A short while ago, at a covention out San Diego way……it was announced that Star Wars would be coming home to Marvel Comics. Whaaaa? What I mean is the licensed comic property Star Wars, which was first published through Marvel back when the original trilogy was still in theatrical rotation, would be returning to the House of Ideas with a trio of titles, the first of which being simply titled Star Wars (obviously).
The move made sense as Disney, who owns Marvel, had acquired the rights to Luke, Han and the rest of them when they bought Lucasfilm. This news filled fanboys and fangirls with both excitement and confusion, which really isn’t that unusual for a fan, but it did bring about questions. What about the selection of comic titles produced at Dark Horse? Would this new Star Wars book be a continuation of the amazing one being written by Brian Wood? As more news came out, it was revealed that when the Dark Horse titles ended that they would no longer be canon. This new Marvel Star Wars would now be canon for the franchise and would begin shortly after the events in A New Hope. The first issue has now arrived and while it’s not exactly the story some were hoping for, it’s not cause for a great disturbance in the force either.
Star Wars #1
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by John Cassaday
Our story begins with a crawl (as it should) titled Book 1: Skywalker Strikes. It quickly recapped the destruction of the Death Star (“Luke blew it up. Give credit where credit is due.”) It then lets us know that the Rebels are going on the offense and attacking a bunch of Imperial outposts, taking advantage of their current disarray. We then cut to Cymoon 1, a planet housing the Empire’s leading manufacturing of weapons. An Imperial complement of soldiers meets with a group representing Jabba the Hutt. Turns out this group is lead by Han Solo and those soldiers he’s got with him are really Leia and Luke in disguise. Han and company continue their little charade until they are inside the weapons factory. That’s when they lower the boom and get on with their real mission – blowing up the facility’s reactor (there’s always gotta be a reactor involved if it’s a Star Wars story).
As Han and Leia go to work, Luke feels a disturbance. He follows it and finds a whole mess of slaves. Rebel to the rescue! But everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan as the assigned negotiator who was to meet with Jabba’s group arrives and it’s non other than……you guessed it, DARTH FREAKIN’ VADER! It’s time for a quick exit…..except that the Millenium Falcon’s being dismantled by native scavengers. How’s Han and Leia going to get these slaves to freedom? And will Luke get some delusions of grandeur and go face to face with big bad Vader.
Well, that was fun! It cannot be denied that Jason Aaron knows how to tell a fast paced and exciting story. We got appearances from all the heavy hitters that would be around at that time, there was interaction between Han and the Princess that dripped with foreshadowing, and Luke showed he wasn’t just some space farmer that got lucky during the Battle of Yavin. My only problem is that it felt a little like style over substance. We’re seeing our favourite characters do stuff in ways that seems too similar to what they did and how they acted in the first movie. I know that this takes place directly after, but there didn’t seem to be anything new here to explore. When you look at what Brian Wood did to expand on these characters in the Dark Horse comic, it’s hard to just jump on board with what’s Aaron’s doing. And what he’s doing is fine….it’s just not all that interesting.
Where this book shines is in the artwork department. John Cassaday has a great love for these characters and it shows. His attention to detail makes it almost like the panels could be elaborate story boards for a lost Star Wars movie. The colours by Laura Martin are a delight as well, giving us a sharp and bright comic that still has that “dirty” look from A New Hope. And the composition of the page is perfect. We get a nice mix of panels, great and small. There are more than a few dynamic shots in this book such as Chewbacca jumping from his sniper perch as Vader destroys it with just the flick of his hand and the epic showdown in the corridor that ends off the issue. Part of the fun of this comic is the kick-ass pencils that make us nostalgic for our childhood.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re gonna like this book. If you enjoyed reading the Brian Wood series from Dark Horse, this book may take some getting used. Either way, you will most likely have a lot of fun reading this. Star Wars #1 is available now at your local comic shop.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!