Script: Randy Stradley
Art: Gabriel Guzman
Colors: Garry Henderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Douglas Wheatley
Dark Times is a difficult comic series to judge. Since its start, it has struggled to come out on time, and when it did, its stories had lost their momentum and weren’t overly exciting. However, I believe Dark Horse and those involved at Lucasfilm wouldn’t start another miniseries unless they were to tell a good story, and the first issue of Star Wars: Dark Times—Fire Carrier lays that possible foundation.
Randy Stradley spends the first issue setting the scene and establishing the characters. For old and new readers alike, Randy gives us everything we need to know to follow the story, even including references to other comic series that have taken place during this era. The struggles of being a former Jedi in this anti-Jedi environment are written into every line of dialogue, adding to the conflicts of the characters while not over-stressing the point.
K’Kruhk is a former Whiphid Jedi master who’s taken it upon himself to help a small group of younglings find a safe haven in the new Imperial galaxy. Readers will know immediately that Arkinnea might not be his best bet for that haven, but the planet does offer the chance for it with its camps. Once relocated into a refugee camp, the Jedi find some new allies and an old friend. And while that’s all going on, we’re also given glimpses of conflicts to come: Darth Vader is only interested in destroying the remaining Jedi, Arkinnea hates refugees, and the Jedi masters have a bad feeling about their current situation.
As the script blends all of those points, Gabriel Guzman’s art captures the style I’ve come to expect with every Dark Horse Star Wars comic. Although I failed to recognize uses of the Force at moments, all the characters are consistently illustrated in every panel, and when K’Kruhk or any of the other alien characters (alien to us humans, anyway) are experiencing an emotion, you recognize it, which isn’t always captured accurately in the comics I read. Gabriel’s art and Henderson’s colors will be enough to thoroughly enjoy picking up this series even if the story takes a hit in future issues.
Fire Carrier #1 (or Dark Times #23 or Republic #106, all of which is mentioned at the beginning) seems like a promising start, but I’m hesitant to get too excited until I know more about where it’s going, though the title of “Fire Carrier” could be promising. With introductory writing from Randy and detailed illustrations from Gabriel, I do believe we’ll get an exciting, tense-filled story with lots of fighting, running, and, more than likely, more appearances by Darth Vader!
Advanced Review Copy (ARC) courtesy of Dark Horse. All staff members can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.