REVIEW: Star Wars Annual #3

Han Solo and Princess Leia are exploring the planet of Odona as a new potential base of operations for the rebellion. Thanks to Han’s questionable advice and sense of directions the pair is lost inside the planet’s huge network of caverns and tunnels. After two days of searching the couple find the exit only to discover that their situation has gone from bad to worse, as a massive ice storm is approaching and some of Han’s old “friends” have followed him and want the scoundrel dead.

Like most Star Wars fans, I’m a sucker for the Han/Leia relationship. It’s fun to watch these two bicker and nag at each other, especially now knowing that they end up getting married later in films. That banter is front and center in this issue, although the dialogue comes off as forced at times it still reminded me of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher’s wonderful on-screen chemistry. He calls her stuck up, she calls him laser brains… you get the idea.

As for the plot, it’s a pretty standard affair. The dysfunctional couple goes on an adventure, the villain follows them and then springs a trap, we find out that Han screwed over the bad guy in the past who still wants revenge, they chase each other for a few pages, things look grim and then surprise! The good guys win when they learn to work as a team. It’s pretty standard stuff.

That said, it still doesn’t detract from the fact that this is an entertaining read. Star Wars fans will get their fix, new readers will get a decent comic, and older fans will feel like they got their money’s worth.

The artwork is hit/miss. Some panels look great, while others have stiff or underdrawn figures. Michael Walsh did a serviceable job. Case in point; the page where Han and Leia are running from a giant creature on the first page is wonderful, but just two pages later there is a single panel of Leia pointing to the oncoming storm where she owns a midget arm. The art fluctuates like that the entire issue.

My last point is the villain, Frax. While the visual design of this villain was interesting, the story left me feeling like this was a bit too cookie-cutter. Han Screwed Frax over on a smuggling deal and left the poor guy to rot in prison. Frax broke out, and has been on a personal mission of revenge ever since. I understand that this is an Annual issue and rarely do annuals carry any lasting story lines anymore, but I expected this new character to be introduced as perhaps a new reoccurring villain in the ongoing series. Instead he twirls his non-existent mustache a couple of times, shoots his henchmen and then gets blown up.

Final Thoughts: It’s a good Star Wars story, but a middle-of-the-road comic book. Final Score: 3 out of 5 Wookies!

Star Wars Annual #3
Story: Jason Latour
Art: Michael Walsh
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

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