Saturday, January 4, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: STAR WARS #68

STAR WARS No. 68 (2015)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon. And visit the "Star Wars Central" review page here.]

STORY: Greg Pak
ART: Phil Noto
COLORS: Phil Noto
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
EDITOR: Mark Paniccia
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Akira Yoshida a.k.a. C.B. Cebuski
COVER: Phil Noto
VARIANT COVER: John Tyler Christopher; Kaare Andrews
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2019)

Rated T

Part I: “Rebels and Rogues”

In 2015, Marvel Comics restarted their publication of Star Wars comic books with a brand new Star Wars #1.  I wrote a review of it and went on to review a few more issues of the series, plus the first annual.  Jason Aaron was the new series first writer and wrote issues #1 to 37.  He delivered a number of really good story arcs and several really good stand alone, single-issue stories.

Kieron Gillen replaced Aaron.  Gillen did stellar work on Marvel's initial Darth Vader (2015) title, which was drawn by Salvador Larroca.  In fact, I can make a good case that Gillen and Larroca's Darth Vader was the best of Marvel's new line of Star Wars comic books, and, to this date, still is.  Gillen and Larroca reunited as the new Star Wars creative team with issue #38, and Larroca drew the series until issue #55.  Gillen recently ended his tenure on Star Wars with issue #67.

Star Wars #68 introduces the new creative team of writer Greg Pak and artist-colorist Phil Noto.  Letterer Clayton Clowes completes the creative team.  The first story arc, “Rebels and Rogues,” chronicles the missions that take place just before the 1980 Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back (also known as Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back).

As Star Wars #68 opens, the Rebel Alliance has learned that Darth Vader has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space to find the new rebel base, which will lead him to the young rebel with whom he is obsessed, Luke Skywalker.  Now, the rebel leadership is sending Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and the droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, on a mission, but this is a desperate three-pronged mission of deception that will send these friends in different directions.

First, Luke and R2-D2 must find a way to protect a rebel refueling station in the Inner Rim.  Leia and Han will head to the “Core World” of “Lanz Carpo,” in order to infiltrate the communication center of a Imperial-friendly crime lord.  Finally, Chewbacca and C-3PO head to K43, an uninhabited volcanic world on the edge of “Wild Space.”  Rebel leadership wants to lure as many Imperial Star Destroyers to K43, which, with the use of detonators, Chewie and Threepio will turn into a mini-Death Star.  Two of the three prongs of this mission will encounter surprising interlopers.

This first chapter of “Rebels and Rogues” is intriguing, but only Luke and Artoo's mission really interests me.  I can give Gillen credit for writing a story that feels like classic era or original trilogy Star Wars.  I have mixed feelings about Phil Noto's art.  I liked him as the primary artist on the recent Poe Dameron ongoing series (2016-2018), but I was not that impressed with Noto's art on the Chewbacca miniseries (2015-2016).  Here, his graphic style and graphical storytelling seem perfect for Luke's mission, not so much for Chewbacca's, and even less for Han and Leia's.

But I am a rotting-to-the core “Marvel Zombie” when it comes to Marvel's Star Wars ongoing comic book series, so I will keep reading.  In the case of the new Star Wars comic books, I am not ashamed to be a fanboy.

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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