REVIEW: Star Wars: Life Day #1 Isn’t Quite a Life Day Miracle

Star Wars: Life Day #1 Cover. Marvel Comics November 24, 2021

In Star Wars: Life Day #1, Han Solo finds himself in a sticky situation while the galaxy celebrates the Wookie tradition of Life Day. How will Han and his trusty co-pilot Chewbacca find their way out of this latest escapade?

Star Wars: Life Day #1

Ivan Fiorelli (Artist), Paul Fry (Artist), Jody Houser (Writer), Justina Ireland (Writer), Georges Jeanty (Artist), VC’s Ariana Maher (Letters), Victor Olazaba (Colours), Steve Orlando (Writer), Pete Pantazis (Colours), Ruth Redmond (Colors), Cavan Scott (Writer), Alex Sinclair (Colours), Chris Sotomayer (Writer), Kei Zama (Artist)
Marvel Comics
November 24, 2021

Star Wars: Life Day #1 Cover. Marvel Comics November 24, 2021

It’s the holiday season. What better way to celebrate than with our favourite Star Wars characters? In the Star Wars universe, Life Day is akin to Christmas and started as a Wookie tradition. As we learn in Star Wars: Life Day #1, following the fall of the Empire, the entire galaxy decided to partake in the festival of peace and harmony. Who can blame them, considering the reign of terror of the Galactic Empire?

At the start of Star Wars: Life Day, Han Solo and Chewbacca travel off-world to meet an old friend of Han’s. It’s a welcome distraction for the duo suffering a recent loss. Life Day always makes them homesick, though neither wants to admit it. But this being Han and Chewie, it isn’t long before they’re being threatened, chased, and shot at. Can these two ever celebrate a normal Life Day?

This comic is a fun one-shot anthology, but it fizzled out in the end. I like that Life Day tried to weave in multiple stories, some from the distant past, and others from Han and Chewie’s lives. Life Day has significance to them all. With some editing, this book could have been more enjoyable. As much as I like the stories from the past, they feel a bit crowbarred in. While on the run, Han takes a moment to think, and the story shifts into a flashback. It’s not a great storytelling tool and the transitions are just too sudden. I had to re-read some sections to ensure I hadn’t missed something.

I would have preferred it if Life Day was more of a focus than the action. I love action in my comics, especially in film-to-comic adaptations but it does need to have some meaning to the plot. The action tried to overtake plot points and move the focus away from Life Day. Star Wars: Life Day failed to flow organically from story to story. This problem would have been solved if Life Day had been longer. Thirty-two pages aren’t long enough which is why the flashback technique was employed. But a few panels, or a page or two more, would have helped the story read better.

I also wasn’t sure about the naming conventions for the stories. There are three stories in the book: ‘Deck the Halls’, ‘Paid on Delivery’, and ‘Gift of Light’. But not all the names seemed significant to their content. ‘Deck the Halls’ is a non-Star Wars term and felt only tangentially related to the tale. ‘Paid on Delivery’ as a title wasn’t directly connected to either Life Day or Christmas. (This is also an extremely intense story about Wookie slaves that I didn’t think belonged in this anthology.) ‘Gift of Light,’ at least, is a term used in the story itself.

There were a lot of elements in Star Wars: Life Day #1 that I loved. For the plethora of writers involved, the dialogue is excellent. I could practically hear Harrison Ford’s voice in my head as I was reading Han’s dialogue. Cavan Scott, who wrote the main narrative, captures Ford best. But Steve Orlando’s and Jody Houser’s intonations are perfect, and that’s hard to achieve with a pop culture character that is so well-loved.

The same goes for C-3PO, again by Houser, whose dialogue was just as one would expect; a little bit of sarcasm with a heavy dose of self-indulgent whining. I love it! Less well-executed is Princess Leia; I struggled to hear Carrie Fisher’s voice in Houser’s writing. Leia isn’t in Star Wars: Life Day much, which was unfortunate, so it would have been great to have her dialogue sound correct. I was a bit thrown by the use of ‘Dammit’ as a swear in this book. I’m not sure the characters say ‘Dammit’ in Star Wars. They tend to say ‘Blast it’ more often. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s an in-universe detail that an editor should have caught.

Star Wars: Life Day #1 Page 3. Marvel Comics November 24, 2021

The art in Star Wars: Life Day #1 is so incredibly detailed and so seamless that I didn’t feel like I could distinguish the artists’ work from each other. The ships, the planets, the aliens — they’re cinematic in their execution. But I’m not a fan of the faces by any of the artists. Ivan Fiorelli’s faces look straight up distorted in some panels. I’m not expecting accurate renditions of the actors’ faces but the characters shouldn’t look like they’re contorting their faces. Georges Jeanty’s backgrounds were stunning, but the faces in ‘Deck the Halls’ are so pared back, they were nearly expressionless. I like Paul Fry’s more realistic art style in ‘Paid on Delivery’ but there are some consistency issues from page to page that threw me. Kei Zama’s style is beautiful and very well-executed on the droids, though the thick dark lines add a gruffness to the human characters that doesn’t belong. But there’s still a richness in the detail of the worlds these artists created that made me go back and enjoy the panels again.

As my first official holiday read of 2021, Star Wars: Life Day #1 is fun it lacks the Life Day spirit. However, we do get a little bit of history about Life Day. There are some enjoyable moments with Han and Chewie, and the action is entertaining. The stories don’t flow organically from each other, and the flashback technique feels cliché. But this book is still a great way to kick off an intergalactic holiday season!

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir

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