Star Wars #1 | Writer: Jason Aaron | Artist: John Cassaday | Colorist: Laura Martin | Publisher: Marvel Comics | Price: $4.99 | From my column at Forces of Geek.com
I was barely five years old when my father came home with a VHS tape that said Star Wars on the cover.
This unfamiliar title sparked a resounding sense of curiosity because there was no explanation or synopsis as to what I about to witness or how it would change my life.
Five minutes before my bedtime, I was told to sit down, stare at the TV, press play and prepare to be transported into a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars is back where it all began: on the printed page with Marvel. This venture is an important cog in the wheel of Lucasfilm’s restructured canonical adventures.
Jason Aaron and John Cassaday lead the charge on this endeavor and immediately score major points by devising a presentation that definitively comforts us in the ways of the force with the opening yellow crawl to the blackness of space where a spaceship emerges into our view of things.
Hot off the heels of the Death Star’s destruction, our favorite band of rebels attempts to shut down an Imperial weapons facility. The escapade itself was nothing to write home about, but it was more of a vehicle for Jason Aaron to firmly establish that Han Solo is still playing the reluctant hero card, which exudes the smuggler’s machismo. Luke Skywalker is ever the impulsive idealist looking to the stars, and everything that can go wrong will still go wrong when C-3PO is watching over things.
Princess Leia’s persona was a bit of a deviation from the script we are used to. Slugging someone in the jaw first and asking questions later while risking the whole operation in the hope of a kill shot was more spitfire than a level-headed diplomat who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
At this particular point in time, the wounds of Alderaan are still fresh with Leia, but this wasn’t broached in the confines of this issue. The last Star Wars comic book penned by Brian Wood did an excellent job showing Leia going through a grieving period for her homeworld because it’s something we never saw in the movies.
We can’t discuss a book like this without talking about Darth Vader. His point of entry here was as perfectly timed as the moment he first engulfed our senses as he boarded the Tantive IV. The Rebels’ plan keeps getting unhinged at the seams due to outside and unexpected factors. When it seems that things can’t get any worse, the worst possible person, Vader, arrives and displays his take no prisoners ruthlessness that has endeared him to fans.
John Cassaday does a great job of depicting important scenes, but I question his character work here. Instead of seeing Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, I saw Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Seeing the actor instead of the character threw me off at times and kind of diluted the experience for me.
The Expanded Universe stories, now rechristened as Legends, have produced a hodgepodge of content over the years. Some of it was strong with the Force, while others seemed to be an abnormality that never quite fit in. The priority of sending an entertaining message instead of an entertaining story was the right call because this is the first true litmus test for Marvel as to how they will handle this beloved franchise.
While I wanted more meat on the bone in terms of story, this new era is on the right track because Jason Aaron and the company accomplished the most important goal with this book by emphatically informing everyone that this is Star Wars!
Score: 3 out of 5