When Star Wars returned to Marvel last month with its first issue in an entirely new book series, it did not skimp on fanservice and quoting iconic moments from the films. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re into that sort of thing) the second issue doesn’t slow down the constant throwbacks. Read on for our Star Wars #2 review to see if the issue can overcome its devotion to fanservice to create a more exciting story as the group of rebels try and escape Cymoon 1, and the clutches of Darth Vader.
While it’s not an awful comic by any means, Star Wars #2 is just more of the same from its debut issue. The events pick up right where #1 left off, with Luke fighting Vader, Han and Leia trying to escape Cymoon 1, C3PO watching the Millennium Falcon being dismantled by scavengers, and the whole thing is tied together with forced references to the Star Wars films.
It feels a little strange that the series decided to start up front and center with the Luke/Vader story. Only two issues in and we’ve already explored about as far as their dynamic can go knowing that the big secret won’t be revealed until the events of Empire Strikes Back. One interesting wrinkle is that it appears we’ll be seeing Vader’s side of learning that Luke is his son. It’s clear in Star Wars #2 that he doesn’t know for sure yet, although he can tell something is up with this blonde-haired kid wielding a familiar-looking lightsaber.
Star Wars, naturally, takes this opportunity to cram in some more references to A New Hope. Luke yells about seeing Vader killing Obi-Wan, mentions shooting womp rats, and so on. The comic strikes an oddly unsatisfying note as it explains past events that might be useful information to understand what is going on the in the current issue, but it does so in such cliché ways that it frequently falls flat.
What will actually happen with Vader and Luke remains to be seen, but it appears as if it’s being set up to have the two constantly bounce off of each other and learn a bit more with each confrontation. The real question is how long can that actually stay fresh and not get repetitive. Even just two issues in, seeing so much of Vader has made him lose a bit of the luster and spine-tingling that came with his appearance in the first issue.
The rest of the comic is just filler around the Luke/Vader confrontation. Seeing Han and Leia hijack an AT-AT (and constantly fight while doing so) is fun enough and keeps their personalities in line, but by the end of the issue they aren’t much farther than where they started. I did enjoy CP3O’s story more, at least the humor of it. It reinforces the fact that h is a protocol droid and not a fighter with how quickly he surrenders. The choice to show ‘3PO dropping his gun before the bulk of the enemies are even shown is a great one, and gets across just how quickly the feeble droid was willing to give up.
Art from John Cassaday is once again pretty good for the most part. There are some more uncanny valley bits where some of the characters look just enough off to where it pulls you out of the story temporarily, but nothing too severe. Action segments are particularly well done, and there are some excellent cross-over panels and free-floating art (such as Luke on a speeder) that pop out on the page and put you in the action. My only issue with the art in Star Wars #2 is a couple problems with perspective, primarily revolving around the AT-AT. Imperial Walkers are supposed to be a little over 70 feet, but in some of the panels it looks as if the troopers or rebels are just about equal height with it. Other times, particularly when Vader is going up against the AT-AT, the perspective is great and really gets across how massive the machines of war are – so it’s a mixed bag as far as that goes.
It’s clear that this first story arc of Star Wars is front-loaded with references and giving fans a chance to warm up to a new Marvel series, but so far it hasn’t done much to make a great story on its own. Based on where the comic ends, we’ll likely be escaping Cymoon 1 for at least one more issue, but I anxiously await to see where the story goes when the rebels are off and get into the meat of their adventure.
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