Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
When I bought my copy of marvel’s Star Wars Issue one, Skywalker Strikes, yesterday, I felt like the guy who was madly in love with a girl and it just didn’t work, so he agreed to go on a date with the girl his mom made him go to the sixth grade dance years before, but he always thought she was a little creepy. This is because up until last month the license for Star Wars comics belonged to Dark Horse Comics. It got revoked because Disney who owns Marvel bought the Star Wars Empire. Since I bought my copy at The Things From Another World Dark Horse’s retail arm, it felt like I was picking the girl up at my ex’s house.
Marvel held the original comic book rights to Star Wars in the seventies up till ‘eighty-six, and well I was never impressed with their first effort. OK, part of it was I am not a huge fan of four color comics. I really got into comics in the mid-eighties after the digital color revolution. But even when you consider the limits of the technology at the time, the space ships looked more like they were out of Buck Rodgers than The Empire Strikes Back. Stories all seemed to revolve around a non-canon characters and making life harder for the main characters than it need to be.
In fact the only part that I fondly look back at, during Marvel’s entire run was Jaxxon the six foot tall green rabbit ‘Space Hopper”. Something that Marvel seems to be a bit squeamish about bringing back.
However I have great memories about Dark Horse’s run. Back in the early nineties when the SW universe seemed to stall after Return of the Jedi, and the books of the EU where just starting the two great torch bearers of the Galaxy far away was Dark Horse and West End Game’s SW:RPG. These Star Wars trail blazers gave us the name of aliens like Twi’lik, and cool chachters like Jahan Cross and Nomi Sunrider, they gave us back ground on cannon and EU chachters like Mara Jade. The two even came together with Tales of the Jedi source book.
I get why Disney is ditching the whole EU, but man it still stings. So it was with trepidation that I got the new Marvel comic. So how was it? Thank you for asking.
The look is good. Modern competent computer controlled color. Maybe even a little better than the other Marvel title I picked up the Agent Peggy Carter miniseries Operation S.I.N. They did a good job with the back ground, which can be the deciding factor on whether or not I like a comic book’s art. The bright colors contrast well with the black they share the panel with a hallmark of twenty-first century comics. So it was good but nothing ground breaking.
And the story? Well at forty-four pages, (about ten are ads and previews) it tells the story of how Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie try to destroy Imperial armament plant shortly after the Battle of Yavin. The story is a mixture of action and cloak and shoto light saber. It is probably a good idea to start at the beginning again with chachters the readers are familiar with. And yes it is nice to see the gang young again, in a way that can’t be replicated on live action movies and televisions.
But in the middle it turns six pages of pure awesomeness. When Chewbacca attempts to assassinate Darth Vader. So let me repeat that in caps in case it didn’t register just how incredible that is, CHEWBACCA ATTEMPTS TO ASSASSINATE DARTH VADER. Not just fight him but ambush and sniper the dark dude. And how Vader escapes the ambush is delightful as it is evil. This is Star Wars at its risky best. The good guys beg Chewbacca to leave them to their doom at a chance of taking out the big bad. Vader sacrifices those around him for his own skin.
So why didn’t they make a whole comic book about this scene? Well it might not have been able to carry the entire title. But it works well as the pentacle of awesomeness in middle book. Even if the rest of the story seems to not fare as well in comparison.
The characters act like we expect them to in this part of their life. So it is true to the source material even if there is no new revelations about the core heroes. The Han/Leia, sexual tension bickering though accurate for a pre-TESB setting didn’t play well with me, considering I have been reading books for nearly two decades with them married and having three children.
So far the reviews for Issue 1: Skywalker Strikes have been generally favorable and flowing with praise. How would I describe it? Well using the date analogy, it was a good date, and in the middle she did this cool thing was awesome, but in general, well, I kind of wished it had been the other girl again.