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After a somewhat lackluster opening arc, the new Marvel Comics Star Wars series from writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday has rounded into form, and Star Wars #6 is perhaps the best issue yet. We get characters facing off with opponents they never faced in the movies and the debut of a juicy new character who promises to upset the status quo of the Star Wars dynamics, circa Episode IV.
The issue kicks off with Luke Skywalker, accompanied by R2-D2, looking for Ben Kenobi’s lost journal. So he’s made his way to Ben’s former home on Tatooine, but there he is attacked by bounty hunter Boba Fett, hired by Darth Vader to pursue the young man who sabotaged the Empire’s base on Cymoon 1 in the first few issues of the series. Meanwhile, Han Solo and Leia Organa are on a mission when they get spotted by a couple of Empire ships, forcing them to make it through electrical storms to a hostile planet that Han knows well. However, they’re soon found, not by the Empire forces but by a woman from Han’s past, who happens to share his last name!
The battle between Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett is the series’ best sequence so far through six issues. It’s compelling for a number of reasons. It gives a face-off that never happened in the movies and it presents two vastly different fighting styles – Luke’s Force-centered lightsaber versus Fett’s gizmos and blasters. John Cassaday really delivers great art in this battle, too. In general, Luke seems outmatched and he takes a pretty severe whipping, but he never gives up and surprises Fett with a number of Force maneuvers. Ultimately, though, it is R2-D2 who saves the day and locates Obi-Wan’s old journals. Looking into Ben Kenobi’s past (though after Episodes I-III) is an intriguing future storyline for the series.
The Han-Leia interaction straddles the line between funny-clever and overkill with smarmy Han facing off with exasperated Leia. This dynamic could quickly get tiresome, and Star Wars #6 is on the right side of the line, but I hope Aaron doesn’t beat this interaction into the ground. Since we know that Han and Leia ultimately get together, there is no real mystery to the “will they or won’t they,” so the repartee could become repetitive if it happens issue after issue. The arrival of Sana Solo, supposedly Han’s wife, should add some intrigue and new flavor to the Han and Leia dynamic.
As I have mentioned, Cassaday delivers his best art in Star Wars #6 since the opening issue of the series. His work on the first five issues has veered all over the place, from stunning to bizarre and borderline unattractive. However, Star Wars #6 shows us the outstanding side of Cassaday’s work. Not only is the fight between Luke and Boba Fett really strong, a quieter scene between Fett and Vader at the end of the issue is also well done. I still think the way he draws Han’s face looks a bit off, but it’s not so noticeable in this issue.
The excellent thing about Star Wars #6 is that it both present a very enjoyable issue in itself and opens up a couple of new and promising storylines for future issues of Star Wars. It appears that the next issue will delve into Ben Kenobi’s past while the mystery of Sana Solo will be explored further in Star Wars #8. Even outside of it setting up the future, there is a lot to like in Star Wars #6. It hopefully signals the creators of the series hitting their stride and delivering many good issues in the future.