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Posted December 2, 2006
Would have been better with a few actual jokes
There's a lot here to like in this Star Wars parody, from a clever story, to expressive art, to more Star Wars and science-fiction trivia than you can shake a lightsaber at. Unfortunately, it's not very funny. //-----// The story begins as A New Hope begins, with Vader and the Imperial forces boarding the Tantive 4 in search of Leia Organa and the purloined plans to the Death Star. Rather than go down fighting, a pair of rank and file rebels, Tag and Bink, ditch their uniforms for Stormtrooper armor and begin a trip across the galaxy, a journey of mistaken identity that takes them through all the major events of the original trilogy, as well as a few of the prequels. //-----// While it might seem easy - the author has little more to do than follow Lucas' scripts - Kevin Rubio finds clever ways of shoehorning in the Beavis and Butthead of the Star Wars universe. When Ben Kenobi, for example, has to shut down the Death Star's tractor beam, he puts a little Jedi mind trick on a couple of Stormtroopers, who as you might guess are none other than Tag and Bink. Upbraided for their failure, the pair decides to escape in a couple of stolen TIE fighters, the very pair Vader commands to accompany him hunt down Luke Skywalker above the Death Star. And so it goes for 100 pages. //-----// Most of the 'humor' here seems to consist of making reference to Star Wars trivia, such as Chewie's missing medal (we never see him get one at the end of A New Hope), Life Day (from the 1977 television Christmas special), and the many Bothans who died to retrieve the plans of the Death Star (Manny Both-Hanz in Tag and Bink), or in visually referencing science-fiction icons such as Battlestar Galactic Cylons, the Monolith from 2001, and Science Fiction Theater 3000's Tom Servo, or by giving cameo appearances to Dark Horse editors, writers and artists. In itself this spot-the-reference game is amusing what it's not, though, is funny. In fact there are few real jokes in this book, and the gags are mostly physical, such as poorly designed Stormtrooper helmets resulting in spills and bumps, as well as a raff of accidental shootings (Boba shoots Tag, Bink shoots Luke, Jango shoots up Dek's diner, Tag hits Bink with a lightsaber). About the only gag that demonstrated any inventiveness was Tag and Bink as Palpatine's Royal Guard, who, when ordered to leave, walk around the back of the elevator shaft (as you've seen in Return of the Jedi) only to find - no rear exit. //-----// Special mention should go to the art/color team of Lucas Marangon and Dan Jackson, who have created some beautifully expressive work. The illustration is cartoonish enough to convey a comedic air without drawing attention to itself. The coloring especially in the later issues is exceptionally vivid. The pair has worked together previously on another Star Wars project (not yet reprinted in trade paperback, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan: The Aurorient Express) and have specifically for this volume produced a new cover the original has purportedly been purchased by George Lucas himself. //-----// Author Kevin Rubio is familiar to Star Wars fans as the writer/director/producer of Troops, an award-winning fan-film parodying television police documentaries. The film gained notoriety not only for its production values, but also for being one of the first to be distributed over the internet back in 1997. Rubio has worked for Fox television and has also apparently developed numerous television properties, all of them either unproduced or canceled following short runs. //-----// Tag & Bink is certainly not the worst way to waste half an hour or fifteen dollars. It might even make you smile. But it probably won't make you laugh.
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