COMIC REVIEW: Star Wars #2

starwars2Brian Wood’s tale of the period between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back continues “In the Shadow of Yavin Part 2″

Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Carlos D’Anda
Colourist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Michael Heisler

Having an extended universe book playing in the very midst of the original trilogy is an odd thing. It’s not unprecedented but it does lead to a slight sense of dissonance. Take, for example, the opening scene which has Slave I chasing Han and Chewie in the Millennium Falcon. My instant reaction is to think it too trite and convenient, but on reflection it fits quite nicely, after Star Wars and before Empire Strikes Back we know that both Jabba and the Empire are on the hunt for our heroes.

The series continues to pull forward characters and events from later films, in some ways this helps to tie the timeline together (for example Mon Calamari cruisers must have existed before we see them in ESB) but I can’t shake a slight unease at it.

After the Falcon gives Fett the slip we’re back to Princess Leia who is lamenting the loss of Alderaan on some rather incongruous looking holo screens. The tech here doesn’t feel at all like the gritty, worn, almost steampunk of Star Wars. It’s far more like modern sci-fi, the new Star Trek or the Matrix films.

Leia is pulling together her dirty half-dozen of pilots, trying to keep their efforts to find a new Rebel base away from the prying eyes of imperial spies. There’s the usual ragtag mixture of straight laced professionals, imperials come good and everything in between. As yet there’s nothing compelling about this group, I hope they get developed beyond their initial templates.

One trick played by Wood that I’m finding a little annoying is the use of black to make something edgy or cool. In issue 1 we ended with Leia in her black jumpsuit, here it’s black X-wings. This feels lazy and I hope he breaks the habit soon, before it becomes tedious.

A tantalising glimpse in this issue is of the politics within the senior Imperial ranks. Vader has been shamed by his failure at the Battle of Yavin and is reassigned. His replacement, Colonel Bircher, appears to be being established as our antagonist. I’m a self-admitted Star Wars geek and it’s possible I’m over-analysing but I find myself puzzled by the Imperial Navy having an Army officer in command of a ship. He seems like a genuine arse though, so I shall enjoy his inevitable downfall.

This may all sound a little negative, but it’s not a bad book, in fact I’m quite enjoying it. But as the first book of its kind in a long time I was expecting a little more. The art continues to be great, balancing accuracy to the films with comic-style expressionism.

Rating: 3/5
GS Reporter: Dave W

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