REVIEW: The Star Wars #4
The Star Wars is a comic series based on the original movie screenplay draft by George Lucas. Although some elements from the classic movies are present, this is a very different story with characters who are both recognizable and unknown to Star Wars fans. Luke Skywalker is not a bright-eyed farm boy but a battle-tested general. Darth Vader is his evil counterpart, but without his famous breathing mask. Han Solo is an alien. Despite all these changes, The Star Wars attempts to introduce its loyal fans to the story that might have been, while reigniting memories the classic science fiction movie.
Unique story concept
The art is beautifully crafted and well-designed
Too many characters
Contains several flaws of a first draft
Previously in The Star Wars: After a vicious attack by the Empire’s Space Fortress, the planet Aquilae is left defenseless. In order to control the planet, General Darth Vader sends troops to capture an escaping Princess Leia, who is now the current ruler of Aquilae after her father’s death. Accompanying the Princess and her younger brothers on their journey are General Luke Skywalker, his padawan learner Annikin Starkiller, Agent Whitsun as well as two droids, See-threepio and Artwo-Detwo. The group barely defeats a band of stormtroopers in the desert, then head to a spaceport in Gorden to rendezvous with Han Solo, an alien smuggler. Meanwhile, with news of Skywalker’s appearance, the Knights of the Sith send Price Valorum to hunt the Jedi down.
AN ALL NEW, ALL DIFFERENT STAR WARS
J.W. Rinzler continues George Lucas’s first screenplay draft with The Star Wars #4. The group arrives at the spaceport in Gorden where they meet with Han Solo and Annikin’s father, Kane Starkiller. Realizing they need to destroy the Empire’s Space Fortress if they wish to succeed, the group plan to get the princess to Ophuchi where she can lead a revolt against the Empire. Like previous issues, The Star Wars #4 is filled with lightsaber battles, crazy chase scenes and several familiar elements from the movie Star Wars: A New Hope. The best part of this issue is a throwback to the famous Cantina scene in Mos Eisley’s Spaceport. Although there are some great scenes in this comic, it has many flaws that come from a first draft. There are way too many characters, which leads to a lack of character development. Many of the heroes do not have defined character personalities, or they are too similar to one another. This makes some events less dramatic. For example, the death of a hero in this issue was anticlimactic because there was not enough plot to establish his characteristics or background. Also, without the Star Wars references, the overall story is not very exciting or eventful. The group spends half the issue traveling to the spaceport, and the other half planning their escape. However this lack of progression is contrary to the overall series.
GREAT SCIENCE FICTION ART
Mike Mayhew and Rain Beredo’s artwork for The Star Wars #4 is one of the highlights within this comic series. It combines Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept drawings with artwork drawn from old science fiction novel covers. The unique color palette gives a rustic Western yet futuristic tone to the overall story. Mike Mayhew also captures many character designs flawlessly, from the alien races drawn from the movie to Luke Skywalker resembling George Lucas. However, one design that may need reworking is Han Solo. His resemblance to a reptilian Swamp Thing seems out of place in a vastly human cast.
BOTTOM LINE: THE FIRST DRAFT IS NEVER THE BEST DRAFT
The Star Wars is a great original idea for a comic series but it lacks several key elements that made the movies great. J.W. Rinzler does a good job with the material given to him and the artwork from Mike Mayhew is remarkable. However, like many first drafts, the Star Wars needs some reworking. It is nice to see what could have been but the comic relies too much on what is known from the movies.