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Empire #23 The Bravery of Being Out of Range

Story: Jeremy Barlow
Art: Brandon Bradeaux
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Kilian Plunkett
Released: 08/25/2004

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/23/2004)

SUMMARY:

In this one-shot story, BoShek helps a beautiful woman named Rasha Bex on a remote planet. But the ex-smuggler soon finds out he may have made a mistake when the woman reveals her true nature.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

Ever wondered whatever happened to that cool smuggler with the sideburns who's responsible for Obi-Wan meeting Chewbacca in the cantina scene of A New Hope? Well, I did. Sure, BoShek was featured in the short story "At the Crossroads: The Spacer's Tale" from the Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina anthology, but what has he done in the six months that followed? Writer (and associate editor) Jeremy Barlow explores this concept in this fast-paced action story. He is able to capture the feel of a Star Wars story and keep it short and simple. The setting, the planet Stoga, is reminescent of Tatooine, but it's a nice to see a different planet for a change. The ending is a downer, though, but leaves it open to more adventures. Barlow seems to have done his homework, and throws in references to the aforementioned short story and to General Garm Bel Iblis. I've always been fascinated by cool secondary or background characters from the Star Wars universe, and Barlow seems to have a penchant for them. After reading his work in Empire #13 and Jedi: Yoda, and about his plans to revamp Star Wars Tales as its new editor, I'm looking forward to more stories from this multi-talented individual. Especially if they are in the same vein as this one.


THE ART

Artist Bradeaux is also a relative newcomer to the Star Wars universe, having worked on three issues of Republic and on upcoming issues of Tales. He inks his own pencils, but leaves the shadow blacks unfinished, which gives a nice stylistic effect. He is very good in depicting facial expressions and body movements. Although they have very different styles, panel composition and character angles remind me a bit of J. Scott Campbell. The vehicles, starships and technology are really well depicted as well. Not to mention a scantily clad woman. A few sequences that stand out in my mind are the exciting speeder chase at the beginning, and the panels depicting BoShek pulling out a wrench from behind his back on page 12. Outstanding work overall.


CONCLUSIONS

This issue is fun for Star Wars fans, and ideal for new readers. Read it at least three times. And if the interior art or the story don't convince you, it's almost worth buying the comic just for the cover, by one of my favorite Star Wars artists Kilian Plunkett.

Rating: 9 / 10 Highly Recommended

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