Just look at that cover! When i was 9 years old and watching my blurry VHS copy of Star Wars while sitting about 16 inches away from the television with one hand digging into a bag of Doritos and the other hand tightly curled around a Luke Skywalker action figure, THIS image is what the Cantina scene looked like in my mind. Blasters firing, lightsabers swinging, bloody arms flying. Damn, Jedis are bad-ass! Sure, the actual scene is a bit more tame than this cover, but one should never let facts get in the way of cherished childhood memories.
Issue 2 of Marvel’s Star Wars runs from Ben’s rescue of Luke from the Sand People to their departure from Tatooine on the Millenium Falcon. Let’s start with the good: Howard Chaykin’s art. I love Chaykin’s work and didn’t mind that he didn’t quite have a handle on the characters in Issue 1 (particularly Luke, who looked nothing like Mark Hamill). As long as Chaykin is telling the story in a visually entertaining way, i don’t care if he’s working from head-shots of the various actors. I’d rather see Chaykin free to be himself, then be chained to copying photos of actors. All of that said, in Issue 2 he does a much better job on character likenesses. His Obi-Wan and Han Solo are excellent and his Luke is a little better than in Issue 1. Overall, a very well drawn book.
Now for the bad: God, i hate criticizing Roy Thomas. Not only am i huge fan of All-Star Squadron, but I’m a historian and a comic book fan. Alter Ego is a must read for me. I love Roy Thomas for both his own creative contributions to the medium, as well as the work he has done to preserve the history of the comic book industry. But his Star Wars scripts are just not working. Now, in all fairness, he was working from a movie script. Maybe –maybe– he saw still-in-development screening of Star Wars before it came out, but Thomas did not have the kind of access, nor familiarity, with the movie that we fans do. And his dialogue sticks closer to the script in this issue then in the last. But i can’t forgive him for “GRONK!”. What’s that, you say? Is there a mention of the New England Patriots wide-receiver in the issue? How’s that possible? Time travel? Was The Doctor involved?
Sadly, no. “GRONK!” is the sound effect Thomas created for the sound of a Wookie speaking. Sigh. I just have to tell myself that he hadn’t seen the film and felt the need to insert a random Alien-sounding word. But “GRONK!”??
Anyway, excellent issue. Han still shoots first (I’m amazed Lucas hasn’t ordered one of the minions he keeps locked in a cell beneath Skywalker Ranch to take an eraser to Chayin’s art and reprint the whole run as “Classic Star Wars: Special Edition”). Speaking of the Special Editions, there is a cool little cameo by a very non-Jabba looking Jabba the Hut. With nothing to work from except a scene in a script and, i assume, the word that Lucas was going to insert some sort of alien special effect over the human actor playing Jabba, Chaykin draws Jabba as a pretty random comic book alien. Dude looks like he should be background atmosphere in a crowd scene from Green Lantern Corps.
Still, excellent nostalgia fun. I’m looking forward to Issue 3 on Monday.
Another great cover. I know all the hip comic book fans are supposed to hate him, but I really love Alex Ross. And his work on both The Shadow and Masks perfectly fits the pulp 1930s feel of those books.
As mentioned before, I love The Shadow. And i’m enjoying Dynamite’s run on the title. Garth Ennis did a great job launching the book and i was sad to see him go (but, of course, i’d much rather have Ennis shackled to a desk and writing only Battlefield scripts for the rest of his life). But writer Victor Gischler and artist Aaron Campbell are putting together a very nice Shadow comic. Issue 9 is the second issue in the “Revolution” story, a yarn about gun-running during the Spanish Civil War. The Gischler’s sense of story is quite good; the issues are real page turners. I do have an issue with the use of George Orwell as a supporting character in the story. Well, let me rephrase that. I actually really dig Orwell’s role in the book. I’m a huge Orwell fan (particularly his literary criticism and the “As I Please” editorials he wrote for Tribune Magazine in the mid-1940s), but i’m fairly certain he would not have introduced himself as George Orwell. Orwell was his pen name. His real name was Eric Blair. In all of his personal letters (and i’ve read many of them) he signed his name as Eric Blair. It’s a little thing and only someone as obsessed with Orwell as I would even notice it so it barely warrants being labeled a criticism.
Anyway, the issue is excellent. The action is well done (there is some wonderful aerial combat that evokes both Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rocketeer), the introduction of a new masked villainous is fun (as is her duel (both physical and verbal) with The Shadow, and the last panel promises a wonderfully pulp-y turn in Issue 10. I can’t wait to read it.