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samedi, juin 18, 2005

 Moving from the books to the comics... (Epi 6)

Mara Jade: By The Emperor's Hand & Union

Think I might start collecting the Dark Empire series (available at Kino) soon...

[After reading both]
Mara Jade:By The Emperor's Hand
story by Zahn and Stackpole
art by Ezquerra

Story is strong in this novel; the plotline was driven by events which had already occurred in Shadows of the Empire, and it fleshed out Jade's character, giving her more of a history with the Emperor before we met her in Heir to the Empire. The curse of Really Dumb Sequel Names seems to have hit this novel though - Prince Xixor's Black Sun organisation (felled in Shadows of the Empire has been succeeded by another organisation called Black Nebula. Why not White Dwarf? Or Red? Or Milky Way? They should have just gone with a totally different naming convention and not tried to create a simulacrum of what was.

The art is well-drawn, in my opinion. The lines are clean and hard, and people and objects look like what they're supposed to look like - comic book heroes. Stances are realistically portrayed, although Mara is barbie-dolled a couple of times to make her legs look incredibly long. No Lara-Croft-ing of her though - she looks normal in that department. I could have also used a less cartoon, less Kim Possible cover for the novel - she looks too innocent in the cover, not a characteristic I would have attributed to the Emperor's personal assassin.

story by Stackpole
art by Teranishi

Luke oscillates quite badly between looking exactly like how he was (15 years prior in Star Wars: A New Hope), looking like a smarmy, overly hair-greased politician, and a mangled lump of flesh in this comic. Han does too. In fact, everyone looks horrible in this comic, and I think I can safely say that I do not like Teranishi's artwork at all. He occasionally hits the spot with a really good picture, but he saves these rare moments of inspiration and brilliance on a full-page or a double-page feature. It is only then that he seems to really make an effort to get proportions, stances, and the eyes of a character just right.

EVERYONE portrayed in this novel has looked sleepy one time or another. The expression of loving tenderness is sleepiness. The depiction of men looking at Han Solo detailling a battle plan is droopy eyelids. Leia looked extremely sleepy making the announcement of Luke and Mara's wedding to the entire galaxy via simulcast. Jedi attending the Jedi bonding ceremony looked sleepy. If it weren't so awful it would actually be quite funny.

So, after disliking the artwork so much, the story couldn't have been much worse right? Unfortunately for Mr Stackpole, IT IS. Which does not bode well for the reading of your precious X-Wing series, although I've been told that it's actually interesting reading about Wedge, Corran and gang. After reading this pathetic excuse for a plot, I think I'd rather read a Mills and Boons e-book on anything, and use a word processor to swap the lead characters' names into "Luke" and "Mara" to give me some respite from the sheer uselessness of the plot in the novel. And the showdown battle scene was... painful to read. An assassin suddenly changing his mind in front of everyone? The whole galaxy?

Somewhere after the 10th page I decided that I would read the novel as a satire on marriage. Everything worked out better in my mind after that decision. Although Luke still looked like a lump of meat, but at least he was ironic about it. Irony rocks.

[Moving from the books to the comics... (Epi 6)]
Sngs Alumni @ 18.6.05 { 0 comments }


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