In this issue of The Star Wars, Luke Skywalker and Annikin Starkiller lead a guerrilla strike against an Imperial base on the jungle planet Yavin. Their only allies are Owen Lars, a sympathetic anthropologist, and a small army of Wookiees. From there, preparations begin for this story’s final confrontation between the Jedi Bendu and the Knights of the Sith.
Like the rest of this series, this issue feels completely familiar and totally foreign at the same time. The characters and story beats line up with the Star Wars that you remember, but the details and the plot are so wildly different that it is impossible to predict. I would love to get into a spoilery discussion about the differences and similarities with the films, but it will have to wait for another time. For now, let’s just say that you will be surprised at some of the directions this comic heads by the end.
J. W. Rinzler’s writing in this issue is the sharpest it has been in the whole run. The plot moves at a brisk pace but doesn’t feel rushed. The action seems to take about as long as it needs to and never steps on the story. There is a fight that could be stretched out to two issues by itself, but it fits better in the few pages it has since it doesn’t drive the plot. The dialogue also finds a great balance of fitting in massive Star Wars levels of exposition, while avoiding the prequels’ clunkyness.
I am absolutely in awe of Mike Mayhew’s art and Rain Beredo’s colors. These guys have captured that specific look that defines (an alternate version of) this universe. For example, the Wookiees’ faces look like bats with beards. This makes them look more alien and scary, which is exactly the role they occupy in this version. They also did a ton of research and modeled the characters, worlds, and ships after early drafts of the original designs. This attention to detail, as well as the obvious joy that they have playing in this sandbox, helps make the art in this series something special.
This series has always been fun to read and surprised me, but this issue is the best one so far. There were several moments where I was genuinely surprised by the direction the story took. There are a few moments that you will recognize, but they are in a totally different context and, as a result, seem completely new. Star Wars fans need to check this one out. If for some reason you aren’t a fan of Star Wars but like exciting sci-fi that isn’t afraid to get weird, you should read this, too.
Five Bat-Faced Wookiee Guerillas out of Five