It’s a new year at Star Wars Always, and while there have been a few minor developments in the last couple of weeks (which I’ll get to in subsequent posts), the big event this week is the release of the first issue of Marvel’s flagship Star Wars title.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Marvel’s Star Wars titles, and if this first issue is anything to go by, we’re going to be in for a real treat. I’ll discuss the writing and art in a moment, but first let me just say that there’s something here that to me puts it on the map as a genuine part of the Star Wars saga. Writer Jason Aaron has somehow tapped into that same wellspring from which the original trilogy in a way I never saw in the old expanded universe. In particular, this first issue shows just how weak Brian Wood’s Star Wars really was.
Aaron said in interviews last year that the eponymous Star Wars title would be approached as if it were a missing sequel between Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and I daresay he’s pulled it off. From the title (Book I: Skywalker Strikes, which naturally leads to the Empire striking back) to the opening crawl and the first few panels, this feels like real Star Wars, with a tone that feels of apiece with any of the original trilogy. This is not the cold yet fussy universe of the prequels—this is the grimy, seedy universe we all know and love.
As the story opens, the Rebels have plans to take advantage of the Empire’s defeat at Yavin, hopefully sending a final blow that will result in decisive victory. A Tatooine vessel lands on Cymoon 1, part of the Correllian Industrial Cluster, and we soon learn that this will be the site of the first strike in the Rebellion’s new offensive. Soon enough the old gang return, and we’re back to where we left off in ’77.
There’s a real sense of mystery and danger here, like in the opening of Return of the Jedi or the landing at Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. The writing is pitch perfect—you can hear the characters’ voices and they sound exactly as they should in this time period, while the scenario and plot could be torn from the lost script for Episode 4.5. This really is a remarkable feat.
The art by John Cassaday combined with colouring by Laura Martin captures the feel and mood of the original trilogy even if the likenesses are slightly off (with Leia faring the best).
Any slight criticisms fade into the background when this book can sell me on this being real Star Wars. As much as I enjoyed some of the Dark Horse material, this is the first time I’ve felt fully immersed in the universe as much as the original films.
Of course, in 10 issues this thing could go completely off the rails. But at this point it’s highly recommended.