Review by Frank Plowright
The first pocket volume of Star Wars: A New Hope ended with the holy trinity of Han, Luke and Leia meeting for the first time as she’s rescued from the Imperial forces, although their escape is far from complete as these concluding chapters begin.
With the three main characters now together, Roy Thomas transfers their bickering relationship well to the comic page, while also maintaining the leading characteristics of the supporting cast. Darth Vader is sinister behind his mask, Obi Wan Kenobi dignified and Chewbacca plain terrifying. If anything, the action moves even faster than the opening half, with George Lucas applying the techniques of old adventure reels to space opera.
The art is patchier than on the first half. It initially improved with Steve Leialoha inking Howard Chaykin’s pencils and providing the colours, but while the colouring maintains its polish, Leialoha finishing the art over Chaykin’s layouts isn’t as accomplished. The likenesses slip, and the figures are stiffer. The best looking chapter is actually the final one, without Leialoha’s involvement and Chaykin heading back to full pencils. That it looks so good is surprising because it’s almost entirely occupied by the attack on the Death Star, yet instead of giving a wide viewpoint and big panels to show the scale, Chaykin pulls the view close in onto the tie-fighters and the people in the cockpits. It’s the imagination shown in laying out the sequence that brings it alive despite no widescreen view.
Before then there’s been the escape from the Imperial forces, and hooking up with the rebels. As with the first part, the action moves rapidly and despite not matching every aspect of the film, largely due to Thomas only being provided with a shooting script instead of the final version, the thrills and character moments transfer.
A New Hope has been released in many combined editions, beginning with the oversized 1978 treasury edition, the pages roughly four times the size of these. It’s also found combined with other content in the first Star Wars: A Long Time Ago Omnibus, and in the first Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years.