Star Wars Free Comic Book Day 2006 Special Routine Valor
Story: Randy Stradley
Art: Douglas Wheatley
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Sean McNally
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (04/14/2007)
Sometime during the Clone Wars, a Republic LAAT/i gunship is shot down during a mission on Sarrish. Going against General Obi-Wan Kenobi's instructions, Commander Cody takes the intiative and with some of his clone troopers climbs up a promontory where an anti-aircraft gun is moored. He looses some of his men but manages to take over the heavy turret and use it against the enemy battle droids.
Wow... for a free comic Dark Horse really went all out. This comic has a lot going for it. First, it also has a Conan story on the flip-side, and I happen to be a huge fan of Conan as well. Second, both stories are exlusive to this comic. And third, they have assembled an amazing creative team on both stories. "The Spear" is quite good, but since this is not a Conan website, I'm going to review only the Star Wars story which is titled "Routine Valor".
Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley has dabbled in writing before, including several Star Wars comics. In this one he takes a cue from the popularity of clone troopers from the Republic Commando books and tells the story from Commander Cody's point of view. During a routine mission, similar to so many others probably, something unexpected happens and the clones change the parameters of the mission to their new situation. It shows that clones are very resourceful and don't blindly obey orders like their droid opponents. Cody doesn't exactly go against his General's orders, but unable to execute his planned orders he does the best he can to still help the Republic win the battle. He and the clones following him bravely confront the droids guarding the anti-aircraft cannon fully knowing that they might not survive the ordeal.
Douglas Wheatly has the most realistic style in all Star Wars comic books. He didn't work on a lot of projects so far but they ones he illustrated are memorable. I remember the "Darklighter" story and the Revenge of the Sith adaptation for example. He is very good with angle and perspective, with character likenesses and postures, and with technology such as weapons and vehicles. Even the backgrounds are amazing. The promontory where the gun is located is central to the story, and it's almost a silent character. As a bonus, the comic includes a sketch by Wheatley of the promontory gun.
One thing about the cover: for some reason, I can't stop staring at it. I think it's the most beautiful Star Wars cover I've seen in a long time. I'm definitely going to google Sean McNally to see more of his work.
An amazing piece of work for a free comic. Get several copies, give them to your friends!
Rating: 9.5 / 10 Highly Recommended