|STAR WARS No. 9, November 2015|
There is little doubt as to why Issue Nine of “Star Wars” was the second biggest-selling book of September 2015 and shifted a phenomenal 135,817 copies, for Jason Aaron’s storyline simply doesn’t stop to allow a reader to catch their breath until the magazine’s final few panels… And even then, as Mon Mothma, General Dodonna and Admiral Ackbar consign Skywalker to a grim fate as a Hutt slave within “the largest nest of outlaws and assassins in the galaxy”, the Alabama-born writer’s script provides a moment of exhilaration with the seemingly forgotten protocol droid See-Threepio and Chewbacca finally making a welcome return to the “Marvel Worldwide” publication.
Particularly pleasing, though something which seems to have more in common with George Lucas’ contentious ‘Special Edition’ than the mythology established by the 1977 original theatrical motion picture release, is Luke’s eventual capture by the formidable gangster Grakkus; a male Hutt crime lord who despite controlling “an extensive network of spice smugglers and bounty hunters” truly is “not like other Hutts” with his heavily muscled arms and twelve cybernetic spidery legs. Indeed in many ways the “collector of antiquities” with an interest in “all that remains of the Jedi” is disconcertingly reminiscent of General Grievous, considering his obsession for adorning himself with lightsabers and the company of Magnaguards. Certainly the politely spoken yet vilely murderous kingpin, surrounded by a plethora of Jedi holocrons, provides a very obvious link between Aaron’s narrative and the lore of ‘The Clone Wars’ trilogy.
Somewhat more condensed, though just as frantically-paced, is the America author’s secondary plot depicting Han and Princess Leia’s flight from Admiral Keener and his Imperial Star Destroyer. Initially set upon “an unknown world in the Outer Rim”, this scorching shoot-out for once gives the intimidating black-armoured Tie-Fighter pilots of the Emperor’s Navy some considerable ‘screen time’ to demonstrate just how capable a ground force they are. Before Sana Solo, in a rather contrived U-turn, whisks the rebels away on board her spacecraft and ‘initiates’ a pulse-pounding chase sequence, complete with fluorescent green laser fire, across the planet’s surface; “Forget the comms. Just get on the cannons and keep them off my tail. If we’re lucky we’ll lose them in the atmosphere.”
Equally as exciting as the writing is Stuart Immonen’s stunning artwork, with the Canadian producing some truly outstanding depictions of the Empire’s Tie-Fighters and pilots… It’s genuinely hard not to hear the whine of the vessels' “precisely manufactured” propulsion engines as they zoom from frame to frame. Admittedly the “All-New X-Men” illustrator’s reimagining of the sluggish Hutt as a freakishly mobile, powerfully-built six-packed monstrosity is disconcerting at best, especially when Grakkus knocks the Skywalker unconscious with a single punch. But such a startlingly incongruous image is easily forgotten, if not forgiven, when it is followed by a beautiful double-splash of long-dead Jedi, resplendent in holographic blue, voicing their wisdom and advice from the past.
|The regular cover art of "STAR WARS" No. 9 by Stuart Immonen|