In Review: Star Wars: Age of Resistance: Finn #1

An outstanding first issue to this series.

The covers: Five to find for the first issue of this new limited series. The Regular cover is by the phenomenal Phil Noto. Finn stands facing the reader in his usual garb, but with a massive blaster held for action. Behind him is a black background and a geometric shape outlined in red. Within it are two First Order stormtroopers in cool blues. Very nice. The Concept Design Variant cover by an uncredited artist has a full figured Finn standing with his arms at his side facing the reader. He stands out because he’s on a white grid background, resembling a sketchpad. I really like this and eagle eyed readers will note that he has a lightsaber clipped to his jacket on the right. Very cool. The Photo Variant cover is a spectacular image of John Boyega in his First Order armor holding his helmet before him. He looks intensely at the reader with a blue starry sky inserted behind him. I’ve not seen this photo before and I really like it. Mike McKone & Guru eFX have begun a new Puzzle Piece Variant series with this being the first piece. Finn strikes a pose with a pistol held out in his left hand on a star field full of (what look like) A-wings and several Star Destroyers. These Variant covers always look so good. Hopefully Marvel releases them as posters at some point. The final frontpiece is the Variant cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Elia Bonetti. Rey is in the foreground, hunched over, holding her staff. Over her left shoulder is Finn in his stormtrooper gear. Over his right shoulder is Poe and over Finn’s left is Rose. Between these two is Snoke. Phasma is teeny tiny in the lower right corner. On the left to all is Kylo Ren holding his lightsaber before his face, obscuring him. A First Order officer can be seen low in the left. This is a really generic cover with the characters faces obscured by dark shading. Overall grades: Regular A+, Concept Design Variant A+, Photo Variant A+, Puzzle Piece Variant A-, Variant C-

The story: On Starkiller Base, FN-2187 (the soon to be self named Finn) is having some fun while mopping a floor while FN-3761 dries. He stops his frivolity because Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma are coming their way. Not knowing what to do with his mop, he stands at attention with the mop held high, it dripping on his shoulder. Ren walks away after looking at him, but Phasma orders him to stand down. She tells them “A construction unit encountered a blockage while building a flood chamber. The two of you are to report to deck nine to join the cleaning crew.” They arrive and told to suit up, surprised to see the captain with a flame thrower on his back. They’re told it’s more of an infestation that “…already ate two people.” There’s a survivor from the infestation attack, but he’s in shock. The eight troopers go into the hold and things go badly. Tom Taylor has crafted a good creepy story, illustrating why the troopers are out of their league. The reason for the infestation is believable, as is the solution that comes from Finn. There’s a new character introduced on Page 16 and I would love to see this character return, because she’s so strong character and has a rapport with Finn. The last page nicely foreshadows Finn’s future without being too schmaltzy. Taylor walks that line, but never crosses it. Based on this story, I would really like to have Taylor do another Finn tale. Overall grade: A

The art: Ramon Rosanas is knocking the artwork out of the park on this issue. The first page has a cinematic pull-in to Starkiller Base ending with a close-up of Finn and some strange black silhouettes. Page 2 reveals he’s holding the mop in front of him and his actions are ones I’ve observed many a time in my students when armed similarly. The entrance by Ren and Phasma is great, changing the lighthearted tone instantly. The first four panels on the third page are funny, with dark undertones, and I like how Finn snaps to attention just hearing his name from Phasma. I like Rosanas’s choice in not showing much of the survivor from the infestation, making the reader internally visualize how shook this individual is. When the character is shown, the scars on his face and bugged out eyes clearly communicate to the reader that he’s not faking his fear. I love the top panel on 6 with all the troopers next to one another before they enter the hole. This is a great Who-will-survive? panel. The action at the top of 8 is fantastic for the horror and speed with which it’s accomplished. The action that follows looks great and the creatures have a terrific design — it’s simple, yet perfectly suited to carry out the carnage and fit in perfectly with the Star Wars Universe. The action atop 10 is a shocker with the three panels that follow it contain a smooth sense of motion, albeit a small one. Page 13 is a WOW! moment. If this were in a film the audience would be lost in what they are seeing. The character introduced on 16 looks great and there needs to be more of her in other Star Wars books. The vehicles in this issue also look good and I love the debris of the final setting. Rosanas needs to be given his own Star Wars title to illustrate as soon as possible. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: There’s a lot of work on this book from Guru-eFX. Check out the subtle work done on the different metallic shades in the second panel on the opening page: very cool and very realistic. The shading work done on characters’ flesh is outstanding, making them seem almost three dimensional. I love the harsh crimson banners behind the FNs on 2 and 3, making them pop in the dark setting. Great shine on Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma’s armor, with the First Order troopers looking superb with each gleam of light on them. When the flamethrower is first used, notice how the target is bright and this light lessens the farther away from the target the flame is: so smart! The creatures’ wails have a harsh red to make them loud for the reader and the troopers. The flames are glorious in oranges and yellows. The blues revealed on 13 are beautiful and I like how they’re reflected off the trooper’s armor. The creatures are in a foreign violet, making them hidden in the darkness yet radiant against the blues. The last setting has an excellent rust orange. When Rosanas gets his own Star Wars series, Guru-eFX needs to be there to color it. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates this issue’s scene settings, dialogue, yells, and sounds. I really like these scene settings, done in a box that features an icon of the book’s dominant faction followed by strong black text. This needs to be adopted into all Star Wars comics. There are several types of yells, from a superior officer getting a lesser’s attention to a character repeating a word in fear. Very nice. The sounds are spectacular. This film franchise is known for its iconic Oscar winning sounds, so I’m always happy to read them in the comics. The creatures have an ear splitting wail that looks as painful as its effects on the troopers, but when not shrieking the font is softer, though still in a scratchy voice. The flamethrower’s sounds look as one would expect them to sound. Overall grade: A

The final line: An outstanding first issue to this series. After reading this I want more Finn adventures from these creators. The story is fun, showing that Finn is not meant to be a trooper. The visuals are outstanding, with the characters and settings superior and the colors gorgeous. This is a terrific comic. The bar has been set high by this opening 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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