Free Comic Book Day 2012: “Star Wars: The Art of the Bad Deal”

Shoot, Han! Shoot!

Han Solo and Chewbacca are paired together for this brief Rise of the Empire era adventure. The famous galactic partners have an argument after they lose money on a lucrative deal with Verhandle, a hard bargaining, green-cloaked gray alien-looking figure that doesn’t take kindly to his unidentified cargo arriving two days late. Even though Verhandle looks similar to a Duros, but with black eyes, I believe this is Verhandle’s debut to the Star Wars universe. And, of course, it’s probably a matter of time before he becomes an action figure. It’s also interesting to note that “verhandle” is German for “negotiate,” which is appropriate considering the humanoid’s uncanny bargaining skills.

Before Solo meets with Verhandle, he convinces Chewbacca to let him do the talking. Solo fails at holding his ground on their shipping fee, ultimately giving in to Verhandle and taking sixty percent of the previous agreed upon figure. Chewbacca, disappointed in the lower fee, plays the silent game with Solo when they take to the Millennium Falcon and put distance between themselves and the sneaky Verhandle. As the comic comes to an end, the galactic duo discovers and confronts some unwanted cargo.

While Verhandle negotiates the final shipping price, he tries to purchase the Millennium Falcon from Solo. Verhandle reveals to Solo that he has been told that the Millennium Falcon is an “impressive ship.” Solo corrects his alien customer by calling her (the Falcon) “amazing.” All true Star Wars fans will remember that in A New Hope Luke Skywalker calls the Millennium Falcon a “piece of junk.” Also, in the same film, Princess Leia, when first seeing Solo’s prized vessel sarcastically asks, “You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.” Is the continuity of Star Wars being disturbed in this six-page comic?

Like most are saying, I do understand that this Star Wars comic was free, but “The Art of the Bad Deal” is a cheesy, six page, half-hearted story done on the fly to feed the always hungry Star Wars nerds that ascend on their local comic book store on Free Comic Book Day. I’m not sure if this offering from Dark Horse Comics will draw new readers in to the lonely world of comics.

The cover art is kinda bizarre and misleading. A gun drawing, glove-wearing Solo– sans his characteristic shock of chest hair– cradles a small box, while standing awkwardly with beady eyes and a Joker-like smile. Behind Solo stands a dead-eyed Chewbacca grasping a box, bearing his pointy teeth. Oddly, there are pink-colored lasers strategically zooming passed them, but Solo fails to return fire. Inside, the artwork is adequate. There is some artistic licensing taken in the drawing of Solo, but his likeness is close enough not to distract the reader.  Also, the dialogue is simplistic and limited. I suppose it is tough to build a conversation heavy book when Chewbacca, much like one of my old girlfriends, is limited to “HRRARRG” and “HRAAUUG.” Of course, Solo is a Wookie-whisper, so he’s able to carry on a conversation but the reader is left in limbo.

On a redeeming note, the inks and colors are impressive and attractive; they help create a beautiful, mysterious and moody atmosphere that plays well against the sarcastic nature of Solo’s character. I feel as though I am on the Millennium Falcon with our heroes. There is a minimalist feel that compliments the briefness of the story. The rendering of Verhandle and his outfit is attractive and appealing. I will be waiting to purchase the previously mentioned action figure to collect dust on one of my bookshelves.

In all fairness, “The Art of the Bad Deal” is not representative of Dark Horse’s other Star Wars comics. If you’re a fan of the Star Wars films or the Clone Wars cartoon, you should visit your local comic book store and purchase some of the Star Wars titles that Dark Horse distributes. In fact, check out the newly released “Star Wars: Blood Ties—Bobba Fett is Dead” #1. The artwork is beautiful, and the story is intriguing, even if you’re a casual Star Wars fan.

*Thanks to Mike B. and Tonya P. for being brave and entering his/her local comic book store and picking up a handful of comics for me on Free Comic Book Day. I’ll leave the house one of these days.

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May 8, 2012. Comic Books.

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