Review: The Star Wars #6

I won’t bore you with a synopsis of The Star Wars #6. It won’t make sense anyway. This book is such a mass of unreasonable contradictions. The artwork is so stunning and gorgeous from panel to panel, and the story is... such a mess. Just. Wow. In this new issue, it feels like a lot happens because it takes so long to get through, but very little in terms of the story actually do happen. Characters run the risk of and then actually do perish, new species are introduced, and if you look real hard, you’ll see an unnamed Boba Fett in one panel. That’s a highlight in a drab landscape.

I’ll go ahead and say, the thing they got 100% right on The Star Wars is putting Mike Mayhew on the art. Every single panel of this book looks like the kind of Frank Frazetta (Frank Frazettesque?) art that you only see anymore on like, Magic: The Gathering cards and Sword of Shannara covers. It’s a gorgeous mix of paint effect and pencil shading, and it’s great. Every panel is clear, with the exact right level of detail. Mayhew’s art continues to remind me of McQuarrie’s concept art for the movie, in the best way possible, since it strengthens the proto-Star Wars connections.

The Star Wars #6 CoverThe issue is that Mayhew is constantly at odds with the script that he’s working from. I mean, sometimes panel changes happen for literally no reason. Action doesn’t transition with any kind of flow; it just goes from sequence to sequence because it does. I can’t decide if Rinzler is actually adapting the script in terms of changing the story beats to fit the comics medium, or if he’s adapting it the way kids try to adapt their favorite movies, by just writing exactly what’s in the script as a panel description and script. It makes little to no narrative sense, and I don’t know what to make of it. It’s like a glorious, oil-painted car wreck in space that I can’t look away from.

At this point, the things I look for in this book are all the subtle notes the eventually ended up in the trilogy as we know it. For example, in this issue, our intrepid heroes end up in an asteroid field. My nerd brain – which resides very close to my medulla oblongata and controls my autonomic responses to external nerd stimuli – immediately goes, “Oh! Asteroids! I can’t wait for them to get eaten by some giant worm monster! Mynocks!”

Then my eyes show me a bunch of only slightly connected tidbits of space action, a space ship that has no connection to laws of physics -- I know that’s pedantic for a sci-fi comic, but come on. A guy stuck outside a spaceship for what seems like five minutes should be dead, right? – and I’m out of the world of the story again. I never lose myself in this comic. The world of Star Wars is incredibly rich, as anyone who’s delved into the Knights of the Old Republic games or some of the Expanded Universe novels will tell you. It’s a world where people want to lose themselves and be transported to the galaxy far, far away for a couple hours.

The Star Wars does not allow that escapism, because it’s a half-baked world that is impossible to escape to. I continue to hope it will improve in the next four issues, but my hopes are not high.

Score: 1/5

Writer: J.W. Rinzler Artist: Mike Mayhew Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/12/14