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Review: Star Wars Annual #2

starwarsannualcoverIn the stand-alone Star Wars Annual #2 Kelly Thompson, Emilio Laiso, and Rachelle Rosenberg tell a story that is kind the opposite of the Hero’s Journey/Chosen One arc of the original Star Wars trilogy. The comic is written from the point of view of Pash “Bash” Davane, an engineer, who was forced to become a janitor when a battle between the Rebels and Empire destroyed almost all the industry on her planet. The first half of the comic shows the real cost of the Galactic Civil War on ordinary folks before taking a little bit of a turn for the epic when it’s revealed that Bash is letting a wounded Princess Leia stay at her house.

Bash Davane is a wonderful addition to the new Star Wars Expanded Universe beginning with the fact Laiso isn’t makes her a broad-shouldered, muscular woman adding some body diversity to that universe. Bash works with heavy machinery and rocks all day so of course she’s ripped. The funniest scene in the comic is when her arms are too big for Han Solo’s shirts, and this is an example of Laiso’s ability to pull out a visual gag in what is usually a pretty dour universe. The choreography of some the setpiece scenes is muddled as Leia is struggling to swim to her rendezvous point at the end of the issue with something being shot at her, but the source is hard to see even though Laiso uses double-page spreads. The earthy palette used by Rachelle Rosenberg gives the comic that Outer Rim vibe, but it hurts the visibility of this particular sequence.

On the flipside, the scenes where Bash is, well, are both powerful and entertaining, especially when she beats the crap out of a stormtrooper with a brick. The fact that Bash is a human tank along with her cynical wit, take no guff attitude, and sees the bad side of both the Empire and Rebellion shows that she is a multi-faceted character, who could bench press Han Solo while simultaneously out snarking him. But she is a bit of softie too as she bonds with starwarsannualinteriorLeia throughout the comic and listens to the princess struggle with the death of her people on Alderaan yet still realize that her planet’s destruction was for a greater cause of defeating the Empire. Thompson writes Leia as a true pragmatist, who isn’t afraid to make hard decisions for her cause even if there ends up being collateral damage like stormtroopers tearing up and basically halting all commerce on Bash’s planet while they look for Leia. This may seem like Leia is cold or unlikable in Star Wars Annual #2, but Thompson and Laiso capture the strength of her convictions as she talks about the hope that the Rebellion has brought to the galaxy while practically dying.

Even if you’re way behind on Marvel’s Star Wars comics, Star Wars Annual #2 is worth picking up as Kelly Thompson and Emilio Laiso craft a protagonist, who doesn’t look or think like many of the other main characters in the Star Wars universe. Bash does end up being a kind of hero in the end, but Thompson uses the extra page count to give her a logical arc as heroism is thrust upon her kind of like Han Solo’s last minute save of Luke Skywalker at the Battle of Yavin. And it’s also nice to see a more realistic perspective on the true cost of war in the usually hyper-stylized Star Wars universe with its constant dogfights and lightsaber duels.

Plus Bash has an adorable droid named Bruce, who can swim underwater like a movie directed by one of George Lucas’ buddies…

Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Emilio Laiso Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review