The second most anticipated Star Wars event of the year hit shelves today: Marvel’s launch of its Star Wars Comic line. This is a pretty big deal, especially considering that there are roughly 30 different cover variants for this issue alone, everyone from Joe Quesada to J. Scott Campbell came out with a cover. The comic store I was at this morning to get my copy when it opened was more crowded than I’d ever seen it before, so I’m going to assume that this will be a huge success for Marvel and Disney (can’t forget them) as long as they don’t mess with the established canon (anymore than they already have).
The artwork is crisp and clean and the characters are well drawn and recognizable, which is probably what I worried about the most. We’ve all seen Luke, Leia and Han since we were kids and it would be horrible if their comic counterparts were unrecognizable. John Cassaday and Laura Martin did a terrific job bringing our galactic heroes to life on paper. There is so much detail put into the art you can see Han Solo’s chest hair peeking out of his shirt and the wrinkles in his forehead. All of the droids, stormtroppers and spaceships look perfect too. The layout and scenes portrayed are amazing, they look straight out of a filmstrip, Cassaday and Laura knew how to capture the feel and look of the movies and put it in every page.
The story is off to a strong start. The comic opens with the traditional “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” then a two page spread reading “STAR WARS” followed by the expected scroll of text catching us up. Right off the bat Jason Aaron is preparing us for a Star Wars movie quality experience and he delivers. The comic picks up after the events of Episode IV: A New Hope but before Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The characters feel at least very close to how we remember them from the films, which will always be the comparison. Han Solo is somewhat the scruffy nerf-herder we remember, his attitude and snarky lines are almost there. Luke seems to posses a little more power with the force than I would think he has before Empire Strikes Back but who’s to say how much time really passes between the two films.
Strangely enough Leia does not have a huge part in the first issue but she is there, and her and Han do have a moment of sorts. C-3P0 and R2-D2 play a bigger part in the issue and have function; C-3P0 doesn’t sound like himself but his way of speaking is probably hard to nail on a first try. R2-D2 seems to have more of his usefulness we saw in the prequels instead of only being able to communicate with computers. Our favorite Wookie also makes an appearance and gets to take a shot at Darth Vader, to no avail of course. I don’t want to give too much away of what happens in the issue in case there are those of you out there hoping to hear if the comic is worth reading before reading it, but the end of issue 1 definitely leaves you wishing the comic was just a few pages longer.
I am a little hesitant about the story taking place within an already established timeline though. Grant it, there are plenty of time gaps between the three original films to fill in but now Aaron needs to make sure everything he does leads to specific events that we already know do happen. I can understand Marvel’s reluctance to making a comic series starting after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, for one Luke is already a Jedi Knight with most of his training done and secondly there is no Emperor or Darth Vader.
Skywalker Strikes definitely makes a strong impression and will get many readers to pick up the next issue. However, Marvel and Disney know how Star Wars fans are and enough is never enough for us. Starting in February two more comics will join the Marvel line up, Star Wars: Darth Vader and Star Wars: Princess Leia, which I’m sure will both be just as big of hits with its intended audience.
Article by: Joseph Murillo/ Murillo