Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Star Wars #1

After the disasters that were the prequel trilogy (you can read my review of Revenge of the Sith here) you can say that I’m not as big of a Star Wars fan as I used to be. Sure I still adore the original trilogy, but outside of that I don’t find anything related to the franchise exciting anymore except maybe the Force Unleashed video games. I’m not even looking forward to the new movies Disney is planning to release in 2015 and beyond. So you better believe that when I say I made an effort to get to a comic book store and pick up a copy of The Star Wars #1 that it was a radically out of the ordinary occurrence.

Basically The Star Wars comic book miniseries is based on the original rough draft screenplay George Lucas wrote which eventually became the Star Wars we all know through various rewrites and such. Everything you know about the films is different in this incarnation, and I’ll explain what they are later.

The story is essentially the same, but it follows the adventures of one Kane Starkiller and his two sons, Annikin and Deak, who are some of the last remaining Jedi-Bendu in the galaxy after the Galactic Empire had them all marked for death. When a Sith attacks them at their home they seek the help of another exiled Jedi, General Skywalker, who Kane hopes will help Annikin complete his training.
As you can tell a lot changed through all the rewrites. General Skywalker is the Obi-Wan character and Annikin is the stand it for Luke. The briefly glimpsed Darth Vader is a Sith who looks like a normal dude with a scar on his face. The Emperor is a greasy politician, there’s more than one Sith running around and Princess Leia is a young kid being shipped off to college. It’s a lot to take in, but the changes are what I found the most fascinating about this first issue and I’m curious to see where it’s going and who else shows up in some form or another.

The pace at the start is fast and furious, with a pretty cool saber duel ending in one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen in the Star Wars universe. Once Kane and Annikin leave their home to see Skywalker things begin to get bogged down in an insane amount of details, character introductions and politics. Apparently Lucas dreamed up all his nonsensical Phantom Menace political gobbledygook back in the early to mid-70s because it’s all here and it still sucks. There’s a brewing rebellion and the government wants it stopped, but there’s something else going on in the background no one is talking about. Sound familiar?
There’s also a bunch of secondary characters introduced in such rapid fire succession that it’s hard to keep track of them. The names are just as wacky as you'd expect, with Governor Hoedaack, Vantos Coll, King Kayos, Count Sandage and a spy called Whitsun. None of these people are developed in any way and I was lost a few times trying to remember who was who in relation to what. I’m hoping that in later issues this will be cleared up, but here it’s overwhelming.

Enough about that, let’s talk about the art by Mike Mayhew. It’s fantastic! I never had a hard time figuring out what was going on in any one panel, the detail used for character’s faces are crazy awesome and everything looks like you’d expect a Star Wars story to look, only with the familiar mixed with the new (the buildings on Alderaan look like a combination of the architecture of Naboo and Jabba’s Palace). The nameless Sith from the beginning of the story has a unique design that I loved, and like Darth Maul doesn’t last nearly as long as he should have. One detail I found funny is that Mayhew made Skywalker resemble George Lucas. Kiss ass.
If it weren’t for the plot slowing to a crawl after the first few pages I’d say that this was an enjoyable book on all fronts. As it is it’s well above decent. There are a few nice twists that pop up toward the end and give a cool alternative view of the plotlines we’ve seen in the other films. The bad parts are what you'd expect from good ol' George Lucas. We all know how bad his writing can be at times and it's no different here, so all the deficiencies of the story fall squarely on his shoulders. Regardless, I’m very curious to see what the next issue holds in store. That’s a good thing.

I recommend picking this up if you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan or are just interested in a cool sci-fi yarn.

3 out of 5

The Star Wars is currently available for sale from Dark Horse Comics. I’ll be back next month with a review of issue #2.

No comments:

Post a Comment