The story between stories continues with Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda sharing the exploits of fan favorite characters in “Star Wars” #3. All of the favorites get some panel time here: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader — even Wedge Antilles. Additionally, Wood continues to add depth to the characters he has brought to the Star Wars universe, using them as catalysts for development and difficulties for the rest of his cast.
Darth Vader’s tumble into disgrace continues as he is shuffled off of the front lines of battle and onto an administrative assignment. Replacing Vader’s command on those front lines, Colonel Bircher readies a squadron of pilots in TIE Interceptors to attack the Rebel Alliance. Vader is sent to cool his heels and languish in the clerical duty of supervising the construction of the second Death Star. Wood presents the anxiety and fear Vader’s presence causes.
While he is content to let D’Anda deliver the details, Wood uses caption boxes to advance the story, a device that comes in quite handy when two pages are devoted to a massive depiction of a work-in-progress space station and the Imperial fleet around it. The writer is not beholden to any one storytelling method with this adventure, using flashback sequences and commlink conversations as well as action and dialog. There is one scene that casts a shadow of doubt on Han Solo’s honor, but taken in context and understanding its place in the larger story, that moment is acceptable.
D’Anda’s art is emotionally charged and energetic. His depictions of the characters are closer to caricatures than renderings, but he does manage to capture the spirit of each of the characters, the scope of the galaxy these characters inhabit and the magnificence of the machinery they use. Like caricatures do, D’Anda’s drawings accentuate the qualities of the primaries in “Star Wars” #3, from Leia’s diplomatically restrained passion to Luke’s overzealous confidence in his role for the Rebel Alliance. Accenting it all with brilliance, Gabe Eltaeb’s luminescent colors on a generally dark palette, underscore the situation of the entire galaxy at this point in the history of the Empire.
The essence of “Star Wars” is here. There is plenty of adventure and excitement, even though a Jedi might not crave these things. Wood and company bring plenty of the spirit of “Star Wars” to this title and “Star Wars” #3 is filled with larger sets, intricate plots and tangled subplots. There is a lot going on here, but it isn’t bogging things down. As a matter of fact the story moves quite briskly and ends way too soon. I still want to get out my action figures and continue adventures using this comic book as a springboard. Maybe I’ll just go do that while I wait for the next issue.