Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: John Cassaday
Colors by: Laura Martin
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art by: John Cassaday & Laura Martin
Published by: Marvel Comics
By Matthew Jent
“I have a very good feeling about this.”
Star Wars returns to Marvel, and nearly every other ancillary, non-movie-adventure of Luke Skywalker & Co. has been wiped out of continuity. Back in December we knew that Star Wars #1 would be, almost certainly, the biggest-selling issue of the year with 1 million copies ordered by comics retailers and other outlets. The first issue hits stores this week, with launch parties, dozens of variant covers, and a major media push. But what about what’s actually on the page?
To put it simply: this feels like Star Wars.
The issue opens with a sequential art version of the familiar logo and opening crawl, picking up after the events of A New Hope. The art from John Cassaday and Laura Martin captures the gritty look and feel of the original trilogy, and perfectly replicates that Solo smirk, Luke’s boyishly optimistic determination, and Leia’s exasperation with a certain smuggler. From the setting to the faces to the clothing, this book looks like Star Wars. It also looks like a really good comic book — there’s a certain Wookiee sniper scene that uses panel layout and zoom-in transitions for a nice effect. This is a visual tale, well told by sequential artists.
The narrative is satisfying, too. This first issue is oversized, with 36 pages of story. Jason Aaron’s dialogue hits the exposition a little too hard in a few scenes, mostly in explaining (and then, a few pages later, explaining again) the rebel plan, but Han talks like Han and Leia talks like Leia. Luke doesn’t talk very much at all, but that feels right too — Cassaday & Martin’s artwork evokes those Mark-Hamill-eyes in a way that tells you this is a Luke Skywalker who’s blown up the Death Star, but has yet to get lost on Hoth. He’s still young, hopeful, and has taken his first steps into a larger world — but he’s largely untested. He’s struggling to live up to the few lessons imparted by Ben Kenobi, still trying to figure out what it means to hear the voice of his old mentor on the wind, and that yearning plays out in his actions more than in his words — just like it should.
The plot moves forward at an assured clip, and it feels fulfilling without being rushed. This story also feels — well, essential. Like this really is the next adventure of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, and not just a filled-in series of events between movies.
Criticisms can be made, but they’re small. While most of the characters sound like themselves, C-3P0 sounds … off. His dialogue sounds almost more like Data than Threepio, like he’s using too many words to communicate. And while it’s wonderful to see Leia on a mission with the Han and Luke, it’s unclear why she is on this particular mission for the rebel alliance, as the only role she plays in-story is to criticize and banter with Han.
But with lots of things Star Wars, I’ll happily take a few inconsistencies if it means having fun in this particular far-away galaxy. “Skywalker Strikes” by Aaron, Cassaday and Martin isn’t just a fun Star Wars story, it’s a well-done comic, and one of the most fulfilling first issue/reboots I’ve read from Marvel in a long time. It’s a promising start to a new era of space fantasy.
The Elite Beat Staff is a trained squad of ninja masters.