Star Wars #3

Star Wars #3

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassaday
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artists: John Cassaday and Laura Martin

Star Wars #3 starts out with a lot of action as Han and Leia storm around in an AT-AT while Luke wreaks havoc on a speeder bike. Zipping around the Imperial weapons factory, explosions abound as stormtroopers struggle to take out the rebels. But they aren’t the only ones. As menacing as Darth Vader might be, he’s helpless to stop the good guys from getting away once again.

With all the action in the beginning of this issue, Star Wars #3 actually has a weaker start than finish. Sometimes a lot of the fun can be in the action, but here it just felt a little too much like moving from point A to B. Part of that is the dialog between Han and Leia not being as on point as the first two issues. The same dynamics are still there, but it almost felt a little tiresome. Yes, Han and Leia bicker. But the dialog has to reach further than that and it’s a delicate balance between giving them zingers and making them caricatures of themselves. It’s not helped by C-3PO hallucinating that he’s in the presence of Captain Antilles again while he’s being hauled away by scavengers. If the writer was trying to be funny, he missed the mark.

That said, not all of the dialog was bad. some of the best lines are between Luke and Han during the battle when Luke is flying around the AT-AT’s feet. Vader’s dialog is also done well in this issue. Yet the story suffers from the artwork a bit. As I was reading this issue, I kept getting distracted by the artwork, and not always in a good way. Some scenes turned out really great, like the Togruta getting blasted on page one and some of the shots of Luke on his speeder. Other panels had a lot of potential, especially the Vader shots where he’s walking out of the smoke and fire. However, Vader is consistently odd looking throughout this issue. There is a very heavy stylized feel to him that makes him look like a comic character rather than the character from the film. It’s a bit jarring to go from a realistic shot of some characters, then to a stylized shot of other characters. For instance, there is a lot of effort put into the likenesses of Leia and Han. Yet Vader never has that likeness. His helmet always looks a little off and cartoonish.

As the story progresses, it also deteriorates some before getting better again. After Vader takes down the AT-AT, the heroes mysteriously wind up on the other side of the battlefield and manage to escape from him and the Imperials, even though a couple pages before we saw a bunch of AT-ST’s, tanks and attack speeders blocking their exit. Han, Leia and some of the surviving refugees make it all the way to the Falcon for an off page retreat. Meanwhile Darth Vader pursues Luke in a speeder chase, vowing that he won’t escape this time. But he does. Not only that, but Luke manages to blow up the factory which failed to blow up the first time. Keep in mind that we see Vader continually using the Force to toss around stormtroopers without gestures. He even chokes one Imperial who is all the way in space in a Star Destroyer (at least that seemed to be the intention). So why can’t Vader use the Force to stop Luke? As powerful as they are making him out to be, it comes at a cost when they pit him against Luke and then he opts not to simply yank him off his speeder bike. The end result is a Vader who loses to Luke, again, loses the rebels, again, and on top of everything, has the factory blow up on him despite his presence there to keep things in control. Vader comes off as a complete failure, incapable of stopping a couple rebels who are acting on the fly. The only thing Vader is good at is killing his own people or chopping down AT-ATs. I suppose it feeds into the Darth Vader series which is setting him up to be punished for his failures, but I can’t say I’m real happy with them making Vader to be such an ineffectual villain.

On the flip side, there’s a weird storyline with Luke in this issue. He manages to blow up the weapons factory and elude Vader, yet for some reason he becomes despondent and beats himself up for being a poor Jedi. I get that Vader initially beat him in lightsaber combat, but Luke still got the better of him in the speeder chase, and in the end, was the victorious one. Luke being depressed after the battle felt unjustified. It was also odd how they skipped time by wasting several panels with explosions and Vader calmly walking around. Definitely a missed opportunity for the artist to show some more action relevant to what’s going on rather than trying to squeeze in some beauty shots of Vader. Those odd scenes are thankfully redeemed by some cool dialog of Vader pledging to turn Luke into a weapon of his own.

Going in a lot of directions, it’s hard to judge this issue. The artwork and the story are both all over the place. Some of the dialog is good, some not so good. Some of the artwork is good, some not so good. Some of the scenes are rushed and some are drawn out when they didn’t need to be. The final two pages provide a weird shift back to Tatooine, giving us a glimpse of a box in Obi-Wan’s house, thus laying a plot point for future issues, but also adding to the overall randomness of the issue. In the end, it wasn’t as tight and cohesive as it could have been. Instead it had elements that lent a feeling of being impromptu, disjointed and rushed. While I did enjoy the comic, I also found a lot of things to be critical about, so I’m going to give this one a three out of five metal bikinis. It’s good, but there’s room for improvement.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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