Friday, January 11, 2013

Comic Review: Star Wars #1


Sorry for the lack of updates in the last few days, had to go back to work. But I'm back and so is the Rebel Alliance, the Galactic Empire...in short everyone you fell in love with in 1977.

Following the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebels are busy trying to find a new base. Leading a mission to the Dominus Sector, Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles find themselves under attack from a Star Destroyer and forced to land and make repairs. Escaping back to the fleet, Leia finds herself with a new mission: to find a possible spy in their ranks since the appearance of the Destroyer during their mission was too coincidental. Meanwhile Han Solo and Chewbacca have left on their own assignment and Darth Vader finds himself on the wrong side of the Emperor over the destruction of the Death Star and failing to discover the pilot who blew it up. But Vader knows...

OK some admission time: my first exposure to Star Wars was not the original film but rather Marvel's comic book series. I got caught up in the adventures of Luke, Han and Leia thanks to the artists and writers who filled in the gaps of the movies. Much later I tried to get into Dark Horse's Expanded Universe but it got a little unwieldy for me. So when I heard that they were going to publish a new comic book series set after the events of the original film I was intrigued. Would it work? And would it be accessible to someone who hasn't read every comic book?

The answer to both questions is YES! Starting out with the Leia and Luke on their first mission together, writer Brian Wood shows a clear understanding of what made the original trilogy special, a sense of fun, mixed with cool characters and the galaxy-spanning setting. What's interesting is how he develops the characters here. The opening has a heartfelt back and forth between Luke and Leia over the losses they both have experienced personally and how that has led them to their current roles in the Rebel Alliance. Wood also a good job writing the action, with the opening dogfight and escape. Granted there wasn't enough Solo but I'm sure we'll see more of our favorite Nerf Herder later. We also get to see Vader's internal thoughts as he deals with his master and how it builds to what we see in the later movies.

For the artwork, Carlos D'Anda is handling duties and he brings both great designs, making them distinctive but close to the characters in the movie. Vader gets a nice, menacing look that in some panels incorporates Ralph McQuarrie's original concept design for the character while Luke and Leia may not resemble Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher directly they still remind you of them. He also manages to bring a great scale to the opening action, showing off TIE fighters and X-Wings in action along with the scale of the Rebel Fleet and the Imperial Destroyers. Throw in great color work by Gabe Eltaeb and the book is both visually eye-catching and pleasing.

If you're a big Star Wars fan this is a no-brainer and if you just never got into the comics don't worry. This one brings enough memories back of the movies to make it easy and fun to get into. So pick it up, its worth the trip back to a galaxy far far away.

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