Again, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this book- I love Star Wars, and I have been enjoying the Star Wars comics Marvel has been putting out (those that I am still reading- after the debacle with Darth Vader and it’s forced rarity with some random droid and new character, I gave up) and I am glad to see more limited series stories being published than ongoing, because I have a feeling that the ongoing series cant really sustain too many more Star Wars books, because as of this point (for myself as a skeptical nerd, anyway) who even knows if this new movie is going to be any good, anyway? I say that, being completely enamored with everything I have seen of the film, and believing that Episode Seven will be a truly masterful piece of storytelling in the Star Wars universe, but after how badly we were burned on the prequels, one has to be guarded…
This book, being of a different style than any of the other Star Wars comics I have read from Marvel, was a welcome change of pace. I love Gerry Duggan’s style- he incorporates humor so well into his writing, and oftentimes in such a way that makes it feel very natural (to say it feels “human” would be misleading, since the emotions being evoked are primarily Wookie…). I love Phil Noto’s artwork, and I think that he really gives a new life to Chewbacca, who takes a front seat in this story, but yet still only talks in growls and roars.
I love the bright and colorful look of this planet that Chewie is on, I feel like he really contrasts well with his surroundings- a big shaggy brown bipedal dog in a planet of very bright and vibrant colors. I also liked being introduced to a new character for this story (and who does the majority of the speaking that we the reader can understand) a young girl named Zarro. I thought that her father’s attempt to free her from their servitude was one of those moments of Duggan’s humor cutting through the story, when his plan falls apart after the first step, because her going missing is noticed basically immediately, and she doesn’t even have the ability to wait for nightfall to try and make her escape. For me, though, it made me wonder what will happen to her father because I am sure that they suspect he helped his daughter to escape. But that’s just me focusing on the negative.
Seeing Zarro meet with Chewbacca, and try to convince him to help scare off the warlord who has her father imprisoned because Chewie is big and scary and looks intimidating, was such a funny moment to me, because Chewbacca really IS big and scary and intimidating, so he COULD actually do the things she is suggesting that they pretend to do. Chewbacca doesn’t do “bluffing”, which was pretty obvious in the cantina scene in this issue. The tough guys who are trying to find Zarro stop in front of Chewbacca and go “you there…” only to look more closely at the Wookie eating some weird soup and think better of poking the bear (or space-bear, if you’d rather…) and saying “never mind…”
I really liked this issue, but with all the Star Wars books already out, and the stories from the Star Wars ongoing tied to the cinematic universe more directly, and Shattered Empire serving as a prequel to the Force Awakens, I think I will be sticking to the books that hold closely to the movies, just for personal reasons. But I do think that this story is very well done, and should appeal to just about anyone who is remotely interested in Star Wars.
The accessibility hurdle for this book is extremely low, basically- if you have seen “A New Hope” you have all the primer you need to dive into this story. So it is worth picking up if you are on the fence about it, or if you’re looking for a story that really focuses more intently on Chewbacca than anything else we’re getting from the current Marvel comics lineup.