Review: The Star Wars #8

Oh my god. It’s finally here. It’s the end, beautiful friends, the end of The Star Wars. It must have been a comedy, in retrospect, since it ended with a wedding. It was equal parts the medal ceremony at the end of A New Hope and the wedding in Attack of the Clones, so take from that what you will.

In this issue, the nearly-naked Wookiees have already somehow become capable fighter pilots in space in what I think was something like maybe seven hours, including a union-required meal break, and they lead a successful attack on the Space Fortress (read: Death Star), while Annikin finds Leia inside the Fortress and gains a new, unexpected ally.

Some of the things that happened in this issue were intriguing, and almost even interesting. The Jedi/Sith conflict was dealt with head-on for the first time, and it’s a storyline I wish they had kept running through the book instead of tacking it on at the end of the last issue. It makes Jedi and Sith into more like warring tribes than mortal enemies, which was a cool switcheroo. They gain Vader as a mutual enemy, and I don’t know if I missed that Vader hated the Sith, if I forgot it, or if it just wasn’t there to start with. Any of those may be the actual case. Also in this universe, the Death Star got blown up at the beginning and at the end (just like in the main universe, I suppose?), but then there are a lot of weird translation issues, like for some reason, the trash compactor scene is basically the climax of the last issue. What could possibly be more terrifying than three of the most theoretically badass people in the galaxy being trapped in a garbage bin? Nothing.

The Star Wars #8 copy 2On the whole, this series just has felt extraneous the whole time. It’s not a story that was crying out to be told. Dark Horse could have just as easily published an annotated copy of the script with some renderings and some character designs, interviews, the whole shebang. That would at least class it up and mark it for what it is—a curio. This whole project was basically Dark Horse saying they found this really cool old, early version of your favorite story, and they were trying to make it come to life. I’m here to say, as a huge fan of Star Wars, I didn’t want to see this come to life. It didn’t stand up on its own as an independent story, it just stood up as the skeleton of what would later become the greatest story ever told (suck it, The Bible), and it seemed like a waste of the talents of Mayhew. I can’t speak for Rinzler, since I honestly have no sense of a writerly voice from him.

There are pieces of art in any genre that can tell you something new and make it a worthwhile experience, and there are pieces that are extraneous and exist for the sake of existing. Nobody looks at the movie Ecks vs. Sever and says “Yes. This is a thing that should exist because it teaches me something fresh and new about humanity.” It’s just a two-hour display of bad gun kata moves. Now, you take The Matrix, where there’s rad kung-fu, but there’s also a deeper (although in fairness, not SUPER deep) philosophical message, and then the kung-fu means something. There’s consequence there. The Star Wars are the epitome of the empty stab at something. It makes noises about being about rebellion against establishments, which, for the time when it was written, that does make a lot of sense. But just because it makes sense doesn’t make it good. It doesn’t make it good by any means.

We’re done, you guys. It’s over. There’s time now.

Score: 1/5

Script: J.W. Rinzler Artist: Mike Mayhew Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/28/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital