“The Short, Happy Life of Roons Sewell”
Writer: Paul Chadwick
Artist: Tomás Giorello
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
I always find it interesting to read other people’s takes on what happened before or in between the classic Star Wars movies, and this issue is no exception. While the books and comics surrounding the Star Wars property have always had a diluted, almost cheaper, feel to them, I still generally enjoy them so it’s no surprise that I liked this title. Unfortunately, I can’t give it my full endorsement because it was missing too many of the elements that made the movies so special.
The story in this issue revolves around a memorial service for a popular fallen general, Roons Sewell, as his successor tells Sewell’s life story as best he can. It turns out that everything on the Rebellion side of the fight is not all sweetness and light as Sewell turns out to be more ruthless than one would generally give the good guys credit for. Sewell had to learn at an early age to look after himself, and that mentality saw him through what, despite the title of the issue, was not an easy life. Unfortunately Sewell’s motivation to take up arms against the Empire is trite and over used (a woman he loved is killed), and since a large part of my enjoyment was tied up in the character and his drive the story fell a little flat for me.
I’ve heard that Star Wars comics have historically had bad, if not terrible, art but I didn’t find that to be the case here. Tomás Giorello’s work reminded me of a rougher and darker Barry (Empire) Kitson. He’s equally adept at showing the pain on Sewell’s face after his love interest dies as he is depicting the ultra modern and sterile world of the Empire, and that’s a balance that’s hard to strike. If you’re looking for a reason to hate the Star Wars books these days (and I’ve seen it done), look somewhere else because the art is quite good.
In all this was an accessible and more or less entertaining read. My biggest complaint is that this issue didn’t engage me in the slightest. I knew Sewell would end up dead before I got past page two, so I’m not sure why I should care about a character that was dead before I know anything about him. Sure his life was grim and I sympathized, but I couldn’t really bring myself to care that much. “The Short, Happy Life of Roons Sewell” is a solid story, but that’s it.
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