Saturday, 14 November 2015

Chewbacca #1 - Marvel Comics

CHEWBACCA No. 1, December 2015
Despite the proven pedigree of this mini-series’ creative team, Issue One of “Chewbacca” is sadly a very potent example of just how badly things can go when a title is presumably published simply to ‘cash-in’ on the popularity of a motion picture’s imminent theatrical release. For whilst Gerry Duggan’s narrative does somewhat focus upon the exploits of the two-hundred year-old wookie, and thus provides a little insight into what the “warrior son of the planet Kashyyyk” got up to after ‘destroying the Death Star’ “with some help from his trusty sidekick Han.” It does so by rather lazily ‘parachuting’ the Millennium Falcon’s co-pilot into one of the most contrived and unfollowable storylines devised this side of “the Battle of Yavin”.

Indeed the New Yorker would appear to have completely ignored the necessity of providing “Chewie” with any sound rationale as to why the titular character would be stranded on the planet Andelm-4, and instead unconvincingly explains that Solo’s companion left his friends to embark “on a very important and personal secret mission” and that his “loaner spacecraft” was a “hunk of junk.” Although considering that the hairy protagonist’s dialogue is limited to the odd “Grrr”, “Hrraa” and “Hrrraarrrarghhr”, such an indolent storytelling technique is probably understandable.

Just as indecipherable as Chewbacca’s grunts and roars however, is Duggan’s bizarre plot involving the adolescent Zarro, local “crook” Jaum, a mine full of Andelm Beetles and a secret deal with the Empire for “high quality Dedlanite in high quantities.” Just how the crime boss “changed the deal” so the “skate-punk tomboy” can’t pay him isn’t entirely clear, nor how Arrax is expected to clear his family’s debt by ‘harvesting’ the valuable “chemicals in the larva.” All that is certain is that the wookie’s dilemma of being shipwrecked on the planet due to his inability to afford a “flight stabilizer in such good condition” is worryingly far too similar to the scenario used within the 1999 film “The Phantom Menace”.

Perhaps this twenty-one page periodical’s biggest disappointment though is Phil Noto’s quite unexceptional artwork. Revered for his work on “Marvel Worldwide” variant cover illustrations, the former “Disney” animator’s drawings of Chewbacca are very-well realised, even if they do make the hairy smuggler appear a little too soft and cuddly. But for some reason the American artist’s unique-looking style doesn’t appear quite so pleasing to the eye when it involves Arrax, Zarro and Jaum, and that’s despite some of the panels utilising some impressive blur/fade effects to generate the illusion of distance and speed.
The regular cover art of "CHEWBACCA" No. 1 by Phil Noto

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