Sunday, July 5, 2015

Star Wars #5 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Aaron continues to dive deeper into the lives of the team in this issue.  (Do we call them "the team?"  What do we call Han, Leia, and Luke?)  He does a great job showing how their recent string of successes doesn't mean that everyone is just sitting around the base drinking Mai Tais.  (I wonder what their galaxy's version of the Mai Tai is.)  Leia is obviously feeling the burden of leadership as it becomes clearer and clearer that the Empire is not as easily defeated as the victories at the Death Star and Cymoon 1 imply.  She brings Han with her to scout out potential bases for the Alliance, but the Empire is present even in some of the most remote places that she can find.  Meanwhile, Han is just as obviously uneasy about his feelings for Leia, given how much he mentions her alleged feelings for him.  On Tatooine, Luke struggles just to stay in control of his feelings as he ransacks Ben's house for some sort of clue about his destiny.  It's pretty clear that they could all use a Xanax.

To make matters worse, they should actually be more anxious than they are, given the people chasing them.  Although Boba Fett is a fan favorite from the films, we don't actually know that much about him (putting aside the Expanded Universe, as Disney has).  He just tracks the team in "Empire Strikes Back" and "dies" early in "Return of the Jedi."  But, Aaron puts his brutality on display in this issue, making it clear why he's considered one of the best bounty hunters in the galaxy.  Aaron leaves the details to Cassaday, and he does a marvelous job conveying the terror that Fett can inflict on a victim.  After Fett brutally murders the kid that he tortured to get information about Luke, Cassaday and Martin paint an amazing portrait of the stunned denizens of the Mos Eisley cantina watching him leave.  It's colored in grey and sepia, and it manages to convey the sort of disinterested relief of a group of people clearly used to that particular emotion.  ("Whew, he didn't kill me.  Poor kid, though.")  Elsewhere, the bounty hunter from last issue IDs Han after he impulsively brings Leia to one of his "favourite dens" to flee pursuing TIE fighters (that are only chasing them because Han also impulsively took control of the ship before the codes could clear).  It's just not looking good for anyone, and it's amazing to feel that way, since, after all, we know how it all ends.

I feel like Aaron is really just starting to hit his stride here.  This issue conveys a complexity of emotions that goes well beyond what the movies could.  It summons the familiar Wild West vibe of the movies, but manages to explore it -- the isolation, the anxiety, the uncertainty -- more fully.  It reminds you that the Alliance's victory wasn't just a linear march to a logical conclusion.  As usual, I can't wait for next issue.

**** (four of five stars)

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