For someone who no longer considers himself a huge Star Wars fan, I sure read a lot of Star Wars comics. I’ve heard such good things about the current series, I had to check out the first trade from the library and see what all the fuss was about.
I’m glad I did, this is a pretty strong opening statement. Too bad Dark Horse is losing the rights and none of this will end up counting in continuity. (C’mon, you don’t really think Marvel is going to let DH’s version of things stand, do you? You KNOW Marvel is going to re-mine each and every one of these eras.)
Leia is the surprising protagonist of the first few issues. There is panel time for Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewie, along with Wedge Antilles, but Leia is the driver of the story. It’s a good choice, and I applaud Brian Wood for adding a bunch of new competencies to the character. Leia is a covert team leader and skilled X-wing pilot, all while maintaining her more diplomatic role from the movies. Wood also plays up the fact that Luke and Leia don’t exactly know they are related (Spoiler!). Leia gets jealous when the hot-headed Luke Skywalker starts hanging out with his attractive new squad mates.
Wood populates the world with some good additions. He’s got some new imperials that seem like credible threats, and the covert “black X-wing” squad of pilots all have potential too. Plenty of the myriad Star Wars races are represented, so it feels natural seeing all these folks teaming up.
If there is one character that Wood clearly “gets,” it is Han Solo. Luke, Leia, and the others are well-written, but with an updated feel. Han feels like he stepped off the screen. The character shines, especially when bickering and plotting with Chewie, who hollers and howls through the whole trade.
Plus, BOBA FETT! That's a letter grade raise right there!
I used to write off Carlos D’Anda as a Jim Lee clone, but he’s expanding away from that. He still has a habit of drawing people’s necks too long, but his facial work is great. The acting is top notch, and the aliens look like they fit perfectly in amongst the more human centric cast. It isn’t easy to convey the sense of motion and battle in a space dogfight, but D’Anda hits the mark consistently. He also has a fun sense of timing with his splash pages. Not only are they dramatic, but I bet D’Anda is going to make a lot of money selling these original pages.
This is a Good comic that will most likely end up forgotten. But I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.