In Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker–Allegiance #1

Nice to see the remaining heroes together on a mission.

The covers: The are four covers to pick up on this teaser series that’s set before Episode IX. The Regular cover by Marco Checchetto connects to the other issues whose covers he created for this series. The Millennium Falcon is speeding to the upper left corner blasting off it’s lower guns. To the right is a concerned image of Leia and below her are Rose Tico and Aftab Ackbar, the admiral’s son. The bottom third of the illustration features Rey, wearing a breathing mask, taking a stand against a fierce creature. Neat cover and I’m looking forward to seeing how these covers connect. Daisy Ridley as Rey graces the Movie Photo Variant cover that features an intense close-up of her that was in the first trailer released for The Rise of Skywalker. She looks into the distance, beyond the reader, leaning forward with her blue lightsaber held behind her in a desert setting. If I can ever find this cover I’m picking it up. The Brian Stelfreeze Variant cover is a knockout. Rey is standing with her staff held horizontally low in both hands. The tails of her clothes are blowing to the right from a strong breeze. Several rocks are floating around her, showing that her power with the Force is strong. She has on a breathing mask similar to the ones shown in The Empire Strikes Back. She’s snarling behind that clear mask, making her look incredibly intense. A bust of Leia is in her upper left, Finn is in the upper right, below him is a smiling Rose, and in the bottom left is Poe. All the characters are on top of a Millennium Falcon that’s facing down. This is gorgeous. Stelfreeze has created a masterpiece. The final Variant cover is by Will Sliney & Guru-eFX. A First Order Stormtrooper looks down upon the reader, holding his rifle ready. The snow covered ground sweeps up on either side of him as three TIE-Fighters and a Star Destroyer are behind him. I like when characters are shown clearly and his character most certainly is. Cool. Overall grade: Regular A-, Movie Photo Variant A+, Stelfreeze Variant A+, and Sliney Variant A-

The story: On the ice planet of Tah’Nuhna in the Mid Rim, a spokesbeing asks General Hux not to invade their world. They’ve always been neutral even during the time of the Empire. “A Resistance transmission was traced here…That does not seem very neutral as far as the First Order is concerned.” Hux adds, “And who said anything about an invasion?” TIE Fighters streak of out of the eighteen Star Destroyers that hover above the world’s buildings. Snowtroopers on the ground mow down anything that moves. The Tah’Nuhna ambassador sends out to message to any that can hear his broadcast that his people need help. His final transmission is seen by a shocked Kaydel Ko Connix. She runs to General Leia to tell her what’s happened, who becomes more resolved to fight the First Order. Writer Ethan Sacks then does something that every fan wants: Leia decides to go on a mission with the tall owner of a modified YT-1300 Corellian light freighter, and two other characters. She also wants Rey to go with her, but the Jedi is battling a monster outside for practice, and not doing too well. Finn. BB-8, and Poe are on the Wayward Comet, a refueling station, where one of them is not having a good time. I was very pleased to see who’s also there, with a terrific reveal on Page 17. The next page shows that Kylo Ren has the patience of his grandfather in dealing with underlings. The issue ends with Leia and her group arriving on a familiar world. I liked how every character is touched on, with two of my favorite characters, Leia and Rey, getting most of the story. Poe and Finn are a good pair and I’d like to see more of them together. This was a solid start. Overall grade: B+ 

The art: Luke Ross has become one of my favorite artists for recent Star Wars comics so I was very happy to see him on this book. The world of Tah’Nuhna looks unlike anything I’ve seen before in this franchise’s comic adventures, as were its denizens. My hat’s off to Ross for creating something this long time fan hasn’t encountered before. Pages 2 and 3 are almost a double-paged splash and any reader looking upon this will know that this world is doomed. I liked the intensity on Hux, without him looking like a manic screamer. The troopers on the fourth page look great and I hope that this series will provide more opportunities for Ross to draw them. The design of the Resistance camp on Anoat is practical and makes perfect sense. I like that breathing masks are required to venture outside, instantly giving this location a sense of danger. Leia looks as though she’s aging in each panel as Connix tells her what has happened. The four pages where Rey is battling the creature are terrific stuff: the beast is awesome and the hero looks killer. I love the leap at the bottom of 11. Finn’s first appearance in the book is great, with him being in the center of the action and in his usual situation. The first three panels on 16 are clever, because two characters are in silhouette, while behind them a massive battle rages. I loved the reveal on 17, with some of my favorite characters from a recent Star Wars book appearing. Kylo is only briefly on one page, and looks fine, but I really want to see what Ross can do with this villain. Page 20 is a full-paged splash showing the reception Leia gets at the final location. It’s a solid cliffhanger with the aliens looking good. I love Ross’s art and I’m enjoying the look of this book. Overall grade: A 

The colors: I also really like the colors by Lee Loughridge. Most often one color dominates a page, giving the illustrations a bright focus and an alien feel. Blue-greens dominate Tah’Nuhna, making it both peaceful and otherworldly. Red enters the book when Hux first appears. The interior of the Resistance base blues dominate, making it seem as though these freedom fighters are barely capable of keeping the power going. Rey’s battle is given a yellow background, increasing the tension. The orange sounds and the creature’s red exclamations increase the fury of the fight. The Wayward Comet is in pinks, making it festive and sketchy, like an evil Las Vegas. Sounds stand out in this setting by being smartly in yellow. The last page is the first to have characters stand out in what would be considered normal colors, though the background is a blue, which suits the world. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s text is created by VC’s Clayton Cowles and it includes scene settings, dialogue, sounds, droid speech and transmissions, a Wookiee exclamations, a creature’s growls, BB-8’s sounds, and two different indecipherable aliens’ speech. I’ve never been a fan of this dialogue font and continue to dislike it being so thin as to make every one who uses it to be weak. The scene settings work because they’re colored correctly. I like Threepio’s speech and the transmissions which are done in a classical italic font to sound metallic. Chewie’s roars are fine, as are the creature growls, and BB’s thin wail. I really like the two untranslatable aliens’ dialogue. I like when Star Wars comics have characters speak and, like in the movies, their speech isn’t translated. More of this, please! Overall grade: B+

The final line: Nice to see the remaining heroes together on a mission. This does get me excited about the next film, though I’m keeping my hopes low after Episode VII. This book’s story is good, the characters are fun, and the visuals great. I’m looking forward to more of this tale. 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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