Canon Comic Review: Chewbacca #1

Chewbacca #1

Spoiler Review –

RARWWWHHHHHRRR. Look, you know you tried your best impression of Chewbacca #1’s eponymous hero at least once while reading this issue too, but if you haven’t yet read it, let me assure you, you certainly will.

Chewbacca #1 takes place on some backwater planet called Andelm-4, a place where alien gangster Juam basically owns the town through bribery and force, i.e. the Jabba of some no-where planet. Zarro’s father is in-debt to Juam, who comes to collect on the debt once the Imperial credit-related interest falters in the wake of the Death Star’s destruction. Sent to work in an  underground beetle mine (they produce a chemical important for explosives, for your info), Zarro’s father helps her escape and she’s left on her own trying to find a way to help her father and free everyone from Juam’s grip. Chewie just so happens to have crash-landed on the planet and quickly gets embroiled in her troubles, leaving his currently unknown previous mission pending.

The humorous tone for this series is set really early in the issue, in a place I never thought I’d see humor in it unless it was a LEGO/parody version of it: the opening text crawl. Once you read that, you know exactly what you’re in for and what you’ll get from the entire series, even if the stakes get a little higher than expected by the issue’s end. Chewbacca #1 is by and far Marvel’s funniest Star Wars comic yet, and while it’s no Tag and Bink, it is nice to take a little break from the mostly serious trend the comics have taken so far.

In last week’s Star Wars #10, we got to see Chewie teamed up with C-3PO and the hilarity that ensued was a great primer for this series. In my review of that issue, I mentioned how wiping away Chewie’s life debt to Han (as far as I can tell) to Legends has meant making the Wookiee a character creators can feel a little better about prying away from Han Solo from time to time. It’s tricky work, teaming him up with different characters, but both in SW #10 and Chewbacca #1, it works wonderfully. The reason I think it works so well here is that Zarro doesn’t understand Shyriiwook, which is a refreshing twist for a team-up with Chewie. In a way, Zarro’s almost made instantly more relatable because she’s as in the dark as we are regarding what the big walking carpet has to say, allowing the creative team of Gerry Duggan and Philo Noto to have an excuse for Chewie to pantomime the meaning of his words or to focus more on his posture and mannerisms to get the Wookiee’s point across. This misunderstanding between the two seemingly helps build up both their characters, offering Zarro a sounding board to air her problems (and tell us readers more about her) while Chewie gets to show off what he’s good at and how much the word slave ruffles his hair.

I have a confession to make, outside of previous cover art, the interior art for the YA “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” books, and various pieces of Star Wars art, I’ve never actually read a comic with Phil Noto’s art in it. I already felt like what I’ve seen from him was excellent, but I didn’t expect it to translate this well for a comic series. My favorite aspect has to be his use of field of depth one normally associates with camera work, helping to focus your attention on what the director, or in this case artist, wants you to. Until now, I didn’t know I was missing that from my comics and it gives scenes a movie-type like quality. Additionally, the panels set inside Andelm-4’s city are full of various alien species and intriguing little details, making me excited to check out what’s all hiding in the next panel. And lastly, Noto’s Chewie is the best we’ve seen so far, as he’s giving the Wookiee a little more facial range than others have. To put it all simply: Give Noto more Star Wars to work on, stat.

Here are a few other things:

  • Since the economy on the planet must revolve around the beetles to some extent, I love how a speeder bike from such a planet looks suspiciously like a beetle itself. Subtle way to build the planet’s character.
  • While I agree Zarro’s shirt says “Trouble” in Aurebesh…it’s only on the various cover art for the issue. Inside the issue, her shirt is…different and I can’t quite decipher it (I even held it up to a mirror at one point), as its “T” is upside down. Is this a different shirt and it’s supposed to spell something else, an (accidental) error, or something else entirely? Compare the pictures below:

Chewbacca #1 sets up a mini-series which looks to be entertaining in ways the other Marvel Star Wars comics have only dreamed about, namely, humor.

+ Humorous

+ Phil Noto’s art

+ Great character pairing

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

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