Hello again, fine people of Forte! I swear, the weeks are getting shorter – I feel like the last few weeks have come out of nowhere. I’ve blinked, and it’s already the end of January. Next thing I know, it’ll be winter again! So, before I lose any more time, it’s best that we dive into this week’s comic – and I’ve gotta admit, I’m surprised I haven’t got to this one earlier.
It’s no secret that I’m a big Star Wars fan. I’ve loved that galaxy far, far away since I was about 7, and even the prequels couldn’t quash my love for lightsabers, space battles and clashes between Jedi and Sith. That’s why I decided to dive back into my vaults and pick out a volume that will appeal to any Star Wars fan: Marvel’s Star Wars volume 1: Skywalker Strikes, written by Jason Aaron (Thor: God of Thunder, Scalped) and drawn by John Cassady (Planetary, Astonishing X-Men).
The Rebel Alliance is victorious. The Death Star has been destroyed by the heroic actions of the Rebel pilot/Jedi apprentice Luke Skywalker, and the Empire is on the back foot. The fight’s not over, however; the Empire is stunned, not defeated, and they’re planning their next move. Princess Leia Organa leads her team – Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke, R2D2 and C3PO across the galaxy, hitting the Empire where it hurts – shipyards, strategic points and weapons factories. While the team scores victory after victory, Luke begins to doubt his effectiveness, and strives to find out why Ben chose him to carry on the legacy of the Jedi. His victory at Yavin seems hard won – especially when he’s being hunted by the best the Empire can afford… Boba Fett himself.
Despite my love for Star Wars, I must admit that I was a little cautious approaching a book like this; whenever there’s a tie-in book for a beloved pop culture icon, it can land absolutely anywhere on the quality spectrum. Thankfully, Marvel had the common sense to put an established comics author in charge of the series, and it’s proved to be one of their most popular offerings (even becoming the #1 selling comic at its launch in 2015). While I’m undoubtedly late to the party here, I’m glad I got around to reading it; it carries on the spirit of the original trilogy of movies in a way that doesn’t cheapen them, or conflict with or mangle the canon – at least, no more than Disney has after their takeover (I liked aspects of the old Expanded Universe, fight me).
Luckily, there’s plenty of unexplored areas in the Star Wars universe, so there’s no shortage of potential avenues for any author wanting to give it a crack. It’s an entirely other thing, however, to match the tone of the original movies – and capture the personality and dialogue of established characters like Luke, Han and Leia – in text. Jason Aaron does a fantastic job of making the book seem like a natural continuation of A New Hope. Additionally, John Cassady’s artwork is crisp, dramatic, and notably, his characters actually look like the actors. I’ve seen enough comics based on established properties where the characters look absolutely nothing like the actors, but in this case, when you see Luke in a panel, it’s a remarkable likeness of a young Mark Hamill. I never thought I’d be making a big deal out of character accuracy, but there you go.
Star Wars is the greatest sci-fi story ever (controversial, I know) and you should go read this book. End of story.
Written by Alastair McGibbon