Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.
This week saw the start of a new Star Wars comic. Not just any Star Wars comic though; a new in-canon Star Wars comic (I think, I’m still finding it hard to tell what counts and what doesn’t). There have been plenty of comic book stories taking place in the rich world that George Lucas created, many of them very good. Dark Horse had been publishing these tales for over 20 years, but once Disney acquired Star Wars it was only a matter of time before the license reverted back to Marvel Comics. At the start of last year it was announced that this would be the case, starting in 2015. And here we are, with Star Wars #1 out now and other series on the way too, including Darth Vadar and Princess Leia comics out over the next couple of months (short previews of which are in the back of this issue).
Star Wars is being written by Jason Aaron, with art by John Cassaday, colours by Laura Martin and letters from Chris Eliopoulos. The story is set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, shortly after the Rebel Alliance gained a huge victory over the Galactic Empire by destroying the planet-destroying space station, the Death Star (sorry if that is a spoiler I guess, but the film is 38 years old). The Rebels aren’t taking a break though, as the Empire is still very much in control of the galaxy and all their leaders are still alive. A transport from Tatooine arrives at a huge Imperial weapons factory. Han Solo steps out, and plays the part of Jabba the Hutt’s emissary, here to make a deal to provide the factory with raw materials. This is all part of a plan for the Rebels to strike and destroy the factory, as Han’s bodyguards reveal themselves to be Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa (with R2-D2 accompanying them, and Chewbacca and C-3PO elsewhere on the planet). Shockingly, things don’t go quite as smoothly as planned, due to the arrival of ‘The Negotiator’ and the alarms being sounded, making it far more difficult for the group to destroy the facility, and escape unscathed.
I’m not going to lie, this was one big fun nostalgic ride for me. From the ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’ first page, my brain immediately started the John Williams score as I turned over to the double-splash STAR WARS, and then a page of opening crawl. I was right back in. But if the aim for this new series was to rely on nostalgia alone, it would have been doomed to fail from the start. Fortunately that was not the case, and with Jason Aaron on board for writing duties I wasn’t particularly worried about that either. As soon as Han swaggers off the ship, it’s clear Aaron know exactly how to write these characters. The pace of the story is brisk and enjoyable, but remembers the point at which it is supposed to be set. This is most clear in the actions of Luke. He knows what he is doing, he has certainly improved and is making progress down the Jedi path, but a master he is not and he has already started to overestimate his abilities (this being before he takes a trip to the swamps of Dagobah for intensive training involving running around with a small wizened alien as a backpack, and unhelpful lessons about fighting yourself).
Cassaday’s art is superb, with character likenesses being more like comic book representations of the actors, rather than a reliance on photo-realistic interpretations which can sometimes be more miss than hit. The action is dynamic, with a highlight being the depiction of Luke’s lightsaber movements, each stroke appearing as multiple blades as he arcs it through the air, Colour work from Laura Martin is excellent too, adding a depth to the art ranging from the void of space and the dark shadows of ship interiors and cages, to the vibrant electricity of production lines and tasering dustbins/robots.
This comic did nothing to lessen my enthusiasm for Star Wars in 2015. In fact it made me want to watch episodes IV, V and VI immediately. The story is in it’s infancy, but I’m sure it is going to be a fun ride. Pick this up at your local comic shop (maybe one of the several thousand variant covers) or digital comics platform now. Unless you hate Star Wars. Why did you click on a review of a Star Wars comic then? Odd.
9 Wookies out of 10