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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Star Wars: Dark Times -- Out of the Wilderness # 5

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Randy Stradley ends Dark Times' "Out of the Wilderness" in grand fashion.  Continuing the strong character work of past issues, Stradley wisely goes for emotional payoffs over action in this final issue of the arc (thankfully, not the series).
Neil Gaiman's "Sunday Mourning" from the Sandman series was the only comic to make me weep openly in the first thirty years of my life.  This issue of Dark Times earned my tears not once, but twice.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for a Book of Hosea-style storyline, and it's pulled off perfectly here.  Stradley himself has insisted that the outcome of this comic did not follow his original outline but occurred organically, and indeed the emotional beats of this issue are true to the hearts of the characters, inevitable. Douglas Wheatley's art conveys these emotions so fluidly it's impossible not to get caught in the flood.  His epic landscapes again provide an incredible stage for these cosmic events, and Dan Jackson's colors are as envelopingly gorgeous as always.  Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me toss this out there:
Star Wars as a brand has sometimes been maligned, often fairly.  If a Star Wars comic is decent, it is often stated as, "good...for Star Wars."  Dark Times is simply not just "good for Star Wars."  It is truly a great work of art.  It stands completely apart from everything else in the Star Wars franchise.  One needs to know nothing of Star Wars' history, plots, or details to enjoy this series.
At the top of this review's second paragraph, I compared Dark Times to one of the greatest illustrated works of all time. I think that Dark Times can stand in that company with its head held high.  It is not even just "good for a comic book."  It is transcendent.

Buy it for $3.15!
Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date:April 25, 2012
Format:FC, 32 pages
Price:$3.50
UPC:7 61568 18817 2 00511

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