Story: Jason Aaron
Art: Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Justin Ponsor
What They Say:
Chewbacca unleashed! Skywalker in chains! Han Solo…with a ball and chain?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While I tend to not be a fan of multiple stories running in a single issue designs, Star Wars has managed it well even with the three that it’s currently handling. Part of that just stems from Han and Leia’s story being kept off to the side. That story feels like it get a little more time and character material this time around and it works well as we see Han doing his best to convince Leia that it’s not what it seems – even though it sort of his. His explanation of why they’re married certainly fits character, it being part of a revenge plan, but also something that neither of them really took seriously because of what it was. Sana’s need for Han is a separate issue but her regular mention of being married certainly sets Leia off on a tear and it’s good to see it continuing here for the moment rather than coming to a quick resolve.
That leaves the other two main arcs playing out in this story, though they’re all coming together fairly quickly here. With Chewie, things are certainly going worse for him here as he’s intent on busting Luke out of Grakkus’ palace, though his method is brute force and not exactly the smartest thing to do. Luckily for him, in its own weird way, the arrival of Dengar to collect on Han keeps him from getting into deeper trouble. Though it’s pretty much just a slugfest between the two across the book it works very well because it does let Chew cut loose a bit and just go at it. He’s a strong fighter from what we know, but sometimes you really, really, have to show it so that it’s clear. He takes some really bad hits here though, which helps give it a bit more weight, and we even get a bit of a touching bond with Threepio with how he intervenes.
Though I really loved Chewie’s fight and I do rank it the highest in this issue, I also really enjoyed seeing Luke enter the arena. With him going against a last of its kind monster that’s like a fast-moving and very angry Rancor, there’s a lot to like with the visual design of it and the echoes to the future that we get here. Luke is by no means ready for this compared to what he’ll face in the future so it’s played well as he tries to adhere to things Ben taught him while struggling with the anger within. Grakkus knows how to nudge that up nicely and it reminds us once again of just how reckless Luke is at this stage. But we also see some nice layers being peeled back slowly, notably with the Gamemaster here, that could spell a more interesting fate in store for several involved in this particular plot.
Star Wars has worked for me for the most part with the ongoing series, though I’ve commented on how the other books have tended to work better. This arc feels like it’s connecting in a better and more solid way, both in writing and with the top notch artwork from Immonen and Von Grawbadger, and it’s resulting in a far more engaging work that flows better. This issue is still working with multiple stories – each of which is expanding in their own ways – while also playing with a mostly kind of obscure to your casual fan character with Dengar. Though he’s never been a highly thought of bounty hunter, he does have his fans and giving him a bit more personality here is definitely a treat.
Age Rating: All Ages
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: November 4th, 2015