Script: Randy Stradley
Art: Douglas Wheatley
Colors: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Benjamin Carre
I love it when I finish a comic and feel emotionally and physically drained. Star Wars: Dark Times—A Spark Remains #3 did just that, and although we suspected it coming at the end of last month’s issue, I did not expect the deception to be so deep. The story does take a turn that I can’t believe someone so powerful and hateful would resort to such an act, but that’s easily forgotten by how much I enjoyed the issue.
Randy Stradley left us stranded on the last issue with a big twist, and he didn’t let it fade away into the void of anticlimactic. His script pauses at an early moment to update us on Vader’s training of Falco Sang, but I hurry through these parts anymore. Right now, this side story is filler that keeps us distracted from the main story, but I do suspect sometime down the road, this side story will finally take center stage and justify all this “wasted” time. That said, and those pages quickly read, Stradley fills the rest of the issue with a lightsaber fight that spirals out of control and into the streets. Our protagonist, at least one of them, planned all this, so you can guess how it ends but not see what collateral damage is done. That collateral damage includes the tragedy of a character we’ve come to know fairly well, but it also damages the way I perceive one of the biggest villains of the Star Wars universe. The comic’s readers will know what I’m referring to, and my review readers will know how many times I’ve eaten those words after reading the final issue of a miniseries. I suspect I’ll be doing it again in a couple months. Stradley continues to impress, and his script required creative work from the art team.
Douglas Wheatley does a great job, particularly his attention to detail depending on a panel’s focus, and Dan Jackson’s colors tries something different when it comes to displays of the Force. Illustrating the use of the Force without a soundtrack is difficult, with previous Star Wars comics forcing me to go back and see what happened. In this issue, the art team used colors to demonstrate the use of the Force. Wheatley includes panels with the focus on hand gestures to let the reader know what’s going on, but the team took it a step further by including a blue glow. I’m glad to see this tactic explored, and maybe the blue color is the correct way to go because of the blue from Force lightning and Force ghosts. When the two different styles of illustrating the Force are combined by all on the art team, there’s never any worry of whether the reader will get it immediately or not.
This was a great issue, with both the writing and the illustrating, and if anyone should see the power of a Star Wars comic, this may be the issue to reference for the time being. The story may have been a small interlude from the trap sprung in the first issue, but the theme of the Dark Times is always front and center. Major kudos to the team, and I’m so glad there are still two more issues in the miniseries.
Advanced Review Copy (ARC) courtesy of Dark Horse. All staff members can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.