Thursday, 26 March 2015

New Beginnings - Princess Leia #1

by Matt Puddy

Further celebrating the reacquisition of the Star Wars license by Marvel, their next offering is the first issue of a miniseries centred around Princess Leia.

The series is written by Mark Waid who seems to have written a bit of everything in his illustrious career so far with the exception of Star Wars, meaning that it is also a new beginning of sorts for him as well.

As with the other titles that Marvel have brought to the shelves for Star Wars, Princess Leia fits into the wider plan to create a new continuity after Episode IV A New Hope. However, what we also get to see is a slightly different perspective on things. Commencing immediately from the ceremony at the end of the film, Leia is still addressing the Rebel pilot and troops in the ruins on Yavin 4, but not all is going across well. Her strong feelings of duty mean that she doesn’t always come across as caring as could be, and thus she has already earned herself the nickname of the Ice Princess.

This creates a rift between her and almost everyone around her. The Empire are tracking the rebels down as they speak and a mass evacuation is required.

From a reader's perspective there is a great bit of levity added when you see Admiral Akbar becoming more and more frustrated with proceedings not being as quick or as smooth as he'd like. This scene definitely featured the funniest line in this first issue for me, as he shouts at a human for only looking at one thing at a time.

At a loss of what she can do – now that there is a 10 million credit bounty on her head – she begins to get frustrated. Avenues are closed to her by one of the heads of the Rebellion, as she is such a high priority target now. But that won’t stop her. Before she goes stir crazy on the base she finds a way to get out, and she embarks on a self imposed quest to find the remaining surviving Alderaanians.

Partnering Waid on this is Terry Dodson, an artist with an almost as impressively long list of accolades to his work. His style is probably best described as soft edges, with easily identifiable characters presented in a very pleasing way. There aren’t harsh lines and this makes it a nice easy read with as your eyes effortlessly dart across the pages.

This is supported further by a very simple and sombre colouring by Terry’s wife Rachel Dodson. It’s not all muted though, and things like the bright orange jumpsuits and the occasional flashes of red make the frames pop without being too over-the-top. It all blends together very well.

As an issue there is a strange feeling of Leia being a Rebel without a cause or at worst a slightly petulant princess not allowed out. There’s also the odd non-friendship towards the end which cuddles a touch of animosity up to smiles and admiration, adding an odd couple dynamic to the mix.

For me this made for a slightly lacklustre issue. However, this is also dictated by the way that there wasn’t a giant amount of action. If you’re a fan of it there was a lot of politically driven talk, and we got to see a lot of people with it getting a little sneaky towards the end which certainly picked it up for me as well. Setting the scene in one issue is always hard, but the greater universe has been opened up for our gallant princess.

Matt Puddy notes that Ben felt this was an issue full of great character development, but to each their own!

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