Star Wars Tales #2
Cover: Claudio Castellini
Editor: Peet Janes
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/18/2000)
I just want to comment on Peet Jane's "editorial." One part of it is him talking to the fans, but the other part is told by an in-universe character named Peeja Mobet owner of the Holo Emporium. This is not only a cool way of bridging our world with the Star Wars universe (this was also done by "Commander" Peter Schweighofer when he was editing West End Games' SW Adventure Journal) but also a clever way of explaining why some stories seem to be "outside of continuity." Peeja says that all the stories that come through his shop (i.e. within this book) are told from one person's point of view, and may differ from what really happened. This applies to other stories as well that are rejected by fans and some writers as "non-cannon." I'm talking about the old Marvel comics, and the Blackthorne comics, and the Russ Manning strips. Like Peeja says: "The important thing is: Is it a good story?" If you like a story, why bitch about how it doesn't fit within the "official" timeline? Those stories are there, like it or not. If you don't like them, at least acknowledge them as part of Star Wars, don't deny their existence. Well, I can understand if you forgot the Holiday Special...
On with the reviews. I'm getting used to the quality of the stories turning up in this series, so I'll be short on praise since it's a given all the stories are good. Here is a breakdown of the stories:
Story: Tony Isabella
Pencils: John Nadeau
Inks: Jordi Ensign
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Han Solo smuggles a cargo right under an Imperial captain's nose...three times.
This story seems to take place some time after Han left the Imperial Academy and before he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando. So somewhere during The Hutt Gambit when Han was working with Mako Spince on Nar Shadda, although it could easily fit after he won his ship even though we don't see it in this story.
What intrigued me the most was Han's choice for his Corellian Corvette's fake ID: Jaina's Light, which he named after his mother (?!?) Are we learning that he's going to name his only daughter after his mom? That would be a nice piece of the puzzle that is Han Solo's origin.
Han's antagonist is the highly-suspicious Deyd Llnewe, Captian of the Vigilant. We see the human side of an Imperial officer, as he is tortured by shattered dreams of glory. He's agonizing on his fate of dull patrol duty, but still takes his job very seriously as he insists on searching Solo's ship based on a gut feeling, even when there is no evidence of any illegal cargo. And of course, there is the surprise ending.
Nothing bad to say about this one.
What Star Wars fan is not familiar with Nadeau's work by now? From his beautifully illustrated space battles in various X-Wing series, to his incredible character renditions and action scenes in Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, he showed his great talent. His style really shines here as he demonstrates his understanding of Star Wars technology and its "used" look. The angles are kind of basic, but the shots are very well paced for an eight-page story. The characters all have very distinct and recognizable features. The main color tones by Nestelle are the green of instrument panels lighting and the blue of deep-space, which really anchors the visuals with the story's setting. Nothing bad to say here either, except maybe that Han strangely looks like Nadeau's Wedge.
"Extinction" [Part 2]
Story: Ron Marz
Pencils: Claudio Castellini
Digital Inks: Jason Hyam
Colors: Guy Major
The Dark Woman meets her destiny at the hands of Darth Vader. Vader has a few surprises and realizes his own destiny.
The second and last part of "Extinction" is basically a fight sequence. Vader vs. the Dark Woman. Everybody knows Vader wins, but the "how" is what is intersting here. The Dark Woman has a few tricks up her very ample sleeves. At the end, I got the feeling that Vader might not be entirely enjoying what he does. But what can I say: the story is short on dialogue but strong on visuals. The pictures tell the story, so let's get to...
Like I said before, this is one huge fight sequence. And what a sequence it is! The Dark Woman does some wicked moves. Vader too, but well, you know... I've never seen such a realistic rendition of Darth Vader since Al Williamson. The way he can make Vader look like he's angry or surprised or sad is incredible. And like I said in my review of the first part of the story, the Dark Woman looks like something out of a John Buscema Conan comic, which is good because Buscema was a master. The story is sad and everything but I'm being too distracted by the magnificient artwork. I think that Castellini is one of the best talents out there. Can't wait to see what he'll work on next.
"Stop That Jawa!"
Story, Art, Colors: Dave Cooper
The Max Rebo band is on a break from their employer Jabba the Hutt. They get out of a cantina to find out their van and instruments were stolen by Jawas. They go after the little thieves and get their stuff back with a little help from a fan.
Very entertaining little cartoon about my favorite Star Wars band. A nice change from the more serious "war" stories of the Heroes of the Rebellion. Also has a funny surprise ending. Doesn't bring much to the overall Star Wars universe, except for a whole lot of fun!
Mr. Do-It-All Dave Cooper offers a cartoonish view of the Star Wars universe, which fits well with this particular story's alien environment. The main characters have the right "squishy" look. A look I wouldn't mind seeing serialized as a regular newspaper strip.
"Incident at Horn Station"
Story: Dan Jolley
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: Matthew Hollingsworth
A damaged ship lands at Horn Station. The pilot wins a bar brawl and is invited to a blastfighter contest with the station's local crime boss, the Defel Shoto Eyefire. The pilot reveals himself to be a Jedi sent to capture the gangster.
At 18 pages, the longest story in this book. Set in the times of the Old Republic, the story shows one of the ways Jedi Knights captured some criminals by passing themselves for bumbling idiots. The pilot character looks so goofy; his ship is an old rustbucket, his gun looks like it's going to blow up in his face, and he even stutters. This apparent vulnerability makes him a target for the local riff-raff, which is what the Jedi wants.
I very quickkly got a feel for the setting of Horn Station, a kind of mining town on a dark planet. It's the perfect setting for this kind of "Western gunfight" story. Kind of reminds me of Mimban from Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
The Jedi never reveals his name, only stating "I'll tell you when we meet again." Could there be more adventures for that nameless Jedi actor?
First thing I noticed was the artist's similarity of style with one of my favorite artists, Mike Mignola. There are lots of aliens, since this is a mostly non-Human occupied town, and the two Humans (the Jedi and the woman) really stand out. The alien species are very well illustrated and are instantly recognizable. A Rodian here, a Duros there. A Lutrillian. A couple of Defels. I love Star Wars aliens! Horn Station gives me the same kind of amazement than the Mos Eisly Cantina or Jabba's Palace.
If you didn't get the idea by now: all the stories in this series are great (so far.) I've come to expect only quality from this title.
Rating: 10 / 10 Highest Recommendation