Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Writer: Henry Gilroy

Pencils: Rodolfo Dammagio

Inks: Al Williamson

Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            I was looking through the various Star Wars comic books I have and came across one in my collection that I had never read.  Strange to have bought a graphic novel based on Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace and never have read the thing.  I decided I would check it out and see if I still wanted to keep it.

            The Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace graphic novel is an adaptation of the original screenplay by George Lucas.  Originally published in a four part series, this graphic novel was released in May of 1999.  Things in the graphic novel open up the same way they do in the film, but there are quite a few differences between the film and this adaptation.

            The Phantom Menace isn’t my favorite Star Wars film, and yet, that is no excuse for Henry Gilroy to decimate it.  This adaptation leaves out quite a few scenes from the film, some important, some minor and possibly inconsequential, but still important to me - the fan.  I understand that Jar Jar Binks was not everyone’s favorite character, but does that mean we let go of a great deal of the comic relief he provided this film by cutting quite a few of his scenes?  Whole moments of battle on Naboo, as well as scenes on Tatooine, are deleted from this comic book adaptation.

            The artwork when it comes to the alien creatures of The Phantom Menace is spot on, but when we look at the artwork as pertains to the humans, not so much.  Anakin Skywalker looks nothing like the character as portrayed by Jake Lloyd, with the exception of the blonde hair and short stature.  Obi-Wan doesn’t begin to look like the Obi-Wan we know until the very last pages of the graphic novel.  Qui-Gon Jinn looks less like Liam Neeson and a lot more like Sean Bean in Lord of the Rings.  The only human who looks almost perfect is Senator Palpatine.

            By in large, the Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace graphic novel was rather disappointing.  The artwork was off the mark and the story was missing quite a few chunks.  The best part of the graphic novel were the paintings by Hugh Fleming that appeared on the covers of the original comic book miniseries.  Now that I understand why I never really bothered reading this graphic novel, the question remains why I bought it in the first place.  Perhaps I was deceived by the painting on the cover.  Either way, this will be one graphic novel I won’t be holding on to any longer.


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