Review: Star Wars #8, Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3

Star Wars #8

19819Brian Wood’s run on the original trilogy-era Star Wars has been great so far, following multiple plot-lines with relative ease while simultaneously developing characters like Leia and Luke to an emotional depth beyond the OT.

Star Wars #8 sees Luke and Wedge board Vader’s Star Destroyer Devastator in the hopes of placing a comm-spy, Leia greets a very odd and out-of-place ship from the Clone Wars era, and Han and Chewie get out of (and then into more) trouble. So, it’s good old classic Star Wars! To top it all off, after reading dozens of 1970s Star Wars comics from the months following the release of Episode IV in 1977, I can now with conviction compare Wood’s writing in this new series to early Star Wars comics. In fact, I’d wager that someone unfamiliar with the franchise could jump right on with issue one and feel completely comfortable. Wood’s writing, therefore, isn’t the high class narrative art of, say, Grant Morrison or Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman, but it works in its own way to create a ‘classic’ Star Wars.

Ryan Kelly’s art, however, does not do justice to the comic—or to the Star Wars saga—and has fallen to the wayside as some Star Wars series have certainly done, especially those that were ushered in following the hubbub of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Characters’ faces look awkward, like forcing their on-screen namesake’s into lines that don’t fit, although Kelly does as great a job as any on the starfighters and cruisers. David Michael Beck’s cover detracts from the work as a whole; if the cover is to be a selling point, Beck’s cover for Star Wars #8 would keep only the most die-hard of fans away.

Star Wars #8 is a solid continuation of a great on-going series; it’s certainly not my favorite Star Wars series right now, with that title falling to Legacy or Dark Times, but it’s the Empire era as it hasn’t been explored in comics for 30 years. This is a must buy if you’re a Star Wars fan, but I’d recommend you only read it if you’re not hard-core into Star Wars.

Story: Brian Wood  Art: Ryan Kelly
Story: 8  Art: 6.5  Overall: 7  Recommendation: Read

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3

22774Steve Niles and Dave Wachter have created a series worthy of Eisners and Harveys, a story of true heroics and a tale of faith-in-oneself that is uplifting without being preachy. Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem #3 completes this miniseries, but is much too short. Unlike the recently ended and equally fantastic Amala’s Blade and Akaneiro, Breath of Bones #3 does not suffer from awkward plot speed, but concludes a stand-alone story deserving of more pages only because I can’t get enough of it!

Niles’ writing is curt, to the point, and almost non-existent. He is a writer who knows how to lend the reigns to the artist, and his few words are well-chosen and expertly spoken. If anything, the words are entirely unnecessary, except for the child’s, since he delivers the most potent lines of the fearful dangers of an ever-encroaching evil and the good that is waiting to be molded by our own hands.

Wachter provides the most impressive black-and-white sketches which lend gravitas to the emotions of the situation and which create some of the most complex shading work I’ve seen in comics. His Golem is everything a Jewish hero in WWII should be: a juggernaut that silently protects, defeats the enemies with ease, and becomes one with the earth when there is no need for defense. This hero is a defender, not a weapon.

Niles and Wacther’s Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem is a tour-de-force of what the comics industry can produce, a hope-giving triumph of the graphic narrative medium that reminds us what it means to be a superhero—a lesson we could all use in an age when heroes face the apocalypse ever other month.

Story: Steve Niles  Art: Dave Wachter
Story: 9  Art: 10  Overall: 9  Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review