Star Wars #1 Review
By: Rob Gruszecki
After the destruction of the first Death Star in a galaxy far, far away, the Rebel Alliance is comprised of scattered and struggling misfits, royalty, farmers, aliens, robots and casualties. Many of these were lost in the battle of Yavin after the Galactic Civil War comes to a head, pitting the likes of a hopeful boy with strength in a mysterious power known vaguely as ‘the force’ against an enormous planet destroying space station with a very vulnerable oversight in its design. Princesses contacted their only hopes, smugglers shot first, walking carpets were in the way, and targeting computers were switched off. It’s a story we all know well, but what happens in-between a battle on a frozen planet, a reunion of father and son and an adorable conversation with a really old magic ninja Muppet remains ‘relatively’ apocryphal.
Enter Dark Horse comic’s Star Wars #1 scribed by speculative fiction master Brian Wood (The Massive, DMZ) and illustrated by Carlos D’anda (Wildstorm’s Deathblow), piecing together the adventures of all of our favorite characters as they struggle in finding a new base for their plight and supplies for their personnel. The highly anticipated new additions into the Star Wars expanded universe start off the new year with a fanboy’s dream of more stories in a war torn galaxy, told by the new disciples of an old religion and nefarious villains, misguided and destructive. Seamlessly branching off from the final few images of A New Hope we join the Rebellion as Luke and Leia pilot warmly familiar X-wings like they had never left (and have yet to awkwardly make out), see the disarray that the movement is left in despite their victory over the Empire and witness the obedience of a laser-sword wielding space-wizard to his wrinkly faced master adorned in the Attitude era’s Undertaker garb. You couldn’t really ask for more as a fan of the Lucas Universe.
The dialogue is the most delicate part of the issue as when trying to adapt real actor’s voices into concise word balloons it’s a real challenge to capture the flare and delivery of the characters we all have heard for years. In this, Brian Wood excels. Back and forth between Luke and Leia as they travel through space in search of a new home is done without struggle and the dynamic between the two works incredibly smoothly from panel to panel. As Han and Chewie take off in their Millennium Falcon their typical banter is still just as enjoyable as we remember. Brian Wood has an incredible handle on all the characters and displays this expertly with the interactions between them. This is not the end to Wood’s achievements in the issue however. Within the first issue of Star Wars we are served up boundless content providing you with a dense read covering lots of ground, setting up and presenting loads of story and immersing you in the middle of a tale already in motion instead of slowly parading recognizable alumni in front of you in hopes that would be enough. We get tons of great pages to read that will keep us satisfied until next month when the second part in the first 3-part arc will be released.
Artistically this book shines as well, with beautiful interpretations of Tie-Fighters, Star Destroyers and entire Rebel fleets that impressed me just as much as my 9-year-old self would have grinned with giddy excitement at these drawings. The ships always being my favorite feature of the world, this comic features some really stellar visuals in that department. Explosive firefights in space and on ground littered throughout the issue highlight D’anda’s talents excellently. The likenesses work perfectly where they are obvious in who they are depicting but simultaneously different enough to give you a new lens to watch the action through. With a massive collection of toys for Carlos D’anda to play with and a very adept style, not to mention the gorgeous painted cover by the legendary Alex Ross, Star Wars #1 simply looks fantastic.
Any fan of the films, novels, video games or myriad other expansions to the original vision of this space opera will welcome and enjoy this new book, illustrated by a rising star and a scripted by a science fiction pro.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
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Read more of his comic reviews (Dear, Ghost Factory. What Should I Read?) or listen to the Comics Round-up weekly Podcast both found at www.flashfact.org