Category Archives: Star Wars

Star Wars: Jabba The Hutt #1 Review

Review by Nathan Harrison 27/7/21

Written by: Justina Ireland

Art: Ibraim Roberson and Luca Pizarri
Released: 21/07/21

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Since its launch earlier this year, The High Republic has proven to be the most exciting new Star Wars expanded universe initiative in a long time – Justina Ireland has also proven to be one its most talented contributors. Her middle-grade novel, A Test of Courage, was emotionally complex, touching, and full of the heroism and derring-do that was promised when the new era was announced. It’s fantastic then to now see her name of the front of a Marvel comic as part of an altogether different era of Star Wars.

Ireland grabs the opportunity to show her range by the horns as we see her take on the darker underbelly of the Star Wars galaxy – her approach to iconic characters like the sinister, snivelling Bib Fortuna, Boba Fett and, of course, the titular mob slug Jabba the Hutt is spot on, while her introduction of new bounty hunter, Deva Lompop, a badass, double-crossing feathered lizard woman, is impactful. She stands out as the real star of this book and is bound to do so again in her upcoming appearances in further one-shots. Any character who can effortlessly belittle a character like Boba Fett with amusing results is not to be ignored!

The approach to the plot is also skilfully handled. What initially appears to be a straightforward tale of bounty hunters on the job soon turns out to be the first hint of the back-stabbing intrigue that we could see in future instalments of the War of the Bounty Hunters event. Deva Lompop is the driving force behind this, but Ireland also shows how easily Jabba can pull the rug from under the feet of those in thrall to him – as much as Deva seems to be the sort of person who does whatever the hell they want, everything ultimately comes back to Jabba and a debt he is owed. This chink in Deva’s armour and her potential vulnerability makes her even more compelling, rather than her simply being a likeable but one-sided scoundrel.

Art is provided by Ibraim Roberson for sequences set in the main timeline of War of the Bounty Hunters, and by Luca Pizarri for flashbacks. Their styles differ enormously so the effect can be jarring when the action shifts from one timeline to another. Roberson’s lines are defined and dynamic, with every known element instantly recognisable and all new elements standing out as beautifully done. Every panel hums with detail. However, Pizarri’s art is not quite as accomplished, and a lot of the main characters are drawn in a rather odd way, Jabba especially – he resembles a giant bullfrog at points rather than the slug-like creature anyone would recognise. The proportions of Boba Fett’s distinctive helmet and armour are also a little off. That said, Pizarri’s art has a cartoonish charm of its own, which works best during the more action-oriented sequences.


VERDICT

One of Star Wars’ finest writers finally makes her debut at Marvel and does a stellar job in both having a lot of fun with characters we know and introducing us to one we don’t who is bound to have a bigger and bigger impact as the event continues. While the art can sometimes lack accuracy and there are no particularly interesting layouts, it’s hard to ignore the quality of the whole page panels dotted throughout that bring a sense of scale and drama to this intriguing and engaging character-driven piece.


Review by Nathan Harrison 27/7/21


Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters #2 Review


Written by:
Charles Soule
Art:
Luke Ross
Released: 14/07/21

Publisher:
Marvel Comics

Review by Nathan Harrison


One of the joys of being a Star Wars fan is that if an enjoyable character is created to appear only once on screen, chances are that those who want to see more of them will not be disappointed by what the expanded universe has to offer. This can lead to some of the biggest surprises across all of the franchise – the cliffhanger at the end of issue 1 of this limited series was a prime example, with Qi’ra (played by Emilia Clarke in Solo: A Star Wars Story) revealed to be the mastermind behind the theft of Han Solo and the new leader of Crimson Dawn having been their slave just a few years prior. And now she’s ready to sell the helpless, carbonite-encased rebel to the highest bidder at ‘The Scoundrel’s Ball’!

In the first few pages, Charles Soule shows that he is a master at packing in as much important information into just a minute or so’s reading time, without drifting into clunky exposition. He is aided beautifully by Luke Ross’ art and layout – wide, cinematic panels are packed with creatures from across the galaxy as Soule introduces us to all the criminals looking to snap up access to the galaxy’s most notorious smuggler.




While the stakes are high for some of everybody’s favourite Star Wars characters, the issue is still packed chock-full of humour – even the bounty hunter fight of the century between Boba Fett and Bossk is shot through with uniquely grim slapstick, enhanced by Neeraj Menon’s bright pastel colours, which continue to bring something really quite special to this book. Such an encounter could have easily taken up a whole issue, but the few pages here are beautifully done before Soule returns to the meat of the story.

As if Luke Ross didn’t have enough of a challenge on his hands with the early panels at the ball, Soule then starts to bring a lot of the threads and main characters of this epic event together, with Ross given the responsibility of bringing to life a gamut of iconic faces new and old. Unsurprisingly, it’s an occasion he rises to meet fantastically – each figure is drawn with painstaking accuracy but with a hint of cartoonish charm that compliments the fun approach Soule has taken with this book so far.


VERDICT

The War of the Bounty Hunters event well and truly gets underway this issue, with almost all the major players assuming their positions by the final page – whatever happens next, it looks as though some of the most fun (and potentially quite bonkers) Star Wars comics since their relaunch with Marvel all the way back in 2015 are on their way.


Review by Nathan Harrison 18/7/21


Star Wars #14 Review

STAR WARS #14

Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Ramon Rosanas

Released: 16/06/21
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Since the start of the War of the Bounty Hunters event (a massive 34-part epic that stretches across multiple Star Wars titles) the one main character that we haven’t seen much of is the one that would seem to be the most natural lead for this arc. That’s not to say that what has come out so far hasn’t been superb, but a certain roguish, double-crossing smuggler has been conspicuous by his absence for the last couple of issues. Star Wars #14 changes all that as Lando Calrissian finally enters the fray and cuts just as dashing and devilish a figure as always.

As this run takes place after The Empire Strikes Back, Lando has been the perfect replacement for Han Solo in the regular team, filling his shoes as the wildcard element of the Rebellion – not entirely dedicated to the cause, sceptical of the Force and Luke’s Jedi path and potentially ready to turn tail and run at any moment if there’s something in it for him. In fact, Soule has taken this one step further, with Calrissian a few issues deep into (seemingly) a plot to betray Luke, Leia and co. once again. Even with the knowledge of Lando’s part in later films, this has proven an intriguing for the creatives to pull at, not least because Charles Soule’s writing and Ramon Rosanas’ art still make it impossible to dislike Calrissian, bringing all the natural charm of Billy Dee Williams himself to the page.

Lando is at the heart of this issue for more reasons than just his dodgy machinations, though. He is still desperately searching for a way to help a newly mute and seemingly semi-brain dead Lobot recover his humanity. This scenario led to one of the most nail-bitingly tense moments of the run so far a handful of issues back and it looks set to continue to create some complex character moments, allowing Soule to show that Lando does in fact care about someone other than himself…possibly.

VERDICT

Leia’s continued quest to find Han against all odds, Lando’s intrigues in the bowels of the Millennium Falcon, a beautifully drawn and laid out chase sequence and a bumpy landing all work together wonderfully to put our heroes on a collision course with the other players in what is turning out to be an incredibly entertaining event so far.

Review by Nathan Harrison, 22/06/2021

Star Wars: War OF The Bounty Hunters #1 Review

STAR WARS: WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS #1
Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Luke Ross

Released: 02/06/21
Publisher: Marvel Comics

‘You know who I am. Boba Fett. You know what that name means.’

-Boba Fett, War of the Bounty Hunters #1

Let’s face it – everyone’s favourite thing about Star Wars is the bounty hunters. Or rather one bounty hunter in particular. And anyone who tells you otherwise is, quite frankly, lying through their teeth.

It is unsurprising then that, now the focus of Marvel’s Star Wars line has shifted to the often-unexplored gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the House of Ideas and Lucasfilm have decided to squeeze in all the crime syndicates, smugglers and bounty hunters they possibly can. More specifically, this event, which spreads itself across a limited series, several one shots and multiple issues of the four Star Wars ongoing series, reveals what happened to Han Solo between his being loaded onto Slave 1 in Cloud City and his arrival at Jabba’s palace. That’s a big gap to fill in our knowledge and if this first issue is anything to go by, the slow reveal of events over the next few months is going to be exhilarating.

The underworld of the Star Wars universe is on display in all its glory here, ably brought to life through Luke Ross’ bold artwork and distinctively gritty yet pastelly colours by Neeraj Menon. It says a lot about Charles Soule’s writing that his Boba Fett still absolutely shines and stands out, as iconic as ever amongst all the quality and skill on show. As Fett hunts down those who have wronged him, Soule takes us to dingy dive cantinas, glowing star ship interiors, Tatooine and a Hutt war barge. Soule’s ability to hop from location to location whilst also telling a cohesive and exciting story with plenty of surprises (and, oh boy, is there a surprise at the end of this one!) and solid, incisive character moments is nothing short of sheer brilliance.

VERDICT

This is true Star Wars adventure from start to finish and the next issue looks set to explore more new ground whilst ramping up the excitement. Whether this sort of quality can be maintained across the 34-part duration of this event remains to be seen, but the start has been very promising indeed. The infamous bounty hunter’s reputation precedes him as he goes about his business, leading to some top level badassery from this fan favourite character, which will raise a smile in any who have managed to forget the utter joy that Star Wars brings at its best moments.

Review By Nathan Harrison

Star Wars #13 Review

Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Ramon Rosanas

Released: 12/05/21
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After a string of great quality issues concentrating mainly on the wider cast (both old and new) of Marvel’s main line Star Wars comic, Charles Soule brings the focus squarely back on Luke Skywalker for this, one of the first issues of the epic, 34 part (yes, 34 parts – count them!) crossover event, War of the Bounty Hunters.

In having Luke, Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2 follow a lead on the whereabouts of the recently carbonite-encased Han Solo (and, of course, his captor Boba Fett), Soule explores the shifty, seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe for the first time in his run and he handles it brilliantly, whilst also giving us further insight into Luke’s growth as a Jedi. This has been well earnt since some of the very first panels of #1, which saw Luke a broken man following the events of Episode V, and Soule is deftly bridging the gap between the naïve and inexperienced young man in the earlier parts of the original trilogy, and the powerful, fully-fledged Jedi who strides into Jabba’s palace in Episode VI.

While all this means Soule has a big job on his hands, he does it skilfully, and has fun doing so – the issue is action-packed thanks to a frenetic showdown with gangsters on the smuggler moon of Nar Shaddaa and comic relief comes in the form of some classic C-3PO wittering.

Spanish artist Ramon Rosanas has been drawing this book for a good few issues now and handles the action sequences confidently, bringing a real sense of movement and chaos to each panel. His style is much more classic comic than the more cinematic approach taken by some of the artists that have graced the pages of the Star Wars since 2015 – his C-3PO and R2-D2 especially look as though they’ve been ripped straight out of the pages of the original Marvel years – and this works perfectly for this somewhat madcap caper.  

VERDICT

While this is not technically the first issue in the War of the Bounty Hunters event (that honour goes to the one-shot War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha), Star Wars #13 is an ideal jumping on point, not just for the crossover, but for Soule’s run on the main line title – all key plot points from the previous issues are quickly recapped and the story here feels standalone, like an episode lifted from the life of Luke Skywalker, whilst also acting as a tantalising set up of what is to come. Anybody who has been sleeping on this book since it relaunched should take the opportunity to pick this issue up while it’s still on the shelves.

Review by Nathan Harrison, 12/06/2021