Star Wars Panel to Panel Vol. 2 (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Monday, June 25, 2007

Star Wars: Panel to Panel Vol. 2 is an interesting book. It’s part comic book, part art collection, and part Star Wars Expanded Universe history all rolled into one gorgeous package. The book takes a look at the Expanded Universe of Star Wars as created by Dark Horse Comics since 1991. Since that time, Dark Horse has done a magnificent job in filling in the history both before, after, and even during the time of the two Star Wars movie trilogies. Dark Horse has released dozens of series over the year, further enriching and fine-tuning the Star Wars universe.
 
In Star Wars: Panel to Panel Vol. 2, you get a blend of traditional comic panel art along with full page cover and splash page pinups culled from the various Star Wars comic series produced by Dark Horse over the past 16 years. The book is formatted chronologically in terms of the Star Wars Universe timeline. Randy Stradley provides text captions for each piece of art.
 
The history stretches back five thousand years before the Battle of Yavin as depicted in Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope. During this time the Sith were not limited to just a master and an apprentice but indeed, there was an entire Sith empire as depicted in Tales from the Jedi: The Golden Age of the Sith. The Sith Empire would eventually fall and lie dormant for a thousand years until the events in The Sith War, in which Jedi would battle Jedi.
 
A thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, the war between the Jedi and Sith all came to a head in the series Jedi Vs. Sith from 2001. Some of the events depicted in this book include the detonation of a Thought Bomb, the most terrible weapon of the Sith which killed nearly every Sith and Jedi on the planet. The dramatic page from this series is included which shows Darth Bane taking the young Jedi girl Zannah as his apprentice and forever after the Sith would only number two.
 
The Second chapter is Countdown to Empire and starts with a magnificent full page painting of the nefarious Darth Maul by Tsuneo Sanda. Much of this chapter deals with the Jedi hero Ki-Adi-Mundi and the Jedi-hunting bounty hunter Aurra Sing. Ken Kelly, one of the premiere fantasy and Sci-Fi artists around provides a breathtaking painting of Aurra Sing battling Ki-Aki-Mundi.
 
The Dark Times is that period between the time when Anakin becomes Vader and we first meet Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode IV. Dark Horse began to explore this fascinating period in the 2006 series Dark Times with stunning artwork by Douglas Wheatley. Boba Fett is also fleshed out in 2006’s Boba Fett: Man on a Mission with art by Adam Hughes. Fett fans are sure to love the six pages of art featuring their favorite bounty hunter.
 
The Rebellion is the fourth chapter and is the era that fans are most familiar with, dealing with the original three Star Wars films. Although we know how the story begins and ends, that has not stopped Dark Horse from telling some outstanding stories that take place between each film and even side stories during each film. Biggs Darklighter, a minor character in Star Wars, finally gets fleshed out in dramatic fashion in the Star Wars: Empire series, perhaps Dark Horse’s best Star Wars series ever. 
 
As you read through this book two things hit you right away: The first is the care and reverence in which Dark Horse has treated Star Wars. Sure they may be under the careful eye of Lucasfilms but the license has become their bread and butter and they are not about to screw it up. Second, Dark Horse has always provided its Star Wars series with top flight artists and much of it is on display in this book. Panel to panel and cover to cover, this is the sweetest eye candy for Star Wars fans.


Mania Grade: A
Written by: Randy Stradley
Art by: Various
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Pages: 192
Price: $19.95
Grade: A