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Despair and Hope in “Borderx”

BORDERX

CONTENT WARNING: This graphic novel covers the human rights violations of migrants imprisoned in ICE detention centers. This includes scenes abuse, starvation, neglect, physical violence, and racial slurs, many of which involve children.

SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers minor and major ahead.

DISCLOSURE: A copy of BORDERX was provided for by a contributor.

Publisher: BORDERX Publishing
Editor and Producer: Mauricio Alberto Cordero
Project Assistance: Roel Torres
Design Assistance: Adriana Cordero
Story & Art: Various Artists


Comics can be more than just escapist entertainment. I don’t just mean the dark, gritty “comics aren’t just for kids anymore” kind of stuff, although I do enjoy a good bit of sex and violence in my panels. Increasingly, the medium has been used to tell real stories about real people. Whether it’s autobiographical comics such as Spinning and Fun Home, or historical comics like Maus or Big Black: Stand At Attica. Many of the latter aren’t just good stories. They provide context to important moments in history and can inspire a sense of urgency to continue on the good fight against racism, homophobia, police brutality, and so much more.

BORDERX is a charity anthology about the current crisis of the injustices against migrants here in the U.S. The goal as stated by publisher and editor-in-chief Mauricio Alberto Cordero is to educate readers about the border crisis and raise money for charity. Not only that, but Cordero hopes to make the focus on the migrants themselves, paint a human picture of them that reminds everyone that these are people–not criminals–who deserve rights and respect.

The cover to this anthology shows a red skeleton approaching a border. This should make it clear the position the anthology has on the crisis. The contributors are not fans of ICE, the Border patrol, or the American government. These groups are clearly placed in the wrong, sometimes artists interpreting agents as vicious dogs or eldritch abominations. If you’re coming into this book hoping for a pro-ICE stance or “both sides” deal, well I suggest you look elsewhere, preferably here:

True Story Behind the 2016 Election Dumpster Fire GIF

However, I must comment that the cover does not set a clear tone. The design here induces dark feelings. It’s a forewarning to content that will be unsettling. Certainly, it is. I would argue though that a cover should clearly match the tone of its content. In that regard, BORDERX is a mix of both darkness and light, something the cover fails to capture. Yes, there are stories in here about horrible human rights abuses, but it also includes hopeful and educational ones as well. Having a cover that reflects only half of your content is insufficient.

I appreciate the anthology’s clearness of intent. There are no meaningless apolitical platitudes found here. It also provides important context to the reader. Introductions by Senator Jeffrey A. Merkley, Warren Binford, and Michael Garcia Bochenak describe the poor conditions migrants experience in the ICE detention centers, the brutal and traumatizing practice of separating families, and the subsequent public responses. From there Cordero chimes in to layout how the anthology addresses the crisis, namely through 5 segments, each with their own purpose:

  1. The Exhibits — views on the border
  2. The Responses — profiles of people and organizations helping migrants
  3. The Context — personal accounts of people whose lives have been touched in various ways by the border crisis
  4. The Ruminations — fictional allegories and satire
  5. The Posters — art pieces

BORDERX is clearly an anthology with lofty goals, clear intent, and what looks like a well thought out plan. Unfortunately, I found the execution to be mixed. Starting with the Exhibits section, there is a conflict between Cordero’s stated intent and the content provided. When he described this segment as “views on the border”, I imagined it would be a series of experts giving their thoughts. Instead, it’s a collection of comics illustrating various accounts from migrants in the detention center. This is not a bad thing. These stories are the meat and potatoes of the anthology. However, it is disappointing that Cordero wrongly stated what the Exhibits would be about when he started off with such a clear plan in mind. I know this is nitpicking, but a work like this tackling such a serious subject matter cannot afford muddling its intent.

As for the comics themselves, these are easily the best in the anthology. Each of the stories are real life declarations from detainees provided by Project Amplify, an organization dedicated to collecting and making their stories available to the public. The creative teams do a fantastic job of transferring the declarations into the comics medium. They all follow the usual formula of filling panels with images and narration captions that correlate with one another. The visuals all vary, ranging from presentational to expressionistic, realism to surrealism. There are even styles that resemble children’s cartoons, no doubt a purposeful subversion to highlight just how horrible these events are. I can’t say that every comic is a work of art, but each one does accomplish its goal of bringing to life the detainees and what they went or still are going through.

The Exhibits is also the most difficult part of BORDERX to read. The stories are brutal. The detainees live in freezing cold buildings, locked up in cages. There are insufficient supplies, terrible food, not enough beds and blankets, insufficient medical care, limited if any times to bath or brush teeth, sickness, abuse and neglect from ICE staff, lights kept on all day and night, and the detainees have no idea what their rights are or what will happen to them. All of these accounts are from children, including newly born babes. Just imagine being separated from your parents and forced to live in these conditions, constantly treated like dirt. These aren’t even all the stories, or even the worse ones.

Reading the Exhibits boiled my blood. An anger that lay dormant from when I, like most Americans, learned about these abuses rose in me, tenfold this time now that I had faces to associate to all those poor children. Which is a good thing. This visceral reaction I experienced should be the end goal of illustrating these stories. Probably the best piece is “Eisegeis” by Lee A. Gooden, Rod Jacobsen, and Dan Demille. It interrupts the regular flow for scenes of two roommates watching the story being told from a T.V. It’s in the point-of-view of the more sympathetic viewer, and a meta challenge to the reader not to forget what is happening here. Outrage and empathy is not enough. Those feelings must fuel action.

The Responses is the shortest segment of BORDERX, and the most consistently educational. We learn about important individuals and organizations supporting migrants. I was surprised to see Peter Kuper in here. For those of you who don’t know, Kuper is a critical-acclaimed indie comics artist, probably most known for his work on MAD Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy”. He is easily the best artist in his anthology, and I couldn’t help but experience delight as his cartoon animals explained migration law.

Throughout the Responses, I learned about organizations like Safe Passage Project and the Southern Texas Human Rights center, how they help migrants in various ways. I found this not only educational, but also uplifting. After reading about all the abuse in the previous segment, it was important to know about people actually helping immigrants. Links to these organization’s websites are also provided, which is a great way to encourage readers to continue educating themselves long after they’re done reading.

As much respect as I have for this segment, there are deeply flawed pieces. “Crisis in Clint” is about Warren Binford, an activist who helped Project Amplify collect declarations from detainees. It’s an inspiring story, but one told with choppy progression that left me feeling like there was information lost. I get a strong feeling that the creative team struggled to decompress her story properly. I can’t imagine that it was an issue of page limit. Kuper‘s comic gave a clear picture of the Safe Passage Project with 15 pages, and there pieces that tell their narratives with as little as 4. Another piece, “Anime Blue” by Paolo Massagli, is not very educational despite being about Open Arms. It’s an NGO (non-governmental organization) dedicated to search and rescue at sea. I didn’t learn any of that until I googled them. The only thing you learn about them is their name alone.

It’s a shame because the comic itself is amazing, a work of goddamn art I would even argue. It’s a wordless tale about a drowning baby that is lifted to the safety of the surface by the spirits of dead migrants. The visuals are profound in both their beauty and melancholy. I had quite the emotional reaction, tears of both grief and joy running down my facee.

Issues with the anthology continue onto the Context segment, not so much of quality as organization. These are supposed be personal accounts from people whose lives have been touched in various ways by the border crisis. The pieces I read are split between autobiographical and historical. Yes, they do give context to the border crisis, but not in a way completely accurate to Cordero’s statement.

Let me just start off by saying that these pieces are fantastic. “As Long As They Come Here Legally” by Phoebe Cohen and “Cynthia” by Roel Torres tell the stories of how their families immigrated to the U.S. under legally dubious circumstances. If they didn’t, they would have been dead, something they hold in common with many migrants in those horrible ICE detention centers. These pieces challenge the reader to think about their own families. Many were immigrants as well, and probably had to do what was necessary.

The historical pieces talk about various immigrant crises throughout American history. “…But It Does Rhyme” by Paul Axel, Craig Florence, Alvon Ortiz, and Jerome Gagnon features a different atrocity committed against migrants and indigenous people by the American government and our military. The Trail of Tears, Japanese-American internment camps during WW2, the list goes on. Each and every one of them shows how we were tied to a migration crises, and how we only made it worse by responding not with compassion but violence. What is going on at the ICE detention centers is violence, cold and sadistic. And the sad part? It seems to have always been that way.

Other pieces in this segment don’t seem to fit at all. “Dora”, for example, reads more like the stories from the Exhibits. It’s also the worst written. For some reason, the writer tried mixing English and Spanish together, which makes for a reading experience that is choppy and often bewildering. Actually, to be quite frank, the entire organization of the Context is messy. Even the good pieces I find should have been put in different categories from each other. It would have made the segment much stronger.

The Ruminations is by far the worst part of BORDERX. The comics here approach the border crisis by using genre fiction as an allegory, kind of like The Twilight Zone. Despite me liking a lot of the art, the stories are mostly half-baked ideas with mediocre writing. For example, there’s one story that tries to take the monkey’s paw concept into a new direction, only for it to be a confusing, repetitive slog. Given how much the editing in previous segments was superior, I do wonder if time was running out on the deadline and the publisher had to make do. Cordero does mention all the contributors worked on a tight schedule.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t good pieces. “Rose Colored Glass” by Sal Fitzgerald and Raymond Griffith is a post-apocalyptic scenario where apparently there are certain people in America denied the permission to breathe oxygen, so they must wear these helmets that look like old scuba gear and not take them off or their heads explode. The world-building is vague and the whole concept in of itself is ridiculous, but it’s the most successful in using genre fiction as an allegory for immigration.

The most irritating of them all is “Sink?” by Tom Hart. It’s stylized as a newspaper comic strip, starting off with a guy going on an incoherent rant, then the whole thing cuts to a bunch of guys on boats. They rant as well, but are more coherent, mostly just about how unhappy they are with their marriages and jobs. Every now and then, a scene of war, floods, and other horrible events interrupts the rambling. This whole comic is a ham-fisted attempt at tut-tutting first world problems while the real problems are happening elsewhere. It’s not righteous or supportive. It’s cynical and condescending. Yes, it’s framed as a bunch of privileged men acting like their privilege is the worse thing ever, but I too often see people with ADHD, depression, and anxiety get swept under the same vague umbrella. It’s not about actually caring about real issues, but smugly showing off a sense of moral superiority.

The best piece is “Silence” by Dean Westerfield. The art style is an underground, black-and-white style without much of the stylistic grandeur as other comics in the Ruminations. However, it also has the most impact. It’s dialogue-less and interlaced with passages from Audre Lorde’s “The Transformation of Silence to Language and Action”. A woman wakes up early, tired and old. After getting her kids off to school (no father in sight) she has to work, her facial expression growing increasingly melancholic. Turns out she is a janitor at one of the ICE centers. She cleans up while passing by all those cages full of children sleeping on floors. At the end of the story, the Audre Lorde passage ends with this observation:

There is so much you can observe about this comic. Are we to judge her for not speaking up, or should we consider there are reasons she can’t? After all, we don’t know much about her other than being a mother of two small children and working a janitorial job. That’s not someone with a lot of options to rebel. She could be an immigrant herself and scared to speak up. The message about silence being deadlier than indifferences rings true while not judging her coldly, and I appreciate that. It should say something that the most effective piece of fiction in the Ruminations doesn’t rely on genre as an allegory.

Which isn’t me saying genre fiction can’t work as an allegory. Classic works such as The Twilight Zone, 1984, and Aesop’s Fables proves that it can. The problem is that if you put those allegories in the same book as the real life atrocities, they will always pale in comparison. Personally, I would have taken the material at hand and done two separate anthologies. The first would be the real life stories from the Exhibits, the Responses, and the Context; the second could be the allegorical stories in the Ruminations, and in both you could give the contributors more room to make their stories better.

The Posters is the last segment, and it’s top quality! The point here is to use the artform of posters to make commentary, much like the WPA era. This commentary ranges from the strength and beauty of migrants to ICE brutality to satire. Some of these posters are one page comics, a particularly brutal one by Donna Barr that shows the different reactions between Germans learning about the concentration camps and Americans finding out about the detention centers. It is incredibly chilling.

All in all, BORDERX is a mixed reading experience. On one hand, its lofty goals are muddled by issues of organization and quality control. It should have been either shorter or split in two. With that said, it does succeed in educating the reader about the border crisis. Most importantly, it recognizes the humanity of the detainees, reminding me that this is an issue that I and every American have to continue fighting for. We can’t be so naive as to think that just because Donald Trump is out of office, we can rely on his Democratic replacement to fix it. After all, this is an issue the American government on all sides has been contributing to for centuries.

The electronic PDF version includes bonus material, which I do encourage you to get because it’s all spectacular. Probably the best piece is this one:

This is the future we should be fighting for, even when we’re not at our best.

NOTE FROM REVIEWER: I apologize for not being able to talk about all the contributors to the anthology. Whatever my opinion of each individual work is, I recognize and respect how hard you all worked on your comics.

Available at Amazon

Review: Atlantis Chronicles #5

Atlantis Chronicles #5

This last season of Game Of Thones was a mix of what the fans loved about the show and what made them frustrated.  The steeped mythology, the endless secrets, and the connection all these characters had to each other is what has made the audience so enamored with the series.  The investment required by fans, the fact that you cannot pick up the show anywhere in the timeline, the medieval setting, and the mostly Caucasian cast, could be turnoffs for anyone who did not give the show a chance. The show was definitely at its pinnacle as it fulfilled many plot points that they had sewn even from the first episode.

This is where the show shined. It reveled in the many different conflicts while unveiling major character flaws. It’s what made the show beautiful.  Family is one of the major threads that strings all the stories and characters together. What one does for love makes it that much more endearing. The show revealed to the audience that having more than one conflict can actually be done well and makes the story even more interesting. The fifth issue of Atlantis Chronicles continues this epic story which unravels more of Atlantis’s dark history.

We find the people of Atlantis under invasion from Kordax and Dardanus, as Kordax I the first Atlantean to control the sea creatures, even pulling sharks to attack kingdom dwellers. King Orin and what is left of his royal court go into hiding, so they can regroup and fight another day. As readers finally get what everyone had been waiting for, as Shalako and Orin have their fight in the afterworld while Kordax and Fiona, battle where a surprise victor emerges. By issue’s end, Oren is no more, and the kingdom is in Cora’s capable hands as the Atlanteans more than adapt but thrive.

Overall, though the story feels complete, David and his fellow creators give fans of this book their penultimate episode. The story by David is clever, powerful, and epic. The art by the creative continues to be stellar. Altogether, a story that will have fans clamoring to get to the next issue.

Story: Peter David
Art: Esteban Maroto, Eric Kachelhofer, and Gaspar Saladino
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Sunday Roundtable: What run or comic series do you love and feel like nobody else read?

JLA Roundtable comics to readSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

What run or comic series do you love and that you feel like nobody else read? What made you enjoy it?

Logan: I always felt like the only one reading the Bravest Warriors comics even though the cartoon is super popular, and Catbug is literally everywhere!

I loved the book b/c it featured a queer character in an all ages book, really expanded on the cartoon’s mythology (especially with Catbug’s backstory), had nice pop culture riffs on stuff like The Great Gatsby and Pacific Rim, and Ian McGinty‘s art is animation translated to the comics page.

Daphne: I loved Bravest Warriors! I’ve been catching up on the comics by buying the collections Comixology sells whenever they go on sale. I am a few volumes behind I think but it’s such a fun series.

Daphne: Bone, by Jeff Smith. I know it’s actually critically acclaimed and it did get Jeff a decent amount of press and attention, but it feels criminally underrated and forgotten to me. It’s this amazing mixture of high fantasy and Peanuts-style character interaction, with these really believable and real-feeling characters caught up in a fantasy war with rat creatures, dragons, a sentient locust swarm, undead, and ghosts. But it never loses sight of the heart of the story, which is the eight or nine characters we follow all through the plot. It was how I discovered comic books as a little girl and it is a really important and special series to me. I hate that so few people seem to have read it.

Javier: This is the kind of stuff I used to buy for my kids, but secretly was really for me. Scholastic reprinted these a few years back, and I bought my son the entire set.

Alex: Ha, most of the superhero stuff I love is, I feel underrated, but ‘ll start with C.O.W.L. It’s a series written by Kyle Higgins, set in the 60s (or so) where the city of Chicago’s unionized superhero outfit is about to go on strike as they try to negotiate a new contract with the mayor’s office. The problem? They’re so good at what they do that they’re not needed anymore…

This 11 issue series ignited my interest in exploring the concept of superheroing as a paid occupation, corruption, and the nature of power. It’s fantastic, and needs some love.

Brett: I started reading that one and stopped. I should definitely go back and see what I missed.

Paul: The New Warriors, the original run. I loved the original line up, and the new additions that came and went. It was so 90s and it was great. Young teen heroes, turned away by the established teams so they form up and show them how it’s done. And they had some great villains; Psionex, Mad Thinker (who actually helped these kids learn about themselves), Folding Circle, The Sphinx, Force of Nature…so many great stories. I think this is the only title were I bought every single issue, #1-#75 and annuals. I still pull the box out and read through the run. It really stuck with me and still is one of my favourite books (not including the unfortunate relaunches).

Alex: I enjoyed the most recent relaunch with Scarlet Spider, to be honest.

Paul: It started out pretty good..but I couldn’t stick with it after the talking dog and cat beings from Wundagore. There was potential though…I did enjoy Scarlet Spider and Hummingbird

Alex: Heh, I actually enjoyed those quite a bit. I’d read them all on Marvel Unlimited after plowing through some Moon Knight from the 2006 run, and they were a nicely pleasant change.

Paul: I’m glad someone enjoyed it smile emoticon

Alex: If you liked the way Scarlet Spider was written, you should check out the 25 odd issue run by the same writer. It’s fantastic

Paul: I would love to see the originals in a new run…older, wiser..like 3 ex Avengers (Justice, Firestar, Speedball), bring back Turbo, rescue Alex Power from the Future Foundation…boom, you got a book tongue emoticon

Alex: I’d be interested in that, and I never read the originals

Elana: I like the idea of villains helping young heroes understand themselves. Any idea roughly which issues that was?

Ryan: How about Alan Moore‘s totally under-appreciated run on WildC.A.T.S.? Even with all the quality creator-owned stuff coming out of Image these days, I still maintain that this is the best-written run of any Image title. It sold well, but like a lot of the stuff that came out at that time, people bought it, but never actually bothered to read it. That’s a real shame because while this won’t leap-frog V For Vendetta or From Hell or Watchmen (or Providence, his best series in decades) on anyone’s list of favorite Moore comics, it’s a thoroughly engaging, imaginative, stylish, and dare I say even modestly ambitious run of issues that are richly deserving of critical re-appraisal and a far more considered examination by anyone so inclined.

Brett: I think Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen’s run in Wildcats 3.0 was even better. That’s a run that’s woefully overlooked and so ahead of its times. It had the team more as a corporation dealing with not just powered villains but the oil lobby.

Elana: Need to read both of those! There was a lot of creative work by top writers in the Wildstorm universe.

One of the comics I would include here as an overlooked great would be the Wildstorm summer special of 2001.

There’s Hawksmoore parkour, Zealot in a beautiful silent piece stealing apples, a hilarious bit with The Engineer’s dating woes that includes what HAD been the iconic Midnighter moment until his solo series.

I referenced it in my review of Midnighter. Apparently he wears his mask even when he’s hanging around their headquarters in an undershirt and underwear. And ironing clothes.

Elana: Grant Morrison and Jae Lee‘s “Fantastic Four” 1,2,3,4. I’ve only met one other person who’s read it. I LOVED his take on the characters. He seems to be the only person to ever care about Sue’s psychology. The art is really sexy when it needs to be (ie when Namor shows up to seduce Sue). His Alicia Masters is smart. Ben Grimm’s dialog about becoming the Thing makes me cry. The art is beautiful and moody and the book is a tightly put together package of “Oh, so this is how the fantastic four works” written for modern readers.

Alex: That sounds like it might be interesting. When did they come out?

Paul: Sounds very interesting

Elana: 2001-2002. It was in the Marvel Knights imprint. There was one issue dedicated to each member.

Alex: Interesting. I may try and find those issues if it’s only the four

Elana: Alex they are in a tiny trade paperback.

Alex: Awesome! I’m heading to the comic shop anyway later today so I’ll check for them

Ryan: I read it, but don’t remember it striking much of a cord. Guess I’ll have to dig out my back issues and give it another look —

Javier: Kirby‘s Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. I’m on a bender trying to get every issue. I’m short an odd 17 issues. I don’t really remember how I got into this character. I was 8 years old when this series ended, and I didn’t start collecting til I was 14; but I had a few beat up issues in my collection. Much later I looked to buy the collected TPB, but much too late; and it is now out of print and sells at a premium. I did the math; and looking for the originals will cost about the same as buying the collected trades. I know it’s suppose to be a rip-off of the Planet of the Apes, but Kirby’s art and writing still holds. The idea of a “Great Disaster” that not even Superman was able to prevent is classic. I can’t figure out why it was cancelled so early, since everything I read on it said sales were good; and to this day, back issues sell cheaply (when you can find them).

Ryan: One of Kirby’s very best series — shoot, we could do a whole roundtable discussion on under-appreciated Kirby titles, from OMAC to Captain Victory to Silver Star to Devil Dinosaur to Black Panther to 2001 to Machine Man to his 1970s Captain America run — all are crackling with more ideas per page than any ten entire comics are today.

Elana: Ryan: let’s do it! Also the success of Adventure Time is def a reflection of Kamandi’s brilliance as a story

Christopher: I would have to say the lesser known Neil Gaiman works, that the now defunct Tekno Comix published; Mr Hero: The Pneumatic Man, Teknophage, and Lady Justice. The story is good, albeit a bit strange but, it is Neil Gaiman after all. I have found a few issues of each, but finding them in sequential order is a frustrating challenge. In addition to that I would have to say, Alan Moore‘s Fashion Beads run. Another weird, strange yet, detailed and wonderful story. I would say Grant Morrision’s six issue, Batman RIP run. Great story, and art.

Brett: I didn’t know any of those Gaiman comics. I’ll need to check them out.

Elana: Do Peter David‘s decades on X-Factor count as overlooked? It’s an incredibly long run that doesn’t seem well examined. I grew up on it.

Brett: I grew up on that run, a favorite of mine too!

Well, that’s a lot of good suggestions folks. What do you readers think? Sound off in the comments below!

Review: Doc Savage: The Spider’s Web #1

doc savage

Throwing the reader straight in at the deep end, Doc Savage: The Spider’s Web #1, opens with gusto. The aftermath of an enormous earthquake has all of Doc Savage’s team investigating the cause, particularly as it seems to have occurred out of the blue. The artwork is intense, depicting the chaos with detail and real purpose, really helping to draw the reader in.

As the team discuss the peculiar events it is of course Doc Savage who recognizes a vital clue. The readers, and other characters, are then taken on a trip down memory lane, to 1935 and the events leading to the Second World War. This is an impressive storyline with key elements of mystery, suspense and tension, and the writing is excellent.  I was really intrigued to find out what was going on and ultimately how Doc Savage and his team were going to prevent any further events.

A huge clue to the recent developments in the modern day mystery is revealed to the reader towards the end of the comic, and the artwork used to display this is fantastic! The feelings are completely visible in the image, and this is supported by some fluent and impressive writing.

At the end of the issue I was left with a burning desire to find out what was going to happen and exactly how the next set of events were going to unfold, the sign of a truly great comic.

Story: Chris Roberson Art: Cezar Razek
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

 

Review: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1

star wars rebel heist 1 coverA young Rebel meets one of the Alliance’s best for his first mission. But the young man’s hero worship is crushed by the reality of Han Solo. A botched escape, a ship that doesn’t work—could it be that Solo is just a lucky bumbler whose luck has run out?

When I heard writer Matt Kindt was penning a Star Wars series, I immediately got excited. Even with recent news that stories like these are no longer official Star Wars cannon, what Kindt has created is an exciting action comic that focuses on who Han Solo is through the eyes of a Rebel recruit. That perspective is fun and interesting, and sucks in the reader in, making the story east to relate to. Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 isn’t about crazy galactic battles, or the Rebel’s ongoing battle with the Empire. The story is about how batshit insane Han Solo must look to the average person. And the funniest thing is, until this comic brought it up, I never thought about it. That realization evolves for that Rebel recruit, much like it did for me as a reader. As things go off the rails, and opinions change, I found mine doing the same. That’s part of the fun of the comic.

Working with Kindt is artist Marco Castiello, whose pencils are enhanced through Dan Parsons‘ inking and Gabe Eltaeb‘s coloring. The look of the comic is solid, with characters, designs, and elements that are identifiable in a world most reading this will be familiar with. Characters look like they should, vehicles fit known designs, and the mood and color matches the world this story takes place on. It’s good work, that has the action smoothly flowing on the comic page.

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 throws you into familiar territory with characters you know, and a world you know. The perspective though is new, and voice interesting. Mixing action and humor, I found myself getting to the end with a smile on my face, having wrapped up the first issue of an entertaining adventure. One that got me to laugh, and took me for a ride. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, this first issue is a fantastic start and a great read. I figured Kindt would deliver something special, and it looks like he has.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Marco Castiello
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review