Brian Wood’s journey through the Star Wars galaxy continues this week with Star Wars #4. Action and intrigue abound as the Rebels and Imperials continue to square off from opposite sides of the galaxy, dealing with internal and external conflicts alike. Issue #4 feels a bit more like filler than the previous three installments, but the story moves forward nonetheless. With multiple storylines going on in the series, Wood choose to focus heavily on the Rebels this time around, but still keeps the Imperials in the game.
As Brian Wood catches us up with Han and Chewie after their botched meeting on Coruscant, we find the pair running for their lives from a TIE fighter patrol. While a chase through the skyscrapers of the Imperial capital isn’t anything new, this particular instance includes a most unconventional means of evading pursuit as only our favorite Corellian and Wookiee can deliver. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Carlos D’Anda depiction will make even the most casual Star Wars fan smile. Wood then leaves us with the promise that the smugglers are headed towards an “out of the frying pan, into the fire” situation in issue #5. A brief yet spectacular look in on Han and Chewie.
The meat of issue #4 focuses on the ongoing drama that is Princess Leia’s black ops squad of pilots tasked with finding a new home for the Alliance, as well as weeding out the mole in their midst. Sadly, this is the most disappointing section of the book since we don’t really see anything new. The squadron heads out and splits into teams to scout different sites, but, just as we’ve seen already, they are ambushed by an Imperial patrol. We understand that this is what the Rebels are attempting to avoid, but it seems like no progress has been made in this particular storyline. The Imperials show up, Leia and company freak out, and a dogfight ensues. Here’s hoping this one has a different and surprising outcome in the issues to come. The saving grace is Carlos D’Anda’s art. He continues to excel in portraying the action of a Star Wars dogfight, beautifully illustrating fighters and environments.
The issue ends with the most intriguing turn yet. Aboard Death Star II, we find Darth Vader bitching out his staff of officers for their “apparent lack of progress.” However, just in time to prevent an entire room full of invisibly choked corpses, Birra Seah, a liaison from the Kuat manufacturing company, calms down the Dark Lord (you read that right). Convincing him that his form of motivation is less than efficient in the workplace (who knew?), Seah makes a deal that will put her in charge of the remaining construction on the station….for a price. The fact that this is someone who was very quick to get into Vader’s good graces is fascinating. This storyline will definitely keep me coming back.
Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda continue to do good work, regardless of the sudden decrease in pace, but every issue can’t be non-stop action. The pair continues to display an excellent handle on the material, from Wood’s quick nod to Han Solo’s days on the Imperial Academy to D’Anda’s beautiful, full-page splash of R2-D2 and C-3PO, accompanied by banter reminiscent of their famous squabbles in the Tataooine desert and Echo Base.
Star Wars #4 is out today from Dark Horse!