Legacy – War #5

Writer: John Ostrander & Jan Duursema

Cover Artist: Jan Duursema

Interior Art by: Jan Duursema (pencils), Dan Parsons (inks), Brad Anderson (colors), and Michael Heisler (letters)

In issue five there was a shifting of gears as the story was throttled back and the art was shifted forward. Throughout the issue were nicely depicted close-ups of the characters, colorful action scenes, and a few panels fully charged with emotion that all contributed to a general boon in the art aspect. Yet the upswing in art went hand-in-hand with a weaker story. The issue covered too much in a short amount of time with a chaotic pace that felt rushed. To top it off, there is only one issue left to wrap up the entire series, and none of the major topics were concluded in this issue.

The art was pretty good in issue five and was noticeably better than the previous few issues. With so much crammed into the comic, there were plenty of opportunities for good art. Thankfully some time was taken to fully capture the emotion and beauty in the panels. For instance there were three rather simple panels that focused on a simple object, and through the coloring, were charged with emotion. First off was a close-up of of a Sith trooper’s eyeball as he was dying. The text in the word bubble slowly shrinks as the trooper utters his last words. The eye is colored with a touch of lighting, a red iris with flaming veins lancing off it, the eyeball itself colored a cold black, all of it coming together to present the feeling of death with just a last pulse of life left. The choice of zooming in on the eye was a nice way of highlighting the moment. It was a rare combination where the artist, colorist, and letterer all came together to put their mark on a single panel.

Another image that highlighted color and emotion was a group of Imperial officers caught in a blast of gunfire. The scene comes right after a joint task force breaks into the Sith’s HQ to take out Coruscant’s central defense computer array. The team, formed by Jedi Master Rasi Tuum, Imperial Knight Azlyn Rae, and Morrigan Corde, come in guns and lightsabers blazing. The panel is a group shot and is very bright and colorful. However, the panel that follows is an extreme contrast. The three Imperial officers are shown in different states of death as they are being hit with blaster fire. The dialog is nothing more than gasps of pain. Furthermore, the coloring is all different shades of gold which puts a simple tone on the picture: one of vivid starkness. Even here, with so little to work with, the letterer added a simple flourish to one of the gasps to emphasize the emotion.

The final image of simple artistic emotion was nothing more than a blaster. The gun is being held in a hand and fired. There is no dialog and there are no faces because there are none needed. It’s just a blaster being fired and the reader knows the rest. The colors are very simple, mostly shades of red fading to black as it grows farther away from the bright yellow spark of the blaster bolt. The plainness of image forces the viewer to imagine what isn’t being seen. The reader must imagine the fear on the victim’s face and the carnage of the aftermath. By doing this, the art draws the reader deeper into the comic and into the story. It truly captures the imagination. Between these three images, the blaster, the Imps being blasted, and the Sith trooper’s eye, the reader is engrossed into the story in a way the previous two issues failed to do. It was a very nice way to get hooked by the series once again.

Aside from the modest energetic panels were a few that stretched toward epic. One image in particular shows Cade Skywalker with a lightsaber in one hand, blaster in the other, and a brilliant explosion in the background with stormtroopers flying through the air. The piece has a nice composition with the lines of explosion flowing with Cade’s outstretched arms, his eyes gazing away from the blaze, and his body in a slight mimicry of Atlas carrying the world. In this instance, Cade is carrying the explosion on his back. This is followed with a series of close-ups of the pilots with a Christmas-colored chaos shot of space in the foreground. Tightly packed beams of green and red laser fire stand heavily contrasted by the blackness of space in an eye popping strobe effect. Together, the balance of the two elements is very appealing. Yet the true art highlight for me was a three panel shot of Cade. The first panel shows his hand holding his emerald lightsaber. This flanks a double panel, arrayed top and bottom, that illustrates what almost looks to be one image. The picture is a split image, the top half showing the top half of Cade’s face, and the lower half showing the lower half of his face. Each is a close-up, thus the two images are not truly one image. The upper images focuses in on Cade’s green eyes, though only one can be seen (the other is covered by his blond bangs). His eye is one of intensity, but not anger. Looking at just that panel, he would simply appear to be gazing at his opponent. But the lower panel is a completely different subject. This panel shows a smile that would make the Joker envious. Cade’s grin looks like something a lunatic would wear. Flicking between the two images creates a strange contrast because they almost don’t seem to match up, and yet they do. In its entirety the three panels are easily the best thing I’ve seen in the whole series.

Sadly something had to give with all the great art and that something was the story. The main drawback with the story was that it felt rushed with too much going on and not enough time being spent to cover it all. The issue starts off on Bastion with the characters doing some dialog on minor plot points, and then with a turn of the page the decision to attack Bastion is announced to the fleets. There are no scenes showing Stazi, the Jedi, and Fel coming to a joint decision or doing any planning; it just happens. A few more pages of dialog follows, again touching on minor plots, before the action shifts to full blown battle with little transition. The strike force that attacks Coruscant’s central defense computer array doesn’t have any panels showing their insertion. There’s a glimpse of the Mynock above Coruscant, and then a panel that shows the team inside the building. The combined fleet leaps out of hyperspace after just two action panels in the building. From there the action jumps around between space, the ground war, and the battle in the building. Plot points start wrapping up and unfolding in between action scenes. A lot happens very quickly. Before too long the last page comes around and the issue ends.

Nothing we haven't seen before, but it still looks pretty good.

After the last page is read and the end result finally begins to settle on the reader, you begin to realize that with so much packed into one issue, the last issue will be just as hectic. There are a lot of unanswered questions remaining and the series, not just War but Legacy as a whole, still needs a resolution. Hopefully issue six can pull it off. Regardless, issue five wasn’t too bad. Yes, there was too much jammed in, but it was a lot of good stuff and the art was a nice change of pace. That said, I’d give it a healthy four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren
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