In Review: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion-Luke Skywalker #1

The story is fantastic, but different artists create a jarring visual experience.

The covers: Five frontpieces that feature the most famous face of the Rebellion. The Regular cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson continues the format of previous covers in this series: a blank white background with a character before a circle that contains an iconic object. This has Luke in his tans togs from Episode IV, complete with flaying cape, turned to the right holding his lightsaber upright. Within the circle is a shot of space with an X-wing moving to the left. The Dodsons have made my day with this cover. The Concept Design Variant features part of a painting by Ralph McQuarrie from The Empire Strikes Back. Luke is wearing his X-wing pilot’s outfit, ducking low, and wielding his lightsaber with both hands. Cut from the illustration is Vader, shown from the back, on the right. I like this image, heck–I still have my portfolio that includes this, but there’s a lot of white space at the top and bottom. Better is the Photo Variant featuring Mark Hamill as Luke from Episode V while under the Force tree on Dagobah. This was the image back in the day of the Jedi. I remember this was the cover to my spiral notebook for school. I loved this image back in 1980 and I love it now. Mike McKone and Guru-eFX have created another sensational Puzzle Piece Variant cover. Luke is in his clothes from the first film with his lightsaber behind his head, ready to swing it. Behind him is a red stripe and on either side of it is the blue void of space filled with TIE Fighters and X-wings. Eagle eyed fans will see the tip of Lando’s cape and Jabba’s tail on bottom right. Chris Sprouse and Karl Story have created a very different Variant cover. This is an intense close-up of Luke’s face — it fills the entire cover — with his lightsaber’s blade covering the left of the image. The coloring is killer on this with flecks of energy seen on the blade and its green color casting neat highlights on him. Good, but I would have preferred to have seen the entire character. Overall grades: Regular A+, Concept Design Variant B-, Photo Variant A+, Puzzle Piece Variant A, and Variant C+

The story: This was a fantastic story from Greg Pak. After Luke helps Rebel forces overcome some droids on a recently secured Imperial support vessel, Darth Vader appears — via hologram — before the Emperor, promising his Master that Skywalker could be turned to the Dark Side of the Force. With his apprentice dismissed, Palpatine tries to influence Skywalker,  reaching out to him with his mind. How each reacts to the other is awesome, with Luke getting a real awakening from the Sith. I like that Luke feels the Emperor nudging him before being fully attacked mentally. That’s the gist of this issue: Luke being manipulated by the Emperor from afar. The dialogue from Palpatine is fantastic, with every line from him sounding like Ian McDiarmid. There’s a new character introduced that’s an Utapaun and it was neat to see one of this species appear. This character’s conflict with Luke is a high point of the book and is the book’s climax. The last page sums up both characters well. After reading this issue, I’d like to see Pak write more adventures with Luke. Overall grade: A

The art: I’m as stunned as I was on the Age of Rebellion–Jabba the Hutt issue, as there are three different artists on this issue: Chris Sprouse, Scott Koblish, and Stefano Landini. There are also two different inkers: Karl Story and Marc Deering. Why did this happen? The first six pages are Sprouse and Story; I’ve read enough comics illustrated by this pair to recognize their work. Their work for this book looks fantastic. The Rebels look incredible on the first page and Luke is like a god on the second page which is a full-paged splash. I love the point of view in the first panel on Page 4, looking down at Luke as he moves forward. The Utapaun major looks incredible. Page 5 begins the long distance conversation between the Emperor and Vader and Palpatine is an absolute monster in close-up. Unfortunately it is very noticeable when Sprouse and Story are no longer illustrating the book. Both Sith look less on 6 than they did on 5. They look fine, but after what came before the change is brutally obvious. I mean, good heavens, look at Luke on 7! If only one artist and inker had done the entire book, it might have led to a better visual experience, but this change is jarring. I do like the Emperor on 9, though he doesn’t have the same horrific face as he does on 5. The ships on 10 are outstanding, but at the bottom of 12 they’ve become sketchy and unfinished looking. The passage of time on 15 is really well done. There’s no text until the final panel, but it’s very clear to the reader what’s occurring. The Emperor at the bottom of 19 doesn’t even look like the same character that appeared anywhere in this issue. The last page is beautiful. This book suffers from too many cooks. One chef in the kitchen would have made this delicious. Overall grade: C

The colors: This book does have beautiful colors from Tamra Bonvillain. The red lighting showing the alert status of the Rebels starts this book in an exciting tone and Luke’s actions on 2 have him stand out, especially with a rust and orange colored cloud of debris behind him marking his progress. The blaster fire and Luke’s lightsaber look brilliant every time they appear. The different shades of blues used for the holograms are perfect. When Luke has his X-wing helmet on the orange visor tints his eyes and flesh wonderfully. The sky on the final page is beautiful. Bonvillain’s work is aces. Overall grade: A 

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates this issue’s scene settings, dialogue and transmissions (the same font), sounds, and the yell at the end. The scene settings continue to win me over on this series, with me hoping they get employed on all Star Wars comics. I was disappointed by the transmissions, which consist of ship to ship communications, being in the same font as dialogue, differed only by the balloons that contain them. They really should be in a different visual font because they would not sound the same as dialogue. The sounds are fantastic throughout this book; there are several different fonts used and they make the impact of the actions increase. Overall grade: A-

The final line: The story is fantastic, but different artists create a jarring visual experience. I would love to see Pak writing more of Luke’s adventures after reading this one-shot. Having one artist and inker team would have made this a much more consistent book. If you like Star Wars, you’ll enjoy this, but you will have questions about the visuals. Overall grade: B+

To order a digital copy go to

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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.
    No Comment