Marvel’s new lineup of Star Wars comics channel the films in a way few projects have because they do such a great job of evoking the look and feel of those films. And no book has been more successful in that regard than the flagship Star Wars title. It was true when John Cassaday was drawing the book, and it’s true now that Stuart Immonen has taken over. Immonen has immediately proven himself right at home in a galaxy far, far away. His detailed pencils bring the seedy alleys and skyscrapers of Nar Shaddaa to life. To quote Han Solo, Immonen is great at “flying casual” when it comes to rendering the iconic Original Trilogy characters. He’s able to capture the likenesses of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, etc. without looking like he’s trying or getting caught up in the pursuit of photo-realism. This is a Star Wars comic, but it’s also a Stuart Immonen comic.
Perhaps what’s most impressive about this arc and Immonen’s contribution to the series is the way it marries the aesthetic of the Original and Prequel Trilogies. As writer Jason Aaron expands the scope of the book and draws in more characters and locales, it’s impossible not to draw in elements of what we saw in Episodes I through III. And while that may not sound like the most attractive proposition, Immonen is able to render the Star Wars universe in a way that feels cohesive as well as all-encompassing. The Nar Shaddaa chase scene has all the scale of Episode II’s Coruscant chase but retains the grit and grime that defines the older films. Why not bring a little more color and more unusual alien races into the picture?
This issue continues Luke’s chaotic quest to learn more about the extinct Jedi Order, with a stolen lightsaber quickly becoming the least of his problems. Aaron is finding a great deal of success with this story thread, despite the fact that the events of Episode V don’t seem to leave much room for Luke to grow in the Force in this lost period. As always, the philosophy with these comics seems to be “If it doesn’t directly contradict the movies, it’s fair game.” And if anything, Luke’s bumbling inexperience with all things Jedi is being used as an advantage as he bounces from one predicament to the next.
The Han/Leia/Sana storyline is becoming comparatively dull, if only because there hasn’t been much progress on this front since Sana’s surprise revelation in issue #6. The trio are still spending most of their pages bickering and dodging fire from Imperials. This is one area where the series could stand to pick up the pace and shed more light on Han’s supposed long-lost wife.