Thursday, September 12, 2013

Star Wars Rediscovered: Star Wars: River of Chaos Review




"Soon he will have her and then she will die!"


Welcome to Star Wars Rediscovered and my review of Star Wars: River of Chaos. Read on after the jump to find out what I thought of this series that is from the perspective of an Imperial. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: June Brigman
Ink: Roy Richardson
Letters: Steve Dutro
Colours: David Nestelle
Cover Artist: June Brigman & Roy Richardson



Cover Art

I quite like this cover by Brigman & Richardson, the colours and lines are really bright and clean. We have three Imperials attacking a male in the background and another grabbing a woman in the foreground with another woman racing to help her. Tie fighters fly overhead and help to create a scene of action. Overall a good cover for the start of this series. 
The cover to issue #2 is a good action scene. We have a group of stormtroopers firing at our characters while they fly on their speeder bikes. The use of motion lines work well and the colours are bold and vibrant.
Issue #3's cover is my favourite so far. I love the positioning of the characters so that it looks like we are hiding with Leia from the attack. I'm also still really impressed with how accurate Leia looks, Brigman & Richardson have done a great job. 
Issue #4's cover art keeps up the trend of good artwork and doesn't disappoint. Leia and Mora are presented surrounded by AT-AT's with Leia defiantly shooting into the air. I again really like the use of perspective with us being at Leia & Mora's height and so also feeling dwarfed by the AT-AT's.

Plot

In issue #1 we have two storylines that by the end of the issue have joined together. We are first introduced to Mora who was abandoned on a planet as a baby but was rescued and brought up by an alien race called the H'drachi. The Imperials suspect that this race although outwardly neutral has rebel sympathies. The other character we follow in this issue is hot shot Imperial pilot Ranulf who is part of a
team that attacks the H'drachi planet. Unfortunately for the Imperials the H'drachi have good defences and all but Ranulf are killed and even his ship if critically injured, he manages to get in a skilled shot before he is rescued by the main ship. For his heroics he is made a spy on the alien planet which he doesn't want as he loves being a pilot. His task is to track Mora and pretend to be a merchant but the leaders of the planet know who he truely is and see him as a threat to their secret activities and so send stormtroopers to attack him and accuse him of being a Rebel spy. The issue ends with Mora and a disguised Princesa Leia rescuing him and leaving on their speeder bikes. 
Issue #2 picks up where issue #1 finished with our main characters escaping from the stormtroopers on their speeder bikes. Mora and Ranulf escape and hide in a cave and the others go to the main rebel base. Ranulf is injured and we find out that he has a robotic leg. Mora's adopted father arrives and tells them both that if they want to prove themselves to the rebels that they could go and find some Dragite that could power the rebel's speeder bikes and weapons. They sneak their way into the mine and recover a fragment of Dragite but Ranulf realises that he has developed feelings for Mora and cannot find a way to not end up betraying someone. He decides that the only thing to do is to try and arrest the corrupt governor who is the one behind the secret mining of Dragite. Ranulf sneaks away at night and confronts the governor who hits a secret switch which surrounds Ranulf with the governor's guard. Ranulf's exit from the cave was noticed and the issue ends with Mora and the rebels thinking that he is a spy from the Empire.
Issue #3 starts with an epic panel of Ranulf being tortured but he refuses to give over the location of the rebel base, this shows his loyalty to Mora. In the meantime a group of Stormtroopers and an AT-AT destroy a H'drachi encampment because they believe they are rebel sympathisers. This causes Mora & Merrik to strike against the illegal mine but they are stopped by the bounty hunter Glott who was hired by the corrupt governor to kidnap Mora and he does so. Ranulf learns of this by the governor, escapes his bonds and rushes to rescue her. He defeats Glott but Glott's accomplice has already whisked Mora away and Merrik forces Ranulf to let Glott go and he thinks Ranulf is working for the Empire. The issue ends with Mora sentenced to death by the governor until he discovers by some form of scan that she is the last living royal of the planet. He then sends an announcement that he plans to marry her. Ranulf vows to rescue her.
The story ends with issue #4. Ranulf rescues Mora from the clutches of the governor and with the help of the H'drachi kills Glott who was trying to stop them. In a final battle Ranulf kills the governor at which
point Ranulf's father arrives. His fathers colleague tells him that Mora must be killed at which he then strikes at the stormtrooper and they escape and his father slyly helps him. Ranulf tells Leia that he wishes to formally join the rebel alliance and she gladly accepts. The story ends with them leaving the planet and joining the main force of the rebels. 

Interior Artwork

The interior artwork is overall really good. The colours are bright and bold, the lines are clean and the characters that we are meant to recognise such as Princess Leia looks exactly like she is meant to. Overall I am very impressed with the quality of the art. Some of my favourite panels include 
The splash page of the tie fighters flying off to attack the H'drachi home world looks great. The propulsion or vapour trail from them helps to create a sense of motion and action and the planet next to them gives a good sense of scale.
The panel where the H'drachi elders and are looking into the time stream looks good. The use of shadow and stark lines help contrast the brightness of the sky with the darkness of the many figures.
I love the panel of the Stormtroopers sneaking up on Ranulf. The use of darkness and shadow gives the scene a very detective noir feel. 
The spash page of Ranulf being tortured at the start of issue #3 is amazing! The use of shadow and light works really well so that we see the light illuminating his torturer and the sweat dripping down his back. An epic panel!

Conclusion & Rating

I thoroughly enjoyed this series! It was a nice change to have a series told from the perspective of an Imperial and the journey that he took from Imperial to Rebel. The artwork was consistently fantastic. A definite recommended read!
Rating: 8/10 - The corruption of the Dark Side






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