To the surprise of no one, Star Wars has been a huge hit for Marvel Comics. With creators like Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, and Stuart Immonen innovating on top of the cherished characters we love, what do we expect? Out this week is the latest adventure in the main Star Wars comic series, dubbed “The Escape.” It features a side quest to a strange culture of military-minded people. What could possibly go wrong for Han, Leia, Luke, and the droids?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
You can escape the horror of the galaxy — but only for a while. In the wake of disaster, our heroes are on the run from a resurgent Galactic Empire. Unable to escape the patrols, they find themselves trapped on a distant world. But where have they been abandoned? And how can they possibly survive? While the rebels try to figure out their situation, romance might be in the air between Luke Skywalker and Tula — and also between Han Solo and Princess Leia! But there’s little time for emotions for the stranded rebels — not when enormous, ravenous monsters are on the loose! And not when their hideaway turns out to not be so secret after all and old foes close in!
Why does this matter?
Kieron Gillen has done a great job with this series after picking up where Jason Aaron left off. That includes utilizing creations of Aaron’s like the Scar Squadron. Gillen has a great handle on these characters, making the interactions believable and important, too.
This trade paperback collects Star Wars #56-#61.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Artist Andrea Broccardo and Angel Unzueta do a great job rendering the heroes we know so well and keeping the action tense and easy to follow. Unzueta, in particular, has a photorealistic style that at times is shockingly close to the real-life actors. That can make a darting glance from Han or a glare from Leia all the more powerful. Broccardo opens and closes this collection and gets to show off the dirtier side of the Star Wars universe with a seedy bar shot in the opening scene and an all-out war at the end. The art comes together nicely with colors by GURU-eFX pulling things together with realistic skin tones and fantastic lightsaber action.
This is a well-plotted adventure. Gillen basically forces the main heroes into a tricky situation after being chased by a Star Destroyer. This forces them to hang out in a somewhat rough and tumble subculture that is cut off from the universe. Scenes of Han chopping wood are quaint and put our heroes in unique positions that are familiar and relatable. Later, Han is forced to compete in a shootout like in the westerns, which suits the character. Han and Leia’s attraction for each other is probed well as if Gillen is figuring out new ways to keep them flirting, but not going all the way. Meanwhile Luke is still learning (this all takes place prior to Empire Strikes Back) and there are moments where you might pick up a detail that could have affected how he acts in the films.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Time can be a problem when it comes to comic books and plotting. This story takes place over a few days but might have done better over more time. I say this due to Luke’s attraction to a leader’s daughter. The teen angst in Luke is present, but it manifests so quickly it’s hard to believe. The relationship he has with the girl is forced down a predictable line and doesn’t quite work. It leads to an interesting development and possibly new characters to be used for the future, but there’s not enough there to have it matter.
Is it good?
I skipped this collection in single issues and I’m kicking myself that I did. It’s a sometimes quaint but also interesting look at the characters when they’re forced into a unique situation. It also adds new characters I’m more than willing to keep reading about in future chapters.
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