Star Wars #10

In the stunning "Star Wars" #10, Jason Aaron and Stuart Immonen have found a storytelling pace that shows off the flexibility of the stories available in a franchise which spans an entire galaxy. The entire creative team steps up their game as Aaron heightens the drama across the various story threads he has developed in this arc.

Three chapters into this arc, there are a lot of balls in the air, as Aaron has stretched the Rebels across several planets, slowly closing the circle and pulling them back together. While the previous arcs were plotted as singular efforts, like a full episode of a great "Star Wars" series, the writer shows off his ability to run a several episodes of a series in a single arc here. Every thread has momentum and its own vibe, with nothing feeling like it's been sacrificed for the sake of another plot. This is impressive storytelling for twenty two pages.

Having hit his groove with the characters, Immonen paces the scenes with the Solos and Leia using widescreen pages, giving real depth and scope to a dogfight in space. Scenes inside the cockpit of the Volt Cobra -- Sana's ship -- are tight and claustrophobic, driving the urgency of the action outside, where Immonen stretches the view to convey both the majesty and high stakes of the emptiness surrounding them as they fight for their lives. Aaron gives Leia a commanding presence and both women entertainingly push Han to the background as they figure out the best way out of their conundrum. Justin Ponsor uses these scenes to make the action pop in the black of space, choosing a color palette that rests enticingly over the dark backgrounds and guides the reader's eye towards the most important action.

C3PO and Chewbacca, meanwhile, play good cop/Wookie cop while on the search for Luke in the book's funniest scenes. Aaron plays the Droid's rational, innocent manner of inquisition against the Wookie's more basic approach of smash and demand. He heightens their search with each visit back, from beating up other Droids to dropping a bartender off a roof while C3PO is looking away. There is definitely a longer, entertaining story to be mined from these characters while they're out on a search for answers.

Luke's scenes are the most solemn and dramatic of the book, as Aaron essentially writes a gladiator story on these pages, down to Grakkus the Hutt demanding blood and lightsabers for his arena combat. Immonen's layouts would fit in just fine on a "Conan" adventure, highlighting the characters in large, epic poses on the panel as they talk and delivering close up action during the training panels, which are full of tensed muscles and Marvel-style action shots.

With ten issues under their belts, Aaron and editor Jordan D. White prove they were a great choice to shepherd the "Star Wars" universe back to Marvel Comics. Each arc has shown off the franchise's ability to serve different types of stories, with Aaron using a single arc to play a space adventure, a buddy cop comedy and a gladiator epic all-in-one. By the time Aaron introduces a dumb Gungan to the Chewie-Threepio plotline, readers can practically hear the fun the writer is having with the series. "Star Wars" proves the power of the medium and is a must read series for fans of the franchise.

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