In Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker-Allegiance #4

The prelude to the film concludes with a world making a fateful decision.

The covers: A trio to collect for this final issue. The Regular cover by Marco Checchetto completes the connecting fronts with this final piece. Rey is on the left holding her staff over her right shoulder and looking to the right. Below her is a small BB-8. Flying from the center to the right are a threesome of X-wings. In the upper right, just visible under the title, is Chewbacca and a Qurren. Rey looks terrific and that’s a major reason for my grabbing this frontpiece. The Movie Photo Variant shows Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa looking serious in a photo from the upcoming film The Rise of Skywalker. I love photocovers, I love Leia, and Carrie Fisher, so, yeah, I would track this cover down. The final cover is the Variant by Will Sliney & Guru-eFX. A bust shot of Rey holding her lightsaber is in the middle, with a Mon Calamari between two Quarrens looking above her right shoulder, while the bounty hunters Kendoh, Remex, and Wooro look to the right below her left shoulder. Good, clear images of the characters and the colors are vibrant. Any of these covers would be a welcome addition to any collector’s cache. Overall grades: Regular A, Movie Photo Variant A+, and Variant A

The story: A bomb has gone off on the platform that Rey, Leia, Rose, Chewie, and Aftab were using to get to their ship. Luckily, one of them has certain abilities that protect them from the blast. A Quarren is seen running nearby and action gal Rey takes it upon herself to chase him down. Rose joins her, but is not as spry as the young Jedi. Fortune smiles upon Ms. Tico who finds a conveyance to help her catch up. Who eventually catches the guilty party is good and it happens quickly. The story then moves to Base 354-23X where Finn is awakened by Poe who sends him a whispered message on his comlink, “Finn! We got the first crates of Republic weapons aboard the ship…Do you copy? Listen, you need to be careful. The bounty hunters’ ship is covering the hangar entrance…I accidentally, uh, tricked it to move from here to your position…” This is a great beginning to this pairs’ adventure from writer Ethan Sacks. It’s their portion of the story that’s the best — full of action and solids humor in the worst of situations. I’m hoping that the upcoming film is able to match this book’s level of excellence for this pair. Back on Mon Cala, things get political and follow a by the numbers reveal and ending. This story sets up a divided situation for the film, but was this story that important to the movie? This was enjoyable, though only one half was fun. Oh, and I have to mention that more of the bounty hunters need to be seen in other Star Wars comics! Count me in as someone who will purchase any book they appear in. Overall grade: B

The art: Luke Ross starts off this issue spectacularly with a massive explosion in the first panel that is destructive and unquestionably beautiful. The second page shows who saved the heroes and I like the point of view in the first panel and the change in the second to show the effect of this individual’s actions. The first panel on Page 3 had me thinking that those falling objects were hitting that person; heavier inks around the character would have solved this problem. I love the leap on this page, with me hoping that Ross will draw more of this character’s exploits in future Star Wars comics. The slight smile in the second panel on 4 is fun. I really like the point of view of the first two panels on the next page, showing how the culprit is captured. The large last panel on this page is great. The close up in the fourth panel on 7 is terrific: scary and funny. BB-8 gets a trio of panels to act on 8 and the result of that action is good. The difference between the first and second panel on 10 is excellent; every reader will know exactly what’s occurred and what that final panel signifies. I really like the pastiche of images in the top panel on 12, spotlighting the pain that one character has endured. I have to admit I’m still not thrilled with the way Ross is doing Quarren faces, with them just not meshing with the rest of the characters. The Bruce Willis moment on 14 – 16 is outstanding. It’s cool, scary, and absolutely funny for the look on one character’s face. The large panel on 19 is also outstanding, having me wishing that there had been more space panels or battles so that I could enjoy Ross’s visuals in this environment. The last page features five lead characters, with four looking with hope and the other with hate on the situation that closes this book. I continue to enjoy Ross’s art and that I hope he does more Star Wars books for Marvel. Overall grade: A- 

The colors: With the exception of the opening page that features the explosion, the colors by Lee Loughridge are very passive. There are no vibrant colors in this book. Every panel seems washed out. Granted the environments don’t lend themselves to dynamic colors, with water and dirt shades dominating. Some brighter colors would have punched up the visuals. Rey blends into the city’s structures on Mon Cala with her tan outfit against gray settings. Even the sky is a washed out blue. Rose’s togs are faded tan. This has her, like Rey, blending into the background too often. Nothing stands out in the final panel on 5. The art is good, but the colors damper any awesomeness to the situation. The final panel on 6 suffers the same fate. The waking character almost becomes one with the background. The blues for the space shots of Mon Cala look great, but lose some of their impact with the four panels that follow. It’s surprising that nothing has any color but blue underwater. I love that red was used for the scream on 15 which amplifies it immensely. Blues devour the final page, where some differentiation should have been done on the panels showing characters. The colors are just too faded in this finale. Overall grade: C-

The letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles creates this issue’s scene settings, sounds, dialogue, whispered speech, Wookiee roars, alien dialogue, droid speak, transmissions, and yells. The scene settings continue to be a problem because of their coloring. This text has been continually a problem in all Star Wars titles when used and I’m hoping it’s cast aside when the main title relaunches in January. The sounds are terrific in this issue with my favorite being the one on Page 8, panel five. It’s so small, yet hilarious when the result occurs in the next panel. The dialogue is another issue, being too thin, making every speaker’s dialogue seem frail. The whispered speech is a smaller version of this font, but it words because it’s supposed to be quieter speech. Chewie’s roars look good, as does the droid speak for Threepio. The alien dialogue is too small to hold any power and I don’t believe the two characters that employ this font would be speaking the same language. The yell on 15 is perfect. Overall grade: B-

The final line: The prelude to the film concludes with a world making a fateful decision. I enjoyed half of this story, with Finn and Poe being very enjoyable and the others stuck in a plodding tale of politicking. When all is said and done, was this story necessary? One won’t be able to tell until The Rise of Skywalker arrives. The art is strong, with Luke Ross continuing to do a killer job in a galaxy far, far away…The colors unfortunately dull many pages by using passive, faded colors. This is an okay conclusion. I’m not unhappy I purchased it, but I doubt I’ll remember much of it in a few months. Overall grade: B- 

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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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