In 1991, a young comic book company named Dark Horse Comics started to print Star Wars titles and carry the monthly torch of Star Wars fandom. And I think every fan has to agree that in general Dark Horse treated Star Wars well with reprinting the Marvel issues and making them available to fans, numerous titles including one of my favorites Star Wars: Agent of the Empire, and 20 months ago launching a Star Wars title which featured Han, Luke and Leia along with the gang. But this was all before Disney acquired LucasFilm. And Disney has announced that the license will be moved from Dark Horse to the Disney owned Marvel Comics, where Star Wars comics got their launch in the 1970’s.
At San Diego Comic Con Marvel announced three Star Wars titles. One mini-series will be about Princess Leia and another will focus on Darth Vader. But for me the title that has my interest is Star Wars which will be written by Jason Aaron, who I am loving on Original Sin, and will feature our original cast. In effect this title will effectively replace Dark Horse’s title of the same name though it will not continue those stories per say. So despite the fact that business realities are putting Dark Horse’s Star Wars volume 2 into retirement, I am optimistic about Disney bringing the Star Wars title into the Disney family and back to Marvel. Seriously the Between Kids found a lightsaber in Disney Infinity this week and it is really fun to see Mickey swinging his saber around in the Toy Box. It feels so good as a Disney fan to have LucasFilm in the family.
I have read all of Dark Horse’s Star Wars, as I found the first issue was really enjoyable and I felt like it captured the spirit of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. And when I realized the title would end I decided to keep collecting it since I was months away from having a full run since it would clearly eventually end. And now in August 2014, Dark Horse’s time with Star Wars ends.
Star Wars issue 20, “A Bright Center to the Universe” by Brian Wood gives Dark Horse a chance to say goodbye to Star Wars. Princess Leia recruits Han and Luke to retrieve Rebel spy and childhood friend Seren Song who is attempting to come out from undercover. But the Rebels worry that Song may no longer be their agent. As they seek Song, both the spy and Princess Leia’s party are stalked by IG-2000 the robot bounty hunter, though he is mislabeled as IG-88 at one point. Will our trio be able to save Song? And most importantly can Wood give his readers an adequate conclusion?
Overall I would say this issue was not my favorite of Wood’s run. It is a nice adventure story, but it has to conclude quickly due to the nature of the title ending. And I have to compare it to an earlier two issue arc that shows Darth Vader tying off loose ends from the first major story arc, which are both brilliant. In that Vader arc we had more setup to prepare us as readers. But issue 20 is an enjoyable adventure that a reader can enjoy.
I would say that Wood does give his readers a bright conclusion. He clearly could not harm any of the core characters and he does put them back into a place where readers could assume or pretend the future Marvel title is simply a continuation of the story, though it will not be. And a piece of information is provided that helps explain how the story, if LucasFilm wanted to, could transition the Rebels from the Battle of Yavin to Hoth. But it is also a piece of information that is small enough it could be ignored if Marvel chose to. I have really enjoyed Wood’s writing and I would rate this entire series very highly!
Overall I have really enjoyed this series as I said. I was really surprised that really Princess Leia was the core character, with Han and Luke being more in the background. I liked the fact that Luke was portrayed with plenty of farm boy, who often had to be counted by the wiser Wedge. And Han was full on scoundrel, though I needed to see more of him. If I had a complaint it was that our main cast were rarely together. Instead they generally went off on their own missions. It was really only at the end that one noticed the core together in one adventure. Though one could argue the same trend occurred in the early Marvel issues in the last 70s. But again, the entire series was well-written, well-drawn and a success in conveying stories that felt like Star Wars.
I will miss Dark Horse’s Star Wars. It was a nice run and one of only four titles I follow on a monthly basis long-term (longer than six months). I am still excited about our new Disney possibilities. And I will grab the first issue of Aaron’s run in January 2015, but the real question is will I add it to my pull list permanently?