Sunday, December 31, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - The Storms Of Crait #1 Review - Marvel Mondays

The garbage won't do

Written by: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
Artist: Mike Mayhew
Publishers: Marvel
Release Date: 27 December 2017
Reviewer: Andrew McAvoy

Well, they say don't judge a book by its cover. Look at the beautiful cover that Marco Checchetto served up for this tie in with The Last Jedi - The Storms of Crait, a one-shot giving us some background to the mysterious planet Crait. Having been tantalized by Crait since viewing it on The Last Jedi trailer some months ago, and then having relished the planet's depiction in The Last Jedi earlier this month, boy was I ready for this title. Surely it couldn't disappoint? Well, it did disappoint... and don't call me Shirley.

It must be fun working in the Marvel Star Wars editorial team. Basically, while the rest of the editors at Marvel have a reputation for earning their crust the Star Wars team are in a "no lose" situation. The sabaac game is loaded in their favor - because it is the brand of "Star Wars" that makes fans buy their books. Blame for poor storylines can even get passed off onto the Lucasfilm Story Group. "Nothing to do with us guv" cry the Marvel Star Wars Editors. They must finally face up to some of the blame for the sheer travesty that is this Storms of Crait one-shot. Who gave the green light to serve this dross up as fit for consumption?

Firstly, the art. While we get teased with the wonderful Marco Checchetto cover in order to lay down our cash, inside it is a whole other ballgame. To suggest that the art in this book is acceptable is just laughable. It is a mix of some original art, blended in with what attempts to pass itself off as photo-realistic art, and what looks like a cut and paste job from filtered blurry screenshots of character's faces from A New Hope. It is appalling. The characters faces even fit badly with their body at times; their body posed in one direction, their head meanwhile sits at an inhuman angle (presumably because that was the best photo-still that could be cribbed).

Then there is the dialogue. Ah, how wonderful it is when all the characters in the book sound the same. Unforgivable when it is characters that aren't based on a film, but when those characters are from Star Wars and their speech patterns and style of dialogue are hard-wired into most people's minds then you need to get it right. The writing team of Acker and Blacker (boy they sound like a couple of Tin Pan Alley workhorses) gets it wrong, badly wrong. Han and Luke are especially atrocious but in this issue, the award for the all-time worst dialogue goes to Wedge Antilles on page 29. Hear him roar. Woeful.

Then there is the plot. Rebels go to Crait. Find that the environment there is pretty inhospitable and get ambushed by some Imperials. Rebels escape, leave Crait and decide that they'll find somewhere else for their base. The End. There, I saved you a read and removed any mystique that you may have attached to the planet Crait if you enjoyed the finale of The Last Jedi.

Bits and Pieces

Well. What can one say? Having read almost all of the Marvel Star Wars output, some of the more recent offerings have been atrocious. The Yoda arc was awful in the main Star Wars title, and the Mace Windu series was just a joke. This was worst offering yet. I can almost hear the editorial team laughing and having bets to see how low the comic book standards can go in this part of Marvel. Meanwhile, fans keep handing over hard earned cash to buy the crap because they simply love Star Wars. Even the good issues are entirely peripheral and meaningless to Lucasfilm's stated objective of creating an interconnected "canon" across comics, books, TV series and films. At the end of the day, Marvel Star Wars know that the house always wins. When it comes to Star Wars fans they take the view that Rey got it right on Jakku, "the garbage will do".


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