This month saw the release of Marvel’s newly relaunched Star Wars franchise of comics. Freshly ripped from Dark Horse’s loving clutches (who had been publishing the book since 1991) Marvel has thrown an outstanding creative team on the book. Does it live up to the hype?
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to make of Marvel instantly going with a story that takes place between Episode IV and V, as Dark Horse just wrapped up a great series taking place during the exact same time. Oh well though, they have the right to play with all the toys in the toy box now, hard to blame them too much for it.
Star Wars #1 starts out just as any self-respecting Star Wars movie would.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Cue scrolling yellow text, shot of space – shot of a ship – shot of said ship descending to planet. Immediately, the comic feels ripped from a movie storyboard. The creative team quickly lets us know that we were deep in empire territory, and rebellious actions quickly ensued.
Jason Aaron clearly cares about the source material with his story and dialogue. It all feels instantly classic, with every character given room to feel organic. The cast of characters we see in just this first issue are: Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3P-O, R2-D2, Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, and more Storm Troopers than you can shake a lightsaber at. Sounds like classic Star Wars, right?
The story really hits the ground running after a quick bit of set-up. All of the characters featured in the issue feel right at home with the characterization of the original movies,
and Aaron gives everybody the right things to say. We have Han, who immediately falls into his scruffy-looking smuggler charm. Threepio and R2 along for the ride, continuing their claim to fame as the only characters present throughout main Star Wars cannon. Luke and Leia are just as noble as ever, with Luke coming to the rescue of the downtrodden, and Leia commanding the operation.
A huge part of the success of this issue comes with John Cassaday (with Laura Martin on colors). All of the characters are incredibly accurately rendered as Harrison Ford, Carrie Andrews, and Mark Hamill. R2 and Threepio are picture perfect, and Vader succeeds at looking as menacing as ever.
You wouldn’t think, after reading the last few paragraphs, that I would have anything negative to say about the book. But I do, even though it’s a small complaint. The whole book is almost too perfect. Too iconic. Any Star Wars fan would have a hard time complaining about that, but my concern falls in the future of the book. We have an incredible amount of fan-service in here, with the icing on top of the cake being the cliff-hanger (which I will not spoil here). There’s only so many times we can be floored by awesomely iconic moments before it starts to feel forced. By no means does this mean I won’t be reading the series as long as this creative team stays on the book, but I hope they don’t try to do too much, too fast.
We have been given a kingly gift in this comic book. We will have true-blue new, movie-quality Star Wars, every month leading up to the release of Ep. VII, available to anybody who wants it.