Star Wars #23

Star Wars #23

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jorge Molina
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artists: Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo

Star Wars #23 opens up on the Harbinger as the reactor blows up…again…kinda. It can be a little confusing as this issue jumps around a bit. The opening scene actually takes place during the events of issue #22. Afterwards the comic goes back even further, showing events that occurred before issue #22. Then is leaps forward to the present with the events that follow after issue #22. It’s kinda of weird and a little jarring, but it does end on a high note with a tie-in to issue #21. I guess if you’re going to jump around, you may as well go full circle.

Regardless of all the jumping around, the main point of Star Wars #23 is that Han and Leia are bickering and in love. The opening showcases Han holding Leia and teasing her to hold on a little longer, and the present day storyline has them bickering and competing with each other left and right. It comes to a head as Han challenges Leia to a foot race to the bridge, winner takes command of the ship. As if all the dialog wasn’t enough, Sana comes right out and says that Han and Leia are madly in love. The subplot takes up the majority of the comic with mixed results. Having Han and Leia race each other to the bridge leans a little heavy to cartoonish comic storytelling, but Aaron really pushes it over by having Han jump on a speeder bike and Leia diving into a space suit to moonwalk through space to the bridge. That, and the bickering in itself is a little heavy handed. That said, it works a little.

Aside from all the Han and Leia in love story building, we get some plot development and some answers. Yet even on that scale, I have to dock Aaron a little on his choice of story layout. I’m not sure what purpose there was in showing the reactor core of the Harbinger blow up again. It wasn’t that much of a mystery that the story needed to stop, go back, and explain. If he really wanted to show what happened, he should have done it in the last issue. Pushing off into this one just gets confusing and makes it seem very out of place. On top of that, the story goes back further to explain plot points by showing how this whole mission got started. Again, this would have been a chunk to have included in the previous issue. By shoving it in here, it doesn’t serve much purpose or answer very many questions. We know the Rebels are stealing the Harbinger to use as a blockade runner for Tureen VII. But they don’t explain how they’re going to use the Star Destroyer to break the blockade.

The one story element I did like in this issue is how they’re tying this into Scar Squad. The missing admiral Han keeps talking about is the Rebel admiral Scar Squad captured and threatened to interrogate in Star Wars #21. The admiral makes a cameo appearance in this issue as does Scar Squad. It ends the issue on a high note as you’re eager to see what will happen next. Sana even redeems herself a little as she and Luke go out to investigate. However, if the comic hadn’t spent so much time trying to answer questions that should have been explained in the previous issue, this one could have focused more on Scar Squad and the battle to come. In a way, this one kind of points out some of the flaws with issue #21 while leaving itself open to a couple flaws of its own.

The artwork isn’t too bad as I’m starting to get used to the new style. Some panels are better than others. My favorite scenes were the panels of Sana and Luke in their TIE fighters as they scout out an approaching threat. There’s some really nice lighting work on their helmets and their facial expressions look good. It’s some spot on imagery. On the other hand, there’s some panels of Luke earlier in the issue where he’s wearing a Stormtrooper helmet and they don’t explain why. Some of the illustrations of Leia and Han are kind of weird due to the cartoony animation of the likenesses. Yet, overall, the artwork isn’t too bad.

With an odd start, a meandering middle and a compelling ending, Star Wars #23 manages to pull off an okay feeling. The upswing in the artwork toward the end, combined with the jump in the action and the appearance of Scar Squad definitely swung the comic in the right direction. If it wasn’t for the last seven pages of the issue, this one might be more of a dud, but as is, I give it a four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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