Stuart Immonen took over Star Wars after the departure of John Cassaday who drew the first six issues of the series. The artist worked for both DC comics and Marvel, on titles such as Superman for DC or Ultimate X-Men for Marvel. Following the events of Avengers versus X-Men, he started with Brian Michael Bendis the All New X-Men series in 2012, before his departure for All New Captain America (2014-2015), a new comic book series focused on Sam Wilson, the new Captain America, with the author Rick Remender (also seen for Uncanny Avengers). Stuart Immonen is now in charge of Star Wars, and couldn’t be more exciting about it, especially when it comes to tease about the appearance of Darth Vader on Star Wars.
Like John Cassaday on Star Wars #1-6, Stuart Immonen tried to stick to the actors’ features when he drew the characters, giving a more realistic touch to the series. Thus, Leia Organa looks like a young Carrie Fischer, and Han Solo is a living portrait of a 1977 Harrison Ford. The contrast between well-known faces and a new one, Sana Solo, is even greater. Sana is a pure products of drawings, whereas Han and Leia are based on real actors. But here lies the genius of Stuart Immonen‘s art : even if some of his characters come from real people, he managed to give them a personal touch in order to integrate them both in the story and with the other characters.
This layout represents the confrontation between Han and Leia on one side, and Sana on the other. Placing Han Solo between Leia and Sana, the artist might show the dilemma Han is facing. Which side is he on ? Will he choose his wife, or his crush ? The bounty hunter or the princess ? For whom who knows the rest of the story, the choice isn’t the interesting part, rather than how Han will get ride of Sana and regain Leia’s trust. The pace of the panels shows us that inner struggle : first Han between Sana and Leia, then two close-ups on Sana and Leia, a midplane on Han and Sana then a midplane on Leia and Hana, before we return to a large plan on Han between Sana and Leia. Like a metronome, Han keeps moving between these two strong women.
The trio of heroes wouldn’t be complete without Luke Skywalker, who’s determined to continue his jedi training. His next goal : Coruscant and the jedi temple. In order to do so – Coruscant being the capital of the Empire, Luke can’t go there easily – Luke need someone’s help to sneak in. And who’s better at that than pirates and outlaws ? This is why Luke went on Nar Shaddaa, the Smuggler’s moon. Getting into the worst-looking bar, he found a rather hostile crowd, lead by the owner of the bar, a Zabrak – like Darth Maul in Star Wars I, the Phantom Menace. This layout is composed of three panels. On the first we have a close-up on Luke, who looks like a young Mark Hamil – the same earlier comments about Han and Leia apply for Luke – followed by a change in the point of view and a wide shot of the bar. The last panel is a close-up on the threatening Zabrak. The contrast between a full of hope Luke and a lowering Zabrak is obvious, and might be a way for Stuart Immonen to show the differences between youths and grown-ups, ones eager of adventures and actions, the others bored and ready to threaten anyone who might disturb their comfort. As a rebel, Luke is a threat to the established order which is protected by the Zabrak. Even if he’s not loyal to the Empire, the Zabrak has his own rules in his bar, and Luke looks like a danger for his business.
The Zabrak has his own way on dealing with rebels : he launches his customers on the young Luke while he stays behind his bar, safe from any trouble. The fight happens so fast there is any transition between the arrival of Luke in the bar and the exchange of blows. Besides, this isn’t a fair fight : Luke is on his own, surrounded by a crowd of angry customers. But the young jedi-to-be isn’t unarmed, as seen on the last panel. He unsheathed his light-saber, ready to fight back.
Unlike some artists, Stuart Immonen has kept a regularly composed layout. The idea of speed and action is given by the massive body of Luke Skywalker falling after a projection, which goes beyond the panel’s lines.
The last page I’d like to talk about takes place back on Monsula Nebula. We find again Leia, Han and Sana as we have left them, Han being trapped between the two women of his life. Only this time, both are armed, but if Leia is pointing her guns at the Solos, Sana’s on Leia. Having some trust issues, Leia prefers to keep here distance with Han Solo – despite all the have been through since the first time they meet – and considers him as an enemy, just like Sana. She’s ready to fight for herself, she isn’t a helpless princess lost in the universe. This strange behaviour confuses Han, who doesn’t understand why Leia’s acting like this. But after all, like Sana, Han is a space pirate, and the head of Leia could get him a lot of imperial credits. What will happen to them in the next issue, and in the future of the series, for Leia to trust Han again. And what about Sana ? Will she die at some point, or just disappear in the universe ? Will she make an appearance in the new Star Wars movie on December 2015 ?
Continuing where John Cassaday have left his characters, Stuart Immonen gives them his own personal touch. Now that we saw both Salvador Larroca‘s and John Cassaday’s Darth Vader, I can’t wait to see Stuart Immonen‘s. Let’s be honest, isn’t Darth Vader your favorite character in the Star Wars universe ?