No matter what universe you are in, the Jundland Wastes are not to be traveled lightly. General Luke Skywalker, Padawan Annikin Starkiller and Agent Whitsun barely escaped from one Imperial attack in the previous issue. They are on the run with the former Princess-now Queen Leia and the last of the Royal Family of Aquilae. The only hope is to make it off the planet before the Empire catches up to them.
Considering what happened in the previous issues you would think the story would open on a somber note or an action scene. Nope, singing and smiling faces. Leia and her two brothers, Biggs and Windy, seem to be enjoying themselves as they are all smiles and songs. Regardless of the recent death of their father and that they are on the run from the Empire. It’s a bit off putting at first but it’s about the only real levity in the issue. Things heat up fast and don’t let up until the end.
The tone of this issue is one of my main complaints against it. The art continues to be incredible to look at as Mike Mayhew channels Ralph McQuarrie. But with a child’s song opening and some odd cross cutting in the 2nd half, the tone is all over the place. I’m not sure if this is a fault of Rinzler’s adaptation or if this existed in the original source material. I do hope one day we will be able to get a proper release of the original script to compare this against.
The strength of this issue is the action scenes. The story is really picking up speed as we see the Jedi fight Stormtroopers in the desert. We meet a much different Han Solo in a very familiar looking cantina. Harrison Ford this is not, he is somewhere between Swamp Thing and Shrek. And it’s not just his look that is different, this is a Han Solo that is less of a smuggler scoundrel and more of the Rebellion leader from Return of the Jedi.
The issue closes with a nice but brief moment to say goodbye to one of our characters. He sacrifices himself so that the others may live and that the mission should continue.
Again, I’m reminded of how hard it is to talk about or review this book. By it’s very definition it is an incomplete draft and it’s nearly impossible to read it without hearing the classic lines in my head or comparing every panel to a frame from the movie. However this issue seems to have the most pacing and tone problems of the four issues released so far. Still an enjoyable story but this issue left me scratching my head the most.
Advanced Review Copy (ARC) courtesy of Dark Horse. All staff members can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.