The Star Wars #6 has more action than all 5 previous issues combined. It also features the most eclectic blend of scenes fans will recognize from the original film trilogy, even if there are slight variations. As usual, the names, locations, and even certain visuals are familiar, but this exploration of “what could have been” continues to excite at times but fall flat at others.
Our band of heroes in on the run from Imperial forces, engaging in a ship-to-ship dogfight reminiscent of Han and Luke’s confrontation with the TIE fighters in A New Hope. It’s a wild series of panels brought to life by artist Mike Mayhew and Rain Beredo, and the hectic nature is emphasized even further by J.W. Rinzler’s writing as Luke Skywalker barks orders, Annikin Starkiller is swept out into space, and Threepio tries to keep their ship in one piece, especially when they enter an asteroid field, a la Han Solo’s deft escape in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s right around this point that the issue comes to a screeching halt. Just after his harrowing rescue from the vacuum of space, Annikin deliriously spouts vague notions about his feelings for Princess Leia. Oxygen deprivation? Perhaps. Space madness? Likely. Regardless of the cause, it’s Captain Whitsun’s contribution that comes out of left field. He lectures the Princess on how she must discourage the fledgling Jedi from pursuing such things. That’s all well and good, but who is this guy to be spouting doctrine about an order of which he is not a member to a person he’s known for less than a day? It’s devoid of context and takes the reader out of the action almost immediately.
As the ship goes down in one of the ominously named “forbidden systems”, escape pods are launched. Sadly, Whitsun’s journey comes to end here as he sacrifices himself to get the princess safely off the ship. We eventually find our intrepid squad separated in the jungles of Yavin. Annikin and Artwo land together, harkening back to the crash-landing on Dagobah; Luke, Han, Chewie, and the royal twins stumble across the home of one Owen Lars (I bet moisture is WAY easier to farm in a jungle); and Leia is abducted by a band of slave trappers who bear a striking resemblance to a familiar group of bounty hunters. It’s here that we get our throwback to Return of the Jedi as Annikin is taken to a village inhabited by Yavin’s indigenous people: Wookiees. However, unlike the familiar Ewoks who just wanted to cook the Rebel heroes, the Wookiees go all “Amok Time” and pit Annikin against one of their warriors. Hand-to-hand combat is fun, but Mike Mayhew drops the ball very briefly when Annikin pulls a very confusing move that appears to be a kill shot in one frame and winds up just knocking the wind out of his opponent in the next. Did he kill the Wookiee? Did he show mercy? You’re forced to accept the latter outcome, despite the existence of clarity, when Annikin is presented with a weapon and the onlookers begin to cheer.
It looks like Star Wars fans will finally get a glimpse of what it would have been like to have Wookiees instead of Ewoks. This prospect ends the issue on a high note and finally gives the good guys a much-needed advantage since they have been on the run since this adventure began. The story hasn’t been the greatest in terms of execution to this point, but with only two issues left, I’ll still see The Star Wars all the way to the end.
The Star Wars #6 is available now!