Saturday, 20 June 2015

Star Wars #4 - Marvel Comics

STAR WARS No. 4, June 2015
Whilst there is undoubtedly an awful lot going on within the twenty pages of the best-selling comic of April 2015, the vast majority of it regrettably concerns simple plot and character development as opposed to any pulse-pounding ‘laser-pinging’ action. In fact besides a clumsy attempt by Jason Aaron to imitate the infamous ‘Han shoots first’ cantina scene from the film “A New Hope”, the only real tension to be gleaned from Issue Four of “Star Wars” is the edgy threat-laden verbal sparring between Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt.

This confrontation between two of the saga’s most villainous giants is tremendously well-written, and whether they be negotiating over supply shipments from the Outer Rim in the gangster’s palace or taunting one another whilst chasing down wild banthas on board the criminal’s pleasure barge, their every word seemingly drips with poisonous menace.

In addition, despite this rather surprising lack of action for such a ‘swashbuckling’ science fiction title, this magazine still proves to be something of an enjoyable read as the Alabama-born author slowly starts pushing his playing pieces around George Lucas’ galaxy, far far away… and simultaneously tries to align his narrative with those of the other “Star Wars” books concurrently being published by “Marvel Worldwide”.

Disappointingly though this fourth instalment of “Skywalker Strikes” arguably doesn’t provide much justice for the script’s main protagonists, with a bandaged Han Solo and his co-pilot Chewbacca effectively side-lined for the entire periodical on account of repairing the Millennium Falcon. Luke, despite some significant ‘screen time’ ineffectively battling training remotes, doesn’t fare much better either. As Aaron suddenly turns the aspiring Jedi into a youth full of concern, fear and anxiety; something which is dishearteningly far removed from the carefree adventure-seeking farm boy seen on the ‘big screen’.

Interestingly there is a discernible stylistic change in some of John Cassaday’s illustrations when compared to the artist's previous pencilling on the series. Such a prominent variation in the Eisner Award-winner’s work is especially noticeable in his depiction of Leia Organa, which appears to demonstrate a complete departure from his former philosophy of trying to portray the princess as a ‘perfect’ likeness of the actress Carrie Fisher.
The regular cover art of "STAR WARS" No. 4 by John Cassaday and Laura Martin

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