– Spoiler Review –
(Re)Begun, the Marvel Star Wars, has. And what a beginning it is. Star Wars #1 starts off on the ground running and doesn’t let up, providing an entertainingly quick adventure that’s guaranteed to have you waiting for the next issue. Because with its ending, they’re proving there’s plenty of surprises left for the era in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
Blowing up the dreaded Death Star certainly wasn’t enough for the Rebels, as they’re pressing the momentary advantage the battle station’s destruction allowed by going on the offensive. Pretending to be emissaries from Jabba the Hutt (looks like they’ve used that disguise before Return of the Jedi), Han, Luke, Leia, and R2 get inside an Imperial weapons production facility in the Corellian Industrial Center in an attempt to shut it down. While it doesn’t take a genius to note C-3PO jinxes the plan the moment he says he has, “…a very good feeling about this,” watching the plan slowly deteriorate is definitely entertaining.
While the gang has no trouble overpowering their escorts, thanks as usual to the ever resourceful R2, and getting to their objective, it’s when Vader arrives that everything rightfully goes haywire. Han makes the smart call for Chewie to hold his fire against Vader, but Leia pulls her rank and is willing to sacrifice everyone just for a chance to take out Vader by ordering Chewie to kill him. Vader’s reaction to the attack doesn’t disappoint; In fact it was the moment my mouth first dropped open, and though it shouldn’t have surprised me, it still did: Vader uses nearby stormtroopers to block Chewie’s incoming fire. It’s a darker moment in this lighthearted fare, but it’s totally a Vader moment.
But the second time my mouth dropped open was the cliffhanger ending of Vader and Luke ready to square off in a lightsaber duel with Ben’s haunting last word, “Run,” hanging in the air. I wouldn’t have imagined these two would’ve gotten so close in between ANH and ESB and it makes for one heckuva cliffhanger (especially since Luke chops off a slaver’s hand here and we all know he fares no better against Vader in ESB). And with Han trying to escort the slaves Luke freed out of the base using an AT-AT, there’s tons of fun bound to be had in the second issue.
Everything works in this issue, from the handling of the character’s dialogue down to their facial expressions, making this truly feel like another adventure for our heroes you’d want to see no matter if it had been canon or not. Several times I found myself laughing out loud or mouth agape at what was happening before my very eyes, which made it very hard to put this issue down or believe it was suddenly over. Jason Aaron’s writing really hits home with each character’s mannerisms and it was easy to hear them speaking the dialogue aloud in my head, especially when Han and Threepio bickered back and forth. At the same time, it was hard to argue with John Cassaday’s art and his take on the characters, as he seemed to get the aged seriousness of Leia’s face or the classic Han Solo smirk just right.
Here are a few other things:
- Leia’s sudden clothes change was a tad jarring, but I liked her new outfit so I’ll let it slide.
- Blink and you might miss a creature of the same species of the one from the very first Force For Change video amongst the crowd in the slave pen. The first The Force Awakens character to be seen outside of the film in another piece of the saga!
- I’m not sold on how the swipes of a lightsaber are treated here, but it’s a technique I’ve not seen before (from the very few comics I’ve read) and it might have a chance of growing on me.
- LOVED the look of fear on Han’s face when Leia confronts him about his motivations in helping them.
- My favorite part has to be sniping Chewie vs Vader. Just so many cool things about this matchup that I never knew I wanted to see.
- Was really happy they used the “A long time ago…” and opening crawl to start the issue. It made it feel more grandiose.
- Without spoiling anything from the upcoming (as of this writing) novel Heir to the Jedi, it’s hard to judge where the novel and this comic would fit on a timeline together once they (eventually) start making a new timeline for the current canon. UPDATE 2/7/15: While there were other aspects which led to my confusion, and many other’s, the author of HttJ has cleared everything up: HttJ then this comic series.
With Star Wars #1, Marvel’s starting off their handling of the franchise on the right foot with an adventure worthy of the Star Wars name that’s entertaining through every panel, leaving you wanting more. If this is the type of quality and fun we can expect going forward, this will at least help make the wait for The Force Awakens a lot more bearable like Star Wars Rebels has been doing.
+ Characters come to life on page
+ Fast-paced adventure
+ Proves this era is (still) full of surprises
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Skywalker Strikes: #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)