Review Roundup: Aphra #5, Darth Maul #2, Star Wars #30, Rogue One #1
Well, it’s been a hot minute, everyone. I apologize for the delay. I’ve got more excuses than Kylo when he lost Rey, but the point remains: my insubordination won’t happen again. Everything should be back on track this week with reviews popping up on Fridays.
That said, today’s reviews will be in a different format, so don’t get too attached. Something something Jedi Code…
Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5
Release date: March 8, 2017
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Kev Walker
Inks: Marc Deering
Colors: Antonio Fabela
What worked: This series is doing a bang-up job with adding material to the overall mythos that actually feels substantive (more on this later). I could see the Ordu Aspectu showing up in The Last Jedi, even if it’s just in passing. There is plenty of room for creativity and impactful stories without altering the already established course. Father Aphra and Chelli’s relationship still manages to artfully the balance between comedy and poignancy, to the extent I believe they are some of the more relatable characters in recent history. It actually makes me think of what Jyn and Galen’s relationship would have looked like if…well…you know…
What didn’t work: Krrsantan’s “actions” seemed to be a little out of left field, but I could be wrong here. I’m sure it’ll be resolved here shortly, but I felt like the Aphras could have been stranded without going down this route. It just felt like a distraction from an otherwise great issue.
Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Maul #2
Release date: March 22, 2017
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Luke Ross
Colors: Nolan Woodward
What worked: The artwork is gorgeous. Ross has a great handle on colors, managing to take dark scenes and give them the right amount of life without ruining the mood. I also enjoyed the amount of detail put into the bar fight. Each character, important or minor, got the attention they deserved. I also will always support more Cad Bane.
What didn’t work: Most of the issue, to be honest. While I appreciated what Darth Maul #1 did for the character and trying to tie in the different versions we’ve seen, I struggled to finish when I first read the story, and even as I’m doing the recap now, it’s a slog. The inner monologue could have been shortened substantially, as the appeal has overstayed its welcome, and the “skepticism” Singh and Bane have towards Maul seems…lazy. It felt too familiar for my tastes. I also thought the flashback to Malachor deserved more time. It was the most interesting part of the whole issue, but it felt rushed and underdeveloped. I’m hoping we see more.
Marvel’s Star Wars: Rogue One #1
Release date: April 5, 2017
Writer: Jody Houser
Artists: Emilio Laiso and Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
What worked: Houser did a phenomenal job capturing the spirit of the story while still adding scenes that helped carry the narrative along without bogging it down. I’ve said elsewhere I’ve wanted to see more of Bodhi, and while we didn’t get a lot, it is what we needed. Some scenes were reduced more than I liked (the opening scene is still one of my favorites), but I’ll admit my preference here is far from objective. The paneling helped with story-telling, as well; namely, when we see Jyn in her cuffs with the flashbacks to Lah’mu. I doubt that would have been as effective in cinema form, so kudos to the creative team involved. Oh, and did you know I love Noto’s artwork? No? Well, I do. I wish I could get this one framed in my house somehow.
What didn’t work: For a first issue, I didn’t have a lot that didn’t sit well with me, especially since it was dealing with already established material. The artwork, however, was not always praiseworthy, often to the point of being laughable. Some of the faces, especially Jyn’s, lacked definition and were borderline unrecognizable.
Marvel’s Star Wars#30
Release date: April 5, 2017
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
What worked: The end of this arc. Immonen’s gorgeous cover work. The end of this arc. The ad for The Screaming Citadel. Did I mention the end of this arc?
What didn’t work: Pretty much the entire issue. It is a horrible tie-in to Luke and Yoda’s ESB relationship. And the way the “conflict” is resolved? It felt cheap and rushed. Nothing in this issue changed the fact the past few issues have been such a chore, and the fact the conclusion was so underwhelming simply adds insult to injury. Everything that was praiseworthy before feels cheapened, and if it wasn’t for Gillen joining alongside him, I’d probably be (more) scared about The Screaming Citadel. Nothing about the story has added anything substantial to the overall mythos (see, told you I was coming back), and if anything, it makes it more confusing and convoluted. This really makes me wonder how much control the writers have compared to the Story Group, especially since some of Aaron’s other arcs were good!