It is a dark time for the Star Wars Universe. Fans are still reeling in disappointment over the prequel films. The animated Clone Wars series has met a mostly lukewarm reaction. And the latest disturbance, the announcement of a Star Wars VII film in 2015, holds more trepidation than it does promise.
Dark Horse Comics’ new comic book series is one of the most promising ventures in recent years. For the longest time the Star Wars books have been widely splintered into watered-down, far-reaching story lines. This series goes back to the start.
They’ve just launched Star Wars #1, a new series set in the months following the destruction of the first Death Star in Episode IV: A New Hope.
The Empire has been dealt a tough blow and is more eager than ever to destroy the upstart Rebellion. Meanwhile, the freedom fighters are without a home and without many of their greatest assets like Alderaan and Ben Kenobi.
This comic reset hasn’t been as publicized as DC Comics’s New 52 or Marvel Now. That’s just one of the reasons I believe this new Star Wars series holds the most promise.
The other reasons lie in the subject timeline. The period between the first Star Wars film and Empire Strikes Back sequel is strangely one of the least explored. Other novels and comics dive in after Return of the Jedi or hope to tidy up all the vastness of the prequels.
This segment has so much weight. Luke Skywalker was the hero of the day in the Battle of Yavin but how does he go from whiny farm boy to confident leader? Han Solo is torn between the bounty on his head and his new-found friends and their cause. Leia has lost the most. She endured a traumatic experience on the Death Star and had her home world and family destroyed. Yet she is looked to as the icon of the Rebellion.
And then there’s Darth Vader and company. The defeat of Yavin is mostly on his shoulders. Only Robot Chicken has explored the Emperor’s disappointment with Vader after his space station is destroyed. (That sketch and its infamous “What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?” line remains one of the best Star Wars parodies of all time.) Can the Emperor regroup his forces and use Vader’s failure to maintain his dominance?
That’s all source material for this new series. After reading the first issue I’m happy to say they’re using it quite effectively.
Leia seems to be the star of the show. She’s the beacon of the Rebellion under leadership from Mon Mothma and Commander Ackbar. She proves to be as feisty and headstrong as we remember. Luke follows her lead. And Luke is a number two ranked fighter pilot behind Wedge Antilles.
The first installment only briefly catches up with Han and Chewbacca, the Emperor and Vader. Certainly the following issues with have them more inclusive on the action. You can view a preview on Dark Horse’s site that’s essentially the Vader portion of the issue.
I’m really enjoying this new trip from writer Brian Wood with art from Carlos D’Anda and Gabe Eltaeb. If anything, the issue is too small. If I were a patient man, I’d wait for the trade paperback so I could really sink my teeth into the story. I guess I’ll just have to endure this bridging of everyone’s two favorite Star Wars films a torturing 22 pages at a time.
Postscript: Dark Horse recently announced that the first printing of Star Wars #1 sold out in 24 hours. Your comic book shop may still have copies or you can wait until Feb. 6 for the second printing. The digital comic can be also be purchased from Dark Horse’s site.