Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: STAR WARS #2

DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

["Star Wars Central" review page is here.]

SCRIPT: Brian Wood
ART: Carlos D’Anda
COLORS: Gabe Eltaeb
LETTERS: Michael Heisler
COVER: Alex Ross
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S.

In the Shadow of Yavin” Part Two (of Three)

Star Wars, a new comic book series from Dark Horse Comics, is set during the time of the original and classic Star Wars films: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Star Wars is written by Brian Wood, drawn by Carlos D’Anda, colored by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettered by Michael Heisler, with covers provided by Alex Ross.

Exploring new story possibilities from that time period, Star Wars opens after the Battle of Yavin. The Rebel Alliance destroyed the Galactic Empire’s fearsome space station, the Death Star. Still, there are a number of post-victory struggles, such as finding a new permanent home base and restocking supplies and armaments.

Star Wars #2 opens aboard the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo and his first mate, Chewbacca, continue their secret mission for Mon Mothma, leader of the Alliance. There, is, however, someone hot on the Falcon’s trail. Meanwhile, Colonel Bircher takes command of Darth Vader’s personal Star Destroyer, the Devastator. Bircher’s specialty is tracking rebels, but he has also decided to target an additional quarry.

Back at the rebel fleet, Leia Organa forms a commando unit. In addition to Wedge Antilles and Luke Skywalker, this black operations team includes Gram Cortess from Alderran, Rus Kal Kin from Durkteel, Prithi from Chalacta, Falback Kord from Tinnel Four, Tess Alder from Corellia, and Ardana Cinn. Leia names Wedge Antilles her second-in-command, so where does that leave Luke?

The quality of the first issue of Dark Horse Comics’ new Star Wars comic book series was not a fluke. This is Star Wars, so naturally it is filled with pleasing elements of the franchise. However, this particular issue is also edgy and grim.

The edginess comes from the precarious position the post-Battle of Yavin Rebel Alliance is in. That’s what writer Brian Wood uses to make beloved Star Wars characters ruthless, single-minded, and even a bit selfish. These aren’t you or your father’s action figures, and their fight for survival feels genuine.

I find the series grim, because Wood doesn’t allow the original film trilogy’s signature characters, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, to dominate the series. In turn, this does not become a clean good versus evil tale settled by some exciting lightsaber duels. Indeed, thus far, Luke and Vader seem like two guys sent in the corner of the series to wear dunce hats. This is Star Wars off-the-hook and for reals, y’all!

Meanwhile, artist Carlos D’Anda already seems to have improved as a storyteller in this series, and he was really good in issue #1. Oh, this Star Wars comic book is too good to be true. It’s a trap!


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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