and the droids running from the entrance to the hanger at Echo Base. Snow is zipping past them as she orders the pair to get to their transports, while Threepio complains. I like this cover and how the characters stand out against the violet background. Overall grades: A B-, B A, and Retailer Incentive A-

The stories: “A Matter of Perception” is by Pierrick Colinet & Elsa Charretier. On the planet Nothoiin in the Anoat Sector, Han, Chewie, Leia, Threepio, and Artoo have taken the Falcon to investigate if there’s any Imperial presence on the planet. There doesn’t seem to be any, but Leia and the droids notice some of their food missing while the Corellian and Wookiee are searching far away. Artoo detects an intruder aboard the ship and that leads to a cute reveal on Page 4 that sends Leia into a seemingly dangerous situation on 6. There’s a fight, some people go down, and then one line of dialogue changes everything. I like the droids’ entrance on 12 and the ending being a good lesson for everyone involved. The Tales From Wild Space this issue is “A Tauntaun Tail” by Jon Waterhouse. This story takes place before and during the battle for Hoth. Sergeant Maxim is scouting outside Echo Base for Tauntauns to train and witnesses one poor creature being cast out by others. She has an extremely rough night, ending up with Maxim coming across her later and training the creature. There’s a page and a panel that show the pair working together when the Imperials storm the base. The story ends with a corny joke, but a a happy resolution for the twosome. Overall grades: “A Matter of Perception” B and “A Tauntaun Tail” A

The art: The artist on the first story is Elsa Charretier and her artwork effectively tells the story, but is really sketchy. Threepio is really rough throughout the entire tale, with the third panel on Page 2 looking poor. Artoo is a much more complete character, with him looking like himself every time he appears. Leia is good when in close-up, but from a distance…well, take at look at the final panel on the third page. The new character that appears on Page 4 looks good, but is created to prompt some humor, and he does. The group of antagonists that appear on 6 are also inconsistent, with their feet often being wedges and the joints of their fingers not connecting to make a hand. This is a style issue for me. It might look fine to some, but I can think of several other artists who would love to illustrate a Star Wars tale and it would look considerably better than this. On the other side of the visual spectrum is the art by Tony Fleecs on the second tale. Every character, setting, and vehicle is a complete illustration. I love the personality of the Tauntaun, were her sadness inspiring me to wish her life is better. The macrobinocular images at the bottom of Page 14 are fantastic. It was hard not to think of the Coyote and Roadrunner for the bottom of the sixteenth page. Two pages later have a terrific series of images that show the beast and its keeper bonding and training, while 19 is a great showcase from the iconic battle of Hoth. The top of the final page had me worried about the characters’ fate. Overall grades: “A Matter of Perception” C- and “A Tauntaun Tail” A+

The colors: Charretier colors her own tale and does a terrific job employing bright colors for the exteriors. The interiors of the Falcon are a little dark at times, but this increases the tension of their intruder. I really like the panels that have no backgrounds because this allows for a color to blanket the empty space, making the characters really pop. There are also a few panels where Charretier creates shapes in the background using two different colors and they look neat. Artist Fleecs also does his own coloring with Lauren Perry doing color flats. I expected nothing but whites and blues for Hoth but there’s also a strong use of yellow, pink, violet, and orange for the skies. Sounds get some solid colors to make them pop. The bookend pages have some excellent coloring, too, especially in regards to Emil’s droids. Overall grades: Both A 

The letters: Tom B. Long is the man who creates the scene settings, the dialogue, astromech droids’ speech, and sounds. The scene settings draw the eye every time they appear, composed of a font that resembles futuristic text from the 1980’s. The dialogue is easy to read and is also employed by droids and whispered text. The dialogue balloons’ shapes are changed to show that this text should be heard differently by the reader. It works, but I would rather see a different font employed to signify the different forms of communications. The two astromechs of the issue have the same font, which makes sense, and it’s a balloon-like font that makes the characters sound friendly and helpful. There are several sounds in the issue and all enjoyable matches for the actions they’re giving voice to. Overall grade: A-

The final line: The stories are fun, quick adventures with one story’s visuals better than the other. It was neat to have Leia on an outing with the droids and I loved the tauntaun tale. I wasn’t keen on the first story’s art that came off as unfinished/hurried. Much more to my liking was the tauntaun tale, which was wonderful. All younglings will find this a fun read. 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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