Star Wars #5

Star Wars #5

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Rodolfo Migliari

Star Wars #5 cranks up the drama as things get bloody. Han and Chewie duck bounty hunters on the lower levels of Coruscant while Leia and her wingmates evade capture by an Imperial ambush. Meanwhile Vader has appointed a new commander of the Death Star while he turns his attention back to finding Skywalker. With a lot less jumping around and a whole lot of action, issue #5 pumps new momentum into the series.

Most of this issue focused on Leia, Wedge and Tess as they deal with their Imperial ambush. Heavily outnumbered, they adopt some highly unorthodox maneuvers in order to escape. I have to admit, I had to reread the action a couple times to try and figure out what exactly they were doing and why. Brian Wood has Leia doing some pretty complicated tactics with proton torpedoes. Even after reading it twice, I’m not sure her transponder trick was really necessary or all that logical. But I suppose it did help reinforce her role as a leader and pilot. She certainly seems to be more competent and self-assured than Wedge as she takes the initiative in their attacks. It’s not something I’m used to seeing, but I’ll roll with it to see where Wood takes it in the long run. Maybe this series will show us just how Wedge became the hotshot pilot we come to know in the X-Wing books.

Aside from Leia’s story thread, Han and Chewie had some fun panels in the Coruscant underlevels. I really liked the scene with them in a cantina. The nostalgic element was pretty cool and the art in those scenes was perfect. You can feel the tense stares and nervous glances. Han is not exactly comfortable with Boba Fett on his tail and the denizens in the bar aren’t exactly welcoming. However, Han does run into a new character who is willing to help. I think it’s funny that this new character seems to be even greedier and more opportunistic than Han. Karma, perhaps?

As always, the art and coloring in this issue is gorgeous. The space scenes have a nice balance between warm and cool colors. The blackness of space is offset by the bright, orange visors of the rebel pilots and the occasional explosion or laser bolt. The artwork also does a good job of conveying motion in the starfighter panels. On the first page, the orange trails of proton torpedoes help the reader envision a barrel roll as an X-Wing flies out of the page. Little tricks like that are used throughout the issue to generate a sense of motion. It works well.

The hardest hitting part of this comic, though, is a bloody Leia. Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bloody Leia before. She’s certainly been beat up in the books, but in the comics, it’s not some we see very often or perhaps ever. Brian Wood shows us how Leia can take charge in a dogfight, and in issue #1, we saw Leia was hesitant about getting her hands dirty. Yet Wood reminds us in this issue that Leia is not invincible. Sure, we know she’s not going to die. But when Leia comes out of a brutal explosion bleeding all over the place in the cockpit of her starfighter, it hits you with a visceral punch to the gut. I mean wow! I couldn’t help but pause in shock at seeing how hurt Leia was. The story pulled me in so much that I actually felt her pain and became worried for her. Is she going to be alright? Well, of course she’s going to be alright…in the long run. For now, she’s in for a world of hurt. Combined with the effective artistry of Carlos D’Anda and Gabe Eltaeb, those panels packed one hell of punch. Hats off to Wood for putting that in there.

While the artwork in this issue continued to be delicious eye candy, the gripping, emotional impact of the story took the series up to a new height. Wood reminds readers that our favorite heroes are not impervious to danger. Who knows how many more tricks he might have up his sleeve. As the strongest issue yet in this series, I give Star Wars #5 a fitting five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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