Saturday, 12 January 2019

Star Wars #18 - Marvel Comics

STAR WARS No. 18, June 2016
Straight from this comic’s first scene involving Chelli Lona Aphra it must have been abundantly clear to its audience that Jason Aaron loved “writing Kieron's [Gillen] characters” and was getting "a huge thrill” spending some more time with the female archaeologist seeing “how she bounces off the cast of my book.” Indeed, due to the good doctor’s humorous-laden interplay with Sana Starros and her subsequent ability to rewire a ‘one-man-army’ droid so it can thump a path through to Sunspot Prison’s Control Room, Darth Vader’s sharp-shooting, smart-talking sidekick is undeniably the star of “Rebel Jail”.

Equally as enjoyable though is the Alabama-born author’s intriguing development of the robot intruders’ “boss”, who mysteriously takes it upon himself to visit the inmate of Cell Seventeen in order to initially interrogate and then cold-bloodedly dispatch its feisty occupant in close combat. Just why the ‘terrorist’ would risk all by opening a maximum security cubicle alone and tackle a madman who has previously slit the throats of three Jedi isn’t particularly clear, albeit the killer does seemingly use the encounter so he can cathartically verbalise his “secret” that the “Emperor Palpatine is a Sith Lord.” However, what is evident is that a lot of the scintillating suspense found within Issue Eighteen of “Star Wars” is arguably due to the mass murderer’s secret motivation, rather than its “focus on the ladies of the book.”

The Inkpot Award-winner made it clear as part of this magazine’s pre-publicity that “Darth Vader has embarked on a separate adventure off in his own title”, so any perusing bibliophiles shouldn’t expect “to see Darth Maul or anybody too crazy” within this story-arc. Yet Aaron’s insistence upon the main villain still being “someone we've seen before”, as well as the central antagonist’s later admission to Leia that “he’s trying to teach you something… the way you once taught him” positively provides the narrative with an irresistible hook.

Sadly, the American writer’s handling of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker doesn’t debatably provide anywhere near as much enthralling entertainment, as the constantly bickering duo successfully complete a smuggling run to Ibaar on the Outer Rim, and then presumably head back to Princess Leia’s location with “supplies… for the Rebellion.” Admittedly, many within this publication’s 98,880 strong audience probably enjoyed seeing the former moisture farmer at the controls of the Millennium Falcon, but the pair’s persistent quarrelling with one another soon becomes somewhat grating until they finally arrive at Organa’s overrun incarceration facility and appear to be about to fall prey to an ambush; “Luke and I got your message. So relax, will ya, your highness? We’re here to save the day.”

First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
The regular cover art of "STAR WARS" No. 18 by Leinil Yu & Sunny Gho

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