COMIC REVIEW – “STAR WARS” #1 (2020)
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Cover Artist(s): R. B. Silva
Following the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney in 2012, the ‘Star Wars’ comics license returned to Marvel Comics (with 107 issues originally from 1977 to 1987) in 2015 with a new ongoing series, along with a number of spinoff titles including “Darth Vader” and new character “Doctor Aphra” and limited series featuring characters such as Lando, Chewbacca and of course Princess Leia. The series was originally written by Jason Aaron with art by John Cassaday, but every dozen or so story arcs went on to other writers and artists, such as Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, Salvador Larroca and later Greg Pak. The series ended in December after 75 issues. But now, with Marvel Comics new 2020 relaunch the “Star Wars” titles gets a fresh start with a new series and a new number one issue under the same name. While the first series took place between the classic movies Episode IV “A New Hope” and Episode V “The Empire Strikes Back”, this new series starts right after the events of “Empire Strikes Back” after Luke lost his hand to Darth Vader, also revealed to be his father (Spoiler Alert!) and Han Solo frozen in carbonite and taken by Boba Fett.
Dealing with their losses, Leia, Chewbacca and Lando have made their escape in the Millennium Falcon after rescuing Luke. While they argue about pursuing Boba Fett, Luke has to come to grips with the terrible truth that Vader told him and learned of Han’s fate as well, not to mention that fact that both Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda have not answered his calls through the Force. Leia decides to rendezvous with the Rebel Fleet, which unbeknownst to them, has come under attack by the Imperial Navy and the Star Destroyer ‘Tarkin’s Will’ led by Commander Zahra.
This latest story takes license from the final scenes of “Empire Strikes Back” (1980) which showed Luke and Leia on the medical frigate and Chewie and Lando go off to find Han. Until the release of “Return of the Jedi” in 1983, audiences were unaware of how much time had passed between episodes. Not until the 1990s and in the ‘Star Wars’ novels and comic books were fans given a look into what transpired during that time. After Marvel canceled their original run of the comic in 1987, Dark Horse Comics acquired the license in 1991 and would go on to publish over 100 “Star Wars” titles until 2014. Probably one of the most significant sand popular storylines from this era was “Shadows of the Empire” (1996), which was a multimedia project created by Lucasfilm that was set between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” which also included a comic book series, a novel, a junior novelization and a video game (not to mention merchandise and toys!). The story also introduced the character of Dash Rendar, who helped the heroes try to rescue Han from Boba Fett, and while Darth Vader searched for his son, the crime lord Prince Xizor attempted to kill Vader and take his place at the side of Emperor Palpatine.
Although this story helped to reinvigorate interest in the franchise, after Disney acquired Lucasfilm, all of the non-film material produced prior to 2014 became known as the ‘Star Wars Expanded Universe’ (SWEU or EU) and was rebranded as “Star Wars Legends” and declared non-canonical to the franchise. To many fans (including myself) this was a grave insult to the fandom, as many who had been enjoying these stories for over 20 years, were now considered utterly meaningless.
While the publishing of the new “Star Wars” #1 also coincides with the release of Episode IX”: “The Rise of Skywalker”, thus ending the ‘Skywalker Saga’ and Disney’s sequel trilogy, which has been met with mixed and incredibly divisive reception from both critics and fans, young and old. This new series hopes to fill in the gap between Episode V and Episode VI, as both Lucasfilm, Marvel and Disney attempt to rewrite history or retell a story that has already been told 20 years ago. For those who have enjoyed the latest “Star Wars” Marvel Comics, this is definitely a must have as the saga continues on during Luke Skywalker’s most trying time in his adventure. The new #1 also serves as a starting point for new readers as well, as the first volume may not be necessary to revisit, but it certainly will not hinder the story. So many questions still remain unanswered as was addressed (or not) in the sequel trilogy, such as how did Maz Kanata get ahold of Luke’s lightsaber in Episode VII “The Force Awakens” even though she mentioned it was a “story for another time”, maybe this series will answer that? How was Luke able to build a new (green) lightsaber? How did Lando end up in Jabba’s palace as a guard? How was Leia able to disguise herself as the Ubese bounty hunter Boushh? Many fans have been eagerly awaiting this part of the saga, I just hope we won’t be too disappointed.
Written by Dave “Chernabog” Whiteman, a Native Texan, Metalhead🤘, Writer, Star Woid, Funatic, and all-around Fanboy/Nerd/Geek! 👓