Dark Horse comics only has a limited window to print Star Wars comics as the rights go back to Disney next year and, by proxy, Marvel Comics. Writer Brian Wood has been doing a good job with the latest book, Star Wars, which takes place just after A New Hope, but is it good?
Star Wars #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
Brian Wood is known for his ability to write fresh and interesting female characters. In an industry hellbent on displaying women as sexual objects this is a very good thing. That’s probably why Leia has such a prominent role in this issue. Now don’t let the cover fool you, she is not in her cinnamon-bun look, but rather manning a super slick jet black X-Wing. Giving her a stronger role like this is pretty important, especially with how the movies treated her. It’s no surprise though, as the Star Wars novels and comics made Leia into the badass we see here.
More Han Solo please!
This issue opens with Han Solo and Chewie fleeing some Imperial Tie Fighters. Carlos D’Anda’s art is spectacular in these scenes and really he thrives when drawing technology and space ships. Gabe Eltaeb’s colors help tremendously too, giving the art a cartoonish feel that makes it fun. D’Anda’s work with facial expressions continues to shine as well. With Wood’s dialogue-heavy scripts this is incredibly important. I can’t stress enough that most other artists wouldn’t be able to supply a book like this with the detailed work we see here.
But what about all the folks manning their stations?
Unfortunately for single issue readers, I can’t help but feel sorry for them. This story is going to be best read collected, and Brian Wood doesn’t do too much to catch you up or balance the issue out. This hurts otherwise strong dialogue scenes which come off a bit confusing if you aren’t up to speed. When other comics give you action scene, exposition, action scene, this issue gives exposition, exposition, slight action, exposition…you get the idea. It’s not trying to sell you as a single issue read but just continue the story. For better or worse this hinders anyone coming in fresh.
Leia is a badass mother.
It’s hard to read this and not let the countless other stories in this universe affect you. When Darth takes out an imperial minion you immediately think back to the times he chokes out fools. Wood might know this though, and follows up said killing with a person who actually talks back at Darth. It definitely delivers something you haven’t seen before and it’s a warm welcome.
He had such a warm heart…
The moment we’ve been waiting for!
- Incredible art
- Darth is fascinating
- Not enough Darth
- Balance between exposition and action is wonky
Whether this is in canon or not remains to be seen, but here’s hoping J.J. Abrams and Marvel Comics don’t blow this away a year from now. So far it’s a tightly plotted and interesting story that’s made all the stronger due to its exceptional art. The only downfall is that it’s tough on the single issue reader coming in blind.
Is It Good?
Yes. Probably the strongest plotted Star Wars comic in years.