Star Wars: Dark Times: Fire Carrier #2 (of 5) Review

Script: Randy Stradley
Art: Gabriel Guzman
Colors: Garry Henderson

Issue two of Fire Carrier, a Dark Times limited run, is out this week. We return to find Master K’Krunk and Master Zao planning escape from a “refugee camp” on a world under Imperial control, having each avoided the execution of Order 66. With a group of younglings in tow, this issue follows their escape as well as checks back in with Vader, the Emperor’s hand, and his mysterious training of a prisoner.
It seems like I say this fairly frequently, but the art style isn’t exactly my favorite. Overall, it’s decent, and I really don’t have many serious complaints other than “it just doesn’t grip my attention,” which, I suppose, is a complaint in itself. The pencils seem done well; there are few scenes that show disrespect or lack of attention to perspective or consistency. In fact, I’d probably say that the pencils are the best part of the art. Perhaps it’s just me, but inks seem to be very commonly applied in thick manners, and while it can certainly work, it’s not what I’d call a simple achievement. Shading in this comic is very rough, sometimes crosshatched and sometimes just very grainy, and the inks leave almost all of the gradual shading to the colors. That wouldn’t really be a terrible idea, but the colors are very flat and add almost nothing for gradual shading. In fact, the colors often apply a thick hue over large sections. For example, a youngling sleeping in the shadows is entirely purple; not even terribly different shades of purple… just… all purple. Clearly, this isn’t an accident or done haphazardly, but rather a design choice, and certainly a potentially viable one. However, the combination of light pencils, heavy and varying styles of ink and shading, and flat-hued colors tends to make the comic feel stagnant and sometimes washed-out.

The story carries itself coherently through the end… so… there’s that. Perhaps younglings just bother me, but I find myself hard-pressed to keep focused on the story. When I normally review a comic, I do my best to keep it spoiler-free, and this particular issue makes that very easy–not a lot happens. There a few moments where circumstances come to a head, but then nothing happens. Vader gets mad at the prisoner, but past a little Force-flop into a wall, that’s it. Vader tells the prisoner to stop being afraid and then leaves. The end of the book is similar, but instead of a crucial moment occurring, it has already passed, and by pure coincidence are we led to see the aftermath (and I really dislike coincidence in fiction). Even in this case, it was something that was clearly foreshadowed, but we still don’t get to see it happen, just the static consequence of it.

Recommendation: WaitNow, with what may seem like a lot of negative information presented here, there is one important thing left to say: this is issue number two of five. Many very interesting things may very well develop and occur in the coming issues, and this sort of issue is often required to lay the groundwork for just that sort of thing to happen. However, if you are really looking for issue two to pick up and move rather than just provide some information, it may be in your best interests to wait until the whole arc is out before deciding on purchase.

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