Star Wars #17
Star Wars #17
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciller: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artists: Terry and Rachel Dodson
Good, bad, there’s a little bit of everything in Star Wars #17 as the sun prison turns into a madhouse. The attack on the prison takes an interesting spin as the instigator tries to sway Leia to their own view of vigilante justice. But Leia isn’t having any of it. Rather than be led by a madman, she stays true to her path and tries to take the prison back. Even if that means handing Aphra a gun.
First off, I’m going to tackle the artwork as it’s all over the place. The very first page of the issue sort of sets the bar. At first glance, the artwork looks good. The colors are great, the lighting looks nice, the figures are…well, the figures would be fine if their faces weren’t so bad. Leinil Francis Yu tends to take a minimalist approach with the faces if it’s not a closeup. The result is that some of the panels have terrible looking characters. Whether it’s not enough detail or poor likenesses, it hurts the overall look of the comic. Yet some of the panels actually look really nice. Heck, some of them are down right great. Case in point, the cockpit shot of Luke and Han with the nerfs or the following scene of the Falcon. Both are outstanding. Then there’s the eerie darkness shot of the inmates being let loose which reeks of horror films in such a good way. And as bad as Leia looks in some panels, she looks great in others. So it’s not so much that the artist’s style is bad, but that it’s inconsistent. It ranges everywhere from passable to great. It more or less averages out to pretty good in the end.
Diving into the story, this issue skips through some of the action and starts with Leia and Sana having already defeated the first wave of the prison attack. The intruders turn out to be mostly droids, led by some possible ex-Rebel turned idealist renegade bent on murdering all the Imperial captives in the prison. I have to admit, that was a nice twist I didn’t see coming. The character angle of the renegade is pretty cool. Yet Leia is stuck in her bleeding heart ways, determined to treat every prisoner with the utmost respect, even if her life is in danger. I get that Jason Aaron is trying to show the strength of Leia’s character, however, I can’t help but feel that the Leia in the movies would have ended up blasting the prisoners when they attacked her. After all, Leia didn’t show any mercy to the Stormtroopers that attacked her on the Tantive IV and who clearly said they were setting their blasters to stun yet she persisted on keeping hers set to kill. In fact I think the only mercy Leia ever showed in the films was toward the Ewoks who tried to eat her friends. On top of that, it would have been more interesting if the renegade had some success in forcing Leia to carry out his will. One moment she’s saving prisoners and the next she’s forced to kill them. The event would have had intriguing repercussions on her character, something much more impactful than her rather handily finding a way to handcuff all the prisoners in the dark.
That said, the thing that really annoyed me was the last couple panels in the comic. Leia hands Aphra a gun and enlists her help to take the prison back. This bothers me on a couple levels. Primarily, the whole thing makes me want to yell out loud at Leia for being so stupid. You know Aphra is going to double-cross her and use this as her chance to escape as soon as the moment arrises. How can Leia be so naive as to think this will not go wrong? Why would she think she could trust Aphra in this situation? Mutual survival may be a big motivator, but do they really need Aphra’s help? So far Leia and Sana haven’t even broken a sweat fighting droids and escaping inmates, and they didn’t even use lethal force on the inmates. It just seems like really bad storytelling on Jason Aaron’s part, and it’s a shame given how intriguing the whole renegade plot thread is.
Elsewhere, Luke helps Han get another job for the Falcon as they smuggle some cargo across the stars. While the escaped inmates in the dark brought a very heavy horror vibe to the issue, Luke brings in the humor. This is by far the best cargo I’ve ever seen the Falcon smuggle because it officially makes Luke and Han nerf herders. Those other gripes aside, this story idea was priceless.
There’s a lot of highs and lows to this issue in both artwork and writing, but thankfully they still average out pretty high. There’s some great panels, some great dialog, and some priceless moments. There’s also some bad artwork, bad writing and bad moments. Give and take, it’s still a good issue, and I give Star Wars #17 a four out of five metal bikinis. In the end, the good outweighs the bad.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.