Friday, 18 January 2013

New Beginnings: Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse)

This week we open the pages of the first new Star Wars title since the Disney takeover of Lucasfilm, although it is most likely to have been penned before the billions changed bank accounts.

This new title opens with a three part story called 'In The Shadow Of Yavin,' written by Brian Wood. It’s designed so that it fits in with the Original Trilogy and to pull readers in it bills itself as “Classic Characters, All-New Star Wars!” So the question is really where along the timeline does it sit?

For the casual reader, there is a direction on where the story fits as well. In The Shadow Of Yavin is set after Star Wars IV: A New Hope, which is quite important when you think about the mood and emotional states of the main characters. Potentially this may also fill in plot holes that fans of the films may have wondered about, but it will also have to stay within the realms of believability.

Due to the huge notoriety of the films, there is no real attempt to introduce the characters; they’re almost household names in their own rights after all! The action begins right away. Searching for a site for the new Rebel base, Wedge, Luke and Leia are in the Dominus Sector of the Outer Rim, far from anything when they are attacked by a seemingly well-informed Imperial force.

After being downed on the planet and saving her own life, Leia has her X-Wing repaired and a return to the fleet segways into the loveable rogue Han Solo and his faithful Wookie also returning to the Alliance. With the exception of using a written crowbar to lever these two into the issue, this piece has no bearing on the limited story. It’s simply living up to the claims on the front of the cover that all the big names are there which is a bit of a shame.

Leia on the other hand is the crux of the storyline - directed to create her own special team to find the spy in their midst. This needed to be introduced quicker I felt. We are already a third of the way through this first story arc and I am worried that the other two issues may feel rushed as a result.

The final big part of this issue is the introduction of Darth Vader into the mix. Fresh from his humiliating defeat through the lack of covering a simple exhaust port, he is stripped of his command and urged to redeem himself. Once again, Vader felt very much a periphery character to me and there has to be much more to come.

The artwork has been given to us by Carlos D’Anda and I really liked it. Very smooth and clean lines full of detail and depth. The likenesses to all the familiar characters are strong - this is the best Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill have looked in years (far better than his depiction in Mark Millar’s Secret Service)!

A lot of time has been taken to create a faithful representation of the films which people will either love or obsess over. The only panel that bothered me for some reason though was when we saw a deflated Vader leave his ship; he just didn’t look the part. The depiction of him reminded me very much of the striding poses we often see Cyclops or Cable in (maybe it’s a Summers thing!)

Due to the timeline there are some very obvious restraints that Wood has to work with, but I hope he does well. For this reason it’ll be an interesting title to follow. The story hasn’t completely grabbed me yet but as a gateway story into something bigger it could be well worth getting on board from the outset.

Matt Puddy is taking a break next week, so Ben will be bringing you is verdict on the new Young Avengers!

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