In some ways, Age of Rebellion serves as a bit of a primer for Greg Pak taking over the main Star Wars comic series. Over the course of four issues, Pak gave us his take on Leia, Han Solo, Lando, and Luke Skywalker in interesting and sometimes excellent stories. That’s all being collected this week in Star Wars: Age of the Rebellion – Heroes.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Writer Greg Pak (WEAPON H and WEAPON X) teams up with artists Chris Sprouse (BLACK PANTHER) and more to tell stunning adventures starring the greatest heroes from the original Star Wars film trilogy. What exactly did Han and Chewie do with all that reward money? What harrowing battles did Leia and Lando fight on the way to infi ltrate Jabba’s palace? STAR WARS: AGE OF REBELLION fills in the gaps between and complements the fan-favorite, iconic Star Wars moments, shedding new light on the films’ eternal conflict between the light and the dark, good and evil.
Why does this matter?
This collection also features the special issue which contains two interesting stories about Yoda and a few X-Wing pilots you might be familiar with. Written by Marc Guggenheim and Jon Adams, this is a fun addition as it explores lesser-known characters as well as Yoda.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a strong collection of stories with a focus on some of our favorite heroes (and anti-heroes) in a galaxy far, far away. Part of the beauty in this series is how it can pick up the characters’ stories at different times and run with them. Take for instance the Luke Skywalker story, focusing in on his black suit days from Return of the Jedi. This story is effective in getting you pumped for what he’s up to with lightsaber battling, there’s X-Wing fighting, and there are even Force dreams to push Luke emotionally. Every story here is worth a look, as they do a good job adding to the character’s adventures and build on the films.
Lando’s story, titled “Cloud City Blues,” focuses in on his time as leader of Cloud City. Lando thinks quickly on his feet and doesn’t let a good city and its troubles bring him down. The story does a good job fleshing out his priorities and personality, enhancing his appearance in the movies. It’s also fun to see Lando and Lobot’s relationship, which wasn’t really an element of the films.
I was a bit shocked at how much the Star Wars story group allowed Pak to come up with for an in-canon story with Leia’s adventure. Not only does it deliver on a mission Leia goes on right before heading to Jabba’s palace, but it integrates a key character very well. I won’t spoil it since it’s a shock to the system, but it answers a question I think many had in regards to how the characters got together before Return of the Jedi.
The special issue is great at adding to the characters as well. The first is by Guggenheim and reveals what Yoda was up to prior to Luke landing on the swamp planet of Dagobah. It does well to mirror previous moments in the prequels and show us how heavy a weight Yoda’s failure to stop the rise of the Emperor truly was. The second story by Jon Adams is all about fighter pilots Biggs Darklighter and Jek Porkins trying to get their heads on straight from all the war and fighting. This story does a good job of establishing how the war they are fighting is affecting them. It’s an emotional tale that has a bit of humor in it as they visit a vacation planet that proves too good to be true when an Empire commander shows up.
The art throughout this collection is fantastic. It’s a large mix of creators with most of the styles generally going for a realistic look. Art by Matteo Buffagni and Tamra Bonvillain, with letters by Travis Lanham, is exceptional in the Lando story. Lando is drawn confidently and in a way that makes him seem to be always thinking. You respect the character because the art makes him a wild card you can’t help but admire. The art in the Leia story is split between Chris Sprouse and Karl Story (13 pages), Will Sliney, Marc Deering and Karl Story (7 pages) and overall their styles work well. It’s a realistic depiction as we’ve come to expect from adaptations like this. Probably the most striking art in the collection is Chris O’Halloran, who draws the X-Wing fighter pilot story. It’s very clean and the color is vivid. It feels alien, which suits the plot.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The art here and there can be inconsistent. The Leia story, for instance, has so many artists it’s striking how some art looks photorealistic and then a scene changes and it’s a lot simpler and almost unfinished looking. The Luke Skywalker story confused me visually when it came to the Emperor too. It’s too bad Marvel couldn’t lock down a single artist for the entire collection, but deadlines are probably a huge factor in why that’s impossible.
Is it good?
Contrary to other Star Wars stories Marvel has put out in a one-shot format, this series delivers stories that matter and add to the movie universe. It’s an excellent collection of stories with our favorite Star Wars heroes.