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Star Wars #1: Forcing The Force

Can going back to the best part of the whole saga help spark interest in Star Wars comics? Find out.

Star Wars #1

For the most part, I don’t care about Star Wars comics. I loved the initial run in the '70s, when writers were allowed to take the characters and just set them out on any kind of bizarre adventure they could make up. The modern era of Star Wars comics, much like the novels, continue to drain the mystery out of that universe. Every single person, place or thing even hinted to in Episodes I-VI has been exhausted to death via some kind of Star Wars media. When I saw that Dark Horse was launching Star Wars #1, where the original characters get into new adventures, I became cautiously optimistic that this could be the series I was waiting for.

I was wrong. Issue #1 takes place right after the destruction of the Death Star in the original Star Wars (fuck you, George Lucas, I refuse to call it "A New Hope") and shows Luke, Leia and some random X-Wing pilot trying to scout a new base for the fledgling rebellion. Once again, the story must try to fill in a gap best left to our imagination. Leia, Luke and Pilot X are checking out a planet that might be hospitable when a Star Destroyer comes out of hyperspace and attacks. How did the Empire know they were there? Turns out there is a spy in the rebels camp and Leia aims to find out who it is.

Most of Star Wars #1 deals with Luke and Leia getting away from the Empire. There are a few brief glimpses of Han Solo trying to decide his next move, and Darth Vader mulling over the name Skywalker as well as being screamed at by the Emperor about the destruction of the Death Star. Nothing in issue #1 is particularly gripping. Writer Brian Wood is too easy, he lays everything out in a simple trail to follow, leaving little in the way of surprise. Instead of a new series of adventures, Star Wars #1 comes across like the kind of fill-in-the-story-after-the-movie comic book you’d pick up with a fast food kids meal.

Hopefully, Star Wars decides to step out of its own shadow and put the heroes in situations not directly linked to the movies. Those unpredictable adventures are what made the '70s comic books so much fun to read. I don’t really need a road map to how the rebels found Hoth. Even if the series was set in the interim between films, let the stories be their own thing. Cut the movie apron strings and churn out adventures fans never saw coming.

Another thing is the art, which sucks. The name of the artist doesn’t matter here because it’s that same repetitive style that tends to creep into these kinds of comics. The panels are placed very rigidly and the art within them looks more computer-created than hand drawn. This is art that only tells the story – it simply brings to life what the written word says. With no life or identity of their own, the pencils within Star Wars #1 become more a hindrance than a help.

3

(2 Story, 1 Art)