(If you search in Google for Marvels’ 2015 Star Wars, you will get many reviews of the new Star Wars comics. Most of theses reviews are for the first issue or other individual floppies; this review is of the first six issues of the new Marvel Star Wars series.)
I was born in the late 70’s and was too young to go to the theater and watch the original Star Wars films. Because of that and my personal interests, I liked them, but loved more the Star Trek TV series. I tend to prefer my entertainment on a weekly serialized way (TV episodes) rather than a long, spaced out (no pun intended) episodic tradition separated by years. I was familiar with Star Wars, knew about the books and comic books, but having a mini movie every week was one of the things that attracted me to become a Trekkie instead of a full Star Wars fan. I did watch the original movies many times on the small screen and read some of the novels and comics but it never completely captured my imagination.
Lets start with where this series fits in the Star Wars universe. This is a simple story that occurs between two of the movies, Star Wars (A New Hope) and The Empire Strikes Back, after the destruction of the Death Star (not to be confused with AT&T logo). The story continues the narrative of the movies, filling the gap between them, showcasing our main heroes/villains and their adventures.
The characters need no introduction, Han Solo is the lovable rogue who shot first (no matter what anybody says). Princess Leia, a force of nature, continues to lead the Rebel Alliance with determination and grace. Luke Skywalker is still the “hero” of the story, but he is not a Jedi, yet. Luke may be the protagonist, but for let’s face it, Han Solo is the one we all want to be, after all, in the end he is the one that gets the Princess. Darth Vader shows how important a strong, developed villain is to a story. He is ruthless and focused, and single handily makes the story fun and interesting. He chases Luke no matter what’s the cost or who he need to negotiate with to get to his goals. R2-D2, C-3PO and the rest of the cast are consistent, like time didn’t pass. All this brings the benefit of nostalgia, but at the same time could cast a shadow over the looks and design of the original movies characters, weapons, costumes and worlds, but lets not over think here, this is Star Wars at its best and until Disney says no, the stories are canon.
The first three issues tell us the story of the attack to Cymoon1 and how our band of heroes managed to survive this attack. The forth issue explores the relationship between Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt, at the same time that it looks into the relationship between Leia and the ever frustrated/frustrating Luke. The fifth issue focuses on Boba Fett and his quest to find Luke in Tatooine, commissioned by Darth Vader, and Leia’s relationship with Han Solo (they act like they are married and they just met weeks before), we also are introduced to a new character that is in the hunt for Han Solo. The last two issues have a tick/tock feeling with special sauce in the middle, in other words the two main stories in each issue are united and feel like one cohesive story. Issue six, is the most interesting at the moment, we have Boba Fett finally finding Luke, Leia learning more of Han Solo (maybe too much), and Dark Vader learning the true of who is Luke. A couple of issues ago we were introduced to a new character, that introduction is finally explained in one of the big reveals that occur in this issue.
This series just feels good. Yes it’s Star Wars, the good part of Star Wars. It’s familiar and new at the same time. It’s not a re-telling, or re-imagining, the characters don’t change gender or anything like that, it’s not many universes merging into one; it’s not trying to fix to a mess that didn’t existed in the first place; it’s not a Secret Wars or a Convergence situation. These comics will not explode in price like many speculate, they will go up and down like many others have done in the past, but the story is so good that investment should not be the main goal here, just read the comic, enjoy it and share it. Marvel is not doing with their own heroes what is doing here.
We own all this goodness thanks to Jason Aaron, who has successfully accomplished what many in the past have tried; to bring back fun memories and feelings of old friends. John Cassady (who is superb here), brings his unique big movie action pack art, his A+ game, while Laura Martin shines on colors with a palette that is modern but true to the originals and Chris Eliopoulos does a great job of conveying words and sound with his lettering. If I have to criticize something in some of these comics is the lack of backgrounds in many of the panels, it’s the only real weakness I can find, but at issue six, this seems to be corrected.
Now you may ask if the Star Wars comic is worth your hard earned money? From what I read in these issues, that is a definite yes. This is a solid, big story with lots of action, it is fun and even feels new. The story explores the politics of the Star Wars’ universe, a point that I personally like to see more of. Politics, religion, music, family even sports exploration is what I love from the Star Trek universe. If these comics can make me feel like I am feeling after reading them this is great news for the fans and for Marvel. Lets hope this is sustainable, with fans staying for the long ride for the right reasons. Now for me, I have the strong desire to go back to my DVD’s and watch the original movies again, maybe this time I’ll become a true Star Wars fan.