Rhawk-Arrgh, rrrooaarrgghh! That’s Shyriiwook (AKA Wookiespeak) for “May all the forces be with you!”
Who doesn’t remember the big walking carpet from the beloved Star Wars trilogy? While he did have lines, he obviously never said anything all but the most avid Wookie fans could understand. Therefore, this issue really caught my interest simply because of the writing challenge it presents. Just reading the summary had me smiling as I stood there in the comic book store. It’s clearly written from Chewie’s point of view in which he sees himself as the hero and Han as the sidekick. It makes me wonder if Han really understands Chewie, or maybe Chewie just lets Han think he’s in charge. Maybe a topic for one of the following issues?
We first see Chewie napping in a bed of lovely pink flowers, sunlight peacefully bathing his luxurious locks. In fact, it’s an absolutely beautiful splash page. It clearly contradicts the introduction you would expect the seven and a half foot tall monster who’d rip the limbs off of anyone who dare best him (a reference they absolutely snuck in there) to have. We find out that Chewie is on a delivery mission, but has been held up by maintenance issues with his ship. Shocker.
Chewie heads into town for a part where he meets Zarro, a local girl in a whole trach compactor’s worth of trouble. Her father owes Jaum, the local crime boss, a great deal of money. In order to work off their debt, they both work as slave miners. Zarro is able to escape and runs off to find help, but all the obvious options are unwilling. I quickly grew to adore her. She’s remarkably resourceful, though she clearly has her flaws.
It’s difficult enough to write a well-rounded character, let alone one that can only communicate with arm waves and roars. That said, Gerry Duggan really pulled this off. Zarro obviously does most of the talking, with Chewie throwing in some unintelligible roars every now and then. What’s ironic is Zarro clearly does not understand him. It adds some heartbreaking irony when she comments to him that he can’t imagine what life as a slave is like. What I loved most about Duggan’s writing is that he doesn’t let the comedy overshadow this really complex story. I honestly went into this expecting funnies on every page, but that’s not at all the case. Instead, the comedy is woven in for a quick beat every now and then. That’s not to say this isn’t a funny issue. It definitely is. But at its heart, this is a very real story that I think can resonate with a lot of readers.
Phil Noto handles the art and he too really exceeded my expectations. I would expect an artist of his caliber to be on the main series. He brings every page to life. From the weird Andelm Beetle Caverns to the neon club scene. The Star Wars universe has such an amazing population that it’d be a crime to neglect the various aliens and droids just milling about in the background. Noto ensures readers see everything from recognizable Jawas to I-have-no-idea-what-that-is.
Meanwhile, VC’s Joe Caramagna letters the issue. He has a really nice subtly to his style, especially in that slight growl to Jaum’s bounty hunter’s speech. There are also some fun effects that manage to add to the immersion without distracting from Noto’s artwork.
Chewbacca really has a phenomenal creative team. I expected this to be a fun read. I got that and plenty more. I recommend this to any Star Wars fan, especially if you’re looking to get hyped for the upcoming movie. Issue two is already out, so make sure to grab that while you’re picking up this one! Now I bid you Ruow!