“Star Wars” #20 brings a close to the adventures of the burgeoning Rebellion as Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda give readers one more journey aboard the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. For good measure, the quartet is trying to elude the mechanical bounty hunter IG-88 and rescue Seren Song, a childhood friend of Leia’s and agent of the Rebellion.
As he has done throughout “Star Wars,” Wood infuses this final Dark Horse adventure with the wide-eyed imagination George Lucas’ most famous creations have inspired in generations of fans. The threat of IG-88 is palpable, Song seems in peril, but fortune and heroics play their role in this story from a galaxy far, far away. Wood elevates IG-88’s position upward, giving the droid assassin more personality than he has cumulatively ever had. In doing so, fills the issue with characters. Han, Luke and Leia are spot on, and Seren Song sells herself through Wood’s dialog and her tenacity and dedication to the Rebel Alliance. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: it isn’t hard to imagine Wood setting this adventure up in his backyard, with a spare Leia action figure filling the role of Song.
D’Anda’s art is lavishly detailed, opening the panels up for Gabe Eltaeb to paint miniature masterpieces, such as the crest of Oaka Prime, rolling into view a third of the way into “Star Wars” #20. Eltaeb and letterer, Michael Heisler, accentuate D’Anda’s art nicely. Heisler characterizes each word balloon, tucking them discreetly within the panels and maximizing the readers’ ability to absorb everything going on. D’Anda doesn’t waste lines replicating the likenesses of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher or Mark Hamill, rather he captures the essences of each of those characters in the same manner Carmine Infantino and Howard Chaykin did in the 1970s.
With as much care as Dark Horse put into their shepherding the Star Wars brand, Wood, D’Anda, Eltaeb and Heisler have done a magnificent job expanding the universe and putting their mark on it. Unfortunately, this series is cut short due to the shifting of the comic license, but at the very least, we have twenty issues filled with the most beloved Star Wars characters. Wood and company have given readers stories worthy of cherishing and re-reading, re-enacting with action figures or serving as inspiration for a future generation’s attempts at continuing the story of the Rebels and the Empire. They’ve set the bar high, and I’m thankful to have read it. I will, most definitely, be re-reading this series as I wait for more stories from a long time ago.