Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gale Eltaeb
Release Date: 10th April 2013
If you are worried about these comics contradicting or re-treading plots from the Star Wars movies or the Extended Universe, fear not! This eponymous series explores the rarely touched upon few months between the end of Episode IV: A New Hope and the beginning of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Fortunately, it’s living up to some of the best stories that Star Wars has seen in recently years.
Of course, the first thing that will stand out to you as you pick up/download the issue is the gorgeous painted cover by the one and only Alex Ross. Ross has painted covers every issue and they are simply beautiful. As luck would have it, the beautiful artwork doesn’t stop there.
The combination of Carlos D’Anda‘s art and Gabe Eltaeb‘s coloring is, truly, a thing to behold. The art team seem to really hit their stride with the various machines the Star Wars universe. The detail that has been poured into every spaceship, droid and even Darth Vader (hey, he’s more machine than man!) is nothing short of breath-taking. The TIE Interceptor has never looked so good! Accompanying these intricate ships and machines is Eltaeb’s lighting effects. From the engine of the Millenium Falcon to the shine of C-3PO and R2D2, the gorgeous lighting steals the show for me.
My main complaint with the book is definitely the faces of the main characters. None of them look like their movie counterparts or even anyone in particular. Luke Skywalker not only doesn’t look like Mark Hamill, he looks like any young blonde guy. This Han Solo could be almost any brown haired caucasian man. Even Chewbacca and Admiral Ackbar don’t look quite right. If the readers didn’t know better, they could be any Wookiee or Mon Calamari.
Right along side the art. Brian Wood‘s scripts are as solid as ever. While the upcoming twist probably won’t blow our minds (read the issue twice and you’ll almost definitely make the connections) but the dialogue is great throughout. The dynamic between Han and Chewie is fantastic and the few words that escape Vader’s are chilling as they’ve ever been.
It’s also very nice to see that the captions that had clogged some panels in the previous three issues are considerably toned down.
At this point, Dark Horse could easily be phoning these books in so it’s good to see that they are maintaining a high standard as their time with the Star Wars license comes to a close. Oh and if you can read those phonetic Shyriiwook (the main Wookiee dialect) balloons without reading them out loud with your best Chewie impression, you’re a better person than I am.