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[ Star Wars Books ]
Staff Review.

[Star Wars - issue #1]

Star Wars #1
Script: Brian Wood
Penciller: Carlos D'Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Published: 9th January 2013 by Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: Ewan, Star Wars Books and Comics
Reviewed: 12th January 2013
Review rating:
4.5 / 5

Two months have passed since Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star over Yavin IV and now the Rebel Alliance are searching the galaxy for a new base. Now Luke, Princess Leia and Wedge Antilles, each piloting their own X-Wing, are conducting such a search in the Outer Rim when they are ambushed by an Imperial Star Destroyer. In their attempt to escape Leia is forced to crash land on a prospective planet and has to resort to hand-to-hand combat against the TIE pilot who shot her down just to survive.
Meanwhile Mon Mothma is sending Han Solo and Chewbacca on their own secret mission for the Rebellion while the Emperor, displeased with Darth Vader's failure at Yavin IV, has a new mission for the Dark Lord of the Sith and promises him new rewards.

[Click to preview this comic page at Dark Horse Comics]

In just 22 pages Wood achieves a remarkable amount of insight into our favourite characters post-Yavin. Luke is emotionally confused: in a very short time he has gone from being a farmboy dreaming of a career in the Imperial Navy to becoming the last hope for a galaxy; he has witnessed the loss of his adoptive carers, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, his friend, Biggs Darklighter, and his mentor, "Ben" Kenobi, all to Imperial forces. Now he is the hero of the Rebellion and he questions all these deaths "for the glory of destroying the Death Star".
Leia better understands the reality her of situation: being an officer of the Alliance and her political career as a Senator has allowed her to distance herself from recent events. But there is an inner turmoil for not giving enough personal time to grieve for the loss of her own "parents" and her homeworld. There is also an underlying insinuation that Leia feels, in at least some part, responsible for the destruction of Alderaan.

Han may still be the cocky scoundrel from Episode IV but within him there is a realisation that things have undoubtly changed: although he is no longer welcome on any of his favourite planets, he is now afforded a certain amount of protection for being a member of the Rebel Alliance. While Chewbacca's sense of enduring honour is helping to keep Han on the right road. Vader is haunted not only by his failure at Yavin but of Imperial officers usurping his influence with the Emperor. Yet the Dark Lord of the Sith is fearful: not of the Emperor's wrath but by a name - a name from his past.

On the whole D'Anda's art is superb: there is a lot of detail in every frame and captures Lucas's vision of a "lived-in universe" - even before she crashes, dents and scratches are clearly visible on Leia's helmet indicating that even a Princess fighting in the Rebel Alliance has to wear second-hand gear. D'Anda's illustrations help to move the story forward and there are no points where the story stalls due to the undecipherable frame. In most cases facial expression is correctly captured: from Leia's determination to survive her hand-to-hand encounter to Han's smirk. However where D'Anda appears to fall down is character depiction. While facial expressions are accurate, our heroes suffer from a strong stylistic design: whether it is Luke's square chin or Mon Mothma's angular face; it can be difficult to recognise some human characters while some non-humans, Chewie in particular, appear to be modelled on the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Eltaeb's colouring compliments Wood's story with the heavy use of blue tones throughout reflecting the content of the various discussions heard in this story.

[Click to preview this comic page at Dark Horse Comics]

[Click to preview this comic page at Dark Horse Comics]

There can be no doubt that this story will have many continuity fans up in arms given that it seems to step on the toes of existing post-Yavin stories but, and even though we are just one issue in, this story has more merit to it that some of the pre-existing stories -  not unless Wood decides to introduce talking rabbits in future issues!

Overall, #1 is a solid start to one of the most anticipated Star Wars comics of recent times and if the films are your only source of Star Wars lore (plus perhaps the odd novel or The Clone Wars animated series) then this is highly recommended as an excellent introduction to the Star Wars Expanded Universe.




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