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Star Wars #69 review: a weird position

“The Star Wars universe, here’s the dirty little secret, it’s very small and very limited.”

While I love Kieron Gillen’s writing, I avoided Marvel’s Star Wars series for a while because of artists like Salvador Larroca and Angel Unzueta. While they’re not inherently bad, their art mashed the uncanny valley button way too hard. So now I’m jumping back on the Star Wars train with Greg Pak and Phil Noto as our captains. Too bad their first arc is underwhelming so far.

The folks over at RedLetterMedia (the geniuses behind Mr. Plinkett) expressed a sentiment in their review of recent Rogue One that went something like: “The Star Wars universe, here’s the dirty little secret, it’s very small and very limited.” You have to include the familiar elements so it feels like Star Wars, because otherwise you get messes like the prequels or the extended universe.

Marvel Comics

These comics insist on repeating the same formula over and over again, forever stranded between movies. Painfully, these comics can’t help but continue Luke, Leia, and Han’s arcs at a glacier pace. Han and Leia slowwwwly creep toward romance. Luke slowwwwly gets better at the Force. Rinse, repeat.

Once again we go to the well of Leia or Han have a long lost love appear who’s gonna create conflict between them. This time it’s Advocate Champion, who had a thing for Leia years ago, and, unsurprisingly, is morally mysterious but necessary for the Rebels to complete another tiny mission.

This time, Luke is on Sergia only to run into another Force user. I have no doubt there’ll be a little romance that will ultimately end in some kind of tragedy because we can’t have this new, non-movie character rattling around. Besides, didn’t we already do a similar story Tula back in “The Escape?”

Marvel Comics

Meanwhile, Chewbacca and C-3PO bum around flying and running from an assortment of monsters. There’s not much to say other than that. Pak is assuming we’ll find C-3PO funny enough to hold down a whole subplot. Perhaps this story could work if a comedic conflict was really exploited between these heroes, but instead it’s boring and stiff.

Speaking of stiff, Phil Noto’s usually stellar art is surprisingly underwhelming. His best work is more painterly, but this Star Wars art is more line-heavy and less dynamic. The character faces are great; however, backgrounds are sparse and uninspired. Composition wise, it’s clear yet dull. I cherished any panels with slightly more unique angles.

Star Wars #69
Is it good?
We’ve got big expectations when it comes to Star Wars, so it’s extremely difficult to make a new story that's truly satisfying. While the beloved heroes sound and look decent enough, the plot, characterization, and art are very standard fare for these corporatized comics.
Familiar heroes written well.
Phil Noto's art is better than previous artists on the book.
Yet...Noto's work is too stiff to be his best work.
Cliche, uninspired plots.
5
AVERAGE
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