Guri, the human replica droid bodyguard of the late Xizor, looks for a droid expert to help her become more human.
Where the original 'Shadows of the Empire' media event was used as an
opportunity to showcase the entire movie cast in a new story, this sequel puts
one of the few original SOTE characters at center stage. Fortunately, this
character was the most original (and my favorite) new addition: Guri, the
human replica droid assassin.
Unusual for a SW story, the premise is an individual journey. Guri is seeking
her humanity (a la Pinocchio, the Tinman, Data), but killer programming,
killer motives and killer looks is bound to make her quest more than a solely
inner struggle. From what I've seen so far, this arc could be very
What strikes me about this single issue is the lack of narrative and dialog.
Words are few and far between. It certainly takes its time in showing travel
and setting up background. This isn't a knock, mind you, as the issue doesn't
feel slow, but rather meticulous as a droid would be. Six issues of this pace
might get a bit tiresome.
The weakness here could be the antagonist Azool, whom I fear is a simple
retread of Xizor. Worse yet, the who's who in the back (a great addition, BTW)
has me worried that Xizor might not be dead.
I can admire the technical skill of Fegredo's cover, but I don't care for it.
The stars feel silly and I'm sorry to see that this theme will be carried.
Also, Luke and the other movie heroes depicted on the cover appear silently in
only two brief flashback panels. This one feels like a ploy to get people to
buy the book. (Whatever works, I guess... since people should buy it.)
The pencils are pretty good, with a combination of very accurate and detailed
technology along with very realistic and well-posed characters. The quality of
this work was overshadowed for me (perhaps because I'd seen a black and white
version earlier) by the Nestelle's very nice colors. The coloring effects were
done with obvious care and add richness to every panel.
I do have a few concerns over alien designs. Kar Yang looks too much like the
Loony Tunes' Marvin the Martian bird warriors. The human with distorted faces
aliens made the book feel more like Star Trek than Star Wars in places.
However, these are minor complaints about a high quality work.
The inside of this issue is a great start to a new series. The art is top
notch and the premise is promising. 8/10. Recommended.
I received a preview copy of DH's "SOTE:Evolution #1" just before the mail
strike hit Canada. I won't do a full review until it hits the news-stands in
February, but here's a copy of the letter I sent to the editor.
The best part of the original 'Shadows of the Empire' story was the
opportunity to see familiar characters in situations which tie in tightly with
the events of the movies. I think I'm correct in saying that the popularity of
various SW comic and novel titles increases as the use of "main" movie
characters increases. Han/Luke/Leia titles are inherently more popular than
Wedge/Ackbar titles which are more popular than titles 1000s of years before
Luke may be on the cover of SOTE:Evolution, but the movie heroes are little
more than props in flashback sequences in this story. I applaud Dark Horse for
taking a risk and accepting the challenge of launching a series where none of
the main characters are from the movies... and only ONE has appeared in SW
Aside from a chance to see Vader back in action, my favorite thing about SOTE
was Guri. While the premise is familiar, Evolution #1 shows that Guri is more
than another Pinocchio/Data/Tinman looking to become human. In her universe
droids are appliances at best... slaves at worst. If you throw in a dark side
of lethal assassin programming, drive for revenge and killer looks... this one
could be fun.
Based on the inked pages I saw, Ron Randall has everything I want in a SW
artist. His rendering of known SW technology was dead on and rich with detail.
The movie characters looked like the actors who played them. There's a great
mix of established species and new aliens... none of whom are simply humans
with funny faces.
There's room for improvement... I'm not thrilled about attempting to replace
Xizor with Azool who's a virtual clone. I think Kar Yang looks way to much
like the Martians from Bugs Bunny. As far as I know, "Photon Torpedoes" belong
in the Star Trek universe only.
This title's full of potential and I look forward to seeing it met. (If SOTE
goes well, can I get that Mara Jade title I've been asking for?)