Episode III: Revenge of the Sith TPB
Story: George Lucas
Script: Miles Lane
Art: Doug Wheatley
Coloring: Christopher Chuckry
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Tsuneo Sanda (regular), Warren Fu (hardcover)
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (04/05/2005)
(From the back cover) A dark time for the galaxy...
Ravaged and weakened by civil war, the Republic has turned to the Jedi to lead its clone armies against the droid forces of the Separatists. But even as the last desperate engagements of the Clone Wars are being fought, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Senator Padmé Amidala, and the Jedi Order are faced with a new battle - for the heart and soul of Anakin Skywalker.
Anakin is being seduced by the power of the dark side. Playing on Skywalker's concern for the safety of his wife, the same master manipulator who has plunged the galaxy into war is slowly but surely drawing Anakin to the brink of his own doom - and that of the Republic. A husband and wife will be separated, friends will become enemies, and a great evil is revealed!
I don't usually review collected editions, but I'm making an exception because this one (just like the previous two movie adaptations) came out before the individual issues. Before I comment on the story, let me write about the actual format of the book. I don't understand why the editors decided to go with this small number of pages. Four 32-page issues, and one 96 page TPB hardly leave enough space to cover all the events of the movie. Although Miles Lane does an incredible job of highlighting the major events and condensing some others, I would have liked the same number of pages as Attack of the Clones, which had 144 pages. Nevertheless, it does showcase Lane's talent as an editor. If he was able to do it in this number of pages (and he did pull it off amazingly well), all the power to him. I just would have liked more!
As far as the story is concerned, it's very difficult to do given that I haven't seen the movie this is based on. Also because it's a movie adaptation written by George Lucas, and not just any Expanded Universe comic, I am very biased. So in order to avoid revealing spoilers, I'll skip over that part and just say that it is an amazing story, much better than The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones, and an amazing bridge between those two movies and the classic Star Wars trilogy.
The rough pencil art of Doug Wheatley is just incredible, as is the coloring by Chris Chuckry. The poses are very cinematic, the likenesses very realistic, and the colors just give the pages a photo-realistic aspect. I have no doubt that Wheatley used a lot of photo references from the movies, but it doesn't look copied at all. Almost each panel is a little piece of art in itself. Anybody who's read the "Darklighter" storyline from Empire will remember Wheatley's art as one of the best looking comic book art.
Although the comic has some very nice photo and title pages, I don't understand why they only included the first two covers of the individual issues, one of which is cluttered with a caption that says this story takes place 19 years before A New Hope. I would have liked to see all four of Dave Dorman's incredible pieces that he did for this adaptation. If the page count was an issue, I think they could have done away with one of the two title pages, and one of the picture pages, either that of Yoda or the one with the Trade Federation laser cannon. One good thing though is they did away with these extraneous photo covers that the previous two movie adaptations were plagued with. The TPB has a stunning cover by Tsuneo Sanda, and there is also a StarWarsShop.com exclusive hardcover by Revenge of the Sith concept artist Warren Fu that depicts the epic duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin over a river of lava on Mustafar.
Needless to say, this is an absolute must. Any Star Wars fan needs this book in his collection, right alongside all the other adaptations. The only factor should be whether you want to read it now, or wait after you've seen the movie...
Rating: 10 / 10 Highly Recommended