COMIC REVIEW: Star Wars #1

It’s the first Star Wars #1 in almost 15 years but fans are used to lengthy waits being followed by bitter disappointment. Does this issue buck that trend?

Set a few weeks after the Battle of Yavin, or as the kids call it “Episode IV”, this issue focuses on Leia and her dual roles as a representative of the newly-destroyed Alderan and as an active officer in an armed rebellion. As we join events Leia, Wedge and Luke are skulking around in X-Wings looking for a new base for the Rebellion. It’s not long before they experience some Imperial entanglements which thrust the story forwards.

We get to see Leia in battle, and she demonstrates admirably that she’s a stern warrior. Her treatment of a downed TIE pilot is particularly harsh in a universe where Greedo now shot first…I wonder if that troubled Lucasfilm at all?

The story is quite straightforward, there’s a potential security breach and the Rebels need to deal with it. But I don’t think the intention here was to have a plot which was unlike anything seen before, in fact the plot needs to fit snuggly into the original trilogy.¬†And whilst I enjoyed it I don’t think it’s entirely successful, particularly the dialogue. The first few pages are talking heads, yes they’re talking heads in space but I don’t recall lots of sitting around chatting in the original films. If anything it felt a bit “prequels”.

Allowing my Star Wars and comic geek sides free rein for a moment I have to say some of the lettering choices baffled me. The R2 unit’s speech is treated as a sound effect but Chewie’s isn’t, even though the book shows both being understood by other characters. Then there’s a force-whisper from Obi-wan which doesn’t get any special lettering treatment, it’s just a floating word balloon. If it wasn’t for the fact that the speech is so close to that heard in Star Wars I could see readers being confused.

In showing elements of Star Wars from later in the films, such as TIE Interceptors, this issue does a good job of knitting together the films. There’s a sense that the wider universe we see through to RotJ is out there, beyond the gutter.

The art is great throughout, the Imperial attack I mentioned above gives us a stunning double-page splash. D’Ando doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to get entirely accurate likenesses for the characters but does more than enough to let you know who’s who. Alex Ross’s cover is as beautiful as you’d expect from him and evocative of the famous 1970’s and more recent Drew Struzan movie posters.

It’s also worth noting the $2.99 price for the issue, it would have been incredibly easy for Dark Horse to get greedy like their Big 2 rival and knock the price up to $3.99. This is a good start from Dark Horse, it didn’t wow me but I’m looking forward to issue 2.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Dave W

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