Friday, 17 March 2017

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #4 - Marvel Comics

Despite portraying some of the more memorable scenes found within the 2015 American “epic space opera film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams”, Chuck Wendig’s script for Issue Four of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” must have come as a crushing disappointment to the adaption’s 38,079 readers. Indeed, it is probably extremely unlikely that anyone within the comic’s audience who had not already ‘enjoyed’ multiple viewings of the silver screen version, would even understand what the American author's storyline was actually about, as Kylo Ren’s “destruction of a new generation of Jedi, trained by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker” is trampled into the tiniest of top corner, stamp-sized panels imaginable, and General Hux’s “last day of the Republic” doomsday weapon initially appears to destroy a nearby forest rather than Hosnian Prime, the “current capital of the New Republic (and home to the Senate).”

Sadly, such befuddling summarisations of the $2.068 billion grossing-film are seemingly ‘par for the course’ for this twenty-page periodical’s narrative, with the First Order’s sudden appearance on the planet Takodana and subsequent attack upon Maz Kanata’s cantina, proving all the more surprising without any explanation as to just why the “military faction ruled by Supreme Leader Snoke” believes destroying the establishment will help them capture the droid BB-8. The assault certainly looks a little ‘out of sorts’ with the preceding explosive death of Chancellor Lanever Villecham, as both scenes involve Han Solo’s son, and therefore somewhat suggest Darth Vader’s petulant protégé has ‘transported’ himself from the Resurgent-class Battlecruiser, the Finalizer, onto the Mid Rim planet within the space of a few heartbeats…

Similarly, there is absolutely no build-up whatsoever to “traitor” Finn’s light-sabre battle with a fellow stormtrooper, nor his contrived capture along with the crew of the Millennium Falcon; “Don’t move! TK-338, we have targets in custody.” In fact, whether it be Po Dameron’s welcome arrival at the head of the Resistance’s most able x-wing squadron, Rey’s chilling abduction to Starkiller Base, or General Leia Organa’s emotional encounter with the elderly Corellian smuggler at the publication’s conclusion, Wendig frustratingly provides little rationalisation as to why any of the events are transpiring as they are.

Ultimately however, this comic’s biggest disappointment is the poor pencilling of Luke Ross. Better “known for his work on books such as Gen13, Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Indiana Jones and Captain America”, the Sao Paulo-born artist disconcertingly seems to consistently struggle with this book's subject matter, whether it be the maniacal look upon Hux’s face as he enthusiastically yells “Fiiiiire!”, Han Solo's almost comical facial expressions during an otherwise scintillating shoot-out, or the woefully blob-headed First Order stormtroopers depicted throughout the book’s more action-orientated passages.
Writer: Chuck Wendig, Artist: Luke Ross, and Colorist: Frank Martin


  1. I haven't seen the film, and nor am I in any rush to, which you would think would make me a perfect reader for this series as I'd be going in blind with no preconceptions of the story. But you just haven't sold it to me at all, so I'll give the comic a miss and just wait for the film to air on terrestrial TV. Don't get me wrong, Simon. I do appreciate an honest review, even if it is very negative. You've helped me save money here. ;-)

    1. Thanks Bryan. I'm very much afraid this is probably a 'cash-cow tie-in', and Luke Ross' artwork really is rather poor imho. Not a great mini-series by any stretch, and there's still a couple of issues to go too...