Marvel’s Star Wars #1 (Comics Review)

By now, pretty much everyone knows that Lucasfilm is now owned by Disney and that the giant mega-corp is going to be putting out new Star Wars movies through its own studio and comics through its Marvel publishing arm. Since this whole thing kicked off, I’ve been very dead-set against what Disney is doing with the Star Wars franchise, especially once it was made known last year that pretty much the entirety of the Star Wars Expanded Universe was junked in favour of new continuities and new characters and so on. Very disheartening.

But, at the same time, I have to say that Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron reads a lot better than I expected it too. It is set just after the events of Star Wars (1977) and follows the new adventures of the Star Wars Trinity (Han, Leia, Luke) as they continue to further the goals of the Rebel Alliance against the Empire. This is actually a fairly good story, and the art too is pretty good actually. John Cassaday, Laura Martin, and Chris Eliopoulos do right by the setting and the characters, which is all that can be asked at this stage and I hope that the series is consistently good, so that it takes some of the bitter sting away of the whole “reboot”.

Star Wars 001The opening of this issue is actually pretty typical. There’s the familiar intro with the scroll-up text that lays down the events leading up to it, and then we are into the heart of the story. In this all-new adventure of the rebooted continuity, we have the Trinity leading an undercover mission at one of the Empire’s top armaments factories in order to bring the house down, all under the guise of trade negotiations over supplies to the factory and as representatives of Jabba the Hutt.

Of course, it is all fun and games until the enemy starts shooting, and that’s when you could say that it all goes to hell in a handbasket. Along the way, I am pleased to note that Jason Aaron does a great job with the characters. They feel like Han, Leia, Luke, C3PO, Chewbacca, etc and not as something wildly different than how they’ve all been portrayed before. That’s pretty important with this reboot and if Jason Aaron can keep on the same track then I think that could turn out to be a pretty good thing, as it should.

Another thing of note here is that back in 2013 Dark Horse put out a new Star Wars series that was set in the same time-period as this one, except that it focused much more on things on a fleet level. Written by Brian Wood, that series put Leia front and center and often in the cockpit of a starfighter as well, and was a whole load of fun. Going into this rebooted title with Marvel, I had fears that it would be treading the same ground, and based on this first issue at least, I can say that that’s not the case here.

Aside from having a completely different tone and being much more classic Star Wars than the Dark Horse version, Marvel’s Star Wars has quite a few things to recommend itself. It is immediately identifiable as a classic Star Wars story, especially in the way that it mimics the second half of Return of the Jedi, and I think that this stands it in good stead. The reader is able to latch on quickly and then just run with it, seeing where it leads.

I’ll further admit that I did enjoy this issue. It was better than I expected by a good margin, and though it makes me incredibly nostalgic for the Dark Horse stuff, I think Jason Aaron is forging a brave new path forward.

John Cassaday is the artist here with Laura Martin on colours, Chris Eliopoulos on the letters, and Cassaday and Martin on the cover. That cover isn’t in the same league as the awesome covers that Alex Ross did for Dark Horse’s version, but it is still a decent cover, and I think we can well leave it at that. A bit more static than I’d wanted it to be, but eh, small potatoes. The internal art is where you get sold on the series I think. The characters, whether major or minor, are all easily identifiable and the body language and visual design in general is on the good side of the scales. There were some panels where the inking was a bit much or the expressions didn’t match well, but those were thankfully few in number.

Not a bad start at all.

Rating: 8.5/10

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