Following the failed matrimonial proceedings in the previous issues, writer Brian Wood scales back the cast of this series for “Star Wars” #19, adding one new player to the Rebellion, bringing in a fan-favorite bounty hunter and setting Chewie, Han, Leia and Luke on a rescue mission. These are good decisions that help boost the energy of the series for what may be one of the last storylines in this series as the license winds down.
The issue opens on Lotho Minor, a junkyard planet, and introduces a character important enough for Wood to devote ten pages to her. The writer reveals just enough to make Seren Song a sympathetic character, but not more than enough to ease concerns that she may be wandering into “Star Wars” #19 simply to become cannon fodder for a dramatic battle down the line. Wood then shifts back to the Rebel Alliance fleet and bypasses everyone else to take readers into a conference between Leia, Luke and Han. It’s standard fare, soap opera-esque drama from Wood, falling inline with the Star Wars universe as the writer’s work has done since launch. Unfortunately, towards the latter half of “Star Wars” #19, the story switches between action and emotion faster than Han Solo’s Kessel Run. IG-88 is in pursuit, firing on the Millennium Falcon, but Wood and D’Anda cut to Luke giving Leia a shoulder to cry on. While this may be an important character development, the overall effect on the story and flow is jarring and slightly forced.
D’Anda’s interpretation of IG-88 is not as technically precise as Gabriel Hardman’s rendering of AG-37, an assassin droid of similar construction, but the objective comes through clearly in the art even though D’Anda imbues cartoony qualities upon IG-88. The artist brings the essences of the characters to “Star Wars” #19, but makes them clearly animated in appearance and expression. The tighter cast helps D’Anda to pepper in details without losing any significant story beats. The cartoony nature of the characters keeps this comic upbeat and fun, evoking the attitude of the original trilogy nicely. Colorist Gabe Eltaeb is on task with the colors, right down to the bluish glow of the afterburners as the Millennium Falcon leaves the Rebel fleet behind.
This series continues to be tremendous fun, and “Star Wars” #19 opens up the universe once again, adding some details to Princess Leia’s childhood. It’s not hard to imagine Wood crafting this script around an assortment of action figures and toys in his backyard using IG-88 instead of the same old Stormtroopers and gray clad Imperial officers. I just hope Marvel is paying attention to these comics so “Star Wars” comics can continue to be this much fun.