August 19, 2015
Though entertaining in its quality and endearing in its nostalgia, so far Marvel’s revamped Star Wars title has kept things pretty close to the source material when compared to its character specific offshoots. That changes in a big way here in issue #8, as the universe gets a whole lot bigger with the introduction of new worlds and new maybe-spouses. The issue also features the series debut of art team Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Justin Ponsor, making for an exciting read that any scruffy looking nerfherder can enjoy.
First things first. No disrespect to John Cassidy, who did a perfectly enjoyable job on the book’s opening issues, but just look at Immonen’s first page. Look at it. Take it in, maybe give it a smooch. It’s quintessential Star Wars in scope, and it’s something the artist delivers on every single page. Seemingly aware of the artistic lottery he’s just won, writer Jason Aaron wastes no time in putting Immonen to good use. Issue #8 is littered with action set pieces big and small, with everything from space battle to bar fights to whet our ever increasing appetites. It also contains plenty of intriguing character bits, with none so notable as the added focus on Sana Solo, Han’s maybe, possibly, it-could-happen wife.
As mentioned before, Aaron hasn’t taken any real giant leaps with the property so far, and as such his first stands out as a pretty darn big one. The stickler in me wants to argue as to how Aaron can introduce such a potentially impactful addition with no mention of such in the films, but the fan in me can’t deny the dynamic opportunities such a move creates. Perhaps aware of this conflicting perception, Aaron keeps Sana’s true colors close to the vest, giving just enough to entice, or incite in Han and Leia’s case. Given that Han has always been more of a “shoot first, ask questions later” kind of guy, it’ll be interesting to see how Sana’s inclusion affects the character’s arc going forward.
As compelling as the overall narrative is, the main tractor beam pull of the issue undoubtedly goes to the art team. Immonen turns in some gorgeous pages, his detailed lines and striking character likeness consistent from panel to panel. A main gripe across the Star Wars line has been artists seeming reliance on photo realism, but Immonen manages to render his cast in a way that’s as natural as it is screen accurate. Not only does he nail the requisite trademark facial cues–such as Han’s curling lip or Leia’s furrowed brow–but he manages to sell the physicality of the character as well. Too often characters are relegated to little more than stick figures in larger shots, but with Immonen their likenesses remain just as strong no matter how close or how far we go. He also shows a wonderful eye for world building, his gorgeous alien backdrops and imposing starships immediately evoking a classic Star Wars feel. With von Grawbadger on inks and Ponsor on colors, this is an art team poised to take your imagination as well as your wallets.
Star Wars #8 is a hit across the board, with the entire creative team firing on all cylinders. Aaron’s script continues to push further outside of the confines we know and love, and the addition of Stuart Immonen gives new life to a book already breathing just fine. If you held any question as to whether Marvel could do Star Wars comics right, this issue should provide your answer.