Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars Annual #1
Gillen, Unzueta & Mounts
The first "Star Wars" annual from the new wave of Star Wars comics at Marvel is a one-shot spy mission. The comic mostly uses new characters that don't have any immediate ties to the primary characters from the original trilogy. This doesn't make the book less important, but instead it makes it easier to kill off the characters and therefore has the potential to tell a more complete story. Instead this comic leaves the reader hanging at the end of a comic book that is full of plot holes and strange character decisions. I found this to be a very awkward read. I think you can find better ways to spend five bucks.
Eneb Ray is a Rebel spy. He works under the assumed name, Tharius Demo. It's not entirely clear what role Demo plays in the Empire, he appears to be some sort of tax collector, nor is it obvious what he is doing for the Rebellion that a Rebel hiding in the city's underbelly couldn't also achieve. This brings us to the strange mission.
Leia contacts Ray and orders him to free some Senators that are on death row. I don't understand why a Rebel spy, with a carefully constructed Imperial name and credentials, is now running a mission along the lines of Mission Impossible. It seems to me that if he succeeds he probably can't go back to his old role. Why couldn't a Rebel that isn't living as an insider complete this mission? The connections here are loose and don't make any logical sense. Nevertheless, Ray charges into the detention center where the plot takes another difficult to believe turn.
When Ray blasts his way into the Senators they inform him that the Emperor is on his way and this would be a great time to take him out. Ray agrees. While rounding up the five or so guards (that appears to be the only Imperials anywhere in the complex) he discovers one of them is another Rebel spy! So why didn't this spy simply kill the other guards and free the Senators? Why didn't this spy know the Emperor was on his way and kill him without bothering to involve the Senators? Another point to be made is that there are no Senators seeing as how the Senate was disbanded before The Death Star exploded, but let's say they are former Senators. The plot continues to spiral into the land of the unbelievable from here.
The Emperor confronts the Senators. This means that no one, not one guard or ship or any other security measure realized there was a break in at the detention center nor that any of the locked up guards where either missing or not at their posts. Did an editor look this comic book over? The ending at least provides a twist before the book abruptly ends as if it ran out of space. Wow.
The artwork is fine. There is some nice flow to the book and some of the images look particularly great, like the hologram of Leia. However, the book has a hard time presenting consistent depictions of Ray/Demo. He appears as if he is a young man in some panels and then like the skeleton-like, old man Tarkin look in others. The book has such an uneven read at times visually.
The "Star Wars" Annual is a spy comic book. The lead character is an obscure spy that blows his cover to take on an important mission that puts him in the direct path of the Emperor. The comic is a nice idea and makes good use of newer characters, but is riddled with plot holes and odd decisions from the characters. The reader simply has to plow through this and pretend things make sense. I'm not sure which plot point is more unbelievable: Leia recruiting a spy for a job, who operates outside the detention center, when a spy is already inside the detention center as a guard or the fact that the Empire doesn't notice missing guards or a giant hole in the side of the detention center as the Emperor meets with the prisoners. The comic is a five-dollar book and really isn't worth it. This is a strange choice of comic to put on the shelves as the movie hits the theaters. I can't recommend this comic book.
2 out of 5 Geek Goggles