Star Wars #1 by Brian Wood, Carlos D’anda, and Gabe Eltaeb
The Rebel Alliance has scored a victory against the Empire but they’re still outnumbered and on the run. Desperate for a new place to put a base, the Rebels scour the system for any place that will be hospitable or inhabitable which isn’t easy with the Empire’s superior numbers combing the galaxy for them. When Leia, Luke, and Wedge are ambushed while searching for a place to put a base, Mon Mothma senses a spy and gives Leia a black ops command whose mission is simple: Find a new home for a base or find the spy.
GOOD: This story is set right after the destruction of the first Death Star. The characters are pretty well written (some moments feel wrong or a little manufactured but in the actual movies the characters acted a bit off from film to film). Still, the interactions between the characters makes me imagine that it really happened and setting it after the first film makes it feel like cannon. When Princess Leia blasts a Tie Fighter pilot then blasts him two more times when he’s down it shows a different side of her. She was always tough in the movies and willing to shoot back but she assassinated the pilot without saying a word – no asking for surrender, no words of anger – it’s a ruthlessness that makes sense for the character but is shocking to see on the page.
And D’anda’s rendering of Darth Vader is about the most badass rendering everywhere. There’s a panel where he’s striding toward the reader and his head is down a bit so it looks like the eyes are glaring more than usual. You can see the bulk in his arms and legs that tell you that even if he didn’t have a lightsaber, he’d choke you out MMA-style.
The yellow narration boxes serve to remind you (as if you’ve forgotten) what the Rebels are up against and what the characters are feeling. Long gone is the day of thought bubbles so the narration is a great way to add context to what’s going on and information on what the current mission is.
I don’t know if anyone caught it, but on the first page Luke holds up three fingers and Leia, understanding what he’s asking, switches to communication channel 3 letting the reader know that they’re involved in a private conversation. It’s an excellent little detail and one that Wood uses brilliantly.
BAD: This is a case of good news / bad news. The good news is that Dark Horse Comics has done it again with a fantastic new title. The bad news is that since Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel Comics, they can hand the property back over to Marvel Comics.