Star Wars #1
The greatest space adventure of all time returns to Marvel! Luke Skywalker and the ragtag band of rebels fighting against the Galactic Empire are fresh off their biggest victory yet- the destruction of the massive battle station known as the Death Star. But the Empire's not toppled yet! Join Luke along with Princess Leia, smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca, droids C-3PO and R2-D2, and the rest of the Rebel Alliance, as they strike out for freedom against the evil forces of Darth Vader and his master, the Emperor. Written by Jason Aaron (Original Sin, Thor: God of Thunder), and with art by John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Uncanny Avengers), this is the Star Wars saga as only Marvel Comics could make it!
There’s nothing wrong with a degree of fan service here and there in a comic, especially one based around Star Wars, but author Jason Aaron may have overdone it just a touch in this first issue of Star Wars’ triumphant entrance into Marvel comics. That said though, the blatant fan service and multiple forced references do not completely diminish an otherwise enjoyable first issue.
Star Wars takes place shortly after the events of Episode IV, and the comic wastes no time getting you back into that same vibe of the original trilogy. The way the first couple pages mimic a film opening are really well done. I would not call you crazy if you swear you can hear the iconic theme music swell every time you flip over to that two-paged STAR WARS emblazoned across the book.
This first issue in particular has the familiar group of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia traveling to the heavily empire secured moon of Cymoon 1 under the guise of a Jabba the Hutt envoy. The first few post-title panels are very similar to the opening shot of Episode IV. It features a ship coming in from the top of the page and extending over the rest. In this case though, unlike in that first film, there is no imperial ship chasing after them; just our intrepid heroes getting clearance to land on the moon.
Every minor reveal or new development in the book is handled with the same grandiose moments like you’d expect from a sequel to a popular film. All the popular characters are introduced in the most dramatic ways possible, having their names thrown out into the air followed by a camera quickly panning over to them (or in this case moving to a new panel) while they are doing something iconic so the fan boys can squeal in delight. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it works to great effect occasionally in Star Wars #1, but there certainly times in the issue that feel way too forced. I’m fine with the big dramatic character entrances, and I’d expect nothing less from something Star Wars-related, but seeing characters force recognizable phrases or references to Episode IV into to their dialogue just for the sake of fan service were extremely eyeroll-inducing at times.
One thing Jason Aaron certainly nails in this inaugural issue is the interaction between the characters. Of course they are busy spouting cliches and making dramatic entrances so we didn’t get to see a whole lot of interaction, but what is there feels right on point. C-3PO and Han still have a sense of disdain along with a weird amount of respect for each other, Leia still wants to overrule anything that Han says, especially to Chewie, and Luke is sort of in his own head and trying to find his way while the chaos around him develops.
My favorite moments in this first issue by far are those involving Darth Vader. You can’t have a piece of Star Wars media set in the old trilogies without his appearance, but he was just great in this book. The way he shows up on the moon and immediately takes control in such a Vader-like way works extremely well. I’m far from the biggest Star Wars fan in the world (although I am a really big one), but almost every panel he is involved in still gives me fan boy chills.
Art from John Cassaday is pretty solid throughout, although a lot of times the character’s faces reach the point of uncanny valley. Princess Leia is just so heavily ingrained into my head as Carrie Fisher that seeing an image so close, yet so oddly different really pulled me out of a couple sequences; I’m sure that can easily change as the series continues and I get used to seeing her on paper, however. Action scenes are also very coherent and well done, and the way Cassaday does the lightsaber effects gets the point across well.
My favorite bit of art from Star Wars #1 is undoubtedly when the main group is in a firefight with a group of Stormtroopers. There is a panel showing Han, Leia, and Luke surrounded by gunfire but not a single shot lands. Because Stormtroopers.
Overall, Star Wars #1 is not mind-blowingly amazing, but it is a decent taste of what we’re about to get from Jason Aaron’s take on the galaxy far far away. Hopefully this first issue is just a mandatory amount of fan service to get the Star Wars faithful on board with a Marvel series and the references can get out of way so we can get to a fun and exciting adventure in the coming books.