Marvel acquiring the Star Wars license was bittersweet for any fans of the comics. We quickly learned Marvel would start publishing their own comics in 2015 and that the many comics we’ve grown to love over the years published by Dark Horse would no longer be canon. A shame.
On the bright side we have a whole new wave of Star Wars books to look forward to. Think of this as Marvel’s New 52 only with the George Lucas property and you’ll feel better. Is it good?
Star Wars (2015-) #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s clear this comic was not written for those of you who haven’t seen the original film. Crazy to think people out there haven’t seen Star Wars: A New Hope, but do a mental clock update and you’ll note there are teenagers who were born decades after — so it makes sense.
It’s pretty safe to say this title is banking on nostalgia to drive its sales, because who doesn’t want to see the band – Han, Luke, Leia and Chewie – back together again? The issue opens prior to Empire Strikes Back with the team doing their very best to act like rebels and thwart the Empire.
Nice welcome party.
Jason Aaron writes a pretty tight script for his first issue that is complete with character moments, fun dialogue and even a few surprises. One might call foul when I mention surprises such as a certain Star Wars villain popping up and the heroes’ plan falling apart as always, but there’s some nostalgic surprises many readers will dig wholeheartedly. Aside from the very normal awkward feeling of, “How come this was never referenced in the movies?” and “Wait, that happened before Empire” this is a comic you need to allow a little suspension of disbelief to go the extra mile for. Basically put, forget about continuity and go along for the ride.
The only thing missing in this issue is more Leia, who seems to be more of a background character than a main player, which is easy to say considering she was such a prominent character in Brian Wood’s Star Wars series of last year. By issue’s end you’ll probably feel a ton of emotions concerning Han Solo, who gets most of the dialogue and screen time — but this is the first issue so we’ll see how character time plays out over a few issues.
The story also doesn’t feel all that impressive in the grand scheme of things. It’s early still, but the stakes aren’t raised all that high. Han and company aren’t taking out some new super weapon we never knew about, or some super evil that’d rival anything we’ve seen in the movies. It’s a slight criticism, but the mission at hand feels more like just another adventure than anything to drop everything to read about.
The art by John Cassaday is at his customary high bar. The man is very good at two things: the first is layouts, which always convey the story in a very cinematic way. I was actually surprised there weren’t more widescreen panels, but aside from that he tells the story very well. The second is giving everything a weight that sets the stage for a very realistic rendition of his characters. Similar to Frank Quitely, Cassaday just knows how to make the characters that much more real. It’s not even the detail, which he uses far less of than an artist like Jim Lee, for instance, but the subtle details in clothes and backgrounds give it a lived in look. The only negative I can see is a few panels where Luke doesn’t look like Mark Hamill, but that’s a nit-picky criticism.
Take the shot Chewie!
Is It Good?
This is a fun adventure that is a perfect 10 for anyone that loves Han Solo, a 9 for Star Wars junkies and an 8 for everyone else. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: A New Hope it’d probably fall into a 6 or 7 category, as there is great writing and good pacing, but the weight of the story and characters would be lost. A fine start to what will be a strong first arc I’m sure.