In Review: Star Wars Adventures: Flight of the Falcon

This was a dull conclusion to a sensational set of building chapters.

The covers: A pair to pick up for the concluding chapter of this saga. A gigantic image of Bazine Netal looms over the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, reaching out to grasp its occupants: Hondo Ohnaka, Mahjo, and Puffy the good luck Porg. This is a dynamite Regular cover with outstanding characters by Arianna Florean. The Retailer Incentive cover by Valentina Pinto is from the cockpit of the Falcon looking out into space. In the foreground Hondo is trying to hustle his way of some misunderstanding between himself and Chewbacca, who’s leaning into the pirate. The Weequay is smiling at the Wookiee, but it’s not doing much good since Chewie is snarling back. This is a cute cover, but I don’t like the pastel look and there’s not much really going on in this image. Overall grades: Regular A and Retailer Incentive C

The story: On Batuu, Hondo tells Bala-Tik over a game of sabacc that he’s in possession of the Millennium Falcon. The negotiator of the Guavian Death Gang doesn’t believe he does, so Hondo wants to prove it through a race: the Falcon versus whatever Bala-Tik has. The price is unspecified, but a shake is given that one will be made to the victor. Michael Moreci then has the pirate and his partner Mahjo set out to the race. Once there, they see that they have no chance of beating Bala-Tik’s sleek ship, but then the negotiator had no desire to race the Falcon. What follows is a really drawn out moment of a tractor beam being the threat. There was no tension whatsoever. Also the other ship is rarely seen, as the action takes place in the cockpit of the Falcon. A familiar face returns in the final four pages, setting up why the Falcon is parked at Star Wars Galaxy Edge at Disne — er, I mean parked on Batuu. Adding insult to injury, the comic book reader doesn’t get to see how Bazine got the Falcon, which is what the previous chapters in Star Wars Adventures were all about, as that’s covered in a novel! This story picks up after that. Too much bait and switch for me. This was an utterly disappointing conclusion. Overall grade: D- 

The art: The visuals of this book look outstanding. I’ve been a fan of Arianna Florean’s art on Star Wars Adventures and this continues that winning streak. Florean’s work resembles cells from animation, with characters incredibly rendered and settings strong. The opening pages with Hondo and Bala-Tik look terrific, with each emoting fabulously. I spent a lot of time just soaking in the fantastic layouts and character details on every page. Granted, the ships are very streamlined, but they work perfectly with her style for the characters. Stress lines are used often for panels when characters fret, such as Puffy on 9 and 15, Hondo on 17, and a classic character on 21. Speaking of that classic character, usually this individual has a lot of work done on the substance that covers their body, but not here, leaving that to the colorists. Sadly, they don’t do the detailed work that the character needs to look as they should. One thing that really hurts the art is the blurred backgrounds on Batuu. It looks as though printing errors occurred on these pages. I had an artist tell me that a colorist is the one who does this to the art. I’m including this comment here because I don’t know if that’s the case or not with this issue. Regardless, it looks terrible and mars the otherwise stellar art. I’ve nicked the visuals a bit, but I do like them and look forward to seeing more of Florean’s work. Overall grade: B

The colors: Mattia Iacono with assistant colorist Sara Martinelli colors this book and their work looks good. Batuu isn’t exactly a location known for a wide array of colors, with browns and tans dominating, and the scenes aboard the Falcon are cold steels and the black of space. That said, when they do get the chance to make things pop, they do so well. Hondo is a fairly colorful character, especially in his red and blue jacket and the wraps in his hair. This allows him to be an eye catcher every time he appears and he should since he’s the protagonist of this tale. The Guavian Death Gang really looks sharp in glossy reds, but they only appear in one panel. Mahjo is a very blasé colored character, with a dull white jacket and pants, gray tee, and gray hair: her colors make her practically invisible. The interior of the Falcon provides opportunities for the characters to stand out against the dark void of space. The character that appears at the end needs more line work, because the individual is colored with almost a single color, save around the neck and the feet — which look as though they are boots the way they are colored. The blurred backgrounds don’t look good. Whoever is responsible for this effect needs to be sent packing. Overall grade: C

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue and transmissions (the same font), an editorial note, sounds, and a character’s roars are crafted by Tom B. Long. I like the scene settings, in a futuristic font that’s similar to Aurebesh, but can be read. I don’t like that the shape and colors of the balloons determine what’s dialogue and transmissions. They should be different fonts. I do like that the editorial note is in italics, separating it from dialogue. The sounds are fun and the character’s roars at the end of the book look great. Overall grade: A-

The final line: This was a dull conclusion to a sensational set of building chapters. The story felt drawn out and ultimately ended up being a tie-in to Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge attraction. I was naive to think this was an original story, not a sales pitch. And after having Bazine being the crux of the opening chapters, she’s entirely avoided in this conclusion, and readers have to pick up a novel, albeit a “junior” novel, to see what happened with her. I felt used. The art looks good, except when the background is given a horrible computer blur that reminds one of low budget films. I was let down by this conclusion. Overall grade: C

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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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