In Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #5

Major events are cut off at the knees due to poor visuals.

The covers: Two to find for this penultimate issue. The Regular cover is by Paolo Rivera and it’s really sweet. This has Rey and Kylo back to back, with Rey facing the reader. Both have their lightsabers ignited and are surrounded by Snoke’s Elite Praetorian guards. The characters are really good and the colors are excellent, with the all the reds making this a tense image. A terrific job by Rivera. The Variant cover is by David Lopez and it’s a pretty dramatic piece with Kylo reenacting one of his grandfather’s favorite abilities. A large image of the Sith is against an off-gray and off-black background extending a hand toward the reader. The center of the hand and Kylo give way to an image of General Hux on his knees being Force choked. This must be the moment that comes after Rey has left Kylo. I like the way the stronger villain looks, but Hux’s face is hard to make out, at least on the digital version I’m looking at. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant B-

The story: Gary Whitta’s adaptation of the film begins aboard the Supremacy in Snoke’s throne room. He joyful tells Rey that he’s planned her arrival aboard the ship and will now use the Force to pick her mind for Luke Skywalker’s location. As she is sent frozen in the air screaming, Kylo Ren watches silently. Aboard a Resistance transport, Poe Dameron wakes up after his mutiny against Holdo came to an end: he was knocked out by Leia. General Solo explains to the pilot the sacrifice that Holdo is making. In the hanger bay of the Supremacy, Finn and Rose are to be executed after being betrayed by DJ. With the information they’ve gotten from the thief, the First Order begins to fire on the transports headed toward Crait. This issue contains the memorable death of a major villain, the incredible fight that happens immediately afterwards, Finn fighting Captain Phasma, and the battle of the skim speeders against the transports of the First Order. The story moves at a quick pace, just like the film, with the book ending with the welcome arrival of a famous ship that will assist the Resistance. This was the best part of the film and Whitta captures the energy and pacing of it well. Overall grade: A

The art: Michael Walsh’s art continues to disappoint. With the other Marvel Star Wars comics looking so well illustrated, I can only think that Walsh got this as a rush job, because that’s how every issue has appeared, with this installment being no exception. One of the reoccurring problems with the visuals is the lack of details in the characters’ faces. The book does start strongly with a good image of Snoke, but this vanishes soon afterwards, as the fourth panel only suggesting the characters’ identities, and the sixth has both characters go through a physical change, with neither resembling any earlier visage of each. Holdo’s neck is a ridiculous length whenever she appears. The backgrounds are incredibly underdeveloped; one need look no further than the hanger aboard the Supremacy to see that characters and vehicles are vague incomplete shapes. There is simply no justification for a comic book, especially one put out by Marvel, to look as it does for the first, third, and fourth panel on Page 3. And Phasma’s shiny armor is an absolute mess. The incredible lightsaber battle from the film is hard to follow because the reader is not shown where the characters are before they enter the battle or when they leave the skirmish. This are random foes attacking the heroes appearing out of the ether to battle the heroes. How did the fire start at this location? It’s not shown in the artwork and it needs to be since there’s no text explaining it. The lay out for this book’s art is fine, it just desperately needed finishing. Overall grade: F

The colors: The movie’s strongest colors occur during the scenes set in Snoke’s throne room, so I was expecting some vivid crimsons from Mike Spicer on those pages. Happily, these pages are bright, but the art doesn’t allow Spicer to vary too much with his pallete of colors unless he were to go back and redraw the pages himself, and that’s not his job. There is a nice job done with the major antagonist’s death with blue being very strong and the characters showing skin shaded well to give them some dimension. However the rest of the book is drab, matching the lack of colors in the film. The hanger is full of gray and white blobs and white and pale red for Crait. The reds on this planet do draw the eye well, but they’re overshadowing the vehicles that are battling. Overall grade: C

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates the text for this book that follows the format of all Star Wars comics: a slender dialogue font that renders all speakers as weak and scene settings that are difficult to see. There are some sounds in this issue and they look good, but sadly the lightsaber battle and the fight on Crait is on mute. This is not Lanham’s decision, but an editorial decision that needs to be rectified. Millions of fans of all ages imitate the icon sounds of this film series. What possible reason would there be to omit them from these four colored adventures? Overall grade: C-

The final line: Major events are cut off at the knees due to poor visuals. As with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, Marvel continues to destroy any attempts to create classic movie adaptations by using poor visuals. This book, this series, is only for completists. 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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