Star Wars: Chewbacca

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How long was the world waiting for this one? Chewbacca’s very own comic mini-series was a fantasy wishlist item for so long, and for good reason too.

There might actually be Chewie haters out in the galaxy, even those who just find him ‘meh,’ but they remain outnumbered and out gunned by the legions of Chewie fans. He’s a mountain of might, the strong and silent type, well, at least when he isn’t flailing his arms around and roaring in Shyriiwook. So the obvious question to me was: how are they going to tell this story if the lead character doesn’t ever speak?

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Well, Gerry Duggan really demonstrated his skill as a writer with this one, channeling the same kind of ingenuity that he exhibited in his many Deadpool stories. The story opens during the period after the first death star has been destroyed, and readers are given a youthful new character to relate to. Zarro and her dad Arrax are in servitude to Jaum after failing to make a repayment and are set to work at the Andelm beetle caverns. Arrax manages to help Zarro escape, while he remains in bondage.

Readers first see Chewie laying in a serene and beautiful meadow. Beside him is a mysterious little box and further away, his ‘hunk of junk’ spacecraft still smokes from an impact landing. It is in these panels here that the work of Phil Noto starts to catch your eye. Noto’s vivid colours and fine penciling work produce images that would resonate with the Star Wars faithful.

We wait about 9 pages before Chewie and Zarro share page time. Chewie needs to repair his ship and be on his way, but his only recourse is to gamble to make enough money to buy the parts he needs. He helps hide Zarro when Jaum’s henchmen give chase, and she latches on to him, hoping that he will champion her cause, even if all he has to do is be at her side with his imposing presence. Zarro’s plan is simple, but it hinges entirely on Chewie. She wants to bluff Jaum into letting all his debtors leave the caverns, with the wrath of a wookiee threatening if he refuses to comply. Chewie remains focused on his own goals, but Zarro with her adolescent motor mouth, manages to appeal to Chewie’s sense of freedom and enslavement, managing to enlist the furry hero to her cause before the issue is done. Chewie is no stranger to being a sidekick, and demonstrates his empathy by helping those he can.

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What I dug:

With regards to his portrayal of Chewie, Noto kept things as close to the original as possible, with fluid lines and fine inking work. His choices of colours across the issue do well to convey distance and emotion, even adding haze effects when necessary. Zarro’s tenacious personality right from page 1 is instantly appealing. She isn’t afraid to tell Jaum to his face that he’s a slimy opportunist, and her courage ropes in readers to support Team Zarro.

What I didn’t dig:

This was tough to come up with, with the nature of this title in mind. While the rescue mission hinges entirely on Chewie, Zarro’s incessant speech overcompensates for the protagonist’s silence, to the point where we’re left with the impression that Chewie is once again a sidekick, even in his own series. There is nothing we can really take away from Duggan and Noto, who have done a wonderful job.

Afterword:

I was initially bummed when the news dropped about Marvel publishing Star Wars comics again. Wasn’t I already giving enough of my cashish to the big M? Didn’t Marvel have enough existing titles to deal with? I was not on board, especially since I believed Dark Horse Comics had the rights to Star Wars comics. I kind of felt obliged to support Dark Horse, who didn’t convince me that they would ever have the financial clout to produce films, the way Marvel Entertainment now can. But the little guy publishes them no more, and Marvel now holds the reins (pun intended), with six Star Wars titles launched this year alone. I’ve picked up a few variant covers like a good little fanboy, but I don’t think I’ll be coughing up cash for any more Marvel Star Wars items anytime soon. Does my decision make me part of a rebel alliance? Make up your own mind! And so, gentle reader, will you rush out and get yourself a copy, or will you be part of the rebellion?

Fun Fact: Star Wars creator George Lucas drew inspiration from his dog Indiana for the character of Chewbacca as Han Solo’s sidekick. No prizes for guessing which other adventurous character was named after the inspirational pooch.

Writer :- Gerry Duggan

Art : Phil Noto

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