|STAR WARS No. 13, February 2016|
For those bibliophiles either unwilling or unable to purchase the preceding instalments of the “Vader Down” cross-title multi-issue story-arc, the “opening crawl” to Issue Thirteen of “Star Wars” provides an invaluable recap of the events that have caused Luke Skywalker to crash land upon the planet Vrogas Vas and subsequently fall into the hands of the Sith Lord’s allies. However as informative as this succinct summary is, it still then actually requires Jason Aaron to then script several more pages of clumsily worded exposition for those readers ignorant of the “Darth Vader” characters Doctor Aphra, Bee-Tee and Triple-Zero to acquire a basic understanding as to where Kieron Gillen’s creations stand within the series’ official canon.
As a result this twenty-page periodical is arguably already close to being a third of the way through before its overriding story-arc actually proceeds further forward, and Han Solo starts a particularly enjoyable ‘stand-off’ with the “foremost raider of lost weapons in the galaxy.” Such a frustrating wait is though, well worth it once the bullets start flying and Chewbacca angrily tears the arm off of the female archaeologist’s homicidal silver-skinned protocol droid; “What have you done, you fur-brained amateur-dismemberer?! That was my best dissecting hand!”
In fact the interplay between George Lucas’ Rebels and Gillen’s latest inhabitants of a “galaxy far, far away” is superbly written with its dialogue being both dangerously sinister and disconcertingly deadly, as well as impishly sarcastic and ‘laugh-out-loud’ fun. Certainly few of this comic’s 139,918 owners wouldn’t have at least smiled broadly as the Millennium Falcon’s hairy co-pilot brutally beats down an indignant Triple-Zero with the robot’s own arm, or smirked at the Corellian smuggler’s misplaced roguish confidence when he believes his opponent has taken “cover right beneath a hive of wasp-worms”, little knowing that he has done precisely the same thing.
Sadly Mike Deodata’s artwork does take a little getting used to on account of the Brazilian penciller’s wonderfully detailed yet somewhat sketchily styled illustrations. Admittedly his “more simplified, photo-realistic and sometimes moody” drawings of the “foul-mouthed little astromech” Artoo-Deetoo and heavily weaponed Bee-Tee are superbly rendered, especially when Vader’s gun-toting automaton launches an impressive barrage of missiles and warheads after a fleeing Skywalker and Solo. But the former “Wonder Woman” artist’s lack-lustre and awkward-looking panels featuring Princess Leia and Delta Squad disconcertingly leave a good deal to be desired.
|The regular cover art of "STAR WARS" No. 13 by Mark Brooks|