After thirty-seven issues, Eisner award winning writer Jason Aaron is saying goodbye to Star Wars, and this trade marks his final issues of the series. Aaron has contributed so much to both this series and to Marvel as a whole in the way he has created a successful in-canon Star Wars series alongside a new peak of the films’ popularity. It was a daunting task, but Aaron has certainly rose to the occasion. With Aaron on his way out and newcomer Kieron Gillen on his way in, Out Among the Stars contains Aaron’s last five issues from #33-37 as well as Annual #3.
This volume is made up of an assortment of single-shot issues that are loosely (and I mean incredibly loosely) tied together, but capture the current circumstances of each group of major characters within the series. I understand that these sorts of trades can be polarizing because of their lack of an ongoing storyline, but I was shocked to see a handful of reviews using this criticism. Despite the assortment of standalone issues, this trade is elevated by the fact that these issues serve Aaron’s final send off for each group of characters. What we get are entertaining issues where it’s obvious Aaron is not holding anything back.
The issues follow each set of characters in independent, standalone issues in the following order: Luke and Leia, Lando and Sana, Han and Chewie, R2D2 and C3PO, and the Scar Squadron. Some of the stories tie up loose ends, but the majority are fluff pieces solely for entertainment value. Surprisingly, all of them are pretty good with the Lando and Sana narrative standing out in particular. Each issue is packed with action and most importantly stays true to each character’s nature despite the challenging and chaotic situations Aaron puts them in. Between the nostalgia of these original characters mixed with the fresh faces such as the Scar Squadron, this volume is equally as enjoyable for new readers as it is for those who have been on since issue #1.
I am a huge fan of Larroca’s work and this series wouldn’t have got off to such a successful start without him. I’m very happy he’s staying on with Gillen taking over, but there are moments in this collection where the artwork falters. If you’ve followed the series, you’re familiar with Larroca’s inconsistency with the photo-realism facial expressions and it’s present in these issues as well. I’m actually a fan of the style, but, like any fan, I only enjoy it when it’s done well and if it isn’t utilized consistently then it just emphasizes the errors that much more. We get a few awkward faces from Han and Lando and while it’s nothing too glaring, it still takes you out of the moment.
Is It Good?
Usually when it comes to trades consisting of an assortment of standalone issues, these are the ones to skip. However based on the circumstances surrounding Aaron’s departure and the nature of the issues, this isn’t one you want to miss out on.