THOUGHT CLOUDS: Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse, 2013)

Star Wars #1

Brain Wood, writer. Carlos D’Anda, artist.

So there is a new Star Wars comic.

A Star Wars comic that tells the story of the characters from MY Star Wars.

A Star Wars comic featuring a cover by Alex Ross.

A Star Wars comic that, if you read it, all you need to know beforehand is what happened in one movie: the first Star Wars movie. (No, not Episode 1. Don’t be a smart alec.)

A Star Wars comic that has beautiful artwork.

A Star Wars comic that is meant to scratch the itch that old school fans have for new stories featuring those original characters as they appeared in the movies.

A Star Wars comic that is meant to draw in the newer fans who are used to modern action sensibilities.

A Star Wars comic for, well, people like me.

So, is it good? Well, using the template of judgement used in a recent podcast episode (the one about people who were riding the coattails of that first Star Wars movie, actually), I’m going to review this by looking at the Light Side and the Dark Side.

Light Side:

The art. It’s very good. Much better than the Marvel Comics comics from the days just after the first movie came out. Stylistically, those comics were great, but as a four-year-old I read them and got frustrated that, frankly, the people didn’t look like the actors. Now, of course, we’ve seen these character interpreted in many different ways, from Chibi-styled to ultra-realistic, so it’s easier to forgive when characters have a stylistic interpretation. Still, this comic feels more natural than those comics from the ’70’s.

The story. It explores the natural ramifications of the events in that first movie, as the characters are trying to deal with the victories and losses from the movie. It’s interesting enough, and has a subplot of a spy within the ranks of the rebellion.

Dark Side:

The story. I’ve read this story before: the rebellion needs a new base because their old base has been discovered. Marvel covered this ground years ago. Twice that I can remember.

The stakes. Since it is set between the movies, any characters who are in The Empire Strikes Back are safe. We know where their character arcs are going to take them, and I’m not seeing much in this one issue (which is an IMPORTANT note — this is just one issue I’m reviewing) to suggest something more. Only one new character was introduced: an Imperial officer who is assigned command of Darth Vader’s star destroyer. I’m guessing HIS character arc is to end with him clutching his throat (unless he’s the guy from Empire Strikes Back who dies first — I’m not a big enough fan to recognize his name, I guess). There are hints of some character growth in the characters we know from the next movie, but it feels like it is simply moving toward the next movie, instead of giving something new to resolve before the events of Empire. (Again, this is the first issue — what I’m saying here could easily be resolved next issue for all I know, as the story grows and continues.)

The writing. It’s good. But there is a lot of exposition, and unneeded exposition. Reading it, it just hit me wrong. If it is a throwback to old school comics, it is not consistently done. If it is meant to explain things people might not understand, it is one of the cardinal sins of comics: redundant. It describes things we have already seen in art or read in dialogue. This is a minor quibble, though.

I recommend the book, and plan to read the next few issues. Most of what Dark Horse has done with their comics lately has not interested me at all, except their VECTOR crossover “event”. But this got my interest, as it was intended to, I’m sure.

For a preview, click here: Star Wars #1 preview on the Dark Horse website

And to read some of the FIRST expanded Star Wars universe stories, you can get these collections of the old Marvel comic series . . . (And remember, purchasing anything after clicking these links helps support Strangers and Aliens’ operating costs!)

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