Star Wars #1
Written by Brian Wood. Illustrated by Carlos D’Anda
Dark Horse Comics, 2013
Dark Horse Comics has held the Star Wars license for over 20 years, and though they may not carry it after 2013, as Disney has acquired the rights to Star Wars, they still know how to tell stories that keep the reader entrenched in the galaxy that George Lucas created. This month saw the relaunch of a new ongoing monthly series simply named Star Wars that returns the comic book to featuring the main characters from the original trilogy: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader.
The story is set a few weeks after the destruction of the first Death Star, as the heroes of the Rebellion are searching for a new Rebel base. As the book begins, Luke, Leia, and Wedge Antilles are flying their X-Wing ships near the Outer Rim territories. It’s a unique set-up since rarely has Leia ever been seen piloting an X-Wing. After Luke and Leia exchange some conversations, their ships are soon under attack by a Star Destroyer and TIE Fighters. Leia’s ship is hit, but she makes it to the planet’s surface and without a thought quickly eliminates the TIE Fighter pilot with brutal efficiency. It’s a little disturbing to see, but it going to show that this is a brutal war and she’s still not a damsel in distress kind of princess. Soon after getting back to a Rebel frigate, Leia faces a hard truth—the Imperials must have known about their location because there is a spy inside the Rebellion. Mon Mothma, the leader of the Rebellion, gives Leia permission to set up her own squad to track down the spy.
Brian Wood still leaves plenty of set-up within the book for the other heroes and villains. Han Solo and Chewbacca get a few moments of “screen time,” setting up an inevitable plethora of bounty hunters—including the ever-popular Boba Fett—and Darth Vader has a conversation with Emperor Palpatine where he learns that he’s been been reassigned under the command of a young upstart named Colonel Bircher since the destruction of the Death Star. Obviously Vader doesn’t care much for this treatment at all, and we’ll see where the plot goes with issue #2.
Overall, the book is very accessible to anyone who ever saw the original 1977 Star Wars film. The characters are spot on. Han Solo even says the classic line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Luke is still young and still not a Jedi Knight and still hearing the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi giving him guidance through the Force; Han Solo is cocky as ever; Princess Leia is feisty; and Darth Vader is justly portrayed as a man engulfed in the Dark Side of the Force but secretly disturbed about the appearance of a young man named “Skywalker.”
There has been a lot of publicity been around having Brian Wood come on this book as the writer, especially after the acclaim he’s had on books like Channel Zero, Conan the Barbarian, Demo, DMZ, Northlanders, and more. Brian’s always had a good grasp of writing drama with a more personal approach, and as he was a child of the 1970s, you can imagine that he spent his youth in Star Wars PJs playing with his Star Wars action figures. Getting paid to write a Star Wars comic book is just icing on the cake for Wood who is a big fan of the films.
The art by Carlos D’Anda is very good. It’s obviously not meant to compare with the outstanding Alex Ross cover art, but it’s very reminscent of Killian Plunkett’s work on the Star Wars series from Shadow of the Empire. The heroes all are recognizable and feel right in their comic book incarnations. Darth Vader and C-3P0 don’t look exactly right, but I personally like how Vader resembles some of the original concept art by the late Ralph McQuarrie.
It’s hard to tell where the future of the Star Wars license will fall in 2014, but for now it’s never been brighter at Dark Horse Comics.