Star Wars #34

Star Wars #34

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Mike Mayhew

For me, Star Wars #34 opened up a can of worms. On one hand it’s a crafty little story about Sana Starros and her amazing swindling abilities. On it’s own, it’s a fun little grifter tale were each con rolls over into the next. You could call this a Star Wars Ocean’s Eleven story with all the sneaky turns and dialog-over-action heavy focus. But there’s also a big problem with the story. A few actually.

Problem #1 – Lando. The charismatic cape wearing gambler is featured prominently on the cover of Star Wars #34 and was a key part of the tease that led up to this issue. Readers were promised a Lando and Sana Starros team-up comic. And while Lando is present in this issue, he doesn’t do anything. In fact you could completely remove Lando from this issue and it would have zero effect on the story. It’s slightly implied that he sets up a few meetings for Sana, but that’s it. Jason Aaron does do a good job of writing Lando’s dialog, and Salvador does a good job of capturing the likeness of the character, but there’s no reason for the character to be in this story other than to try and sell the comic. There-in lies a deeper problem.

Problem #2 – Sana Starros. Sana was introduced into the Star Wars comic series as Han Solo’s wife. It was a shock factor meant to create interest and sell comics. Eventually we found out that Han and Sana weren’t married, that it was just a con that Sana got a little to deeply invested in, and it’s been swept under the rug except for the occasional joke. She started off as a mentally unstable character with her unhealthy obsession with Han, then turned into a slightly reluctant friend of the Rebellion. Always eager to remind everyone that she’s a mercenary and in it for the money even though she isn’t. That’s more or less become her modus operandi. That, and her constant denials about her past relationships. Whether it’s refuting that she was ever Han’s wife or friend, or refuting she ever had a thing for Aphra, she has a hard time coping with breakups. Now, here in Star Wars #34, we’re lead to believe that all this time Sana was really a brilliant con artist with scheming powers equal to that of Thrawn as she con’s the Empire, pirates, Jabba the Hutt and all the while throwing it all in Lando’s face. In fact the only reason Lando is in this comic is so readers can see just how much smarter she is than him. But for me, it didn’t work. The attempt to show just how cool or smart or awesome her character is all fell flat. It felt forced, heavy handed and I’m just not buying it.

Of course I was never a Sana Starros fan to begin with, so maybe that’s my problem. Yet throughout her run as a character, all of the writers have struggled to keep her consistent or to make her shine. To me, Star Wars #34 seems like a last ditch effort by Jason Aaron to redeem her character and make her likeable. So let’s say we buy into the idea that she’s actually been this brilliant con artist all along and we just never got to see it. Let’s go so far as to say that she’s so good that she’s able to truly impress the likes of a swindler like Lando. That leads to my third problem with the story. Sana cons the Empire, a pirate gang and Jabba the Hutt just so she can donate a bunch of credits to a hospital on Nar Shaddaa. While that’s awful nice thing of her to do, and it furthers the whole con artist with a heart of gold idea, it doesn’t tie-in to the bigger picture at all. What would have been a nice tie-in is if Sana was doing all these con jobs to help the Rebellion out. Perhaps Leia could have gave her a mission, and Sana could have used this elaborate con scheme to show just how effectively she could get things done in a very unorthodox way. This would keep Sana in the picture and further develop her character. Instead, this story divorces her from the bigger storyline as it has nothing to do with the Rebellion, and everything to do with her own secretive, ever changing desires.

So, if you’re a Sana Starros fan, you might love this issue. The dialog was good, and on the surface, the story was well done. But for me, when looking at this as part of the bigger story and with the full context of what we’ve seen from Sana, it fell flat. I think Aaron tried to do too much with Sana in one issue, and failed to do enough with Lando to justify his presence in the story. Even the artwork is a mixed bag as there is a continuing issue with the way some of the human characters are portrayed. There’s two distinct styles going on between all of the comic, and then with the way Lando and Sana’s faces are done. It’s not the first time this happened as Han, Luke and Leia have had this problem in previous issues. Rather than drawing them or coloring them as normal comic characters, they’re done differently to give them a more photorealistic appearance. And while they do look more like the actors, it makes them stand out from the rest of the comic in a visually disjointed way.

I hate to complain so much, but this issue really did rub me the wrong way on a handful of things. And yet underneath all those complaints, there’s good artwork, good dialog, and a story that could actually be enjoyable if the odd little quirks I mentioned above didn’t get to you. I’m kind of conflicted on what to rate the issue as half of me liked it, and half of me hated it, so I’ll just have to split the difference and give it a two and a half out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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