Thursday, January 10, 2013

Star Wars #1

Yesterday, Dark Horse Comics released the first issue in a new comic series titled merely Star Wars. The basic premise is, essentially, "what if today were 1977, and Star Wars had just been released?" Although it doesn't actually contradict previously-established Expanded Universe continuity (it most definitely is part of the EU), this new series doesn't directly deal with it or in any way rely on it either. It's something that anyone who's seen Episode IV can instantly pick up, read, and enjoy.

It's absolutely brilliant. Brian Wood definitely "gets" the entire cast of characters as well as the Star Wars universe itself, easily weaving genuine-feeling character development into a story that's still based in high adventure and action, as any true Star Wars story should be. What's even better is that he takes the character of Princess Leia and actually makes her great. In the films, Leia does little onscreen other than bitch and whine whilst being either kidnapped or rescued by others; she takes very little proactive action herself. In Star Wars #1, we see her on the front lines with Luke and Wedge, leading a scout mission for the Rebellion. In that same moment, we also get a ton of great vocalized character depth from her that we never get from the films at all. Following that, there's a wonderfully-done action scene where Leia once again gets the spotlight, showing just how strong and decisive she can be in battle. For probably the first time, I really, really like Princess Leia.

While Leia is the primary focus of the story, she's not the only one who gets to shine. Luke, Han, Wedge, Mon Mothma, and especially Vader get their turns spotlight as well, each character acting as a fully developed person as well as being perfectly in line with their portrayal in the films. Fortunately, this feels very much in line with The Empire Strikes Back, where a heaping ton of focus is put on the characters as characters—and moreover, as people that you can care about.

Carlos D'Anda's art helps a lot, too. It's extremely dynamic and vivid, with tons of great detail on the tech of Star Wars—lending it that "real-world" feel that makes the Original Trilogy so believable.
On top of all that, the covers by Alex Ross are flat-out amazing, perfectly echoing the original trilogy's unforgettably-iconic posters.

Suffice it to say that if you're a Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to be reading this book.

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