Jason Aaron has proved Star Wars prequel stories can work. He recently introduced a Stormtrooper team in a cliffhanger and it appears we’re getting a full backstory on the characters this week. Is it good?
Star Wars #21 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out our full preview here with the official Marvel synopsis.
Why does this book matter?
With a cover like this one (by David Aja) how people aren’t stepping over themselves to run out and buy this book is beyond me. Artist Jorge Molina pretty much proves this series is always going to have top notch artistic talent on top of Aaron’s solid writing.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
War is hell and god damn the terrorists!
This issue draws you in with fantastic captions that perfectly convey the mindset of one of the Stormtroopers. It’s hard not to see his point of view as right and due to the power of those words you’ll come to believe for some people the Rebels are very bad. Aaron also masterfully weaves in the idea of the Rebels being terrorists quite well. If you’re an American the rhetoric sounds shockingly similar to what we’ve been hearing from politicians for years.
Cleverly we never actually see the Rebels as good guys. The Stormtroopers appear to be some kind of special forces group detached from the usual army type work we’ve seen in the films. You clearly get the sense that they’re doing their jobs and just trying to stay alive. Essentially, Aaron has humanized the usually faceless and numb-skulled Stormtroopers by giving them a voice (and some awesome skills).
There’s also an interesting dynamic between the protagonist and the rest of the team that heightens the drama. The main character is their sergeant, but hasn’t yet proven himself. Similar to the marines, he needs to prove himself to the rest of the crew which means there are potential threats even from his allies. To sweeten the drama there’s a certain Jedi weapon that pops up in his satchel that everyone will want to learn more about where it came from (and based on the color I think I know who it might have been owned by).
The art by Molina stands out and does a great job vividly portraying the war-time action. Bazookas, jetpacks, and even knife fighting all look fantastic. The Stormtroopers themselves look great too and the design of each really separates them out, making each feel unique. The vehicles also look fantastic (I want that red speeder bike!) as well as blasters and bazookas. Props are in order for conveying emotions even though they’re all wearing helmets. You always get a sense of what the characters are feeling or thinking via shadows or even the most subtle tilt of the head.
It can’t be perfect can it?
In one scene the Stormtroopers appear upside down and I’m not clear on why. I suppose they are using magnetic boots? Another panel to explain what they were doing (or a bit of dialogue) would have helped make this moment less confounding.
That is one boss scene!
Is It Good?
This issue will make you start to believe the deadliest weapon in the world is a Stormtrooper and his rifle. This issue is filled with action, interesting story elements, and most importantly a brand new point of view that’ll make you question who the good guys are.