– Spoiler Review –
With a mostly satisfying “HHHWWWWAAAARRRRR,” the Chewbacca series closes out its enjoyably light story in issue #5.
Though things go in a rather predictable fashion for most of Chewbacca #5 (and for the series as a whole), it’s the execution that makes everything enjoyable. Zarro continues to impress, as she boldly leaps into action against the Imperials who greet her and Chewie on the Star Destroyer, while she uses her quick thinking to save their hides and put Juam out of business for good. She claims the Chewie rigged explosive droid is actually Juam’s, who is attempting to short sell the Empire and bomb them because he’s secretly a Rebel spy. Of course the Imperials don’t believe a kid and her Wookiee could actually be the real Rebel spies, and their droid blowing up aboard the Star Destroyer seals Juam’s fate better than they ever originally intended.
As revealed in Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure back in September of 2015, Chewie canonically received a medal at Yavin IV as well. Here, he gives it to Zarro, and rightfully so since she’s fought valiantly alongside him even when the odds were always against them. And in true Wookiee fashion, he’s also wiling to part with it because it clashes with his bandolier, which seems to hold a lot more importance in Wookiee society than we realized.
Chewie has been a lot of fun in the series, showcasing his mechanical skills and reminding us all why Han is the pilot and he’s the co-pilot. There’s also been some brief glimpses of his past, shown in some sparsely used flashbacks, and the end of this issue gives us a poignant look into the warrior’s non-Rebellion life. The trip to Kashyyyk was very unexpected, completely welcomed, but sorely underused. It turns out the box Chewie was carrying, his important mission from issue #1, was the bandolier of a fellow Wookiee who had fallen in the war; He was returning it to what looked like the Wookiee’s child so they could properly mourn their fallen parent. And then Chewie visits his own home, spending a brief moment with his son/daughter, maybe even his wife, before Han arrives in the Falcon to get him back to the war. Chewie doesn’t just fight because his best friend is in the fray, but because he wants a safer place for his family as well, which is why he’d stop and help Zarro on her quest to free her family and planet from the Empire.
Everything set on Kashyyyk and the minor flashbacks used within certainly felt like missed opportunities. The flashbacks could’ve given us a look into Chewie’s largely unknown past, something I’d rather spend 5 issues learning about than him fighting a low-level gangster like Juam. And his visit to Kashyyyk was so brief, but its impact was so strong and spending more time amongst the Wookiees is what I would’ve expected for a Chewie-centric comic in the first place. Their society has largely been left untouched by the saga and the few glimpses here remind me of the untold Clone Wars episodes that would’ve given us a look at Wookiee tree gods and broaden our understanding of the Wookiee culture. I can’t get completely down on this series for what it could’ve been, but it didn’t help its case by teasing those deeper elements.
Here are a few other things:
- Considering what Chewie ends up using his bowcaster for towards the end of The Force Awakens, him catching the weapon moments before escaping is bittersweet when you think about it.
- Greg Duggan did a wonderful job with Chewie and Zarro, giving them an overall enjoyable and very lighthearted romp. Phil Noto’s art was stunning throughout and I don’t think anyone draws a better Wookiee than he. And a shout out to Joe Caramagna, who seems to have had fun bringing Chewie’s words to life on page.
As I’ve said in previous reviews, this series might be enjoyable, but the breaks between issues took some of the charm away from its light story and surface-deep morals. The best way to experience this story would be in its trade release, so if you haven’t picked any of Chewbacca up yet just wait until February; You’re not missing anything urgent because it doesn’t reveal anything big or surprising, but you’re certainly missing out on a fun story until then.
+ Chewie giving his medal away
+ Chewie’s Kashyyyk visit
– Some missed opportunities
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#1 | #2 | #3 | #4
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)