Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1-4
Dark Horse Comics
Kindt, Castiello & Parsons
The four issue mini-series that focuses on the rebels during the time between Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back is one of the final Star Wars comics that Dark Horse will publish. The mini-series presents a very ambitious read but not anything terribly groundbreaking. The individual comics change focus from one character to another and attempt to tie them neatly together at the end. However, as individual books they read very disjointed and only provide a mild payoff at the end of the series. This would have been better served as a one-shot that was slimmed down to 60 pages.
The series begins with Han Solo on the run with a new recruit. While this is a very excited comic book and captures Solo's personality extremely well it stops short of being great for a few reasons. The ending is so strange because Solo allows himself to be captured and then makes things worse for himself after getting captured. It seemed obvious that he has something up his sleeve but it isn't apparent what that is. Even knowing this the ending feels out of character. The artwork also ranges from excellent to very odd in terms of how Solo looks. The book works well with its pacing and its narration, which is told from the recruit's standpoint.
The second issue features Leia. Once again the comic is told from another rebel operative's perspective and it works well again. However, the stereotypes about a princess getting her hands dirty have been done to death and feel forced here. However, the plot is a little tighter in this issue and it reads well. The oddity of course is the absence of Solo. Even the recap mentions him, almost exclusively, but he is nowhere to be found. The artwork is at its best in this issue. The command at which Leia is drawn may very well be the best I've ever seen. The range of facial expressions, the beauty and the general sexiness jumps out on every single page.
The third issue is Chewie centric. The handoff between issues two and three is as seamless as the handoff between issues one and two are clumsy. Chewie's mission is not that interesting and is not terribly apparent either. The difficulty here is that you have a human and Chewie as the sole characters. It makes dialogue difficult for the reader to understand when half of the duo is speaking Wookie. The narration is again told from the rebel spy that happened to be in issue two but was not the narrator. The artwork in this issue is very good at times and difficult to render at others. Let's be honest, the Gamorrean Guard looks like a Muppet in two panels and that is not a good thing. Some of the panels of Chewie are the best I have ever seen, while others he appears to lose his satchel. This comic ends the same way as the previous two: the lead character is captive.
The final issue features Luke. This comic is much more blunt about the intentions. An imperial spy is tailing Luke as he checks in on the other three heroes. The story weaves its way through the previous issues and comes out the other side in a couple of quick rescue missions. It would appear that based on how rushed this book is that this series was truncated. Perhaps there was meant to be an entire Luke issue and then an issue to tie it all together. This comic at least has a quick pace to it, which helps. The comic ties things together neatly but it stops short of walking the reader through the entire plot. There are a couple of Easter Eggs in here when it comes to the films, which is a nice touch. The artwork isn't as tight as the previous issues but it definitely has some upswing moments.
The mini-series is worth a look and, after all, Dark Horse won't be publishing anything else Star Wars related so this might be something to savior. The ambition of the mini-series I applaud. Trying to bring in four outsiders and tell stories about the four main heroes while bringing them together in a dovetailing plot finale is a tough task. It nearly pulls it off but it still feels a little too disjointed, feels slightly off character and more than coincidental. This is an average story but a fun read nonetheless. Dark Horse had a great run with these characters.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles