The Force Awakens #5
The Force Awakens #5 (of 6)
Writer: Chuck Wendig
Artist: Luke Ross
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
The Force Awakens #5 begins on D’Qar at the Resistance base and the iconic Finn/Poe hug and ends with the tragic death of Han Solo as the lightsaber ignites through him. This issue covers a lot of ground, and perhaps too much as some of the choppy scenes illustrate. There is a bonus or two for readers, yet it’s not enough to justify the purchase of the comic. Like the issues that have come before, at least those done by Luke Ross, this series continues to churn out adequate artwork and a by the book telling of the movie that leaves little for the consumer to desire.
Looking through the artwork in this issue, it’s interesting to see how the likenesses of the characters differ. For instance, Luke Ross does an excellent job with Kylo Ren. Kylo looks just like Adam Driver in all his panels. On the other hand, Leia has a reasonable likeness to Leia, but the way she is portrayed looks different in every panel. Sometimes she looks old, sometimes she looks young, and sometimes she looks like someone else. The inconsistency of her look is a distraction in itself.
Aside from likeness, it’s worth remarking on the iconic scenes in this issue. For instance, we get another shot of Snoke in his throne room. Unfortunately this one is not done by Marc Laming who illustrated the Snoke scenes in The Force Awakens #3. Ross and Frank Martin do try to capture some of the same lighting effects and textures, but Ross’ linework just isn’t the same as Laming’s.
Another fan favorite moment from the film which showed up in this issue is when Kylo throws his temper tantrum in Rey’s vacated cell. It’s given four panels and not only does it fail to show the gravity and dangerousness of Kylo’s rage, but it also skips the funny moment when the two Stormtroopers see what’s going on and turn around. Another moment this issue struggles with is when Han gestures with a nod to Finn that Rey is behind him. To try and work around that, the comic has Han point at Rey, but it doesn’t translate very well at all and they would have been better off skipping that scene. It all builds up to the big one, though, and that’s Han and Kylo facing off on the bridge. The layout design for that scene isn’t too bad. They focus on the emotional struggle reflected on their faces, the shift of fate as Kylo clinches his grip on the lightsaber, and then the moment of shock as the lightsaber ignites through our beloved hero. But the style of the artwork doesn’t encapsulate the gravitas of those epic film moments. Rather than seeing some really gorgeous artwork rendering the scenes in iconic panels, we get a funny books rendition. It’s not iconic. It’s not gorgeous. It’s not breathtaking. It’s just a cartoony illustration. In the end, it’s a simple bad judgement call on the part of Marvel in their choice of artists for this adaptation.
One thing they do right, however, is the inclusion of a panel that shows Captain Phasma falling into the trash compactor. This is something we didn’t get in the movie, and it’s one of the things readers want to see in an adaptation. There are moments that would have happened but happened off screen. Each of these are opportunities for the comics to reward fans with something new. They don’t have to be earth shattering or even consequential, but their fun and fresh. Sadly, this adaptation dribbles new scenes like this out so sparingly that it’s not even worth the price of purchase to get them. The Phasma trash compactor panel is but a casualty of too little for too much.
There’s not much to remark on beyond that. With one more issue to go, this adaptation is almost complete and has show so far that it has little to offer fans. I give The Force Awakens #5 a two out of five metal bikinis.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.