Friday, September 6, 2013

Comic Corner - The Star Wars #1

Comic Corner - The Star Wars

“Longer ago, in a galaxy even further away….” proclaims the cover of Dark Horse’s new comic mini-series The Star Wars issue #1. The comic visually presents for the first time the original Star Wars screenplay written in 1974. The story adapted by J.W. Rinzler, a name familiar to Star Wars fans, and illustrated by Mike Mayhew brings to fans a storyline speculated about for decades. It presents the Star Wars that may have been.

The Star Wars published by Dark Horse comics has been overseen and supervised by George Lucas, bringing his original concept to life. The story itself covers the struggle between the Jedi-Bendu Knights the former bodyguards of the Emperor in the old Empire and the current Emperor and his Knights of the Sith of the New Empire. The one Sith we get a glimpse of, Darth Vader, has a familiar name but an unfamiliar face. The action follows one Jedi, Kane Starkiller, and his sons including one named Annikin, as they return to the last Jedi refuge of Aquilae on the verge of a New Empire attack. The story ends as Starkiller makes a request of another Jedi, General Luke Skywalker the veteran leader of Aquilae’s defenses, as the attack is about to begin.

I have been waiting months for this story, if not years. Okay months since the announcement. I enjoy the Star Wars I have and Disney bought. But it is fun to explore the alternative story. For even casual fans there is plenty that will seem familiar, because as Rinzler points out in the preface the key elements are all there:
  • Princes Leia
  • A knight named Luke Skywalker 
  • Jedi 
  • Sith 
  • Alderaan 
  • Bail Antilles 
  • Stormtroopers 
  • A lightsaber battle
So even if you are a casual fan, like many Disney focused fans are, you will likely be able to pick up on key differences yet feel comfortable. The images provide by Mayhew will also make the reader be transported into a familiar Star Wars universe even if it’s not the one you are fully accustomed to. The ships and costumes all feel like Star Wars with a tweak. So it is not hard to see this story as being part of that universe.

I have been a little shocked that this story made it to print outside of Marvel. It was announced after the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm, so something this big seems like a natural fit for bringing Lucasfilm into a Marvel title. So I wonder if this story work was kicked off pre-purchase or during. And there have been a lot of rumors that 2013 was the end of the Lucasfilm/Dark Horse contract. Yet with this being an eight issue series this clearly extends into 2014. And the Brian Wood Star Wars original trilogy series seems to be booking along full steam ahead. So when and will Disney move Star Wars over to Marvel? I know there has been plenty of speculation and this only confuses and maybe discredits some rumors. Disney fans we should not forget that while Marvel was the original comic home for Star Wars, the Lucasfilm/Dark Horse relationship has lasted longer and been more successful than the original Marvel partnership.

I am reading this single issue format. I want these as they come out every month. A friend and fellow fan is planning on awaiting the collection trade of the entire story. I think one could do either and it is mostly based on your preference. I think if you are a Star Wars fan this is a must read. I think if you a casual fan/Disney fan you are likely going to be interested but should look to borrowing the trade from a library if possible. I do think it is very good, but I am writing this with a ton of fanboy behind me. To me this is an extension o f my childhood, so it is a delight.

I personally find The Star Wars as a must read for Star Wars fans and something of interest to Disney fans. Of course I am also the guy who opened his arms to both Marvel and Lucasfilm with a giant smile. I would love to see this title as part of the family as a Marvel publication. I do not believe Disney would ever green light a feature film based on this. But who knows what can happen with this tale if fans respond positively to it.

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