To put it mildly, the previous issue of Brian Wood‘s vision of Star Wars was a disappointing installment in the series. While the latest seventh issue of the new Dark Horse line doesn’t see a return to the form seen in the first five chapters, it is much better than #6, and establishes several new elements and movements that begin to move the story along again.
Within the Rebel Alliance, there is a spy of some kind, betraying information to the Empire – the sabotage is preventing the freedom fighters from finding a new base of operations, finding them limping through deep space. While returning to Tatooine to finally lay his aunt and uncle to rest, Luke proposes a covert mission to Leia, in which he and Wedge will infiltrate the Star Destroyer that keeps intercepting their efforts.
Meanwhile, to the Emperor’s displeasure, Darth Vader has contracted the Force-sensitive Birra Seah to the rank of Acting Moff, playing a part of a plan the Sith Apprentice is keeping close to his chest. At the galaxy’s center, Han Solo and Chewbacca find a unique manner to cut and run from the Imperial Center of Coruscant, with some unexpected assistance from an unusual source, as they attempt to evade agents of the Empire, and the bounty hunters chasing them down.
Brian Wood’s writing of this new Star Wars series has been excellent from the first issue, though something slipped in the previous chapter that seemed to lack the intense character focus among many other things. In #7, it’s hardly a return to form, but it IS an improvement from issue six, with the pace picked up and moving the story along.
More importantly, several key elements (Luke’s proposed covert operation) are launched, and other plot elements previously introduced (Birra Seah, and the woman helping Han and Chewie) finally kick into gear. The momentum garners great promise for what will follow in the next issue.
The artwork continues to be of a high standard as well. Finally through half a year’s worth of issues, this seventh installment sees the new inclusion of Ryan Kelly and Dan Parsons stepping in for Carlos D’anda. The change in art is noticeable, though approached in a transitional manner to keep with the flow and flavor of the previous issues.
With a bunch of issues done and out of the way, the new team focuses less on likenesses, and more on consolidating the already established style of the series. There are some moments (predominantly with Luke and Leia on Tatooine) that harken back to some of the classic Marvel days, which I believe may be intentional.
Gabe Eltaeb continues the colors in the series, and assists greatly in helping the transition between artists feel as close to seamless as possible; though colors begin to take on a somewhat different outlook in this issue. As one example, there are lots of whites for Luke and Leia in this issue, including a scene where her stealth flight suit has been replaced by a white one.
On the other side of the coin, there are also a few darker moments in the issue, especially with Birra Seah, in which Eltaeb dims the luminosity of the colors in conjunction with Parsons’ inks to convey the darker element of her emotional mindset.
Star Wars #7 is worth the read, and I think general comic fans might enjoy this one, though the Star Wars geeks are going to get the most value from it. The new art team is working well, and while Brian Wood hasn’t yet returned to the high standards of writing in issues 1-5, he DOES seems to be back on track script-wise, moving the plot along. That being said though, I would dearly love to see more love for Han and Chewie”¦ as their adventure seems to be taking a back seat to the Luke/Leia stealthy espionage thing.
After the disappointment of #6, it’s nice to see an improvement in this latest issue, though I believe that we will (hopefully) see a complete return to form in Star Wars #8.