In Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #4

I love Star Wars, but the visuals on this book just break my heart.

The covers: A pair to find in this pivotal moment from the Star Wars saga. The Regular cover by Rahzzah has Luke in the foreground bottom left, looking over his shoulder at something that’s not making him happy. In the background is the Force ghost of Master Yoda. The diminutive Jedi looks upon the thing that’s causing Skywalker consternation. A red glow is on both characters and embers fly about them, standing out against a dark sky. Hmm…What could possibly be going on? Good visual tease about what’s occurring without giving the moment away. The Variant cover is by Rod Reis and features a bust shot of Amilyn Holdo holding a blaster in her right hand. Behind her are the bombers that were lost in the first issue of this series as they try to down the First Order destroyer. This is a great looking cover, with the character strongly resembling actress Laura Dern. Sadly, I really did not like this character in the film, and that influences my love of this frontpiece, so this won’t be a cover I’ll be looking to collect. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant C+

The story: Gary Whitta’s adaptation begins with Rey going after Luke on Ahcho-To during a downpour. She wants to know if he tried to kill Ben Solo, creating Kylo Ren. She battles him with her staff, but he quickly disarms her. She ignites her lightsaber and forces the former Jedi Master to the ground. He confesses that he did. Luke says that he saw that Snoke had corrupted him. Unfortunately, “…for the briefest moment of pure instinct, I thought I could stop it.” However, Luke’s lightsaber woke Ben, who saw his uncle before him, his weapon activated, ready to kill him. Ben drew his own saber and he blasted his uncle back and turned forever to the Dark Side. Rey tells Luke he could be turned. She wants to go to Kylo to turn him back to the light. Luke responds, “This is not going to go the way you think. And I can’t help you.” She goes to the Millennium Falcon and leaves with Chewbacca and Artoo. Alone, Luke goes to the tree that houses the sacred Jedi texts to burn them. Yoda is there as a Force ghost and creates a lightning bolt which starts the fire. He and Luke have a conversation on the past and the future and what it means to be a master. The story then moves to Finn and Rose (and BB-8) who are aboard DJ’s stolen ship. The two are schooled on how the world works. Meanwhile, Poe is having issues with the leadership of Holdo, who’s style is very different from Leia’s. Unknowingly, Rey, Finn, and Rose are headed toward the same location, while Poe makes an unwise decision. There’s nothing new revealed in this portion of the adaptation, but it faithfully follows the film. The book ends on a terrific cliffhanger that occurred before the highpoint of the film. Overall grade: A

The art: These visuals are just making me squirm. Following the story through Michael Walsh’s illustrations are easy enough, but the art is not comparable to any other Star Wars comic published by Marvel. This book comes off as rushed. Look at the second panel of the first page: Where are Luke’s feet? That rain falling is a mess. If this is just the artist’s style, it’s unlike any I’ve come across before. And it’s just not good. The ninth panel on the second page has slits on Rey’s head for eyes, nose, and mouth. The close-up of Rey on the page is good, however. The final panel on the third page is a suggestion of a setting and a vehicle: it’s extremely sketchy, but that’s been a constant of Walsh’s work on the previous issues. The second panel on the fourth page has an incomprehensible background. The bottom three panels on Page 5 are just too loose. And why is Yoda disappearing? What reason has he do so if he’s still talking to Luke? He didn’t begin to phase out in the film. The hyperspace flight of DJ’s ship at the top of 6 is horrible. The interiors of this ship are not good. This is simply not a pleasant book to look at. There are countless examples of sketchy, incomplete characters, vehicles, and backgrounds throughout. To go over each is like killing something one loves. This artwork is unacceptable on a Star Wars comic, or any comic book for that matter. Overall grade: F

The colors: Unfortunately the color scheme from this section of the movie isn’t bright, save two moments. The first occurs when Yoda appears, with him bringing a supernatural blue that lights up the dim night on Ahch-To. The second is the beginning of the big action sequence of the film, teased in this issue with some strong reds. The rest of the book doesn’t allow Mike Spicer to have any bright colors since the film did not. Spicer does a fine job mirroring the colors of the film, but it’s a bland palette this time out. I don’t blame him for the colors of this book, he’s faithful to the source. Overall grade: C-

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates dialogue, scene settings, dialogue, sounds, Wookiee roars, droid speech, and yells. The dialogue, scene settings, and droid speech are the same as found in other SW books; I like the latter but not the two former. The Wookiee roar looks nothing in other books and is a freakish font for the beloved character, giving him a shuttered speech. Several sounds in this book look to have been done by Walsh, as they resemble nothing I’ve ever seen Lanham do on other books. The editorial staff would be wise to have Lanham do all the sounds, as the others are frail scrawls. Overall grade: C-

The final line: I’m surprised this book’s production values doesn’t create the controversy the film does. This is just not a good looking book on any level. I love Star Wars, but the visuals on this book just break my heart. I would avoid this publication. Overall grade: D+

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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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