After the release of the first Star Wars film in 1977, Marvel secured the rights to print Star Wars comics, which take place after the Battle of Yavin. Since their initial success, a ton of original comics have been made. Some occur many years before the movies; others happen many years after the movies. Now, thirty six years later, Dark Horse comics returns to where it all began.
Previously in Star Wars: There is a spy amongst the Rebel Alliance. Every time scouts find a suitable location for the secret base, they are ambushed by Imperials. To smoke the traitor out, Rebel Leader Mon Mothma has Princess Leia assemble a stealth force of highly skilled Rebel pilots to find a new base and uncover the spy. Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewbecca are on an urgent mission. After being tracked by Boba Fett and Imperial cruisers, they arrive at the capital planet of Coruscant to gain supplies for the Rebel fleet.
STAR WARS COLD WAR
Brian Wood continues his ongoing Star Wars series, which takes place immediately after the Star Wars: A New Hope. Both the Empire and Rebel Alliance are unveiling new versions of their signature starfighters. Meanwhile, the hunt for the spy continues. These exchanges remind me of the Cold War, with each side waiting for the other to make the first move. However, unlike most original Star Wars comics, all the classic Star Wars characters are here. As Han and Chewbecca are ambushed by Imperials at Coruscant, Leia struggles to keep Luke Skywalker in line. Leia’s characterization, who is still reeling over the destruction of her home planet, Alderaan, is very powerful. Her emotions play a large part of her decisions, including the dismissal of Skywalker from her team.
Surprisingly, Luke Skywalker’s involvement has been minor at best. He is overconfident, to the point of disobeying direct orders. Brian Woods uses his victory over the first Death Star as the reasoning for Skywalker’s brashness. Despite being the main character in the movies, he has taken a back seat in this series over other prominent Alliance characters such as Leia, Mon Mothma and Wedge Antilles. Still, there are some allusions to the old movies. For example, Darth Vader, punished for his failure at Yavin, oversees the building of the second Death Star at Endor. Also, Mon Mothma makes an accusation toward Leia over her relationship with Luke Skywalker. The series balances politics with space action very well, even without an epic lightsaber duel.
THE SPIRIT OF THE MOVIES
With comic books based on movies, the artist needs to capture the realistic likeness of the original characters so readers can identify them. Carlos D’Arda does this very well, not only for famous characters such as Luke, Leia, and Han, but also minor rebels like Mon Mothma and Wedge Antilles. He also makes famous locations from the movies easily recognizable like Coruscant, Endor, and the Second Death Star. The best work from D’Arda is the spacecraft and technology depictions. The X-Wings, TIE-Interceptors, Star Destroyers, and much more are all carefully designed and well-researched by the artist. It is like watching a movie in comic book form.
BOTTOM LINE: A GREAT STAR WARS COMIC
There are many, many Star Wars comics out there. However, few capture the imagination and spirit of the original trilogy. Brian Woods and Carlos D’Arda remind us why Star Wars fans love the old movies. Their comic is a great tribute to them, and a marvelous addition to the expanded universe.
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