Soule and Saiz Give Fans a New Hope with Marvel's Star Wars #1 Comic

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Marvel Comics Star Wars #1 2020

Over the last few years, the foundation of STAR WARS fandom has been a little shaky. We've seen one writer ignominiously ousted from the extended universe, several directors fired from the sequels and ancillary films, and controversy among the fandom over the way the final trilogy was handled from start to finish. Basically, if you're handed the reigns to do something with STAR WARS these days, you stand a good chance of slitting your own throat.

That doesn't seem to have deterred comics writer Charles Soule, however, who kicks off the latest STAR WARS #1 from Marvel Comics by picking up right where the credits roll on EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. "The Destiny Path" finds Luke Skywalker nursing his amputated hand aboard the Millennium Falcon, with the droids, Leia, Chewbacca, and a very distrusted Lando Calrissian. Han Solo has been taken away in carbonite, and the debate is whether to go after him or to run a rescue mission on the Rebel fleet that has been cordoned against a star by Imperial Destroyers and a host of TIE Fighters. Trapped the way they are, they are unable to jump to hyperspeed and make a getaway, and the only one capable of piloting the Falcon is Lando. It's a suicide mission, but with the Falcon having had some modifications Lando was unaware of, they hope to at least punch a hole in the cordon that would allow their allies to escape. But with Luke missing his right hand, how well he'll be able to shoot is in question. Fortunately for Luke, he doesn't really have to shoot, something even he doesn't seem to be aware of in a pivotal scene.

Soule also introduces a character among the Rebel forces named Dameron, whom one would assume to be the father of Poe Dameron, a central character in the final three films of the STAR WARS saga.

The artwork in this issue is absolutely stunning. Jesus Saiz's figures don't just resemble the actors from the original trilogy, they seem to be almost perfect portraits of them, without losing any of the dynamism that usually comes from being so photorealistic when making a comic. That he gets to apply his own colors (with Arif Prianto) displays what a true artistic talent Saiz is, and I hope he gets to stay on the series a good long time. His capture of emotions, his layout of a scene, all come together with an engaging script that should have STAR WARS fans finding something they can unite around as soemthing truly good and consistent with the original vision of STAR WARS.

The only thing that hurts this issue is the editing. It opens with text on black: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." Okay, we'd expect that. Then you open to pages 2 and 3, and get a double-page spread that's all black again with the STAR WARS log centered across the pages. Page 4 is the "scrolling" text that tells you where we are when this story opens... and then a house ad on page 5. That's one ad before we even really get any story. Page 6 is a full page splash panel of Luke losing his hand to a lightsaber with the dark dialogue ballon, "No. I am your father." Then another house ad on page 7, reprinting a Stan's Soapbox from 1980. We go a good ways into the rest of the book without any ads, so the momentum carries the reader a ways, but front-loading these first two ads, especially right after setup text, is the comic book reading equivalent of trying to step on the gas while the emergency brake is still on. This was a huge mistake on Editor Mark Paniccia's part and hopefully one that won't be repeated in later issues, because this book is probably the first time I've been really excited about STAR WARS since I set down for the premiere of RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0