‘Star Wars’ #1

It’s here! Marvel’s Star Wars #1 arrives this Wednesday and we’ve got a spoiler-free joint review of it from Swank-mo-tron and GONK.

Review by Bryan Young (Swank-mo-tron): 

I was beyond curious to see how Marvel would handle the relaunch of the new “Star Wars” comic book series. Dark Horse explored this territory fairly recently with Brian Wood’s take on the series, and it was anyone’s guess how this might or might not sync up with the sort of stories we’ve been getting.

But Jason Aaron takes us right into the thick of things, bringing us classic Star Wars action and drops us right up into middle of a plot we’re not entirely sure of. With the destruction of the first Death Star fresh in their minds, the rebels are looking to make any gains they can in the fight against the Empire.

The storyline is reminiscent of the original plot of “The Empire Strikes Back” by Leigh Brackett, where Han Solo is the only person who can negotiate a trade because of who he is and who his connections are. Unlike that original draft of the screenplay, this is all a ruse that leads to a daring action sequence, highlighting every one of the original core cast. It feels like what the sequel to “A New Hope” would have been had they not jumped ahead so far to the events of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

While it’s fair to say we’re not getting anything new in the grand scheme of “Star Wars” mythology with this first issue, we’re getting a story that feels like its earned its place. It brings us to familiar territory while still feeling fresh.

John Cassaday’s art lends itself well to Aaron’s script, and we’re given a comic that’s easy to recall the voices, sounds, and cadences of the classic “Star Wars” trilogy.

And it ends with a helluva cliffhanger, which means that it’s bringing us the best of the storytelling offered by the comics medium mixed with the things that people like best about “Star Wars.” I find that difficult to complain about.

Now, we can only hope they offer this level of loving care and detail to comics set in the prequel era. Because that is something I want to see.

Review by James Floyd (GONK):

Jason Aaron and John Cassaday deliver the start of the series with a bang! “Star Wars” picks up after “A New Hope” leaves off, with the Rebels fresh from their victory at Yavin, and once again, our heroes are thrown back into harm’s way. I really enjoyed this issue, and hope that it heralds the type of quality that we’ll be getting from Marvel for its “Star Wars” titles. Jason Aaron gives all the main characters a role in the issue, from Han, Luke, and Leia to Chewbacca and the droids, and it’s rare to find a writer who can give Artoo and Threepio hero roles without it feeling forced. 

Probably the best praise I can give this issue is that it feels like Star Wars yet is original. It doesn’t feel like a retread of what we’ve seen in the films, but captures the spirit of the movies – adventure, fun, and with characters we can care about. John Cassaday does a great job with his characters, and are enhanced by Laura Martin’s colors – Luke and Han are spot on, and both Chewie and the main villain look great. Even background characters like various aliens fit well. 

As a big fan of the Dark Horse Comics run on “Star Wars”, I was a little skeptical to see what Marvel could do with the license. With this series going for a million copies, I’m sure the Marvel brass wanted to make sure that this was the best work that they could have to hook fans for the series. Have the “Star Wars” feel without making any major changes at the start (perhaps learning from the Brian Wood series where Leia’s fighter pilot role attracted some grumbling) but also don’t make it a rehash of the movie plots. And here, Aaron delivers – plenty of action, lots of fun, and we get our main characters in familiar yet fresh situations again.

Nothing jaw-dropping plot-wise in this issue, but a great introduction to what hopefully will be a fantastic series. Thumbs-up on Star Wars #1.